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Canadian MPs to visit

Mar 21 (CT) The Canadian Govt is to send a three-member high profile delegation to Sri Lanka to press the Sri Lankan Govt to expedite the reconciliation process. Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird is sending three representatives, MPs Rick Dykstra and Chris Alexander – a former ambassador to Afghanistan – and new senator Vern White. The delegation will conduct a fact-finding mission intended to shape shape the Canadian government’s next steps in dealing with Colombo, more..

Saudi businesses keen to join Sri Lanka Expo

Mar 21 (AN) Saudi businessmen have evinced immense interest in attending the upcoming the Sri Lanka Expo 2012 scheduled from March 28-30 in Colombo, Sri Lankan Embassy’s Commercial Counselor Anil Sirimanna said. The Sri Lanka Export Development Board (EDB) has organized the three-day event being held at the BMICH. Minister Rishad Bathiudeen described the expo as a significant event that had drawn interest from all parts of the world. more..

A warning to Jaffna residents

Mar 21 (CT) Leaflets calling for the residents in Jaffna to adhere to their traditional values were found yesterday in several key locations where the civilians gather. The leaflets have been undersigned by a group called Seran brigade. While calling for the resignation of TNA MP M.A.Sumanthirtan, the leaflets have warned the Jaffna residents - the girls to wear the traditional clothes and to avoid the dresses exposing their bodies. The leaflet also calls for the closedown of illicit liquor shops more..

Sri Lanka economic sanctions ruled out by US

Mar 21 (LBO) The United States will not push for economic sanctions on Sri Lanka despite calls for a probe into alleged war crimes, Robert Blake, a top US State Department official said. But the govt needs to move faster on reconciliation between the island's main communities after the war, Blake, US Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs, said. “No, that’s (economic sanctions) not one of the objectives,” Blake said in an exclusive skype interview more..

Murders due to personal dispute

Mar 21 (DM) Initial investigations revealed that the killing of the two monks at Kotte Raja Maha Viharaya was carried out over a personal dispute and police did not specifically give details due to the current status of investigations. It was the 80 year old monk who had been the target of the murderers and the other 60 year old monk had been killed as he came out of his room after he heard a noise. After then only they had killed the 80 year old monk. Although four persons had been arrested in connection with the double murder more..

Editorial: Love not thy neighbour but the Yankees

Mar 21 (DM) India, ending a nail biting silence that was found quite disturbing by the Sri Lankans, has finally pledged their allegiance to the US in the latter’s attempt to move a resolution against Sri Lanka at the UNHRC. One must not forget this is the same India, that not so long ago, said it would not support any country specific resolution. An ordinary individual going back on his/her word could be pardonable. Yet, the magnitude of the impact of such action coming more..

Shares end down 0.6-pct

Mar 21 (LBO) Shares closed weaker Wednesday for the second straight day with trading falling sharply and interest seen mainly in low value or speculative stocks, brokers said. The main All Share Price Index fell 0.55 percent to 5,384.10, while the more liquid Milanka index fell 1.11 percent to close at 4,821.87. Turnover fell to 376 million rupees. Index heavyweight John Keells Holdings closed 195 rupees, down five. Beruwela Walk Inn was the day's biggest loser, more..

India to engage with Lanka on US motion

Mar 21 (DM) With the vote on the United States-led resolution to be taken up anytime now, India has instructed its permanent representative in Geneva to engage with Sri Lanka’s External Affairs Minister G.L. Peiris further on the issue, a Sri Lankan diplomat in Geneva said yesterday. The minister is reported to have had a 20-minute telephone conversation with his Indian counterpart S.M. Krishna yesterday morning to discuss the latest more..

Court order prevents UNP from acting against Shiral Lakthilake

Mar 21 (SM) The Nugegoda district court today issued an order, preventing the UNP from taking any action against western provincial councilor Shiral Lakthilake. Accordingly, the party will not be able to take any disciplinary action against him with regard to the charge-sheet served against him. In a petition, Mr. Lakthilake accused UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe and members of the working committee and the disciplinary committee of acting with malicious and vindictive intent more..

CDF to take over Museum security

Mar 21 (DM) The Civil Defence Force is to take over the security of the National Museum in Colombo, following the robbery of valuable items from the Museum, Minister Jagath Balasuriya said. He said that a suggestion to seek the support of Ratna Lanka Private Security Firm Ltd had been dismissed by a special committee which has been appointed to look into the theft. The minister said this committee had also decided to create a special ‘Security Officer’s Post’ which would be responsible for the security of the museum. more..

WikiLeaks: Blake wanted US to help GoSL’s war against LTTE

Mar 21 (CT) “On January 10, Ambassador and Pol Chief met Defense Secretary Gothabaya Rajapaksa. Ambassador noted that the U.S. and Sri Lanka wanted to work with each other and with India on interdiction of arms shipments to the LTTE” the US Embassy Colombo informed Washington. “He said the U.S. was prepared to respond to Sri Lanka’s specific requests by gathering all information available about suspected Tamil Tiger ships, including more..

A group within the Govt suggests – ‘Let’s tell the truth to the Public’

Mar 21 (LT) It is reported that a powerful group within the Government has suggested the President to come out with the aggravating economic crisis in the country as it is impossible to pelt the actual situation from the masses and make an appeal to help in building the country. But another group is of the view as the Government has been taking the masses for a ride with its fantasies it will not be prudent to come out with the truth. more..

Bowlers' names don't matter - Silva

Mar 21 (CI) Chamara Silva, the Sri Lanka middle-order batsman, gave a timely reminder to the national selectors that he is prime form by hitting 163 off 180 balls for Sri Lanka Development XI on the opening day of the three-day practice match against the tourists at the SSC. Silva scored 1000 runs for Bloomfield in the domestic Premier League Tier A tournament but is unlikely to come under consideration for the first Test against England in Galle next week. The last of his 11 Tests more..

Monks march to Indian embassy

Mar 21 (DM) A large number of Buddhist monks marched to the Indian embassy in Colombo today demanding that India not support a proposed UN resolution. The monks were carrying a banner saying that India’s latest decision to support the resolution would damage the close ties between the two friendly countries. The Sri Lankan government on Tuesday sought India's support in the UNHRC in Geneva. more..

Sri Lanka's Feb tea output slips marginally

Mar 21 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's tea production edged down 0.6 percent in February due to high base in the same month last year. Sri Lanka's February tea output was 21.98 million kg compared to 22.13 million kg in February 2011. The production in the first two months has increased 4.7 percent to 45.31 million kg from 43.27 million in the same period last year. "This is a normal output for February. The fall is due to the higher production recorded in the previous year," more..

Pursuing ‘genuine’ reconciliation: India to Lanka

Mar 21 (PTI) Ahead of the discussion on US- sponsored resolution in the UN against Sri Lanka for alleged war crimes, New Delhi has emphasised to Colombo the importance of a "genuine" reconciliation process to address grievances of the Tamil community through various constructive measures. "The issue of human rights allegations against Sri Lanka is yet to come up for formal discussion at the 19th Session of the UNHRC in Geneva. Govt has however, more..

Sri Lanka rupee slips; central bank expects stability soon

Mar 21 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's rupee closed a tad weaker on Wednesday in spite of a state bank's dollar sales and a central bank forecast of a firmer rupee in the coming weeks due to dollar inflows. The rupee closed at 130.25/130.50 a dollar, weaker than Tuesday's close of 129.90/130.00. It hit a record low against the dollar of 131.60 on Monday mainly due to importer demand for greenbacks for the forthcoming April festive season. more..

TNA faults both govt. and LTTE

Mar 21 (DM) The TNA says that both the security forces and the LTTE were responsible for civilian casualties during the final phase of the war. During an interview in Sinhala with a private television channel on Monday, TNA MP MA Sumanthiran found fault with the govt troops for launching their final military thrust before the civilians (who had been trapped in the war theatre) could leave the area. He also said that the LTTE was responsible for the tragedy as they did not let the civilians more..

'Under coalition politics, India has no single Sri Lanka policy'

Mar 21 (TOI) Gordon Weiss was the United Nations spokesperson in Sri Lanka during the final years of the island's Sinhala-Tamil civil war. Today, as Indian politics simmers over an upcoming UN Human Rights Council vote on the Sri Lankan military`s actions towards the LTTE and Tamil civilians, Weiss spoke with Manoj Ramachandran about India's stand on Sri Lanka, compulsions shaping this - and how denials won't create a lasting peace. Q: Sri Lanka experienced more..

Lanka adopts principled position as D-Day draws near at UNHRC in Geneva

Mar 21 (DBS) Even as D-day for the vote on a US sponsored resolution regarding Sri Lanka at the 19th session of the UNHRC drew near in Geneva the Island nation continued to adopt what may be described as a “principled position” as its key strategy in dealing with the diplomatic might of the worlds sole super power. Sri Lanka under the leadership and direction of President Mahinda Rajapaksa has been refusing to compromise in any way with the USA in more..

A return to Sri Lanka’s killing fields by Channel 4

Mar 21 (wsws) Presented by Jon Snow, it showed further horrific scenes of the closing days of the campaign against the LTTE and the thousands of civilians caught up in it. The Sri Lankan govt produced its response to the original charges made by Channel 4 2011 documentary of war crimes carried out in the closing stages of the campaign against the LTTE. It produced a report at the end of last year, “The LLRC”. more..

Two Ukrainian racketeers nabbed

Mar 21 (DM) Two Ukrainians involved in a large scale fake credit card racket defrauding money from locals and foreigners running into millions of rupees were arrested by Negombo police today. Police had also recovered Dollar, Sri Lankan rupee and Euro notes worth Rs, 11.5 million, fake credit cards, a data feeding machine, a laptop, 8 mobile phones, 20 SIM cards used locally and internationally, a digital camera, 2 communication devices and some other devices which was more..

ICC World Twenty20 Sri Lanka 2012 ticket sales to be launched in Colombo

Mar 21 (ITV) The ICC World Twenty20 2012 ticket launch will take place at the Galle Face Green on 24 March with Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa purchasing the very first ticket of the tournament. The launch will also feature the ICC Chief Executive Haroon Lorgat as well as representatives from both the Sri Lankan men’s and women’s cricket teams, popular musicians, dance acts and dignitaries, more..

Pillay ready to visit Sri Lanka

Mar 21 (CG) The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay says she is ready to visit Sri Lanka but her office is yet to fix a date. Responding to a question posed by Tamil human rights activist S. V. Kirubaharan during the 19th session of the UNHRC, Pillay confirmed that the Sri Lankan govt has invited her to visit the country, sources at the session told the Colombo Gazette. She said that she had received the invitation prior to the commencement of the UNHRC session last month. more..

Andrew Strauss and Jonathan Trott hit centuries for England

Mar 21 (Guardian) After play on the first day at the SSC, Stuart Broad, footsore and weary after a day's leather-hunting, offered the thought that if England's batsmen did not score 400 themselves they should be shot. If this seemed a slightly harsh prospect at the time, then England did their best to head towards avoiding any Broadian opprobrium by giving the Sri Lanka Development side bowlers the run around much as their batsmen had done to England on the first day more..

Hospital minor staff also on strike

Mar 21 (DM) In a move that could further cripple the country’s healthcare system, more than 25,000 minor employees of Health Ministry today joined nearly 5,000 paramedics who are on strike since last week. The ministry has announced that casual workers who failed to report for duty by 12.00 noon yesterday would be considered to have vacated their posts.“Almost all these employees have been recruited on lists sent by government members. more..

Reality, Survival and Rs.7,500

Mar 21 (NF) A statement made by Minister Bandula Gunawardena on the income required to live comfortably, was reported in newspapers early this week. The reports state that Minister speaking at a function in Homagama, had said that a family of three could live a comfortable life with an income of Rs.7500 rupees a month. According to the Department of Census and Statistics’ 2009/2010 survey on household expenditure, the monthly expenditure for a family of four was Rs.31,331. more..

‘Implement LLRC proposals speedily’

Mar 21 (SM) Eastern provincial council Opposition leader Daya Gamage, who is also the national organizer of the UNP, has proposed that the recommendations of the president-appointed LLRC should be implemented as soon as possible with the support of other countries, which exactly is the request contained in the US-led resolution on Sri Lanka. He made the proposal to the Eastern Provincial Council at its meeting, urging that the EPC brought up the matter to the attention of the president. more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 21.03.2012

Disingenuous, selective and championing of polarization

Mar 22 (NS) This refers to and is a response to a statement released by the TNA on March 14, 2012, which refers to Sri Lanka, makes a critique of her history, the conflict, processes of reconciliation and ends with a call for action by the UNHRC. The document alleges that the Govt of Sri Lanka has serious issues with regard to telling the truth and keeping its promises, outlines what the TNA believes are broken promises on political settlement, discusses more..

Devolution of police powers

Mar 22 (NS) I repeat the details in my previous article: “A constitution is believed to be the formal statement of country on what it wants to be and how it wants to be governed. It is best arrived at by consensus. It cannot be prescribed by any other source. This particular amendment on the contrary was introduced by force by a foreigner much against the wishes of all its people.” “This was a child (Provincial Councils) that was not wanted by both the ‘mother’ (JRJ) and the father(?) (Prabhakaran). more..

Each man to his own hero Abraham Lincoln or Appé Lincoln?

Mar 22 (NS) Does President Mahinda Rajapaksa need to have enemies like ‘Insidious foreign forces’, the so-called International Community, Western powers led by America, foreign funded NGOs, home grown traitors and the like when he has ‘senior ministers’ like Wimal Weerawansa? Weerawansa, the public would have observed has over the years specialised in foreign affairs. This grassroots level politician at every given more..

Factors behind India’s decision

Mar 22 (Island) As The Hindu Newspaper has reported, the Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh has informed the Lok Sabha that India is "inclined to" vote in favour of a resolution on Sri Lanka [submitted by the United States of America] if it meets ‘our objectives’ with regard to the future of ethnic Tamils. This is definitely a victory for the US and the political parties in Tamil Nadu, but a severe blow for Sri Lanka’s hope to defeat the US Resolution in Geneva. more..

Covering fire from Amnesty and International Crisis Group

Mar 22 (Island) While suppressing the evidence it had commissioned from the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Amnesty produced yet another report to denigrate Sri Lanka during the sessions of the Human Rights Council, and has been actively canvassing against us in Geneva. Its normally urbane representative, Peter Splinter, has been scurrying around like a headless chicken, and using language that he would not normally stoop to. more..

Catholic Church is deeply divided on the proposed resolution at the UNHRC

Mar 22 (DBS) Schism and doubt are the great enemies Bishops are expected to combat, and at all times try to avoid among the clergy and the flock. Yet it seems that the Catholic Church in Sri Lanka is deeply divided on the proposed resolution at the UNHRC. The resolution is calling for the implementation of the recommendations of the LLRC and accountability for alleged war crimes in the war between more..

LLRC, USA resolution,reconciliation and sovereignty – II

Mar 22 (Island) Now what is the record of the western countries as far as reconciliation is concerned. Do the Afro Americans enjoy the same privileges as the European Americans? Obama follows the white Anglo Saxon Protestant (WASP) culture irrespective of the colour of his skin and he is only a token just as much the Afro American characters in the US television shows are there to show the world that the blacks are enjoying very high standards of life. more..

Editorial: Thieves of heritage

Mar 22 (Island) There has been no breakthrough in investigations into the burglary at the national museum. We are being told different stories by different officials of the theft. Sri Lanka has come to such a pass that it cannot even protect the evidence of its glorious past it keeps boasting of. Saturday's theft of some priceless artifacts has once again demonstrated the vulnerability of Sri Lanka's archaeological treasure to plunder. If they are not safe at the premier museum in the country, how unsafe they are more..

No more free parking: Solutions for Colombo city parking soon

Mar 22 (SO) As the number of vehicle population increased daily, the number of vehicles entering the Colombo city from the nine entry/exit points is also on the increase on a daily basis. But it has become a point to ponder for the motorists, as the parking of vehicles in the city is becoming less and costly due to the fee for parking being increased daily with the demand for vehicle parking slots gradually increasing, more..

Geneva bytalks on Sri Lanka

Mar 22 (DM) As arguments and counter arguments were presented in a forceful manner, the panel's chair warned she had to summon security officers. Later a lightly armed security officer was seen at the Room 23 of the United Nations building where the panel discussion was held. The panel discussion was attended by a large number of Sri Lankans, the Tamil Diaspora members, the human rights community and diplomats. The panelists included Farah Mihlar from the London-based Minority Rights Group, Ana Von Gall from more..

Sri Lanka: Understanding the UNHRC vote

Mar 22 (DM) Not since the 'anti-Tamil pogrom' has Sri Lanka rocked the Indian Parliament as of now on the upcoming UNHRC vote. As irony would have it, the Indian communists are on the side of the US, possibly for the first time ever, that too on affairs of international relations. The Tamil Nadu State Congress leadership has also gone with the prevailing regional political sentiments, publicly urging Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to take a position in favour of the US resolution in the UNHRC. more..