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Editorial: Political fire behind fuel diplomacy

Mar 10 (DM) In the best of times party politics locally and internationally has been largely a matter of having permanent interests and not permanent friends. At an international level this reality is a vital factor and that is why high priority must be given to professional diplomacy so that Sri Lanka can survive in a world of self-seeking, geo-political strategies and weapons of mass deception. Unfortunately in recent years, the External Affairs Ministry has been overloaded with more..

Ex-Tiger combatants on a Peace Tour to Kandy

Mar 10 (GDI) The remaining Ex-LTTE combatants who are currently undergoing training will be on a peace tour from Welikanda to Kandy. The peace tour organized under the aegis of the Ministry of Rehabilitation and Prison Reforms Chandrasiri Gajadeera will take place on March 10, 11 and 12. The tour starting from Senapura in elikanda today will end at Sri Dalada Maligawa. Sri Lanka's Ministry of Rehabilitation & Prison Reforms have successfully introduced and more..

'India should not support resolution against Lanka'

Mar 10 (PTI) Janata Party leader Subramanian Swamy today said India should not join human rights groups at a UN meeting tomorrow in passing a "one sided" resolution condemning Sri Lanka for alleged human rights violations during its war against LTTE. India's participation in the resolution would make it vulnerable to similar resolutions over Kashmir or Manipur, Swamy said and suggested that it should urge Sri Lanka to devolve power so as to meet more..

Should England's cricket team tour Sri Lanka?

Mar 10 (C4) Andy Flower has departed for Sri Lanka today as manager of an England team reeling after a test whitewash in the UAE to Pakistan and nervous about playing on yet more slow and turning pitches. However events off the pitch could be even trickier to handle. Sri Lanka's cricket board is allegedly ridden by corruption, and the grounds England will play on are now run by a military that Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the United Nations and more..

Minister Basil inspects Gampaha Public Market Constructions

Mar 10 (GDI) Minister Basil Rajapaksa made a tour to inspect the Gampaha District public markets, on Friday. He has initiated a programme to develop all public markets in Gampaha District as the traders of more than 40 public markets are undergoing difficulties due to lack of sanitation, water and electricity facilities. On Friday the Minister visited Mawaramandiya, Pattiwila, Poogoda, Kirindiwela, Malwathuhiripitiya and Weliweriya public markets and more..

'Sri Lanka keen to have UK campuses here'

Mar 10 (DM) Higher Education Minister S.B. Dissanayake encouraged UK higher education institutions to set-up campuses in Sri Lanka to meet the growing demand for UK qualifications. Addressing representatives of UK higher education institutions at the 19th annual Education UK Exhibition which was opened yesterday, Minister Dissanayake said, “In line with our vision of becoming a regional education hub, we hope that you will consider more..

AIADMK, DMK to raise anti-Lanka resolution issue in Parliament

Mar 10 (PTI) Bitter rivals AIADMK and DMK have found common cause on India’s stand over US-backed resolution against Sri Lanka in the UN Human Rights Council meet for alleged war crimes with both parties determined to raise the issue in Parliament during the Budget Session commencing on Monday. A customary pre-session briefing by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and AIADMK supremo J Jayalalithaa to her party MPs held here today is understood to have discussed the issue among others. more..

'Sri Lanka, China ties will continue to grow'

Mar 10 (DN) The close cooperation, respect and friendship between Sri Lanka and China will continue to grow as Sri Lanka builds on the foundations of peace to achieve prosperity for its people through economic transformation in which China remains a trusted development partner, Defence Ministry and Urban Development Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa said. He was speaking as the guest of honour at 'Refreshingly Sri Lanka', a Sri Lanka cultural evening and gala dinner more..

Welikada women inmates sexually abused during prison queen contest

Mar 10 (SM) Women inmates of Welikada Prison were subjected to sexual harassment during a prison queen contest and modelling competition organized in view of international women’s day on March 08, reports lankacnews. First lady Shiranthi Rajapaksa was the chief guest at the competition. On the pretext of rehearsing the participants, several senior officers of the prison had abused several women, including some models who are charged with prostitution. more..

Editorial: Sri Lanka respected human rights from time immemorial

Mar 11 (SO) The meaning of terrorism remains unchanged, be it in the West or this part of the world. There are no good terrorists or bad terrorists. Terrorism in any part of the world is terrorism and should be eradicated likewise. This was the forthright view of President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the United Nations General Assembly a few years ago, when LTTE terrorism was at its peak in Sri Lanka. Indeed, he was constrained to make that bold statement in the more..

Editorial: Geneva smokescreen obliterates public outcry

Mar 11 (SL) The people for the past three decades have suffered the steady rise in the cost of living with great forbearance. We have no ready index to point to for this Himalayan climb other than the price of bread which Chandrika Kumaratunga in her presidential bid vowed to reduce to Rs 3 per loaf. Now the price is Rs. 58! ‘The War’ has been the excuse of all leaders including the present incumbent Mahinda Rajapaksa but after a near three years of peace, prices of essential commodities are still soaring. more..

'International community shouldn't dictate terms'

Mar 11 (SO) Former Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama in an interview with the Sunday Observer underscores the importance of giving Sri Lanka time and space to address accountability issues. He said ”What the United States is asking for is something that Sri Lanka apparently has agreed to but when it comes to a country’s agenda, that country must have its own agenda to be pursued rather than being dictated or being pressurised to more..

Editorial: India’s veiled threats

Mar 11 (NS) India’s External Affairs Minister, S. M. Krishna said that India will consider the overall ties with Sri Lanka and the sentiments in its own country before making a decision regarding the US-sponsored Resolution on Sri Lanka at the UNHRC sessions. This statement comes along with India wanting all oil exploration blocks in the Mannar basin, since ‘India considers the location too strategically important to allow companies from other nations to base themselves in the area’. more..

Editorial: That piece of paper is on the table...

Mar 11 (LB) Uncle Sam did not nod off; the UN resolution on Sri Lanka at Geneva’s UNHRC was finally tabled this week despite some guesswork in certain quarters that it might perhaps be withdrawn at the last moment. This has certainly put paid to all speculation that the US was not really interested and was bluffing on the issue, or had merely red-flagged it temporarily. The resolution urges that the LLRC recommendations be implemented but the real crunch comes in the last clause which more..

'The West has an ulterior motive'

Mar 11 (SO) Senior Prof. Tissa Vitarana said many of Sri Lanka’s friends in the international community have spoken against the US-sponsored resolution. He said more and more World Leaders as well as the public realise that the West has an ulterior motive and this is not a friendly or conducive agenda with regard to our people or our economy. Therefore they are making use of any opportunity to turn it to their advantage. The Minister was confident that more..

Editorial: Drugs and politics - A dangerous nexus

Mar 11 (Island) We run on this page today a somewhat longer article than we generally prefer written by a former public servant who had held many senior positions including at the defence ministry. The writer, Chandra Wickremasinghe, who retired as an additional secretary to the president and served as Sri Lanka’s ambassador to France, belonged to a tradition that has unfortunately become increasingly rare in the public service – efficiency, integrity, more..

Editorial: Women as Agents of Change

Mar 11 (ST) Awards, accolades and ceremonies across the country marked International Women's Day last Thursday - in some cases mere token gestures. Is it adequate to honour and place on centre-stage Sri Lanka's women on just one day of the year or should there be more serious thought given more consistently to the due role they should be playing, alongside the menfolk? Further to "dedicating" a day each year, it is already past time when the country ought to discuss, debate and more..

Rediscovering the tomb of our last king

Mar 11 (ST) When I set foot in the Indian city of Vellore, 145 km from Chennai for the first time, I was unaware of the importance of this city to Sri Lanka. While being driven though the city I came across a board which displayed, among other important sites to visit - “The tomb of last king of Ceylon”. In my subsequent visits to Vellore I was able to see all places related to our last king’s stay in the city. Outwardly Vellore is no different from more..

Breathing space from Opposition

Mar 11 (NS) The govt is still battling assorted international demons at the UNHRC in Geneva, however, if it is seeking consolation on the domestic front, it must surely thank Sri Lanka’s collective opposition. The govt is still battling assorted international demons at the UNHRC in Geneva, however, if it is seeking consolation on the domestic front, it must surely thank Sri Lanka’s collective opposition. The UNP, the JVP and the TNA are all caught up in their own dilemmas on more..

‘Don’t turn UNHRC into a tribunal’

Mar 11 (NS) The US sprang a surprise on our country and many other member states when they presented the controversial resolution on Sri Lanka unexpectedly at the UNHRC last Wednesday. Sri Lanka and many other member nations had earlier expected the resolution to be presented at the fag-end of the sessions, possibly on March 19. In fact, the belief that the resolution on Sri Lanka would figure at the closing stage of the sessions led the Sri Lankan delegation headed by Minister more..

High Commissioner Rankin hems and haws

Mar 11 (LB) Sri Lanka-UK relations are strained over differences in perception about what occurred during the war and the need for an independent investigation, British High Commissioner John Rankin admits in an interview last week. Q: There is much anti-British sentiment in Sri Lanka now. All kinds of people are lined up against the UK, including politicians, clergy and the public. Where do you think this animosity is coming from? more..

American fiasco in Geneva

Mar 11 (Island) There’s nearly two weeks more to the end of the 19th regular sessions of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva and it may be too early to speak of an American fiasco in Geneva. But given the content of the draft resolution that was tabled at the informal session called by America last week, there is only one way that things can go unless the developing nations on the human rights council have all gone into a suicide mode and want to set a precedent that more..

Sajith as Devadatta

Mar 11 (Island) In the meantime, all these goings on in Geneva have not had any impact on the UNP. They seem to be preoccupied with their own problems. The Friday before last, party leader Ranil Wickremesinghe went to Badulla to attend a meeting organized by Badulla district MP Harin Fernando. The purpose of the meeting was of course to collect money for the reconstruction of the party headquarters after the December attack. Also present on this occasion were more..

Kahawatta killings: A dire signal to The nation of the demonic scourge of illicit drugs

Mar 11 (Island) It is reliably reported that the brutal murders of a mother and daughter in Kahawatta are linked to a drug mafia that has been terrorizing that area for quite some time. The immediate cause of these inhuman killings has been attributed to the mother upbraiding the drug dealers concerned for trying to inveigle her school going daughter to become one of the distributors, by getting her to take a lunch packet with sachets of heroin inside, more..

Saudi trade delegates wooed for Sri Lanka Expo

Mar 11 (AN) The Sri Lankan embassy in the Kingdom has invited Saudi businessmen to take part in a major international trade fair to be held in Colombo this month. 'Sri Lanka Expo 2012’ , organized by the Sri Lanka Export Development Board (EDB), is scheduled to be held from March 28 to 30 at the BMICH. The embassy’s Commercial Counselor Anil Sirimanna said that local businessmen would be given concessional return air tickets to Colombo and more..

Polish your dull side with a smile!

Mar 11 (ST) My Dear Sajith, I thought I must write to you when I heard that you had reportedly admitted that you were not mature enough to become the leader of your party and that you were willing to learn. I heard that you had said so in response to advice given to you by the Mahanayake theras. Honestly, Sajith, I was not quite certain whether all this was true-because it sounds too good to be true! However, I haven’t heard you denying this since this appeared in the media, more..

Unions threaten pull-out of key labour body

Mar 11 (ST) Labour unions are threatening to pull out of the National Labour Advisory Council (NLAC) next month if the govt fails to implement proposals governing contract work, which has been endorsed by all stakeholders. The call - at this week's meeting on Monday of this tripartite body - was made by veteran trade unionist and General Secretary of the govt-controlled Sri Lanka Nidahas Seveka Sangamaya, Leslie Devendra. He said that the delay in presenting more..

No excuses for Mafiosi political low lives

Mar 11 (LB) The unfortunate Mafiosi tendency of Sri Lankan politics was underscored as never before with the Kahawatte murders – where a UPFA Pradeshiya Sabha (PS) member’s brother has been arrested for the sick and gruesome murders of an innocent schoolgirl and her mother. The reason for the sick deeds being that these two innocent neighbours may have known about the narcotics trade that the PS member’s brother was involved in... (The PS memeber himself is said to be more..

Close to 10,000 kg vege/fruits perish

Mar 11 (LB) Media reports state that close to 10,000 kilos of fruits and vegetables are being disposed of by farmers of the Dambulla Economic Centre daily because they are unable to sell their produce. The large quantity of left-over produce is transported to the Habarattha Compost Manufacturing Centre. Ironically, while the farmers cannot sell their produce, consumers complain about the high prices of fruit and vegetables. “The prices are down compared to more..

Kataragama gem find: Villagers say politicians steal their share

Mar 11 (ST) Residents of Thammanawewa village in Kataragama are furious over area politicians’ double-game in the three blocks of gem-rich land promised to them. Following the discovery of gems from soil removed from the village for road filling, authorities identified an area, divided it into 51 plots and sold them at an auction which brought more than Rs. 260 million to the public coffers. Of these plots, three were given to the villagers. more..

Crocodile in Dehiwala sea does not spoil fun of two-mile swim

Mar 11 (ST) Villagers have spotted a crocodile in the sea along the Wellawatte-Dehiwala coastline. The animal has been seen on several occasions, but animal activists say there is no cause for concern – this is no invasion by a swarm of crocs but a case of a lone reptile drifting harmlessly in the water. Philip Weinman has seen the crocodile on two occasions, in the sea around Dehiwala. The first time was in mid-February, around six in the morning, when he was out at sea in his boat fishing. more..

When English-speaking Tamils met Tamil-speaking ex-LTTE cadres

Mar 11 (ST) A group of Tamil youths of Sri Lankan origin living in Europe found themselves in a quandary when ex-LTTE cadres being rehabilitated at a Vavuniya centre spoke to them in Tamil. Inmates said the visitors spoke to them in English and they spoke to them in Tamil and the military officials manning the centre had to act as interpreters. They said they were disappointed because the children of the Tamils who left the country during the early days of the war more..

Namal meets Akashi in Tokyo

Mar 11 (Island) In the wake of US-led effort to move a resolution targeting Sri Lanka at the current session of the UNHRC sessions over accountability issues in Sri Lanka, the govt is countering what a senior External Affairs Ministry official called Western propaganda directed at the govt. MP Namal Rajapaksa, during a recent visit to Tokyo briefed Japan’s Special Representative for Sri Lanka, Yasushi Akashi vis-à-vis the rapid progress made in the post-LTTE era, more..

Highway speed limit to be increased to 120

Mar 11 (SL) The Transport Ministry is considering requests to increase the maximum speed limit on the Southern Expressway to 120 kmph. Deputy Minister Nirmala Kotalawala said that tests are currently being carried out on the speed limit. The existing maximum speed limit on the expressway is 100 kmph but Kotalawala said that there have been many requests to increase that limit. He also said that the govt has decided to charge Rs. 2,500 from drivers if their vehicles breakdown on the Expressway. more..

Police go to sleep on Lasantha’s murder investigation once again

Mar 11 (SL) Investigations into the death of The Sunday Leader Editor Lasantha Wickrematunge have once again come to a standstill, with no attempts being made to look into the cause of death of one of the leading suspects in the case. The post mortem of suspect Pichchai Jesudasan was conducted and an open verdict was returned by the Coroner. However there was no further action taken on the open verdict nor did the IGP report back to Court about a statement made by more..

Sajith’s donations to be probed by tax authorities

Mar 11 (SL) The Inland Revenue Department has begun an investigation into funds received by UNP Deputy Leader Sajith Premadasa for several of his projects. Premadasa heads the Sasunata Aruna and Kithunu Sawiya as well as several other Foundations which provide financial assistance to temples and other institutions. The Inland Revenue Department says there is a lack of transparency as to where he gets the money for these projects. more..

Properties liable to seizure and sale for non payment of rates: Mayor

Mar 11 (ST) The Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) intends to auction around 867 private properties, if the owners ignore its final warning to them to settle their property tax arrears by March 31, Colombo Mayor A.J.M. Muzammil warned. “If the taxpayers do not pay their rates, we have the right to seize their properties, as has been done in the past,” he said. Up until recently, the CMC was faced with a staggering Rs 2.5 billion in tax arrears, with balances carried forward for the past 25 years. more..

N’Eliya gears for festive season

Mar 11 (SO) Elaborate arrangements are being made by the New Mayor of Nuwara Eliya Mahinda Kumara, along with the Nuwara Eliya April Festivities Committee, the Municipal Council and leading sports clubs, hotels and the Sri Lanka Tourist Board to provide one of the most colourful April seasons for the large holiday crowds, both locals and foreigners, who are expected in Nuwara Eliya during April. Mayor Kumara, a leading hotelier and an eco-tourism expert, said more..

The shocking inside story and the search for a ‘fall guy’

Mar 11 (Island) The death of 20 babies at the Mahamodara Teaching Hospital during the past three months has brought into focus the incredibly shocking parlous state of this maternity and childcare tertiary level state medical facility in the South and the lack of vital, life-saving medical supplies, which had exacerbated the frustrating situation, officials said last week. Four infants had died due to a bacterial infection in more..

Sri Lanka: A child is summarily executed

Mar 11 (Independent) It is a chilling piece of footage that represents yet another blow for the beleaguered Sri Lankan govt in its attempts to head off a critical resolution at the UNHRC in Geneva this week. The short clip dates from the final hours of the bloody 26-year civil war between the Sri Lankan government and the secessionist rebels of the Tamil Tigers, the LTTE. A 12-year-old boy lies on the ground. He is stripped to the waist and has five neat bullet holes in his chest. more..