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Five Precepts of Identifying a Sri Lankan Traitor

Mar 2 (GV) Recently an air of nervousness has insinuated itself in to the Sri Lankan psyche. Doubt and uneasiness seem to be seeping like moisture through invisible social capillaries, carrying a message of treachery. Evident is an alien concern; being branded foully on this island, which suddenly seems to have become a wellspring of traitors! Since this strange, new phenomenon of escalating treachery could hardly be attributed to more..

Shift in Economic Policies 2004-2011

Mar 2 (ST) The general elections of 2004 brought about a change of govt and a shift in economic policies. The UNP that had a majority in Parliament lost to the UPFA, an SLFP-led coalition that included the JVP and the JHU. This change of govt was interpreted as a rejection of 'neoliberal economic policies' and the adoption of 'home grown' nationalistic policies. During the seven-year period from 2004 to 2011 there were several shifts in policies as well as changes in economic conditions. more..

From the UNHRC in Geneva to Colombo’s streets the heat is on

Mar 2 (ST) The Govt is facing a challenging time both domestically and internationally. While in the cool climes of Geneva, things are hotting up over a possible resolution against Sri Lanka at the UNHRC, domestically, the Government is in a tight spot, after the recent fuel hike that has resulted in almost daily street protests. They were the two issues that dominated Parliament sittings last week, with the UNP and the JVP/DNA opposition taking up the two issues, more..

The high stakes in Geneva in 2009 and 2012: Dayan Jayatilleka recalls

Mar 2 (DBS) The 19th session of the UNHCR has commenced in Geneva from February 27th. It is very likely that Sri Lanka would figure as item 10 on the agenda during the concluding stages of the conclave in the days between March 21st to 23rd. With high level officials from the US state department having announced that a resolution on Sri Lanka would be presented in Geneva there is much concern and anxiety in the country about its outcome. more..

Sri Lanka at UNHRC - guilty till proven innocent?

Mar 2 (ST) The maneuverings by western powers in relation to Sri Lanka in advance of the 19th sessions of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva have given rise to much speculation. The latest move has been an email dated 21 February, apparently circulated by the US mission to Council members and diplomatic missions in Geneva, that sought to create the impression that US diplomats have been in close contact with the government of Sri Lanka and its mission in Geneva to more..

Peoples control of land will be more effective through Village Peoples Councils

Mar 2 (DBS) TNA MP M.A. Sumanthiran wrote an opinion piece on the issue of devolving land powers that was carried in my blog on February 25th under the heading”Principal reasons for TNA position on devolution of Land powers”. Mr.Sumanthiran with direct experience in land issues as a lawyer,litigant and land owner outlined the TNA rationale in arguing for land powers to the unit of devolution. There has been an informed response to Mr.Sumanthiran’s article from more..

Being punished for going to court

Mar 2 (ST) The argument is put forward by some that if the current administration had taken steps to put its democratic record to right, post war, perhaps the scrutiny that we see now in regard to what is loosely defined as accountability, would not have been evidenced in all its intensity. This argument may have some degree of logic behind it. However, the truth remains that the democratic record of the Rajapaksa administration is deeply flawed, not only generally in the two years following the defeat more..

SEC to hold Investor Day in Batticaloa tomorrow

Mar 2 (FT) The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) of Sri Lanka is committed to impart capital market knowledge and build awareness across all sections of the society in its endeavor to develop the capital market in Sri Lanka. The SEC in association with the Batticaloa District Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture has organised an ‘Investor Day – An Educational Workshop’ on Saturday 3 March at the Thevanayagam Hall in Batticaloa. more..

Sri Lankan priest finds his mission

Mar 2 (T&S) Sudharshan Savananthan, 41, of Clifton Gardens, Great Clifton, will be the new Priest-in-charge for St Luke’s in Clifton, St Oswald’s in Dean and St Philip’s at Mosser. Most people in Sri Lanka are Buddhists but Sudharshan is following in his father and grandfather’s footsteps by becoming a priest. He will be doing a variety of work within the community, including being a Network Youth Church Minister for the Derwent Deanery. That will involve working with other members of more..

Boston Lanka special: Adaraneeya Niagara

Graduates are a national resource - Minister

Mar 2 (DN) The govt considers a graduate as a national resource and a wealth, which can be utilised for the betterment for the country, Health Minister Mithripala Sirisena said. "Moreover, the govt provided a large number of jobs for graduates since it has clearly understands the value of a graduate who is product of free education. He was addressing a gathering in Polonnaruwa to hand over appointment letters to 237 unemployed graduates in the Polonnaruwa district. more..

HRCSL assures action to safeguard rights of persons with disabilities

Mar 2 (DN) The Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) will take action to safeguard the rights of persons with disabilities so that they can enjoy equal rights to participate in all fields of activities in society including social life and the development of this country, its chairman Justice Priyantha Perera said. He was addressing a media conference at the Human Rights Commission auditorium on the 'Right to accessibility of persons with diverse inabilities'. more..

Nanotech Institute, Laugfs to set up first-ever plant to produce titanium oxide

Mar 2 (FT) Exploring new avenues of development in the Sri Lankan business sector, Laugfs Holdings Limited together with the Sri Lanka Institute of Nanotechnology signed a landmark development agreement yesterday, sealing a joint venture to set up the country’s first plant to produce titanium oxide from mineral sand. The new venture would allow value to be added to mineral sands, which have so far been exported from the country as a raw bulk commodity. more..

Fisheries Minister again talks of fish canning

Mar 2 (Island) The Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development Ministry has taken steps to establish three fish canning factories in Galle, Peliyagoda and Mundala capable of producing 45, 000 cans per day, Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne said. He said that such local production would not meet the entire requirement as Sri Lanka needed a minimum of 100, 000 cans of per day," he said. The Minister said that the Ministry had taken steps to initiate various projects for development of more..

Deep sea fishermen in dire straits

Mar 2 (Island) The fishermen working on multi-day fishing vessels, who have refused to go out fishing for the past 14 days were facing many difficulties, a member of All Ceylon Fisheries Union in Negombo said. "A fuel subsidy of Rs.6,250 per month is not sufficient. An average vessel consumes fuel amounting to Rs. 16,000," he said. It was being said that a subsidy would be given which meant fuel prices would not be reduced. They should grant the subsidy in an organised manner across the country, more..

Non Aligned countries pledge to back Sri Lanka at UNHRC

Mar 2 (Island) The Non Aligned countries have pledged to support Sri Lanka if any resolution against the country is moved at the UNHRC on March 23, the govt said yesterday. Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena said that according to the ongoing UNHRC sessions agenda in Geneva, Sri Lanka would be discussed on March 23. The govt had canvassed and secured the backing of Non Aligned nations including African countries to thwart any possible attempt by more..

Sri Lanka interest rate increases seen hitting insurance growth

Mar 2 (LBO) The rise in interest rates in Sri Lanka, which began recently, could reduce the growth of the insurance market as it reduces the affordability of insurance products, RAM Ratings Lanka said. However, they said the outlook for the insurance sector remains positive, with growth expected to be driven mainly by the life-insurance segment. This is because of the low penetration of life insurance in Sri Lanka, the rating agency said in a report on the sector. more..

Counsel argues that circular cannot be cancelled to accommodate wife of minister

Mar 2 (Island) Romesh de Silva, PC, yesterday told the Supreme Court that the Public Service Commission could not cancel the circular, and readvertise for the post of Director National Hospital, for good reasons. Counsel explained that along with the advertisement for Director, eight vacancies for Deputy Director were advertised. If the circular was cancelled those eight Deputy Director posts too would be cancelled. The PSC was a very independent body. It could not cancel more..

Melbourne zoo keeper fined over frog in Sri Lanka

Mar 2 (DT) A Melbourne Zoo keeper has been fined for allegedly illegally holding amphibians and reptiles in Sri Lanka. Damian Goodall was arrested on Saturday in the northwestern town of Puttalam, while on a tour led by amphibian and reptile product retailer Exo Terre. What was supposed to be the trip of a lifetime, a prize won by Mr Goodall for his photography of animals, turned into a nightmare when Sri Lankan authorities searched more..

President to meet fishing community reps

Mar 2 (DN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa will meet representatives of fishing organizations in Negombo and Chilaw to solve problems faced by the fishing community in the districts. The decision was arrived at by the President at a meeting with Archbishop Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith and Catholic priests of Negombo and Chilaw at Temple Trees yesterday. A meeting with fishing community representatives of Chilaw and Negombo will be held at Temple Trees today. more..

E-magazine for developmental news

Mar 2 (CT) An e magazine was launched by the government official website yesterday titled ‘Sangvardana thathu’ (development news). This is the first time an e magazine dedicated to developmental news has been launched in Sri Lanka. The primary intention of this e magazine is to educate the international community on the developmental programs implemented in the country. Sri Lankans domiciled in other countries can also have access to information regarding more..

Pregnant mother died due to low quality drugs

Mar 2 (DM) The life of a woman who died after delivering a baby at the De Soysa Maternity Hospital (DMH) Colombo would have been saved if quality drugs were available at the hospital, said the gynecologist who had performed a Cesarean operation on the patient, who was giving evidence before the City Coroner’s court. This was stated by the consultant obstetrician and gynecologist Anura Ruwanpathirana more..

Air Asia wants to make dream of flying come true for many Sri Lankans

Mar 2 (Island) Announcing its inaugural Bangkok- Colombo-Bangkok flight yesterday morning, budget airline Air Asia says it wants to help many Sri Lankans realise their dream of flying. "Our ambition is to make flying affordable to those among the 20 million population of Sri Lanka who have never flown to another destination before, and we will make their dreams come true," said Air Asia CEO Tassapon Bijleveld. Bijleveld said that in Sri Lanka the ground handling costs were more..

Tamil SSPs overlooked?

Mar 2 (Island) Contrary to allegations that six Tamil Senior Superintendents of Police were overlooked for promotion as DIG in the Police Department, a source at the Public Service Commission (PSC) said that those promoted were by merit. The same source said that the Ministry of Defence conducted the interviews and then names of those who were selected were sent to the PSC for approval, which was the normal procedure. Twenty-two SSP’s were promoted to the rank of DIG recently. more..

US holds back anti- SL resolution in Geneva

Mar 2 (Island) The US yesterday held back a statement scheduled to be made on Sri Lanka. Under Secretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy and Human Rights Maria Otero was earlier scheduled to speak at 10. 30 a.m. Geneva-based diplomatic sources expressed surprise at the eleventh hour cancellation of the US statement at the high level segment on the fourth day of the sessions, which would continue till March 23. more..

Govt. to recommence countrywide protests against US resolution

Mar 2 (Island) The govt is to continue its countrywide protest campaign against the US resolution to the UNHRC, calling for the implementation of the LLRC recommendations. Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena said that the country would be prepared for any eventuality and the "Peoples Protests" would resume on Monday and continue until March 23, when Sri Lanka was scheduled to be discussed by the UNHRC. more..

Crucial talks on SL today

Mar 2 (DM) The LLRC report is likely to be referred to by the United Nations Human Rights Chief Navi Pillay as Sri Lanka is scheduled to be a subject of discussion at the UNHRC sessions today. Ms. Pillay said though the LLRC report fell short of a comprehensive accountability process as recommended by the UN Secretary General’s experts’ panel, yet it contained some positive recommendations. The UNHRC yesterday wrapped up the High Level Segment of its 19th session where several countries made their policy statements. more..

Sri Lankan govt aides and Tamils spar at UN session

Mar 2 (AFP) Sri Lankan govt officials, Tamils in exile from the Indian Ocean island and rights groups sparred verbally at an open hearing Thursday during the UNHRC in Geneva. "After 30 years we are now coming out of a state of war and we want to engage with the Tamil diaspora," Sri Lankan human rights envoy Mahinda Samarashinghe told the heated meeting. He and other Sri Lankan govt officials reiterated that there was no justification for a US-backed move to more..

Trincomalee Development Projects

Mar 2 (GDI) Several projects launched under the Nagenahira Udanaya (Reawakening of the East) were declared open by the Minister Basil Rajapaksa on Wednesday. 6 Paddy stores constructed at Nelsonpura and Jamaliya in the Trincomalee district were among these projects. These paddy stores have been constructed at a cost of Rs. 16.9 Million. The opening of these paddy stores will immensely help the storing of the bumper paddy harvest being obtained in the Kantale and other areas of more..

Increased vehicle imports contributing to rise in road accidents

Mar 2 (Island) Sri Lanka’s vehicle imports were increasing at an alarming rate burdening the entire road transport system and contributing to more road accidents, Chairman of the National Council for Road Safety (NCRS) U. N. Mallawarachchi said. Mallawarachchi told The Island that one of the main reasons for the increase in road accident injuries was the growing number of motor vehicles in use. He said that nearly 525,421 vehicles had been registered with the Motor more..

Sunanda saga, states of denial and NGO accountability

Mar 2 (SL) One common thread runs through the many different stories of denial: people, organisations or whole societies are presented with information that is too disturbing, threatening or anomalous to be fully absorbed or openly acknowledged. The information is therefore somehow represented, disavowed, pushed aside or reinterpreted. Or else the information ‘registers’ well enough, but its implications more..

The new BASL president seeks independence of the judiciary

Mar 2 (LB) President’s Counsel Wijeyadasa Rajapaksa was elected President of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) last Wednesday by a majority of 1294 votes. It is said that President’s Council Wijeyadasa Rajapaksa had obtained 73 percent of the votes at the BASL election against his only rival to the post Thirantha Walaliyadda who had polled 676 votes. more..

Jewellery Authority rubs hands in glee as gem-of-a-land brings record earnings

Mar 2 (ST) Beware of synthetic gems that are on sale with claims they were found in the recently auctioned gem deposit in Thammennawa, Kataragama, Gem and Jewellery Authority Chairman Prasad Galhena has warned. He said the offers were being made just hours after a vein of gem ore illam of blue saphires was auctioned on Friday for Rs. 271 million. more..

Galle's slow tsunami recovery

Mar 2 (NZH) A 17th century Dutch warehouse is perhaps an unlikely place to experience first-hand how Sri Lanka is continuing to rebuild its coastal regions after the tragedy of the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami, but the new home of the nation's Maritime Archaeology Museum is in many ways a perfect fit. The previous museum was destroyed by the tsunami, which washed away 80 per cent of its precious artefacts. more..

University non-academics suspend strike after ministry assurance

Mar 2 (Island) University non-academic staff yesterday suspended their strike action, demanding immediate rectification of their salary anomalies, following an assurance from the Higher Education Ministry that it would be resolved within three weeks. Ministry authorities also promised the top members of the Inter University Trade Union Federation that the arrears caused by the anomalies too would be paid more..

Polls chief okays transport for Menik Farm voters

Mar 2 (Island) Commissioner of Elections Mahinda Deshapriya has consented to provide transport facilities for the remaining IDPs, at the Menik Farm Relief Center, so that they may exercise their universal franchise during the local govt elections to the Maritimepattru and Pudukudirruppu Pradeshiya Sabhas, in the Mullaithivu district on March 24, Deputy Commissioner of Elections M.M. Mohammed said more..

Maligawatta’s residents given more time to demolish unauthorized constructions

Mar 2 (Island) Residents of the Maligawatte National Housing Scheme were yesterday given further time, by the Condominium Management Authority, to remove unauthorised constructions which are obstructing the State Engineering Corporation (SEC) from carrying out repairs particularly to the drainage system. A tense situation arose yesterday with the authorities moving in to dislodge those obstructions. more..

TNA in internal dispute about Geneva sessions: Meeting today

Mar 2 (Island) The Tamil National Alliance take up a simmering dispute over its non-participational the 19th session of the UNHRC currently underway in Geneva. TNA spokesman and Jaffna District MP Suresh Premachandran has publicly expressed displeasure at the party’s failure to attend the Geneva sessions. He has alleged that it was a unilateral decision by the Party Leader and National List MA Sumanthiran. more..

Rupee leaps 2 pct on Central Bank move

Mar 2 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's rupee rose sharply on Friday after the central bank slashed commercial banks' net dollar opening positions, forcing them to sell greenbacks and boost dollar liquidity in the market. The rupee firmed to 119.20/120.00 to a dollar at 0507 GMT, up 2.1 percent from Thursday's close of 122.25/40, and snapped a week-long weakening trend. The central bank cut commercial banks' net dollar opening positions to a third to square off banks' deficit and surplus, more..

Sri Lanka seeks China support as UN resolution looms

Mar 2 (PTI) Sri Lanka’s powerful Defence Secretary today held talks with his Chinese counterpart Liang Guanglie, amid mounting pressure on Colombo for a credibly probe into alleged war crimes during the final stages of the ethnic conflict. The visit of Gotabaya, who is also brother of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, came ahead of Colombo facing a strong resolution by UNHRC in Geneva to probe the allegations of more..