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Boycott U.S. products - Wimal

Mar 15 (CT) Minister Wimal Weerawansa hit headlines in international media yesterday when he urged the nation to boycott American products such as gmail, google, McDonalds, KFC and beverages to show Sri Lanka’s resistance to the impending US resolution on Sri Lanka which is to be presented at the 19th session of the UNHRC in Geneva. Addressing a public rally against the US backed resolution; he said all Sri Lankans should display more..

Godakawela PS member taken into custody over Kahawatte double killing

Mar 15 (Island) The CID yesterday morning took into custody Godakawela Pradeshiya Sabha member Dharmasiri Lokugamhewa, the elder brother of the first suspect in the killing of a mother and her teenage daughter in Kahawatte for questioning. Dharmasiri was the co-ordinating secretary of Minister John Seneviratne till recently. The police said that the murder was planned in Dharmasiri’s house occupied by his younger brother Danasiri alias "Raju". more..

DSG gives undertaking not to conduct postal vote

Mar 15 (Island) The Deputy Solicitor General, Janak de Silva, yesterday gave an undertaking to the Court of Appeal, that the Commissioner of Election, will not conduct postal voting on March 15, 16, 2012 in respect of the Pradeshiya Sabhas of Maritime Pattu and Puthukudurrippu. Two registered voters of these area, J. Ajantha and another who are displaced person had complained that the elections to these two Pradeshiya Sabhas should not be conducted on March 24, 2012, more..

India must probe its MPs, says Lanka envoy

Mar 15 (IE) Alleging that groups “upset” over the LTTE’s end were behind the propaganda against Sri Lanka, the country’s High Commissioner to India, Prasad Kariyawasam, today said India should investigate its MPs sympathetic to the Eelam cause. Parliament was stalled on Tuesday by Tamil Nadu MPs demanding that India vote in favour of a resolution against Sri Lanka at the UNHRC regarding abuses towards the end of the war against the LTTE. more..

Mahela unperturbed ahead of crunch game

Mar 15 (CI) Sri Lanka's previous engagement before landing in Dhaka was the Commonwealth Bank tri-series, the longest ODI tournament outside the World Cup and the Champions Trophy. With eight matches per team in the league phase, Sri Lanka had to wait almost a month to find out if they would make the final. In the Asia Cup, they could be eliminated three days after their first game - a loss to Pakistan tomorrow, and an India victory on Friday would end both Bangladesh's and more..

Massive mumps outbreak forces closure of two schools

Mar 15 (Island) Western Province chief minister Prasanna Ranatunga yesterday ordered the temporary closure of two schools in Kalutara over an outbreak of mumps among children. Ranatunga, who is also the Provincial Minister of Education, said that the two schools were Bombuwala Maha Vidyalaya and Bombuwala Primary School. "After consulting the MOH in the area, we decided to close the two schools," he said adding that the date to reopen the schools would be decided later. more..

DMK threatens to pull out over Lanka resolution

Mar 15 (DC) Hardening his demand that India should support the US resolution against Sri Lanka at the UNHRC session, DMK president M. Karunanidhi on Wednesday warned that his party executive might be summoned to decide on whether to continue support for the UPA govt if it went against Tamil sentiments. “I cannot take an individual decision; it must be decided by the party executive committee,” more..

Dayasiri challenges graduate recruitment procedure in SC

Mar 15 (Island) UNP MP for Kurunegala District, Dayasiri Jayasekera yesterday complained to the Supreme Court that, the Minister of Public Administration, the Secretary to the Ministry, the Director General Combined Services and the District Secretary for the Hambantota District had violated the rightful hopes of 5000 graduates, by conducting a politically favoured recruitment scheme in employing graduates under the procedure operating after Feb 16, 2012. more..

Geneva issue won’t upset England tour of SL

Mar 15 (Island) England skipper Andrew Strauss yesterday stressed the need to act responsibly before making up their minds when he was asked about the ongoing US-led efforts to move a resolution against Sri Lanka at the current session of the UNHRC in Geneva. The first English captain to win back to back Ashes titles since 1986 was responding to Paul Newman of the Daily Mail at his first media briefing in Colombo since arriving here two weeks ago to prepare for more..

Poor man’s luxury transport is by the metre

Mar 15 (ST) The fuel price hike which is having multiple effects on the cost of living, has also raised the cost of private transport. One of the least expensive modes of private transport, the three-wheeler is gradually turning out to be a luxury. A Sunday Times investigation reveals that commuters of three-wheelers are being systematically ‘robbed’ through the use of meters. The meters on some three-wheelers are genuine, as they are operated by more..

‘Accessibility is an inherent right of national importance’

Mar 15 (Island) "The Human Rights Committee of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) has a duty to pay special attention to the protection of the right to accessibility of vulnerable groups of persons comprising elders, persons with restricted abilities, pregnant mothers, women and children." "According to available statistics, over 25 per cent of Sri Lanka’s population experience diverse abilities. more..

NGO turns Lankan suicide into extra judicial killing

Mar 15 (Island) The govt yesterday alleged that those supporting the US-led move against Sri Lanka at the current sessions of the UNHRC had cited a recent suicide at Boteju road, Narahenpita to justify relentless calls for external intervention. A senior Defence Ministry official said that an attempt had been made by Sri Lankan NGOs involved in the US-managed operation to portray that particular incident of suicide as a more..

SRI LANKA: Indian boost for IDP housing

Mar 15 (IRIN) India's govt is set to undertake a multimillion dollar reconstruction of 49,000 houses for internally displaced people in former war zones in northern and eastern Sri Lanka, which almost doubles the number of homes under construction or completed for returnees. Indian and Sri Lankan leaders signed a MoU in January 2012. The Indian government is finalizing its implementing partners and plans to begin construction by the middle of 2012. more..

Patali in huff over demand for additional payment

Mar 15 (Island) Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka has said that not even an additional five cents would be paid for the construction of the 150MW Upper Kothmale Hydro Power Plant. An angry Ranawaka has said that as per the agreement, there was no room for additional payments. The outburst from the Minister follows the Japanese Consultants backed by the local project big-wigs seeking an additional more..

'Influential Govt. politicians violating the law'

Mar 15 (LT) “We warned at the beginning when the white vans were sent to supress opposition political activists that those vans will come after the Govt. Ministers which has become a reality today. We hold this media briefing when the law and order is completely paralyzed by the Government political influence. Law and order is collapsed in all aspect such as murders, ransom, large scale drug trafficking, illegal sand transport and illegal private bus operations. more..

Lankan envoy apologises to Indian MPs

Mar 15 (PTI) The Ministry of External Affairs on Thursday summoned Sri Lankan High Commissioner Prasad Kariyawasam to seek clarification on his remarks on alleged link between Tamil MPs and LTTE. Speaking to a news agency on Wednesday, Sri Lankan High Commissioner said Members of Parliament from Tamil Nadu have been lobbied by pro-LTTE groups active in Tamil Nadu. "I think stalling of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha is unfortunate, more..

Kumara Mahattaya ruturns: Ready to lead new JVP

Mar 15 (DM) The elusive leader of the JVP dissident group, Premakumar Gunaratnam alias Kumara Mahattaya, is expected to make his first public appearance on April 9 in connection with the formation of a new political party which is to be named ‘Nawa Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna’. Mr. Gunaratnam, who was a member of the JVP’S Politburo, defected from the party last September, along with ten other Central Committee members more..

Tamil alliance wants UNHRC to “act now”

Mar 15 (Hindu) Pressure is mounting on Sri Lanka to deliver on its promises to the Tamils of the northern province. In a detailed statement calling the govt's bluff, the TNA, an umbrella organisation of political parties representing Tamils of the province, urged the UNHRC to “act now.” ‘Broken Promises,' the 14-page booklet traces the historical struggles that the Tamils undertook and describes their current plight. more..

Engage with Sri Lanka without exerting pressure: Japan

Mar 15 (DM) Sri Lanka’s longstanding development partner Japan has stressed, at the UNHRC sessions, that the international community should engage with Sri Lanka on a constructive basis without exerting pressure on it. At the UNHRC sessions on Tuesday, Japan reassured it would continue to support Sri Lanka in reconciliation and reconstruction, and stressed the need for the Sri Lankan govt to implement more..

Editorial: Govt's long face short messages

Mar 15 (DM) Short Messages eliminated love letters, generated a new language and instigated revolutions. At present, the SMS news alerts have become the most convenient and concise news source with an affordable price tag. At a time when the country’s media freedom is pushed against a wall, Short Message Services (SMS) were the only messengers that could fly freely above the heads of the regime: However, not anymore. Today, the mobile news alert service was placed more..

Petitioner complains to Supreme Court about shortage of milk powder

Mar 15 (Island) Petitioner Sugathapala Mendis of Panadura, yesterday filed a petition in the Supreme Court complaining that there is a shortage of milk powder in the market. He had said that this happened after the rupee was devalued in the last budget and price hikes were introduced in respect of fuel and electricity. The petition said that, only five percent of the milk powder consumed in Sri Lanka was locally produced. The rest was imported. more..

TN fishing boat sunk allegedly by Lankan Navy

Mar 15 (PTI) In yet another mid-sea attack, Sri Lankan Naval personnel allegedly hurled petrol bombs at a group of fishing boats from here, sinking one of them and damaging 20 others near Katchatheevu in the Palk Strait, officials said Thursday. The fishermen, who had put out to sea from here, came under the attack around midnight yesterday while they were fishing near Katchatheevu, fisheries department officials said. more..

Sri Lanka mulls oil industry safety training centre

Mar 15 (LBO) Sri Lanka is considering setting up a regional safety training for the oil and gas industry following the discovery of gas in its offshore waters, an official said. Saliya Wickramasuriya, the island's Director General of Petroleum Resources Development, said safety training is an important requirement for the oil industry which is heavily regulated. The oil and gas industry is becoming possibly the third most heavily regulated industry, after more..

Sri Lanka urged to dump war mindset

Mar 15 (LBO) Sri Lankan shipbuilder Colombo Dockyard has urged authorities to get rid of a war-time mentality and loosen regulations to allow business to grow amid a post-war economic boom. Colombo Dockyard managing director Mangala Yapa said the end of the 30-year ethnic war has opened up new business opportunities but growth was being hampered by archaic rules and war-time restrictions. He said a continuous lacuna exists in Sri Lanka’s capacity to cater to more..

SRI LANKA: Cutting post-harvest losses

Mar 15 (IRIN) Inefficient transportation and storage methods are resulting in as much as one-third of Sri Lanka's produce going to waste, experts say. Vegetables are still transported in plastic, burlap, locally produced coconut-husk fibre bags or homemade wooden boxes, stacked tightly in trucks, causing severe wastage en route. This lack of proper storage reduces the length of time produce can last, said Brian Roberts, a professor at the more..

UNHRC resolution: why India needs to get a voice against Sri Lanka

Mar 15 (FP) In the last two days, the entire Tamil Nadu block of MPs in the Indian Parliament was up on their feet asking India to take a stand against Sri Lanka for their alleged human rights violations and war crimes. The MPs were very simple and straightforward in their demand: support the upcoming resolution in the UNHRC in Geneva that asks Sri Lanka to implement the recommendations of a domestic report on the war and address alleged human rights violations. more..

Investigations into poacher's death

Mar 15 (CT) A special police team has been deployed to conduct investigations into the shooting of a poacher in the Maduruoya National Park last night, Police Spokesperson SP Ajith Rohana told Ceylon Today Online. “A magisterial investigation is currently being conducted into this incident,” SP Rohana added. A poacher was shot during a raid by Wildlife Conservation Officers in the Maduruoya National Park at 11.30 p.m. last night, police said. more..

WikiLeaks: Tiran Alles filmed LTTE-Rajapaksa pre-election deal

Mar 15 (CT) “A UNP source told Pol Chief that Tiran Alles had executed an affidavit detailing Basil Rajapaksa, Jayasundera and Weeratunga’s involvement in the arrangements with Emil Kanthan, a prominent Tamil businessman and suspected LTTE intelligence officer, some time ago. Alles has deposited the original in a secure place accessible to his attorney. Further, Alles had recorded at least one of the meetings between more..

Sri Lanka's Tourism arrivals up 27-pct in Feb: data

Mar 15 (LBO) Sri Lanka's tourist arrivals increased 27 percent to 83,549 in February 2012, from a year earlier, and visitors during the first two months were up 21 percent to 169,423, the state tourist promotion office said. South Asia, the second largest generating market, showed an increase of 14.1 percent with Indian arrivals up 12.6 percent to 11,342 and Maldives up 15.4 percent to 2,675. Arrivals from Western Europe rose 23.4 percent to 38,364, more..

France signs largest infrastructure project in Sri Lanka's former war zone

Mar 15 (Xinhua) The cabinet had approved a 91.8-million U.S.-dollar infrastructure project funded by France in the former war-torn eastern province, a minister said here on Thursday. The project would fund much needed infrastructure for the town on Trincomalee in the province, acting cabinet spokesman Lakshman Yapa Abeywardana said. He said the money would also be used to upgrade 100 km of highway, build 41km of provincial roads and repair five main bridges. more..

Don't support US-backed resolution on Lanka: Swamy

Mar 15 (PTI) Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy today said India should not support the US-backed UN resolution for an inquiry into human rights violations by Sri Lankan army following alleged surfacing of video footage of the bullet-riddled body of LTTE chief's son. "India should not act under US pressure (to back the resolution). The slain LTTE chief himself used hundreds of kids as shields in his fight in Sri Lanka and more..

Sarana Gunawardena pressurizes land registry

Mar 15 (SM) Evidence has surfaced to indicate that deputy minister Sarana Gunawardena has pressurized the land registry against registering a land bought by a businessman in Minuwangoda. The deputy minister stands accused of threatening and seeking Rs. 25 million in extortion money from the millionaire businessman, P.K. Chinthaka Mohan Perera. According to ‘Lakbima’ Gunawardewna has written to the land registry asking that the land be not registered. more..

'No media restriction in Sri Lanka'

Mar 15 (GDI) There is no media restriction in Sri Lanka, as it was in the past in which media personnel were summoned to the Parliament and they were punished. The Acting Minister of Mass Media and Information Lakshman Yapa Abeywardene stated this in the Cabinet Decisions Media Conference. He said that anyone reading the Sri Lankan newspapers and watching TV channels in the country can get confirmed by themselves as to the truth of this fact. The Minister said that, however, more..

Sri Lanka denies new war crimes claims

Mar 15 (AFP) Sri Lanka Thursday rejected as "baseless and unacceptable" a new documentary by Britain's Channel 4 suggesting the army executed the 12-year-old son of a guerrilla leader after he surrendered. The British news channel broadcast an account from a forensic expert on Wednesday night who said that the son of Sri Lanka's slain ethnic Tamil rebel leader Velupillai Prabhakaran appeared to have been shot at close range. more..

Stocks close down 0.4-pct, rupee in new low

Mar 15 (LBO) Stocks closed 0.4 percent Thursday amid continued foreign interest, and the rupee peg weakened to a new low below 125 rupees, dealers and brokers said. The rupee closed at 125.00/25 against the greenback with the peg weakening as low as 125.10 in intra-day trade, dealers said. The benchmark Colombo All Share Index closed down 20.87 points at 5,397.20 points and the Milanka Index of liquid stocks gained 0.24 percent to close at 4,833.68 points. more..

Lankan envoy should be recalled: CPI

Mar 15 (PTI) CPI on Thursday rejected the apology rendered by Sri Lanka's High Commissioner to India on his remarks about alleged connection between some Tamil parliamentarians and LTTE and demanded he be withdrawn by his government immediately. Party National Secretary D Raja termed the remarks by High Commissioner Prasad Kariyawasam as a "gross interference in the internal affairs" of the country, particularly the work of Indian parliament. more..

Lanka News Debrief - 15.03.2012

Broad injury takes edge off Panesar haul

Mar 15 (CI) England's bowlers experienced a day of mixed fortunes as they began their tour of Sri Lanka with a warm-up match against a Sri Lanka Board XI in Colombo. While Stuart Broad was forced to pull out of the game shortly before the start following an injury scare, James Anderson and Monty Panesar adapted seamlessly to the heat and humidity to share nine wickets between them and dismiss the hosts for 169 shortly after tea on the first day. more..

Sri Lanka tea trade warns of threat to Middle East market

Mar 15 (LBO) Sri Lanka's tea industry has called for urgent improvements in productivity and new markets to ride out volatility in major Middle Eastern markets that continue to dampen tea export earnings. While there is strong demand for tea in global markets, price increases for Ceylon tea, to compensate for increased cost of production, is seen as unlikely, the Planters' Association said in a statement. Uncertainty in Middle Eastern countries, that account for more..

Misbah, Akmal complete clinical win

Mar 15 (CI) Pakistan put one foot in the final of the Asia Cup with a six-wicket win over a tired Sri Lankan outfit, which did not have enough steam to defend a modest 188. Pakistan's bowlers set up the win with a disciplined effort, and Misbah-ul-Haq and Umar Akmal compiled positive half-centuries to arrest a top-order wobble. Their eagerly anticipated clash with India on Sunday may not carry much context for them if India beat Bangladesh tomorrow, more..