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It's a ‘party’for venues in Colombo

Mar 18 (ST) First it was the Shopping Precinct housing a host of restaurants at the former Dutch Hospital which was making the rounds and now it is 'One Street Three Venues' at Park Street Colombo 2 - all indicating Sri Lankans' appetite for eating out and more importantly, the increase in their consumer spending. Colombo's nightlife as well as the 'day life' so to speak seem to be picking up fast with the post war peace mode kicking in, according to the owners of these establishments. more..

Hundreds of Sri Lankans converge in front of USA Embassy in London

Mar 18 (IL) Hundreds of peace loving Sri Lankan expatriates converged outside the American Embassy in London on Sunday 11 March to protest against the US sponsored resolution on Sri Lanka at the ongoing UNHRC in Geneva. Assembled in front of the American Embassy for a peaceful demonstration, which was organised by the British Sri Lankan Forum (BSLF) within a very short notice, members of the forum and participants were shouting slogans, waving more..

Detective journalist busts doctorate racket

Mar 18 (ST) An undercover journalist from the Sunday Times busted a multi-million rupee scam involving the sale of doctorates by a group of Buddhist monks and a layman at a Temple in Kandy earlier this week. It all began after a member of the group approached our Dambulla Provincial Correspondent, Kanchana Kumara Ariyadasa and offered him a doctorate in return for Rs. 200,000. They said the cash was needed for a cloak, scroll and photographs and also for payments to six monks. more..

ASP’s arrest is biggest bribery case in 10 months

Mar 18 (ST) The arrest of a police officer who had solicited a bribe of Rs. 1 million was the biggest case of bribery detected since the new Bribery Commissioners were appointed in May last year. “A team of our investigators arrested a senior ASP attached to the Nugegoda Division who was caught in the act of accepting a sum of Rs. 1 million from a woman,” Bribery Commission Director General Lakshmi Jayawickrema said. “The transaction took place close to the Wijerama Temple in more..

Govt. docs warn of island-wide strike action in a fortnight

Mar 18 (Island) Govt medical practitioners have decided to adopt a tough stand by calling for an island-wide strike in hospitals within a 14-day framework if an official circular on their key demand – an enhanced Disturbance, Availability and Transport (DAT) allowance of 29,000 rupees – fail to materialize, officials said yesterday. At a stormy emergency session of the National Hospital of Sri Lanka (NHSL) branch of the GMOA on Friday, more..

Geneva vote too close to call

Mar 18 (SL) The govt is racing to get the numbers required to defeat a US backed Resolution at the UNHRC session calling for the implementation of the recommendations of the LLRC. The Resolution is to be taken up this week and the US is also trying to up its numbers to get the Resolution passed. The US would need 24 votes to pass the Resolution in the 47 member Council. However, given the current indecisive nature of many nations on whether or not to support the Resolution, the US taking into consideration the more..

Student cadeting going full steam ahead

Mar 18 (LB) Education authorities in the north and east have formed cadet platoons of senior school students and hope to win the Herman Loos Challenge cup soon. I met Paraneedaran Paramasodi, the teacher in charge of the platoon of Jaffna’s Harltey College at the Randenigala, Rantembe student platoon training centre. Hartley College was named the best school (out of the 25) at the training academy. “Our aim is to compete at the Herman Loos Challenge cup and more..

Govt lifts SriLankan Airlines

Mar 18 (ST) The Cabinet has agreed to offer a Govt guarantee to the fledgling Sri Lankan Airlines to obtain a staggering US dollars 175 million-more than Rs 21.8 billion-from the Mashreq Bank in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to pay its creditors. This is in addition to a decision on February 13 this year by the Cabinet to invest in a five year Treasury Bond to the value of US dollars 125 million-Rs 14.2 billion- to SriLankan Airlines as equity funding. more..

Join hands to overthrow UPFA Govt. - Ranil

Mar 18 (CT) UNP Leader Ranil Wickremasinghe said change of govt is the need of the hour to safeguard the country from anarchy and economic crisis. Wickremasinghe currently on a tour in Jaffna was addressing a meeting in Point Pedro yesterday. The Opposition Leader and his entourage comprising MPs Tissa Attanayake, Ravi Karunanayake, Dr. Jayalath Jayawardena, D.M. Swaminathan and Vijayakala Maheswaran toured in Vadamarachi extensively addressing meetings organized by more..

Fisher families return to safe-zone Nandikadal

Mar 18 (ST) The Nandikadal Lagoon, scene of the final struggle between govt troops and the LTTE, was opened to the public recently – three years after the war ended. De-mining has been completed in most of the lagoon area, and the majority of Nandikadal residents have been resettled in their villages. Fishing, the main livelihood of families in the lagoon area, has resumed. Mullaitivu district secretary N. Ehanayagan said that some 1,000 fisher families depend on more..

Rajapaksas wrestle for Olympic rights muscling out Rupavahini

Mar 18 (SL) The Carlton Sports Network (CSN), owned by the Mahinda Rajapaksa family, has sought the exclusive broadcasting rights of the 2012 London Olympics. Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation (SLRC) has already paid for and obtained the exclusive rights for the broadcast and stands to lose financially if it gives the rights to another network. The SLRC had obtained the rights as a member of the more..

Lanka boycotts C’ wealth Day reception

Mar 18 (ST) The battle over war crimes charges moved from the corridors of the Palais des Nations in Geneva to the cocktail circuit in New York this week. Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative to the UN, Dr Palitha Kohona, the current co-chair of the Commonwealth Caucus in New York, boycotted the Commonwealth Day reception held at the UK Mission in protest against the Brits refusing to invite Deputy Permanent Representative, Maj Gen Shavendra Silva to the event. Kohona apparently stayed away from more..

National Museum burgled; ‘inside job’ suspected

Mar 18 (LB) Cinnamon Gardens Police and the CID are investigating the theft which took place at the Colombo National Museum on the night of March 16 (Friday), just one day after the museum's CCTV and night vision cameras were found to be not functioning. This discovery gives rise to the suspicion that this might have been an inside job. Eight priceless antique swords, several daggers, eight rings and a large stock of ancient coins have been found to be stolen. more..

Rajapaksa Govt. faces uphill battle in Geneva

Mar 18 (ST) A week that will be a milestone in Sri Lanka's contemporary history begins tomorrow. On Thursday, the UNHRC will take for voting a United States-backed resolution, described as "non-condemnatory," on Sri Lanka. Among its co-sponsors are France, Norway, Nigeria and Cameroon. Since the UNHRC sessions began on Feb 23 in Geneva, govt ministers, officials, politicians and their supporters have been engaged in a campaign in Geneva. more..

'Congress unanimous on India's vote for U.S. resolution'

Mar 18 (Hindu) The Tamil Nadu Congress Committee (TNCC) will continue to demand that India should vote for the US-sponsored resolution against the Sri Lankan govt for its alleged human rights violations during the last days of war against Tamil militants, its president B.S.Gnanadesikan has reiterated. In a statement here, he said TNCC had always been demanding a probe into the human rights violations against Sri Lankan Tamils. He pointed out that he led a team of MPs more..

Samarasinghe still head of delegation

Mar 18 (SL) There is no truth to reports that External Affairs Minister G. L Peiris has replaced Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe as head of the Sri Lankan delegation in Geneva, sources at Samarasinghe’s Ministry told The Sunday Leader. Earlier there were reports that Peiris was to head the Sri Lankan delegation which left for Geneva last week to prepare for the crucial vote on the US sponsored Resolution on Sri Lanka at the UN Human Rights Council. more..

Army, Police claim ‘mistaken identity’ while victim insists he was target

Mar 18 (ST) The Army and the Police, conducting investigations into the alleged abduction attempt of a local politician in Kolonnawa last Saturday, said that it was a case of ‘mistaken identity’, adding that the men in the van were army officers tracking deserters, but the politico that the men were after him. Army Spokesman, Brig. Ruwan Wanigasuriya said that the men in the van belonged to a different unit assisting the Military Police (MP) in rounding up more..

ACGMOA blames Health Minister for SJGH deputy director’s appointment

Mar 18 (Island) Amidst continuing agitation demanding the immediate ouster of the controversial deputy director of the Sri Jayewardenepura General Hospital (SJGH) a key trade union charged last week that Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena should take full responsibility for appointing a person sans the requisite qualifications to this top slot. As the joint trade unions stepped up their protests with a fresh poster campaign last week, more..

Wildlife DG advocates Bio-Piracy

Mar 18 (SL) The Director General of the Dept of Wild Life Conservation (DWC), Udeni Wickramasinghe, has advocated bio-piracy in a signed letter dated 23 February which recommends the cultivation of the Kothalahimbutu plant despite its protected status. The letter recommending approval for a “Project To Grow Herbal Plants Including Kothalahimbutu For Export – Eco-Tech Creat12 Company (Pvt) Ltd” and signed by Wickramasinghe, has been addressed to Chairman, Board of Investment, more..

‘Set up your Universities in Sri Lanka, we will help you’

Mar 18 (Island) Minister S.B. Dissanayake said the Sri Lankan Govt would encourage Universities in Britain to establish their seats of learning in Sri Lanka. This possibility would be within Education policy of the Govt to eventually establish Sri Lanka as a Regional education hub in Asia. "We will help you. The British Council here has already moved forward to conduct exams and allied courses in English to enrich our students on use of English ", more..

Talk at the Cafe Spectator

Mar 18 (ST) UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon remains mired in a controversy not only in Sri Lanka but also in Nepal-- this time over a visit next month to Lumbini, the birth place of Gautama the Buddha. But the proposed visit has generated strong protest led by UNICEF's former deputy executive director Kul Gautam, a native of Nepal. Gautam says that under normal circumstances, the personal commitment of the UN's second Asian Secretary-General, and more..

India should not support US on Lanka: RSS

Mar 18 (PTI) Taking a stand at variance with that of the BJP, the RSS on Sunday said India should not support the US-sponsored resolution in the UN against the Sri Lankan govt on alleged human rights violations, calling it an attempt by the west to dictate to a democratic government. BJP has been sympathetic to the resolution in the UN Human Rights Council and has supported regional parties -- DMK and AIADMK -- in demanding that the more..

AG’s Dept. still undecided on Sicille Kotelawala’s extradition

Mar 18 (Island) Moving for the extradition of Mrs. Sicille Kotelawala from the United Kingdom to face criminal charges relating to the 26 billion rupee Golden Key (GK) scam has come under the microscope, but the Attorney General’s Department has still not made a final determination on initiating the process, senior officials said last week. "The law allows Sri Lanka to forward a formal request, but this is easier said than done as more..

Colombo National Museum broken into: Many priceless artifacts stolen

Mar 18 (Island) Many priceless artifacts belonging to the Kandyan period were stolen from the Colombo National Museum in a shocking nocturnal break-in by intruders on Friday, police said. Amongst the articles of immense archaeological value taken away by the thieves were several gold swords of the Kandyan era, rings, a royal walking stick, gold coins and an upper costume made of gold, it has been revealed. more..

Iraq offers oil to Sri Lanka to avert Iran ban

Mar 18 (AFP) Iraq has come forward to offer "substantial quantities" of crude oil to Sri Lanka, as the island desperately looks for alternatives to Iranian crude. Iran supplies nearly 92 percent of Sri Lanka's imported crude. But supplies have hit a snag in the face of US-led sanctions aimed at spurring Tehran to abandon its nuclear programme. Petroleum Ministry officials said that Sri Lanka would stop crude oil imports from Iran from March 29, ahead of the US June 28th deadline. more..

D-Day in Geneva, both sides battle hard

Mar 18 (ST) Sri Lanka has intensified its diplomatic efforts in Geneva to defeat a United States-sponsored resolution -- with a large delegation comprising ministers, deputy ministers, diplomats, ruling party politicians and legal experts working round the clock. As part of these diplomatic efforts, the President’s Human Rights Special Envoy and Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe, who is spearheading Sri Lanka’s fight, has met a group of ambassadors from more..

Chief incumbent arrested for child exploitation

mar 18 (SL) The Chief Incumbent of Sri Sudarnarama Temple in the Kurunegala District has been arrested by the Women and Children’s Bureau (WCB) for child exploitation, Police Spokesman SP Ajith Rohana said. Twenty seven pictures of semi-naked people including children were given to the WCB by an unnamed complainant. The WCB, after conducting investigations, identified the children in the pictures and recorded their statements. “Some of the children had been exploited,” more..

‘Peoples' Wall of Comradeship’ campaigns in Trincomalee

mar 18 (LT) A leaflet distribution campaign was held in Trincomalee yesterday (17th) to demand the government to create a democratic environment in the North and the East of Sri Lanka by establishing civil administration in the two provinces and also to make the masses aware of the present situation in the two provinces and the attempt by the government to deceive the masses on the pretext of devolution of power. The leaders of the ‘Peoples' Wall of Comradeship’ more..

Complaint against SB’s brother

mar 18 (DM) The Hanguranketha Pradeshiya Sabha Chairman has complained to the Hanguranketha police that Minister S.B Dissanayake’s brother Saliya Dissanayake had attempted to stab and assault him and another person today. Police spokesman Ajith Rohana said the Central Provincial Council Chairman had allegedly entered the Pradeshiya Sabha meeting today to assault the two politicians. Last week two buses worth around Rs.8.4 million belonging to more..

Bakers selling under-weight bread

Mar 18 (CT) The Trade Ministry is to come down hard on bakers selling bread below the standard weight of 450g. The action is a sequel to several complaints by consumers that a loaf of bread weighs far below the regularized weight of 450g. Accordingly, the set weight of a loaf of bread is 450g. But following the recent hike in the prices of essential goods, bakers have begun to reduce the weight of bread while selling at the same high price. more..

Unpopular prawns cause major profit loss

Mar 18 (ST) A shortage of buyers and no fixed price coupled with the fuel price increase has left more than 300 prawn farmers in the Puttlam district vulnerable. Over 800 tons of prawns, harvested during the Maha season, went unsold and have been returned to nurseries, incurring additional fuel costs for the cultivators. A concerned cultivator said, "I spent over Rs.20, 000 on fuel alone and we do not get bank loans. There are only four buyers in Colombo. more..

Family bonds can’t bring success: Namal

Mar 18 (DM) MP Namal Rajapaksa has said that merely belonging to a political family was not sufficient to ensure success, India Today reported. "Merely belonging to a political family is not enough to ensure success. In a democracy representatives are elected and one does not inherit office through succession,” MP Rajapaksa said during a session, titled ‘Is dynasty a burden or boon” at the 11th India Today Conclave on March 17. A young panel of South Asian leaders more..

SF can’t be tried before 2 courts for the same offence: HC Judge

Mar 18 (ST) “The Prosecution could have indicted both Danuna Tilakaratne and Sarath Fonseka before the High Court in respect of all charges, without charging Sarath Fonseka in the Military Tribunal,” observed Colombo High Court Judge Sunil Rajapakshe, delivering his judgment last Thursday in the Hi-Corp case. Judge Rajapakshe upholding the Defence’s preliminary objections, acquitted former Army Commander more..

Miliband, Holmes slam government

Mar 18 (SL) The new video on Sri Lanka aired by Channel 4 last week has former British Foreign Secretary David Miliband and the former head of UN Humanitarian Affairs Sir John Holmes speaking on some of the incidents which took place during the final stages of the war. Both Holmes and Miliband said that the govt was firm on defeating the LTTE at the time of the final battle, at any cost. The video blames both the government and military, including former Army Commander more..

Suspected EPDPer found dead

Mar 18 (CT) An individual was found dead near the Periyakulam lagoon in the Kuchchaveli area this morning, Police media spokesperson SP Aith Rohana said. “Police believe the incident took place last night when the victim had traveled to the lagoon with another unidentified person,” SP Rohana added. Unconfirmed reports state that the victim was previously a senior member of the EPDP. The victim who was a three wheeler driver at the time of his death had more..

Indian fishermen oppose docking of SL boat

Mar 18 (ENS) The Indian Coast Guard on Saturday was forced to blank fire after it met with opposition from Indian fishermen over the docking of a Sri Lankan fishing vessel in Puducherry fishing harbour. The boat, which was later escorted to Chennai, was apprehended by the coast guard on Friday around 40 nautical miles south east of Puducherry and was brought to the harbour on Saturday morning. The vessel could not be docked after it got stuck in the silt near the harbour. more..

UK rebuked for arms sales to Sri Lanka

Mar 18 (PT) Britain has been condemned for continuing to sell weaponry to the Sri Lankan government despite evidence showing that war crimes are committed by the Asian country’s military. Campaign Against Arms Trade (Caat) urged the coalition govt to explain why it continues to license weapons for export to Sri Lanka irrespective of evidence of war crimes by the country’s military, the daily Morning Star reported. Britain has licensed over £3 million worth of military and more..

'UK, France Tried to Interfere'

Mar 18 (Xinhua) Sri Lanka said Sunday that both Britain and France tried to influence President Mahinda Rajapaksa to stop the war against Tamil Tiger rebels during its final stages. The Defense Ministry quoted Defense Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa as saying that during a visit to Sri Lanka in 2009, former French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner and former British Foreign Secretary David Miliband had urged the president to stop the war. more..

Editorial: ‘US resolution on Lanka only to divert attention from Israel’

Mar 18 (DC) Cho S. Ramaswamy, the redoubtable editor of the Thuglak, and a former Rajya Sabha member, tells Bhagwan Singh that the hue and cry in Tamil Nadu in support of a US resolution on human rights against Sri Lanka is uncalled for * Tamil parties here and across the world are demanding that India support the US resolution against Sri Lanka in the UNHRC. What do you think? I doubt these people realise that the US resolution does not condemn Sri Lanka as such. more..

Anderson wants players to stay composed in Sri Lanka

Mar 18 (ANI) England fast bowler James Anderson has said his teammates need to keep their cool after a doubtful not-out decision caused tempers to blaze during a routine victory over a Board XI. Emotions were running high when Anderson found Dilruwan Perera's edge in the afternoon session, and England celebrated a catch by captain Andrew Strauss at first slip. Perera thought there was some doubt over whether the ball had been taken cleanly, and stood his ground, more..