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The silver lining on the dark Geneva cloud

Mar 23 (DM) The resolution in Geneva must be understood in the spirit in which it was presented. The key sponsors of the resolution are all long standing friends of our country and many of them in addition to being important economic and trading partners, helped Sri Lanka in its fight against terrorism. The US, not only proscribed the LTTE, but also played a key role in curbing their fund raising while a special 'Contact group' was formed to monitor and curtail arms procurement more..

Boston Lanka News: March 22, 2012

Too little too late in Geneva

Mar 23 (DM) Losing in Geneva partly caused by our own undoing makes it imperative now to stand firm in safeguarding our sovereignty and protecting Sri Lanka from foreign interventions. Message is short – defy it diplomatically. No unwanted interference is permissible in our domestic sphere. Now is the moment for Sri Lankans to stand up for the country against the impending foreign peril. Mahinda Rajapaksa has to rally the country and give leadership; foreign footprints of a more..

Where did we go wrong?

Mar 23 (DM) When the Sri Lankan military defeated the LTTE in May 2009 ending nearly three decades of brutal terror, I - alongside millions of my fellow citizens - was elated. For me, 'Eelam War IV' was without any iota of doubt a war worth fighting and I was overwhelmed. With the world's most ruthless terrorist outfit finally gone, a more peaceful and prosperous future seemed imminent. The military victory could not have come at a better juncture in my life for I was more..

HRC resolution important not only for people of Sri Lanka, but for human rights in general

Mar 23 (TC) Ambassador Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe, U.S. Representative to the UNHRC, speaks with the press after the adoption of a resolution on Sri Lanka March 22, 2012. Ambassador Donahoe: My deepest wish is that this resolution and the result we just observed is an important step in a process of helping the Sri Lankan people move toward a lasting peace. The basic idea behind this resolution was to work with the Sri Lankan govt in more..

GK depositors’ FR application hearing on June 28

Mar 23 (Island) The Supreme Court yesterday fixed June 28 to hear the fundamental rights violation application filed by a group of Golden Key Depositors. The Court at an earlier date had granted leave to proceed with the application, bearing No: 191/2009. The petitioners are Rukshan Fernando and fifteen others. The respondent directors of the Golden Key Finance Company were given time till May 5, 2012 to file objections. The counter affidavits are to be filed by June 8, 2012. more..

Presidential visit to boost SL-South Korea relations

Mar 23 (Island) Sri Lanka is the main beneficiary of South Korea’s policy on employing overseas workers over the years. It has retained the largest quota of vacancies allocated for foreign workers from Asia and Central Asia employed in varied fields, including agriculture. South Korean Ambassador Jongmoon Choi said that a sizeable group of Sri Lankan fishermen would get an opportunity to join the Sri Lankan work force there. more..

Treasury Secy. opens up, says wait and see

Mar 23 (Island) Treasury Secretary Dr. P.B. Jayasundera who rarely, if not ever, interacts with the media, with the Ministry of Finance and Planning following this same attitude for years, has finally opened up, offering to share information and a chance for journalists to engage in a dialogue. The most influential public institution in the country, and its even more so influential head, broke the ice with media institutions in the country by hosting a one and half hour discussion yesterday with more..

'Regrettable to see former leaders joining anti-SL forces'

Mar 23 (DN) Presidential Secretary for Parliamentary Affairs Kumarasiri Hettige said that it is quite regrettable to see former leaders of this country in league with anti-Sri Lankan forces and questioned the example such people set for the younger generation. He made these remarks at the prefects' investiture ceremony of the Nugegoda Samudradevi Balika Vidyalaya on March 16. He was the chief guest. He said, the leadership experience gained during school time gives more..

Sharing in Sri Lanka: Part V

Mar 23 (CTV) CTV Calgary's Karen Owen went with a team from World Vision to Sri Lanka to meet some of the people who have benefitted from its programs and even more who need our help. In part five of her series, Karen looks into a public health clinic for mothers and babies. Mothers and babies gather early and line up for a twice-monthly health clinic in a village in Sri Lanka. The clinic offers pre and post natal care for the mothers, as well as immunizations and regular checkups for babies. more..

Mahinda Samarasinghe at the UNHRC

Mar 23 (DBS) Madam President, Thank you for this opportunity, as the country concerned, to outline our position in respect of the draft resolution before the Council. Many in this Council would agree that Sri Lanka has been a role model of, consistently and unambiguously, engaging with everyone in the Council; not just on this occasion but over the years. This engagement has been voluntary and was not restricted to a period in the aftermath of more..

Jayalalithaa, Karunanidhi vie for credit on India's vote against Sri Lanka

Mar 23 (TOI) The ruling AIADMK and the opposition DMK, took credit for India's vote in favour of the US-sponsored resolution against Sri Lanka for war crimes at the UNHRC. AIADMK supremo J Jayalalithaa in a statement claimed that her continuous efforts in pressing the Centre over the issue yielded the desired result. DMK chief M Karunanidhi thanked PM Manmohan Singh and UPA chief Sonia Gandhi for India's vote against Sri Lanka. more..

No untoward incidents in Sri Lanka

Mar 23 (Hindu) Despite apprehensions, there were no untoward incidents soon after Sri Lanka lost the vote at the UNHRC in Geneva. There was some fear among the Indian community that they could be targeted, but this turned out to be misplaced. Several groups had organised protests in Colombo in the days leading to the vote, and the media was extremely critical of India in the last few days. The first sign of normality was that a function scheduled for the evening and featuring almost all the top officials of the Indian High Commission, more..

Sri Lanka water institute named 2012 Stockholm Water Prize Laureate

Mar 23 (WW) The International Water Management Institute (IWMI), with headquarters in Colombo, Sri Lanka, has been named the 2012 Stockholm Water Prize Laureate for their pioneering research that has served to improve agriculture water management, enhance food security, protect environmental health and alleviate poverty in developing countries. Seventy percent of global freshwater withdrawals are used in agriculture. more..

Gas prices to go up soon

Mar 23 (DM) The Consumer Affairs Authority yesterday said it would consider the requests by the two leading LP gas companies for the increase of gas prices soon. CAA Chief Rumy Marzook said the matter was being discussed now and the new prices would be gazetted when the matter was finalized. In the wake of fuel price hikes last month Minister Johnston Fernando said gas companies would not be permitted to increase prices saying the people should not be burdened any further. more..

Editorial: A wake up call for Colombo

Mar 23 (Hindu) The passage of the UNHRC resolution on Sri Lanka is proof that the international community disapproves of the manner in which the Rajapaksa govt is addressing the fallout of its Armageddon moment of mid-May 2009. The resolution, backed by India, asks Sri Lanka credibly to investigate allegations of rights violations in the course of its war against the LTTE. The wording of the resolution was tweaked by India to say the implementation assistance the United Nations more..

US eases restrictions on Sri Lanka defense sales

Mar 23 (AP) The U.S. has eased restrictions on defense sales to Sri Lanka to allow exports of equipment for aerial and maritime surveillance. The State Department enacted the changes Thursday, just as the UNHRC urged Sri Lanka to investigate allegations of war crimes during its civil conflict that ended in 2009. The department said the two developments were unrelated. It may, however, help ease strains in the bilateral relationship. more..

UNP moves No-faith motion against John

Mar 23 (Island) The UNP yesterday brought a motion of no confidence against Minister John Seneviratne in Parliament on the issue of recruiting graduates to the public service. The motion signed by 32 UNP members said that the Minister had promoted the recruiting of graduates on political agendas instead of merit. There were over 40,000 unemployed graduates in the country but there was no systematic or justifiable procedure to absorb those graduates into the public service. more..

TNA and UNP to work together

Mar 23 (CT) The TNA has decided to work in collaboration with the main opposition UNP in the Common Opposition Front to fight against human rights violations, according to TNA MP Suresh Premachandran. A meeting was held between the TNA and the UNP at the Parliamentary complex on Wednesday and later the TNA met the other opposition parties yesterday. According to Premachandran the meetings were cordial and the need for a closer cooperation within the opposition parties were more..

Geneva: Lanka fails to beat the odds

Mar 23 (Island) The US resolution on Sri Lanka was adopted by the UNHRC yesterday in Geneva with a majority of nine votes––24 for, 15 against and 8 abstaining. Although India succumbed to US pressure to vote for the resolution, key Asian countries, including those representing SAARC and two UN Security Council members voted against it. Although India had never voted for a ‘country specific’ resolution, the US and the Tamil Nadu politicians pressured the Manmohan Singh more..

Monk, four others challenge Mayor’s order

Mar 23 (Island) The venerable Kahangama Wilagana Ariyananda Thera, of the Dharmodaya Pirivena Wellawatte and four residents of Colombo had complained to the Supreme Court against a recent direction of the Mayor of Colombo made to the Municipal Commissioner to abolish the Flying Squad of the Municipal Council. The petition said that the flying squad had made detections in respect of various corrupt practices committed by some officers of the CMC but the functions of more..

Over Rs 136.5 mn worth currency notes withdrawn in two years

Mar 23 (Island) Currency notes to the value of over Rs 136.5 million had been withdrawn from circulation in 2010 and 2011, Parliament was told. In 2010, Rs 136.6 million worth of currency notes were withdrawn while in 2011, it rose to Rs 137 million, Senior Minister for International Monetary Affairs Sarath Amunugama said. He was replying to a question raised by UNP MP Ravi Karunanayaka who also queried the number of fake notes that are in circulation per year. more..

Collated results of research bring new hope of ridding deadly scourge: Health official

Mar 23 (ST) Sri Lanka will come to grips with the "unknown" but burning cause of Chronic Kidney Disease felling the young male farmer of the North Central Province (NCP) and should have an answer in a few months, a top health official assured. "We are likely to find the cause of Chronic Kidney Disease of Unknown Origin (CKDu) in about three months once all the study results are in," said Health Ministry Additional Secretary Dr. Palitha Mahipala more..

Expertise of middlemen vital says regional energy consultant

Mar 23 (LB) Petroleum state run institutions sans the expertise of middlemen have come in for criticism by a regional energy consultant with years of experience in Asian oil trade and markets. “Does the Ministry of Petroleum Industries feel it is experienced and sophisticated enough to deal with foreign suppliers without the expertise of middlemen? As far as I can see, the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) has experience in calling for more..

Police get killer and the knife used in killing of two monks

Mar 23 (Island) Acting on information elicited from a person arrested in connection with Tuesday night’s double killings at the Kotte Raja Maha Viharaya, the police yesterday arrested the man, who allegedly knifed the two Buddhist monks, Ven Boralesgamuwe Gunaratne and Ven. Pitigala Jinasiri. The suspects had attacked the monks after an attempt to rob Rs. 500,000 belonging to Ven. Gunaratne went awry. The police identified the person who planned the robbery as more..

UNHRC vote against SL due to Govt.’s lack of foresight - Rosy

Mar 23 (Island) UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday called on all political parties that have ruled the country, to apologise to the people for the rise of militancy and repercussions that were being experienced even now. Addressing a meeting to commemorate the 60th death anniversary of Sri Lanka’s first Prime Minister D.S. Senanayake at Independence Square, he said that the father of nation had developed a national identity after more..

Canada welcomes UN rights council resolution on Sri Lankan civil war probe

Mar 23 (CP) Canada welcomed a decision by the UNHRC on Thursday that presses Sri Lanka to properly investigate alleged war crimes in connection with the country's two-and-a-half decade civil war. The council approved a resolution, co-sponsored by Canada, which calls on the Sri Lankan govt to fully examine allegations of summary executions, kidnappings and other atrocities by govt forces and the Tamil Tiger rebels. more..

Sri Lankan dissenters still living in fear

Mar 23 (ABC) TONY JONES, PRESENTER: The United Nations is tonight debating a resolution calling on Sri Lanka to investigate alleged war crimes in the final months of the civil war. The end of the bloody conflict with the Tamil Tigers that claimed 100,000 lives has brought greater security to most, but it's come at the expense of democratic freedoms and human rights. Dissenters are routinely threatened and Amnesty International more..

India waffles on Sri Lanka vote

Mar 23 (WSJ) Yesterday, we argued here that India’s vote against Sri Lanka in the U.N. Human Rights Council might signal New Delhi is about to embark on a human rights-led policy in the region. Come dawn, and it’s clear the government’s position was more driven by an attempt to assuage its Tamil coalition partners than to push any new agenda in the South Asian region. Rather than proudly standing up for its position to back the U.S. in calling for Sri Lanka to more..

US asks Sri Lanka to develop a comprehensive action plan

Mar 23 (PTI) The White House has asked Sri Lanka to develop a comprehensive action plan for implementing steps on reconciliation and accountability as asked by a resolution passed by the UNHRC in Geneva. "The US urges the Sri Lankan govt to develop a comprehensive action plan for implementing steps on reconciliation and accountability, as called for in the resolution, and to work with UN experts and its partners in more..

'Tamil Eelam is my unrealised dream'

Mar 23 (IBN) DMK president M Karunanidhi termed 'Tamil Eelam' his unrealised dream and said he will fight for its realisation. Asked by reporters on his reaction to passing of resolution against Sri Lanka and whether there is a possibility of Tamil Eelam in the future, Karunanidhi said, "As far as I am concerned that is the goal." He said even in the past, whenever he was asked about his unrealised dream, he had answered "Tamil Eelam". more..

Sri Lanka press slams 'neo-imperial' war crime vote

Mar 23 (AFP) Sri Lanka's media reacted angrily Friday to a US-led resolution demanding a war crimes probe and said the island had done well to go down fighting at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. The state-run Daily News said the 24 nations which voted in favour of the resolution urging a credible investigation into alleged war crimes during Sri Lanka's battle against Tamil rebels in 2009 were being destructive. more..

More honourable to fail than to cheat

Mar 23 (DM) According to the thinking of the UNESCO, wars, begin, continue and end in the hearts and minds of people. Therefore it is education which should be mainly used to curb or eradicate violence and abuse of power because at a time when lawlessness appears to be getting out of control as seen in the diabolical killing of two Buddhist monks at the Raja Maha Vihara in Kotte on Tuesday night. All our places of education must be involved in telling our children that both more..

Toxic gas at Ramada Hotel, where the Emirati family had resided

Mar 23 (CT) The tests conducted by the govt analyst on the room at Ramada Hotel in Seeduwa where the Emirati family had resided, have revealed toxic gas had been emitted from the substance used as pesticide. According to a high ranking police official stated the Seeduwa police have made arrangements for the govt analyst’s report to be submitted to the Magistrates court. The Emirati family who arrived in Sri Lanka from Dubai on 13 March had taken ill while more..

WikiLeaks: 13 Plus to David Miliband too

Mar 23 (CT) A leaked US diplomatic cable, dated April 30, 2009, updated the US Secretary of State on “visits by UN Under Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs John Holmes, UK Development Minister Mike Foster, UK Foreign Secretary Miliband and French Foreign Minister Kouchner” shows the President Mahinda Rajapaksa talked about “the 13th Amendment-plus” as the political solution with Milband and Kouchner. more..

'Media should exercise self censorship'

Mar 23 (CT) Acting Media Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena said yesterday media in Sri Lanka should exercise self censorship, with regard to matters pertaining to the country. He said that whilst media freedom exists in the country, media outlets should censor what they report, and media should not report on matters that would damage the integrity of the island. He made these remarks when questioned by media workers on the recent personal attacks that state media has carried out more..

Stone attack on Galle mayor’s home

Mar 23 (CT) Stones were pelted at the house of Galle Mayor Methsiri de Silva early morning today by a group of unidentified individuals. Police said that the incident had occurred at around 12.45 last morning, when the suspects had hurled three large stones at the mayor’s residence in the Galle town. “One of the stones had hit and severely damaged a glass window. The other two stones had hit the metal gate. No severe damage has been reported due to the attack,” more..

Pillay warns Sri Lanka over reprisals

Mar 23 (SL) The High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay today warned that there must be no reprisals against Sri Lankan human rights defenders in the aftermath of yesterday’s adoption by the Human Rights Council of a resolution on Sri Lanka. During this Human Rights Council session, there has been an unprecedented and totally unacceptable level of threats, harassment and intimidation directed at Sri Lankan activists who had travelled to more..

India should forget Sri Lanka’s China and Pakistan bogeys

Mar 23 (FP) Since India’s vote supporting the resolution against Sri Lanka at the UNHRC that called for promotion of reconciliation and accountability for alleged violations of International law, the predominant Delhi-centric analyses have been that India has committed an awful blunder. The most common arguments that emerged from the conventional geo-political logic, that completely failed to see the political and public sentiments in Tamil Nadu, as well as the more..

Sri Lanka mulls 10-yr sovereign bond

Mar 23 (LBO) Sri Lanka is considering issuing a 10-year sovereign bond when its debut 500 million five-year dollar bond matures this year, Treasury secretary P B Jayasundera said. The debut bond was meant to help the private and banks go for longer maturity funding, he told a news conference. The treasury is also looking at issuing a bigger bond worth 750 million or even one billion dollars when the initial bond matures and is refloated, he said. If so, about three billion more..