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'Nambiar brought limited progress, Indian’s tone is much tougher than ever'

Mar 13 (LT) “The visit of the UN Secretary General’s Chief of Staff Vijay Nambiar brought limited progress, with some prospect of a working-level UN mission to try to negotiate the release of greater numbers of civilians from the LTTE-controlled ‘safe zone.’”the US Embassy informed Washington. “UNSYG Chief of Staff Nambiar reported to Co-Chair Ambassadors limited progress with senior Sri Lankan officials on more..

Rupee hits record low ahead of rates decision

Mar 13 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's rupee hit new record low on Tuesday ahead of central bank's monetary policy decision as heavy importer demand could not be met and exporters stayed away in anticipation of further rupee depreciation. The rupee closed at 123.30/70 a dollar, down from Monday's close of 122.00/20. Dealers said that the highest trade was done at 123.70. "Unless you see inflows, the rupee will further depreciate," more..

Dockyard eyes offshore work as repairs decline

Mar 13 (LBO) Colombo Dockyard anticipates lower ship building and repair orders given the shipping industry downturn but is investing in equipment to improve efficiency and eyeing offshore oil industry work. "We have been fortunate in the immediate term, as having a sufficiently buttressed order book ensures that we can maintain our revenues and profit this year," Colombo Dockyard chairman Akihiko Nakauchi said. more..

'Hundreds detained illegally in Sri Lanka'

Mar 13 (AFP) Sri Lanka is illegally holding hundreds of detainees who are vulnerable to torture and execution, Amnesty International said Tuesday in a report urging UN support for a probe into alleged war crimes. The 63-page document entitled “Locked away: Sri Lanka’s security detainees,” said arbitrary and illegal detention and enforced disappearances were routine in Sri Lanka, where rights abuses “go uninvestigated and unpunished.” more..

Gov't under fire for censoring text messages

Mar 13 (Xinhua) Sri Lanka's govt is coming under criticism from free media activists on Tuesday after it censored security-related text messages that reach millions of people. Sri Lanka's Free Media Movement (FMM) has slammed the govt move saying that it will lead to stronger controls over print and electronic journalism. "This is clearly the first step in moving towards greater censorship. Already the govt has made it mandatory for websites to register with the govt and more..

Amnesty claims ‘preposterous’-SL

Mar 13 (DM) While rejecting the latest allegations of arbitrary, illegal detention in Sri Lanka, and extrajudicial execution made by Amnesty International (AI), Minister of Justice Rauff Hakeem said that the claims are made to tarnish the image of Sri Lanka internationally at this ‘crucial juncture’. In a new report titled “Locked away: Sri Lanka’s security detainees,” AI has claimed that “arbitrary and illegal detention and enforced disappearances remain routine in Sri Lanka, more..

'No evidence of war crimes found so far'

Mar 13 (Xinhua) An army inquiry into alleged human rights abuses by Sri Lankan troops during the final stages of the war against Tamil Tiger rebels has so far found no evidence to back such claims, the Sri Lankan army said in a statement posted on its official website on Tuesday. Army Commander Jagath Jayasuriya is quoted as saying that false allegations are being leveled against the army and the Sri Lankan govt because more..

DRS confirmed for Sri Lanka-England Tests

Mar 13 (ESPN) The Decision Review System (DRS) will be used for the upcoming two-Test series between Sri Lanka and England but the Hot Spot technology will not be available, leaving the Snickometer as the only tool to decide decisions on catches. The ball-tracking technology will be provided by Hawk-Eye, Sri Lanka Cricket secretary Nishantha Ranatunga has said. The version of the DRS used in the series will be the same as the one used in Sri Lanka's previous more..

Sri Lanka gov't minister urges boycott of US goods

Mar 13 (AP) A Sri Lankan Cabinet minister is urging the public to boycott American products, accusing the U.S. of encouraging separatism in the island nation. A proposed U.S.-backed resolution calling on Sri Lanka to probe alleged abuses during the country's civil war is to be debated at the ongoing U.N. Human Rights Council session in Geneva. The 25-year war ended in 2009, with govt troops defeating the Tamil Tiger rebels. Housing Minister Wimal Weerawansa more..

'Sri Lanka war crimes: India wants to avoid mistrust'

Mar 13 (PTI) With Tamil Nadu MPs insisting that India make its stand clear on the US-sponsored resolution against Sri Lanka in UNHRC, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has said efforts are on to achieve a "forward-looking" outcome which would avoid "deepening confrontation and mistrust." "We are engaged with all parties in an effort to achieve an outcome that is forward-looking and that ensures that rather than deepening confrontation and more..

Petition filed in Indian court urging arrest of Minister Devananda

Mar 13 (NF) A petition has been filed in the Chennai High Court urging India to arrest Minister Douglas Devenanda by enlisting the help of Interpol. "The Chennai High Court has received a petition from Attorney-at-Law Pugalendi requesting Sri Lankan Minister Doughlas Devananda to be named as an international criminal. The petition states that the government of India could take the necessary steps to arrest any individual who commits a crime in India, be it more..

‘Doing politics with govt. is a license to commit crime’

Mar 13 (SM) Doing politics with the govt has given the license for anyone to committee rapes, murders, heroin trafficking and other crimes, said former Army chief Sarath Fonseka. He made the remark to the media as he was being brought to the Colombo high court today, for a hearing in which he and his aide retired Capt. Senaka de Silva are accused of harbouring 10 Army deserters and provoking them against the state. Mr. Fonseka commented on an incident in Godakawela, more..

Karu urges right thinking citizens to lawfully express discontent

Mar 13 (SM) UNP MP Karu Jayasuriya says it is time every right thinking citizen of this country lawfully express their discontent before the little law and order prevailing in the country is lost. “Otherwise, the deafening silence of some, for their personal gain or otherwise, will be contributing to a rapidly deteriorating situation. They will be aiding and abetting in the early demise of the rule of law,” he says in a statement. more..

Parties protest outside college for inviting Lankan

Mar 13 (TOI) A group of people representing the Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK), Puthiya Tamilagam (PT) and the Periyar Dravida Katchi (PDK) agitated in front of the Bishop Heber College on Monday morning forcing the management to send off a Sri Lankan professor who had been invited by the college for an international seminar. The seminar on "Personal Dynamism in Organizational Management" had been organised by the commerce department more..

Entire world shown “white van culture” of Sri Lanka - UNP

Mar 13 (AD) The Sri Lanka govt could face further pressure at the Human Rights Council in Geneva with the suspicions regarding ‘white van’ abductions being confirmed, the UNP says. The got has not considered the magnitude of the consequences of such abductions occurring during ongoing discussion on the country’s human rights record, Tissa Attanayake said referring to the foiled abduction attempt on the Kolonnawa Urban Council Chairman on Saturday. more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 13.03.2012

'Off duty soldiers must hand in weapons'

Mar 13 (DM) In future members of the Sri Lanka Army will not be allowed to keep their weapons with them when off duty. Instructions to this effect have been issued to the relevant authorities, said Army Commander Jagath Jayasuriya yesterday. Addressing troops in Mullaitivu, the army chief said that this was because, “it is no longer necessary in Colombo or elsewhere.” “Peace prevails everywhere now, and it does not matter whether you are in Colombo or the North or East,” more..

Legal action against pharmacy

Mar 13 (CT) The Health Ministry is to take legal action against a pharmacy that issued the wrong medications to a child in Kandy last week. This was disclosed by National Cosmetic Devices and Drug Regulatory Authority (NCDDA) Director Dr. Hemantha Benaragama. According to the Health Ministry, the pharmacy has been sued for issuing of a diabetic drug for a child who was seeking medication for a cough. “Due to the carelessness of the pharmacist, this child almost died. more..

Asia Cup: All-round India seal 50-run win

Mar 13 (CI) The Asia Cup was a chance for India to wipe the slate clean after the horrors of Australia, and they began their campaign by playing to their strengths - batting the opposition out of the game. Centuries by Gautam Gambhir and Virat Kohli took India to 304, and though the efforts of their bowlers cannot be ignored, crucial wickets were gifted away. It was an underwhelming performance by a Sri Lankan batting line-up that stretches till No.9, more..

Permanent houses - a pressing need

Mar 14 (NS) Permanent houses have become a pressing need for the resettled people in the Wanni since the temporary houses are not conducive for living any longer. People who were resettled after the war were given temporary shelters that were designed for a period of two and a half years. Residents in the Wanni said most semi-permanent houses have been built with a few bricks and tarpaulin sheets. They were not conducive for people to live in anymore. During the initial stages more..

Devolution of police powers

Mar 14 (NS) This response is in reference to the article by M. A. Sumanthiran MP published in ‘The Island’ of February 10. It is indeed a good thing that this vexed issue is opened for discussion in the public domain. We must be thankful to him for expressing his views as it enables public scrutiny of these ideas. It is unfortunate that Sumanthiran (MAS) and his ilk see the so called national problem only form their point of view. Naturally, what they see is a distorted picture. more..

Sarath Fonseka Has he been denied the protection of the Rule of Law?

Mar 14 (DM) Even in regard to the “White Flag case” the investigating officer stated that he considered the then IGP to have been the first complainant. A ludicrous state of affairs! Section 37 of the code states that the arresting officer shall not detain a person for more than 24 hours and that such person shall be produced before a Magistrate. As noted above, Article 13 (2) of the Constitution provides that further detention shall be only more..

A-Z of Sri Lankan English: Q is for quazi

Mar 14 (GV) Equality before the law? I’m no lawyer, but I have always wondered how this fundamental principle is possible in a country with several different legal systems operating alongside one another. The main systems are Roman-Dutch law and the British legal system, bequeathed by the colonial administrators. But three other systems also survive – Kandyan law, Thesavalamai, and Muslim law, which cover certain areas of civil law such as marriage, divorce and inheritance. more..

To whom it may concern: Please stop intercepting my e-mails!

Mar 14 (SL) This column is bound to provoke the ire of that battery of “defenders of the realm” who have made it their business to attack anyone who even vaguely resembles a critic of the regime that gives them sustenance. No matter, as they used to say, “The dogs may bark, but the caravan proceeds.” But, that digression apart, I am addressing this communication “to whom it may concern” because I need his intervention to ensure that the telecommunication companies more..

Sri Lankan post-war cinema and reconciliation

Mar 14 (GV) In any conflict environment, the audio-visual medium, in particular cinema, is utilized as a dominant tool of propaganda. In the Sri Lankan context, both the State and the LTTE have used the audio visual medium to differing degrees to propagate their ideologies, and to project themselves in a positive light. Cinema that is directly sponsored by the State invariably bears the voice of the State. Likewise, the ‘independent’ cinema, more..

Gendered violence in the North and East

Mar 14 (CT) The Sinhala service of the BBC, reported a few hours ago, of an “alarming rise of sexual abuse in Jaffna.” They quoted Dr S Sivaruban, the Judicial Medical Officer (JMO) of the Jaffna Teaching hospital: “There were 102 cases of sexual abuse reported in Jaffna in 2010 and it has increased to 182 in 2011,” said Dr Sivaruban. This sad, troubling statistic and statement is indicative of the breakdown of social structure in Jaffna, something that I’ve been picking up on more..

Culprit seeks to elude the indictment

Mar 14 (TC) Mysterious are the ways in which the UN system moves. Pitiable is the fate of those who deserve justice. The culprit gets around leaving the victim to waste away. “The US is concerned that in Sri Lanka, time is slipping away”, said Mario Otero. Tamils say that it is the rogue state that is wriggling out and that too with consummate skill. As recompense for the Tamils, international investigation was brandished first. The LLRC put paid to it. Sri Lanka will implement the recommendations, came the grandiloquent pledge. more..

Kalpitiya, the hub of dry fish industry

Mar 14 (SO) Our journey to Kalpitiya in the North-Western Province last week was very strenuous, but memorable as it gave us an opportunity to see the livelihood of dry fish manufacturers. Kalpitiya has been famous for dry fish manufacturing even from as far back as the 1600s. Our history reveals that not only ancient kings, but rulers during the colonial period of Dutch, Portuguese and British had encouraged fisher folk in Kalpitiya to more..

Devolution: Learn from Spanish experience, tread cautiously

Mar 14 (Island) With the welcome return to peace to Sri Lanka and the govt now weighing options for delegating powers to the Northern and Eastern Provinces, it would be worthy indeed to look into the Spanish experience and avoid many of its costly mistakes. In the case of Sri Lanka, the word devolution (etymologically from the Latin devolvere, or to give back) is a misnomer in itself. It could be construed solely as delegation of powers from the Central Govt to the provinces. more..

Use conciliatory diplomacy to deal with US-sponsered resolution

Mar 14 (Island) The US-sponsored resolution on Sri Lanka was formally presented to the 19th session of the UNHRC in Geneva last week. The confidence that the Sri Lankan government had evinced that its diplomacy would prevail and the resolution would be removed from the agenda did not materialize. However, the draft resolution presented by the United States differed in a significant area of its concern from the previous draft that had been in circulation. more..

Clergies are intimidated: Concerned citizens informed UNHRC

Mar 14 (CT) “We also express our grave concerns about intimidation and discrediting of the signatories of the initial letter and in particular the Bishop of Mannar, by media such as the Sunday Divaina, websites and even govt’s coalition partners such as the JHU and NFF by accusing the Bishop of aspiring to become Cardinal of Tamil Eelam and that he should be arrested and prosecuted.” human rights activists and clergies informed UNHRC. more..

Editorial: Why the US resolution must be defeated

Mar 14 (Island) The US is determined to go ahead with its resolution on Sri Lanka at the UNHRC and all signs are that a showdown is inevitable. What is unfolding in Geneva is a diplomatic badger hunt with the mastiffs of neo-imperialism on the rampage. Smarting from an ignominious defeat at the UNICEF in Paris last year at the hands of Palestine, the Obama administration cannot afford to lose in Geneva against a small nation. It will, therefore, go the whole hog to secure more..

Another batch passes out: Musings on Pera Convocation

Mar 14 (Island) For those of us in the Sri Lankan academia happiness is something rather fragile, but we enormously cherish whatever little happiness that life offers us. As university academics the happiest moment of our life is to see our students graduate. This year, we at Peradeniya are even happier that they are graduating in time. These are troubled times for national universities. We do not know how much the fund cut the govt contemplates for the next year will amount to. more..

Connections | March 12, 2012

Indian southern Army C-in-C calls on Secretary Defence

Mar 14 (MoD) Lt. Gen Ajay Kumar Singh, General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Southern Command of the Indian Army, called on Secretary to the Ministry Defence Gotabaya Rajapaksa today (12). The Indian Southern Army C-in-C earlier this morning had met with Jagath Jayasuriya, Commander of the Army. Lt. Gen Ajay Kumar Singh is currently on a five-day goodwill visit to the island. Brigadier Rahul Bhardwaj and the Defence Attach, at the Indian High Commission were more..

Flour companies in attempt to increase paddy prices

Mar 14 (FT) Flour producing companies are attempting to increase the price of paddy so wheat flour products will become more popular. They point out that the strategy adopted by these companies is to mislead farmers and raise the price of paddy to keep the consumption level of paddy at a lower level. When the price of rice goes up, people tend to eat more flour and the profit margin of flour producing companies goes up. “The Govt provides a huge fertiliser subsidy and farmers can more..

Ambassador Butenis congratulates Sri Lanka coast guard Lieutenant Commander

Mar 14 (USE) U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka Patricia Butenis welcomed Sri Lankan Coast Guard Lieutenant Commander (LCDR) Rohan Joseph to the Embassy to congratulate him on being the Honor Graduate for the International Maritime Officers Course (IMOC) at the U.S. Coast Guard Training Center. LCDR Joseph was selected out of 33 students from 25 countries for best exemplifying the core values of leadership, professionalism, integrity and diplomacy more..

CSE still placed ‘second worst stock exchange’

Mar 14 (Island) Colombo held on to its position of being the second worst stock exchange in the world. "The average year to date performance of 78 countries (as at March 7) stands at 6.82 percent, with 66 markets of 78 (85 percent) in the black. Venezuela is up the most at 36.95 percent, followed by Vietnam at 26.3 percent and Russia at 21.69 percent. Bangladesh is down the most at -18.51 percent, followed by Sri Lanka at -9.92 percent and Slovakia at -6.74 percent. more..

The fatal full toss, and the animated celebrations

Mar 14 (CI) A low-profile tournament, an easy-paced subcontinental pitch, an opposition missing several frontline bowlers. Perfect for Sachin Tendulkar to end the wait? No. He was surprised by a high full toss from Suranga Lakmal in the sixth over, handing a catch to cover. Perhaps Lakmal was carried away by the manner of that wicket, as he bowled a slew of full tosses throughout his spell, without further success. Much was made of Tendulkar's search for a 100th hundred now more..

Rupee falls on importer demand, CB action

Mar 14 (Island) The rupee fell to a new low yesterday closing at Rs. 123.60/80 against the dollar fuelled by importer demand and Central Bank prescriptions, currency dealers and market analysts said. The rupee opened the day at Rs. 122.0/20 against the greenback and continued to slide to a recent low as importers scrambled to book their deals ahead of the festive season next month. "The Central Bank has also contained dollar liquidity in the market by more..