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'Media reports on disciplinary action against Sajith baseless'

Mar 20 (LB) Consequent to media reports that the UNP has decided to call for an explanation from its deputy leader and Hambantota district MP Sajith Premadasa, after the latter openly stated that everyone should unite to defeat the resolution that has been brought before the UNHRC sessions in Geneva against the country, its general secretary Tissa Attanayake said that such statements in the media are baseless. more..

Soldiers seeking the spoils of gem pits

Mar 20 (SL) Following the arrest of an army solider for selling liquor at the makeshift army welfare shop adjacent to the Tammannawa gem pits by the Kataragama – Lunugamvehera road, questions are being asked about who is behind this illegal move. An army soldier was arrested with 81 bottles of 375 ml extra special arrack and 32 cans of 500 ml special beer from the makeshift army welfare shop in Tammannawa by the criminal investigation unit of the Tangalle Division on March 11. more..

Police hopeful of breakthrough

Mar 20 (CT) Police are closing in on a lead regarding the robbery of ancient artifacts at the Colombo National Museum on Friday night. Police media spokesman Ajith Rohana expressed hope that investigators will be able to reach a breakthrough very soon. Meanwhile, the CID has alerted the Customs and the Colombo International Airport at Katunayake in order to prevent the thieves from smuggling the valuable artifacts stolen from the National Museum out of the country. more..

Unemployed Graduates accuse govt. of favouritism

Mar 20 (Island) Unemployed Graduates, who protested in demand for public sector jobs, now claim that the govt was providing jobs to certain graduates without calling for applications. Spokesman of the CAUG said that the govt provided jobs, without calling for applications, to graduates who were their henchmen in the Galle, Matara, Hambantota, Anuradhapura, Kandy and Moneragala Districts. more..

More TUs to support paramedics

Mar 20 (CT) Other health sector trade unions are also to resort to trade union actions to pressurize the govt to provide a solution to the paramedics who are currently on strike. The All Ceylon Health Services Union (ACHSU) is to resort to trade union action in future extending their support to the ongoing paramedical staff strike. ACHSU General Secretary Gamini Kumarasinghe said that responsible authorities have more..

Foreign jobs for ex-prisoners

Mar 20 (Island) Plans are afoot to provide foreign employment opportunities for rehabilitated ex-prisoners as another means of effective social integration, Secretary of the Ministry of Rehabilitation and Prison Reforms A. Dissanayake said. Discussions regarding this initiative had been carried out with the officials of the Ministry of Foreign Employment, Promotion and Welfare yesterday, he said. more..

Sri Lanka ethnic groups divided over UN resolution

Mar 20 (AP) The Sri Lankan govt's campaign to stave off any U.N. call to investigate its wartime conduct is hampering efforts to heal long-simmering ethnic tensions, according to Tamil politicians, rights activists and clergy members. Nearly three years after the end of a decades-long civil war that pitted the majority Sinhalese govt against minority Tamil Tiger rebels seeking an ethnic homeland, the U.N. rights council is expected to more..

Ranil to raise IDP issues in Parliament

Mar 20 (DM) After his weekend visit to Mullaitivu, Opposition UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe said yesterday he would take up in parliament the problems that had arisen when resettling war displaced people in Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu. He said he would also highlight the many problems relating to the development programmes in the area. Mr. Wickremesinghe and the group of UNP MPs who were on a tour of the North visited Mullaitivu on Sunday for the first time since the war ended in 2009. more..

UNP warns govt. to be cautious when countering US resolution

Mar 20 (Island) With the 47-member UNHRC now set to take a decision on the US-resolution targeting Sri Lanka at the current sessions on Thursday, the UNP urged the govt to be cautious in its counter offensive. UNP MP Lakshman Kiriella yesterday said that there was no dispute that immense pressure was being brought on the GoSL at UN rights sessions in Geneva. Having admitted that Western powers were pursuing an aggressive policy towards more..

'State sector internal auditing in bad shape'

Mar 20 (DM) Weak, unprofessional internal auditing and the lack of qualified auditors have led to inefficiency and financial indiscipline in the state sector. This has to be addressed sooner than later if Sri Lanka is to achieve its development goals, Minister D.E.W. Gunasekara said. The situation was so grave that there was no conducive environment for independent auditing and financial management at many state institutions, therefore many of them had become a liability more..

Editorial: The true spirit of reconciliation

Mar 20 (DM) Much has been spoken about the LLRC. Yet, it seems that not many people have understood its need and most have misunderstood its mandate. Thankfully the war has ended, but there is another aspect that most has forgotten to address. If it’s not addressed, then there could be dangerous repercussions that follow. Looking back at what happened after the end of world wars to the end of the South Africans apartheid, the so called victors addressed the issue of forgiving and reconciling with the vanquished. more..

Sri Lanka consumer protection activism seen weak

Mar 20 (LBO) Sri Lankan consumer protection activism remains weak because of a lack of awareness and will, leaving consumers vulnerable to the lobbying power of big business and utilities. Dhamitha Kumarasinghe, director general of the Public Utilities Commission, said consumers are generally unaware of their rights and attempts to form consumer protection societies had not been as successful as desired. "The issue is consumers are not aware of their rights and more..

Deliver or depart, UNP tells Govt.

Mar 20 (Island) Unviable projects meant to boost the image of a ‘small clique’ in government, has resulted in the country being mortgaged for generations to come, the UNP said yesterday. UNP Media spokesman Gayantha Karunathillake MP told a news conference in Colombo that high interest loans had been obtained from international banks, purely for the purpose of launching "ego boosting and unviable projects" on behalf of the "small clique". more..

Shares end down 0.7-pct

Mar 20 (LBO) Sri Lankan shares closed weaker Tuesday with turnover also falling sharply after some big deals the previous two days where foreign investors bought into two conglomerates, brokers said. The main All Share Price Index fell 0.65 percent to 5,414.02, while the more liquid Milanka index fell 0.27 percent to close at 4,875.92. Turnover was 627 million rupees. John Keells Holdings closed flat at 200 rupees while Aitken Spence ended at 115.60 rupees, down 40 cents. more..

Sri Lanka dealt a blow by Indian change of heart over UNHRC

Mar 20 (PTI) Sri Lankan media on Tuesday said the country has been delivered a body blow by India which has said it is "inclined to" vote in favour of US moved resolution against Lanka at the on-going UNHRC session. In an editorial titled 'Muddying the waters the Indian way', the pro-govt The Island daily said, "it was only the other day that the Indian govt made it very clear that it was opposed to the any country specific resolution at the UNHRC. more..

Sri Lanka state airline on yield maximizing drive

Mar 20 (LBO) Sri Lankan Airlines is focusing on maximizing yields on its network and shifting capacity from Europe where competition is high to Asia, amid rising fuel prices, chief executive Kapila Chandrasena said. Fuel accounts for as much as 50 percent of an airline's operating expenses. "The short term action is to maximize revenues," Chandrasena said. "Given the higher cost, the thinking is to optimize or maximize our revenues, that will more..

China steps in as India backs off?

Mar 20 (TOI) While Prime Minister Manmohan Singh took a stand on the Lanka resolution issue making it clear that India will vote against the nation for alleged human rights violations China, in a series of diplomatic niceties with Lanka has said it will not support the US sponsored resolution, which it says seeks to infringe upon the country's sovereignty. The UPA govt finally took a firm stand reiterating its commitment towards the Tamil populace but the opposition continues to doubt the govt's intent to vote against Sri Lanka more..

CID quiz foreign filmmakers

Mar 20 (CG) The CID has seized the equipment of two foreign independent film makers and questioned them after they recorded footage on tourism and development in Kalpitiya. Belgium independent film maker Guilhem de Crombrugghe and his French girlfriend Marie Ferdinands were in Kalpitiya over the weekend for the shoot after obtaining approval from the Sri Lanka Tourist Development Authority. Crombrugghe said that a team of CID officers had questioned them in Colombo yesterday more..

WikiLeaks: 'Time for a cease-fire to pursue political negotiations is now passed'

Mar 20 (CT) “The Govt of Norway has been engaged in quiet efforts to persuade the LTTE to allow civilians in the safe zone to leave.” the US Embassy informed Washington. The Cable is classified as “confidential” and written by the Ambassador Robert O. Blake on March 19, 2009, Placing a note ambassador Blake wrote “Norwegian efforts must be strictly protected and not referred to either publicly or privately by USG officials more..

'Beira Lake will be Ddredged'

Mar 20 (DT) “As a country emerging from the shadows of terrorism into a bright, prosperous future, Sri Lanka has many challenges to face and many opportunities to exploit“, stated Secretary Ministry of Defence and Urban Development Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa. He expressed these views today (March 20), delivering the keynote address as Chief Guest at the inauguration ceremony of the World Bank initiated High -Level Policy Workshop at the Cinnamon Grand, Hotel in Colombo. more..

Sonia hopes for suitable outcome to Sri Lankan issue

Mar 20 (IANS) Congress president Sonia Gandhi has told DMK chief M. Karunanidhi that a suitable outcome would be reached on the Sri Lankan issue soon, according to her letter released Monday. Acknowledging the DMK's chief March 9 letter, Gandhi in her letter dated March 15, copies of which were released to the media by the DMK here, said: "I have been informed that the govt is fully aware of the important issues involved and is engaged with all parties to find a just solution." more..

Karunanidhi slams Jayalalithaa, charges with enacting 'drama'

Mar 20 (PTI) Joining issue with his arch-rival and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, DMK president M Karunanidhi today slammed her for terming Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's statement on a US-sponsored resolution for alleged war crimes against Sri Lanka as "futile" and describing his party's activities on the issue as "drama". He also squarely blamed the chief minister for the months-long impasse on the Kudankulam nuclear power plant. more..

Order to unlicensed companies to remove ‘finance’ from their names

Mar 20 (SM) The Central Bank has ordered unlicensed finance companies to remove words relating to finance from their names. Under the Finance Business Act, “no entity other than a licensed finance company shall use the words ‘finance’, ‘financing’ or ‘financial’ as part of its name or description,” said a statement from the bank’s Department of Supervision of Non-Bank Financial Institutions. It ordered firms other than a licensed finance company which more..

BOC sells dollars to boost rupee

Mar 20 (CT) The Bank of Ceylon, the state owned bank, sold dollars to boost Sri Lanka's rupee, after it hit a record low of 131.60 a day earlier, despite strong importer demand for greenbacks due to the forthcoming April festive season. "The state bank sold dollars at 129.00 and the rupee recovered slightly," a currency dealer said on condition of anonymity. Two others confirmed the move. State-run Bank of Ceylon, through which the Central Bank usually directs the market, more..

Letters sent to UNHRC by Intelligentsia and Academia

Mar 20 (GDI) Hundreds of Professors and lecturers of the Sri Lankan Universities and many other professionals converged at the Sri Lanka foundation Institute this morning to sign appeals to the UNHRC and the countries participating in the 19th Sessions now being held in Geneva. Given below is the text of the three letters sent by them. “Your Excellency; We, the undersigned, representing the intelligentsia and academia of Sri Lanka, wish to more..

Mutuhettigama acquitted

Mar 20 (DM) Galle District MP Nishantha Mutuhettigama and four others who were charged with unlawful assembly and abduction of a conductor of a private bus were acquitted by Matara Chief Magistrate Udesh Ranathunga today. The Magistrate ordered the police to file charges against the conductor Nalin Gunatunga of Devinuwara for making a false statement under oath before the magistrate. He was released on personal bail in Rs.500,000 and ordered to reside in the Matara judicial zone. more..

National movement to be formed to defeat imperialist interventions

Mar 20 (SM) A broad national movement to fight ‘imperialist interventions’ in the country is to be formed by representatives from various sectors of the society. The movement, which is yet to be officially launched, will hold a seminar on tomorrow at the Public Library Auditorium at 3:30 p.m. The main theme of the seminar would be “How to defeat imperialist interventions in the country?” Speakers at the seminar would be Ven. Dambara Amila Thero of NBF, more..

Robert Blake exclusive interview

Silva leaves England toiling

Mar 20 (CI) Any illusions England may have had over the enormity of their task in Sri Lanka were dispelled as Chamara Silva thumped a century on the first day of the warm-up match against a Development XI in Colombo. Silva, who has played 11 Tests and 75 ODIs, forced England to toil throughout an unremitting day of heat and humidity, making 163 as the Development XI reached the close on 376 for 5 from 90 overs. England's bowlers, lacking the rested James Anderson and Monty Panesar, more..

Sri Lanka donates rice to refugees in Horn of Africa

Mar 20 (ST) Sri Lanka today donated 10,000 mertic tons of rice to the World Food Programme which will be sent to Ethiopia, where tens of thousands of refugees have fled, after devastating drought contributed to famine in Somalia last year. President Mahinda Rajapaksa made a symbolic hand over of the rice to WFP's Acting Country Director Ms. Azeb Asrat at Temple Trees this morning. This is the first ever donation from the Govt of Sri Lanka to WFP's more..

Sri Lanka asks India to re-think vote on UN resolution on war crimes

Mar 20 (NDTV) Sri Lanka has urged India to reconsider voting in favour of a resolution on Sri Lanka at the UNHRC. Yesterday, the Prime Minister told Parliament that India is likely to vote in favour of the resolution which has been moved by Norway, the US and France. Dr Manmohan Singh said that while the text of the resolution is not yet known to India, "We do not yet have the final text of the US-sponsored resolution against Sri Lanka. more..

Rapid increase in convicts with death penalty in Sri Lanka

Mar 20 (Xinhua) Sri Lankan prisons have received a massive number of death penalty convicts since the beginning of 2012. From January the two main prisons in the country have received 43 convicts of capital punishment mainly for murder and drug trafficking, the officer said. "This is a massive increase compared to 40 convicts of death penalty reported during the first four months in 2011," and most of them were convicted for murder and among them was a woman convict, he said. more..

Gov't to provide homes for 25,000 poor families

Mar 20 (Xinhua) Sri Lanka is to provide homes for 25,000 low income families in the capital this year as part of an extensive metro development program, a top official said here on Tuesday. Defence and Urban Development Ministry Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa told a conference that the Sri Lankan govt was implementing a wide-ranging development project in Colombo that would include the relocation of 70,000 families. "We are in the process of building 10,000 apartments more..

Sri Lanka stages protest against West backed human rights resolution

Mar 20 (Xinhua) The roads in the Sri Lankan capital Colombo were blocked with major traffic jams when more than 2,000 protesters marched towards the British High Commission on Tuesday condemning the Western countries backed resolution scheduled to be taken up at this week's UNHRC sessions in Geneva. Pro-govt protesters marched up to the British High Commission and urged its former colonial ruler not to support the proposed resolution demanding to more..

U.S. Embassy Partners with Local Businesses on Biz+ Program

Mar 20 (USE) The USAID, the development arm of the U.S. Embassy, awarded the first grant under its Biz+ program on Friday. This $275,000 grant will help Jeyantha’s Katcovalam Ice Factory expand its ice production from six to 26 tons per day, meeting growing demand from fishermen and traders who transport fresh fish to Colombo and elsewhere. The Biz+ program supports local businesses, increasing economic growth and job creation in recovering areas. more..

Doctors say they handled 300 child deliveries during the last period of the war

Mar 20 (GDI) Sri Lankan medical professionals say they handled around 300 child delivery per month at the Cheddikulum Hospital during the last period of war with the Tigers in 2009. Dr. Hemantha Perera President of the Sri Lanka College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists said that at the cessation of hostilities internally displaced Sri Lankans were coming into temporary camps in large numbers. The Sri Lanka College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (SLCOG), more..

Bangladesh beat Sri Lanka by 5 wickets; India out

Mar 20 (CI) Bangladesh made it to the final of the Asia Cup and reached the finals of a one-day tournament only for the second time in history, defying pre-tournament expectations with consecutive victories against their more fancied neighbours. The bowlers restricted Sri Lanka to 232, but rain siphoned off ten overs and reduced the target to 212. The increased asking rate to 5.30 gave both teams a chance, but enterprising more..

Words of Advice to UNHRC members wanting to remain “sovereign”

Mar 21 (NS) The games have begun at the UNHRC session in Geneva. More significant than the US resolution against Sri Lanka is the methods being used to target a tiny nation in South Asia. Middle East conquest by US and its cohorts is almost over; the next region will be Asia. Maldives was one such victim. There is a steady pattern in all the maneuverings taking place. The UNHRC members comprise sovereign nations of which only a handful are diehard US worshipers. more..

Murders agreed upon

Mar 21 (NS) Though no mainstream media has translated in full or accurately the US resolution into Sinhala or Tamil, thousands have marched in Colombo against its content to foreign embassies, with placards decrying international conspiracies and the interest of the US in regime change: Just kill them. Well, my wife wanted peace. And so did my little children. So we killed all the lefties, To bring peace for our little children. Anyway there was no problem. Anyway they’re all dead anyway. more..

Time to see the real danger!

Mar 21 (NS) The US has submitted a draft resolution to the UNHRC. The resolution contains both military-politico and war crimes related sections. The resolution refers to devolving power to the provinces, establishing independent commissions, ensuring media freedom and human rights. These are clear political elements. References to the removal of military camps from the North are military elements, while resolving land issues are military-politico issues. more..