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Govt. disagrees with Wimal on boycott of US products, Google

Mar 16 (Island) The govt yesterday disassociated itself from Minister Wimal Weerawanasa’s call to boycott US products and the Google search engine, in protest against its resolution on Sri Lanka to the UNHRC. Acting Media Minister, Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena told journalists in Colombo, that Weerawansa’s remark was his personal view and did not constitute state policy. Minister Weerawansa said on Wednesday that Sri Lankans should as a mark of protest against the US Resolution more..

Wastage of funds adds to CEB losses

Mar 16 (SL) The Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) had spent over Rs. 6 million last year for the Vidulamu Lanka Arts Festival (Kala Ulela) held on March 15, 2011. This is despite the fact that the CEB is staggering under a record loss of an estimated Rs. 17 billion in 2011 which is expected to rise to an astronomical Rs. 41 billion this year. CEB sources told The Sunday Leader that preparations are now being made to organize the arts festival this year too more..

'Most women get HIV from husbands'

Mar 16 (Island) In Sri Lanka, nearly 80 percent of the women infected with HIV have contracted the disease from their husbands, AIDS Foundation of Lanka (AFL), Director- Research and Programme, Dr. Sarojani Perera told The Island on Tuesday (14). Dr. Perera said that statistics revealed that the total number of male and female HIV positive cases had increased by 11 percent and 9 percent respectively. Among the HIV/AIDS patients in Sri Lanka recorded since more..

'Lanka grateful to India for its views'

Mar 16 (DN) The Sri Lankan govt is extremely happy and grateful for the views expressed by Indian External Affairs Minister S M Krishna on the Geneva issue and the LLRC report and recommendations, Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena said. "Even India is facing crucial elections at the moment. The country acted very diplomatically without being biased and selfish, considering the historical friendship and bilateral relationship between the two countries," more..

N-E reconstruction over by next year

Mar 16 (DN) All development programmes and reconstruction activities implemented in conflict affected areas are to be completed by the end of 2013, Economic Development Ministry sources said. The govt had spent around Rs125 billion for development and reconstruction activities in the Eastern province from 2006 to 2011. The Economic Development Ministry had spent nearly Rs 40 billion for Northern Province development during the same period, more..

Sri Lanka targets US$12bn in exports in 2012

Mar 16 (LBO) Sri Lanka is targeting 12 billion US dollars in exports in 2012 up from 10.4 billion in 2011 which will be helped by an upcoming trade fair and a weaker rupee, export development board chief Janaka Ratnayaka said. Ratnayaka said if current trends continue exports may reach a 2015 target of 15 billion rupees earlier than expected. But Sri Lanka's exports increased over 20 for two years running with a stable rupee at around 110 to the US dollar. more..

‘Sri Lanka ready to face any situation’

Mar 16 (DN) “President Mahinda Rajapaksa told the Cabinet of ministers that no matter what happens in Geneva, we have to speedily solve problems of the Tamil people and upgrade their living standards. Sri Lanka is ready to face any situation arising in the future,” Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena said. Addressing the weekly Cabinet press briefing yesterday, Minister Yapa said that over 99 per cent of IDPs have been resettled more..

'Switch off non-essential electric appliance'

Mar 16 (CT) Western Province Environment Minister Udaya Gammanpila has appealed to the public to switch off non essential electrical appliances for one hour on 31 March to reduce the global warming effects. Gammanpila urged the nation to take the initiative to help in the reduction of the effects of global warming by swishing off all non essential electrical appliances between 8:30 and 9:30 pm on the last day of March. more..

New Tri-lingual channel by SLBC

Mar 16 (DN) The Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC) turning a new chapter in the country's broadcasting history commenced a new radio channel Time Radio on 87.6 MHz at the SLBC yesterday. While giving prominence to sports, the new channel would also air current affairs and entertainment programmes in all three languages complying with the trilingual policy of the govt. UPFA MP Namal Rajapaksa officially launching Time Radio observed that it would mudithm more..

'Sri Lanka post-war policies threaten peace'

Mar 16 (AP) An international human rights group on Friday warned that the militarization of Sri Lanka's former war zone and discrimination against minority ethnic Tamils threaten to lead the island back into violence. The Brussels-based International Crisis Group said in a report that there are government moves to change the demographics in what were once Tamil majority areas by sending in ethnic Sinhalese settlers. more..

Lankan experts ask for more healing time

Mar 16 (DM) Three Sri Lankan reconciliation experts have urged the international community to give the country space to move towards reconciliation and national unity that would herald prosperity within a democratic frame. The appeal was made at a panel discussion at the United Nations Geneva headquarters on Wednesday on the sidelines of the ongoing sessions of the United Nations Human Rights Council. more..

Editorial: Govt. must regulate channelled practice

Mar 16 (DM) While the Health Ministry is still delaying or dilly dallying with the National Medicinal Drugs Policy (NMDP) to provide quality drugs at affordable prices, we wish to spotlight today another grave or deadly scandal in the private health sector. The process of channelled practice was a social welfare measure intended to ease the congestion in public hospitals and for the convenience of those wishing to see a specialist of their choice at a convenient time. more..

No more free towing on EO1

Mar 16 (Island) The govt has decided to charge as much as Rs. 2,500 each for removing vehicles that stall on the southern expressway with effect from next week. Since the opening of the southern highway (EO1), stalled vehicles have so far been towed away free of charge. "Since November more than 1,000 vehicles have been towed from the expressway," Director, Maintenance, Southern Expressway, T.K Ranatunga said. It cost the road authorities about Rs. 1,500 to remove more..

Can Sri Lanka achieve reconciliation?

London shopkeeper held for five years in Sri Lanka without trial

Mar 16 (ES) The wife of a London shopkeeper held for five years without charge in Sri Lanka told how his imprisonment had “devastated” their children as she urged the authorities to let him finally return home. Viswalingam Gopithas, a 40-year-old British Tamil, was arrested in Colombo in April 2007 on suspicion of seeking to provide support to separatist militants the Tamil Tigers. He is said to have been beaten by prison guards. more..

Why Sri Lanka remains defiant against new allegations of war crimes

Mar 16 (TIME) “They didn’t believe that anyone in the international community was willing to stop them, and they were right.” That is the lucid explanation offered by John Holmes, the British diplomat and former chief of the U.N.’s humanitarian operations, as to why, in 2009, the Sri Lankan govt was willing to risk international condemnation and accusations of war crimes in its all-out final push to end its 26-year-long war against the Tamil Tigers. more..

Sri Lanka's cricketers finally paid

Mar 16 (AAP) Sri Lanka Cricket said on Friday it had paid all outstanding dues to its players, ending a period of uncertainty for the cash-strapped governing body and the nation's cricketers. The players had only been paid partially since the 2011 World Cup after the cricket board ran up debts of $69 million due to the development of new infrastructure for the showpiece tournament. Sri Lanka Cricket said on Friday it had paid all outstanding dues to more..

Ranil going to Jaffna to woo TNA

Mar 16 (DM) UNP and Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe will today lead a delegation of party seniors to Jaffna where he is expected to meet TNA MPS in the district to discuss various matters including getting the TNA to participate in the proposed joint May Day rally in Jaffna. UNP sources said General Secretary Tissa Attanayake, and a few MPS including Ravi Karunanayake and Dr. Jayalath Jayawardene would accompany Mr. Wickremesinghe on the tour. The TNA has been participating more..

Sri Lankan consumers seen cheated by protectionist lobbies

Mar 16 (LBO) Powerful protectionist lobbies and lack of awareness are denying Sri Lankan consumers the benefits of free trade which could significantly reduce costs if more imports are allowed from neighbouring countries, a new study said. Consumers as a group form a strong political constituency and should be better organised to influence trade policy making bodies just like protectionist business lobbies do, said Ashani Abayasekara, a researcher at the Institute of more..

'Never got foreign support to end war'

Mar 16 (DM) President Mahinda Rajapaksa today said that Sri Lanka never sought foreign advice, deployed foreign forces or obtained the services of mercenaries in its fight against terrorism. The President stated tha the country requires no foreign advice on safeguarding human rights in the country “…therefore foreign intervention or their instructions are not necessary to safeguard human rights and carry out humanitarian, reconstruction and reconciliation more..

Sri Lanka stocks end up 0.9-pct

Mar 16 (LBO) Stocks closed 0.96 percent higher Friday with notable gains seen in both indices, and foreign buying into conglomerate John Keells Holdings boosting turnover, analysts said. Institutional investors dominated the market, with all sectors except oil palms and motor sector recording gains. The benchmark Colombo All Share Index closed up 51.85 points at 5,449.05 points and the Milanka Index of liquid stocks gained 0.63 percent to close at 4,864.25 points. more..

Gem & Jewellery sector targets one billion dollar industry by 2016

Mar 16 (GDI) The gem, diamond and jewellery sector has secured an over all growth of 46 percent as at Feb 29, 2012 earning a revenue of Rs 10,851 million in comparison with the corresponding figure of Rs 7,449 million in 2011. The export of fine gemstones brought in revenue of Rs 2,379 million recording a 43 percent growth while jewellery exports generated revenue of Rs 463 million recording an impressive 48 percent growth. more..

No postmortem, bodies to be flown back

Mar 16 (DM) The two bodies of the UAE citizens who died in Wattala are to be flown to the UAE today. No postmortems were carried on the bodies due to a special request made to the Sri Lanka government, the sources said. Meanwhile, emirates247 news agency reported, bodies of the wife and son of Emirati citizen Mohammed Ali Al Mazrouei will be flown to the UAE aboard a plane sent by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to Colombo. more..

Film to clear all doubts; Army

Mar 16 (DM) The Army Commander Jagath Jayasuriya said today that the reason behind the film that is to be produced by the Army on the death of Prabhakarans is to provide answers to the questions that have been raised in the new documentary released by Channel 4. Addressing troops in Vavuniya today the Army Chief “Many people have asked me the question as to why there is such a hurry about a film about Prabhakarans death. In order to clear all doubts that have surfaced more..

Sri Lanka's first post-war industrial zone attracts 52 investors

Mar 16 (Xinhua) The first industrial zone in post- war Sri Lanka in the former northern war zone, the Atchchuvelei Industrial Estate has attracted 52 investors, an official said here on Friday. Over half of the investors are in the food and beverage sector with the others being in the industrial products categories of tyre manufacturing, aluminum-based products, wood carving, soap manufacturing and cement-based products, said Traditional Industries and Small Enterprises more..

Sri Lanka to release final batches of former rebels for rehabilitation

Mar 16 (Xinhua) Completing the rehabilitation of former Tamil Tiger rebels after three decades of civil war, Sri Lanka is in the process of releasing final batches of them. Commissioner General of Rehabilitation Dharshana Hettiarachchi said that 384 former rebels out of remaining total 1019 would be released to the society on March 29 at a ceremony in Colombo. The group includes 67 females and 317 males who had undergone various vocational more..

Deputy minister’s phone bill under scrutiny

Mar 16 (CT) A deputy minister’s official phone bills are under scrutiny by the Minuwangoda police over a ransom issue. The deputy minister is alleged to have threatened and demanded a ransom of Rs. 25 million from a businessman in Minuwangoda. The Police are at present scrutinizing the minister’s official telephone bills, according to the minister. A senior police officer said when the matter was raised in Court on Friday Minuwangoda Magistrate granted permission to more..

Sri Lanka tea trade warns of lower orders, prices

Mar 16 (LBO) Sri Lanka's tea trade has warned that tea export orders and prices could fall in the months ahead as crops rise and consumption falls off in key markets. The Colombo Tea Traders’ Association said money raised from an export tax for tea promotion should be spent on promoting the product in new markets like India and China as demand from traditional markets in the West and Middle East wanes. "A general trend of declining prices/demand has been more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 16.03.2012

Indonesian woman dies following emergency landing in Sri Lanka

Mar 16 (CT) An Indonesian woman who suddenly fell ill on a plane travelling from Riyadh to Jakarta had died after the plane landed in Sri Lanka to treat her further, the police media unit stated. The plane belongs to a Saudi Arabian airline company and the woman was identified to be 60 year old Salma Baden. The doctor in the plane had given her treatment and the plane had made an emergency landing in Sri Lanka to give her further treatment. The woman had died in more..

SLTB employees end strike; assured salary hike

Mar 16 (DM) SLTB workers called off a three day strike after Transport Deputy Minister Rohana Dissanayake gave a written assurance that the minimum wage of SLTB employees would be raised from Rs.8,030 to Rs.11,730 and their other demands would be met. A tense situation prevailed at the Sri Lanka Transport Board Head office in Colombo today where hundreds of SLTB employees gathered around a conference room building where Dissanayake made the announcement during a media briefing. more..

'Sri Lanka rupee will recover substantially'

Mar 16 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's rupee hit a new record low of 125.60 on Friday due to importer dollar demand despite a large dollar inflow to fund a block deal in the stock market. The rupee closed at 125.55/70 a dollar, down from Thursday's close of 125.10/30. Three dealers Reuters spoke to said the highest trade was done at 125.60. Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal on Friday told Reuters the rupee will recover substantially due to inflows at more..

South-Asian Sub-Regional Tourism Forum held in Colombo

Mar 16 (GDI) Basil Rajapaksa, Minister of Economic Development was the chief guest at the inauguration ceremony of the South Asian Sub-regional Tourism Forum held at Taj Samudra Hotel, Colombo on Thursday (15). The South Asian Sub-regional Tourism Forum was organized with the assistance of India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Bhutan and Asian Development Bank with a view to promote tourism industry based on Buddhist heritage and natural environment. more..

Cook shines but others struggle

Mar 16 (CI) Alastair Cook picked up where he left off in the UAE with an unbeaten 163 on the second day of England's warm-up match against a Sri Lanka Board XI, but the middle-order display was less convincing with Ian Bell and Matt Prior collecting ducks. Cook showed the durable qualities that England will need during the Test series as he faced 293 deliveries to take the total to 303 for 8 at the close, a lead of 134, which continued his run of form from the one-day more..

Full and honest acknowledgement of the past required in Sri Lanka - UK

Mar 16 (AD) UK Foreign Office Minister for North America and the Middle East & North Africa, Alistair Burt has stated that to achieve lasting peace Sri Lanka requires a full and honest acknowledgement of the past and it requires processes, in which all parties take part, to ensure justice, reconciliation and political progress. Burt speaking after the transmission of Channel 4’s documentary ‘Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields, War Crimes Unpunished’ more..

Sexist doctors: Speak up, talk about it

Mar 17 (GV) The lady in front of me in the queue put a packet of condoms on the counter and we both could see the cashier’s eyes flicker over her left hand, obviously checking if she was married. Not seeing one, he looked at her and smirked. I watched her look at him straight in the eye and I’m sure we both almost wished he would say something. I know I wanted to give his judgmental mind a lecture he would never forget. Watching this reminded me of a story I had been told more..

Martyrology, Martyrdom, Rebellion, Terrorism

Mar 17 (GV) I was disturbed to read comments on Colombo Telegraph by someone calling himself Thanga. “The question whether Prabhakaran is alive or dead is immaterial. Prabhakaran is part of Tamil history and part of Tamil psyche. He will be remembered by generations and generations to come. And liberation movements never die with their founders. As proof, books on LTTE leader Vellupillai Prabhakaran and the Eelam occupied an entire stall at the recent Book fare in Madurai book fair. more..

The Dhammapada and the study of classical texts

Mar 17 (SO) One of the beneficial outcomes of the rise and spread of modern cultural theory during the past three decades or so has been the desire to instigate movements to re-visit and re-assess classical texts. It is in that spirit that I wish to explore today the well-known Buddhist text the Dhammapada. The Dhammpada is one of the most well-known and highly esteemed Buddhist texts, especially in Theravada countries. more..

Of abductions, disappearances and ransoms

Mar 17 (SL) This column dedicated to the notion of making Sri Lanka the wonder of Asia turns its spotlight today on abductions, disappearances and demands for ransom as Sri Lankan society aspires to be free of such menaces. The statement quoted at the outset was made by the Duke of Wellington regarding the members of the then British Parliament. I leave it to the readers to decide whether the same statement would hold true with regard to the members of our Parliament. more..

Shocked and saddened, its heartbreak time in Washington

Mar 17 (Island) Hillary Clinton was ‘shocked and saddened like many Americans’ at last Sunday’s predawn rampage by a US soldier in Afghanistan, which left nine children, three women and four men dead in two villages in rural Kandahar province. In Washington, US President Barak Obama said officials were ‘heartbroken’ by the deaths, but have no plans to change course in the decade old War on Terror. Being shocked and saddened and feeling heartbroken is the more..