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Govt. to probe allegations against Central Bank

Mar 23 (DM) The govt agreed in Parliament yesterday to probe the allegation that the Central Bank had imported currency notes instead of awarding contracts to Thomas De La Rue Lanka Ltd. established for the purpose. UNP MP Ravi Karunanayake raised this issue in Parliament during the oral question time, and said the Central Bank had violated the Cabinet procedure by importing currency notes printed elsewhere. He said that he had enough and more evidence to more..

3 HR activists remain committed to their ideals, goals, despite attacks

Mar 23 (SM) Three Sri Lankan human rights activists, who have come under severe attack by the Sri Lankan govt and the state media, say that they remain committed to their ideals and to goals of defeating impunity and building a strong system of justice and accountability for human rights violations, whether committed in the past or in the present. “For us, whether there is a Resolution on Sri Lanka at the UNHRC or not, our work to defend human rights in Sri Lanka must, and will, go on,” more..

Will India's vote drive Sri Lanka closer to China?

Mar 23 (IANS) India has made it clear to Sri Lanka that its vote on the US-backed resolution was aimed at speeding up the reconciliation process in the island nation, but the move has sparked speculation whether it was a strategic misstep that could drive Colombo closer to Beijing. Given strong domestic political sentiments in Tamil Nadu over alleged atrocities against Tamils during Sri Lanka's war on Tamil Tigers that ended in 2009, India's options on the resolution at more..

Mathews out of Sri Lanka squad after failing fitness test

Mar 23 (Reuters) Sri Lanka all-rounder Angelo Mathews failed a fitness test on Friday and was left out of the 14-member squad picked for the first cricket test against England in Galle starting on Monday. Mathews missed the Asia Cup because of a calf muscle injury and selectors picked middle-order batsman Chamara Silva to make up the squad. "I don't think we can use Mathews as an all-rounder in the future," more..

Sri Lanka launches 14000 livelihood projects under "One Project for One Village"

Mar 23 (GDI) Sri Lankan President today launched the Gama Neguma programme which introduces "One Project for One Village" to increase the livelihood of the people, on Friday morning at Wevita Maithri Vidyalaya in Bandaragama. Simultaneously the programme was launched in more than 14000 villages throughout the country. It is implemented under the 'Gama Neguma' National development programme, which comes under the purview of Ministry of Economic Development. more..

President instructs to expedite purchase of medicines

Mar 23 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has instructed to implement the Cabinet decisions on purchase of medicines expeditiously. He has instructed the relevant sections to prepare a mechanism to purchase medicines the public require while exploring the possibilities to locally produce some of the commonly used medicines. The President gave these instructions at a meeting with the officials of the State Pharmaceutical Corporation, and the Ministries of Finance and Health. more..

Mervyn threatens to break limbs of journos

Mar 23 (DM) Minister Mervyn Silva warned that he will break the limbs of some journalists, who have gone abroad and made various statements against the country, if they dare to set foot in the country. “I’m the one who chased one of those journalists ‘Poddala Jayantha’ out of this country. I will break the limbs of all these journalists, in public if they dare to set foot in the country” the Minster warned. Speaking at a demonstration against the resolution against Sri Lanka more..

HRW says UN rights council vote on Lanka is a strong message for justice

Mar 23 (ANI) The UNHRC's adoption of a resolution on Sri Lanka demonstrates strong international support for accountability for abuses committed in Sri Lanka's armed conflict, Human Rights Watch said. The resolution passed the council by a vote of 24 to 15, with 8 abstentions. Member countries voting for the resolution included India, Nigeria and the United States. "The Human Rights Council's vote demonstrates broad international more..

Prasanna Jayawardene, Randiv back for Sri Lanka

Mar 23 (CI) Wicketkeeper Prasanna Jayawardene and offspinner Suraj Randiv have returned to the Sri Lanka Test squad for the home series against England. Both had missed the tour of South Africa late last year, Jayawardene due to an injury and Randiv as a result of being dropped. Strong performances on the domestic circuit since then have helped Randiv win his place back. In five first-class matches this domestic season, Randiv has picked up 37 wickets for Bloomfield more..

UN resolution draws mixed reaction in Sri Lanka

Mar 23 (AP) Nationalist Sri Lankan groups called Friday for a boycott of American goods to punish the U.S. for backing a U.N. resolution urging the South Asian nation to investigate possible war crimes during the final months of its civil war. But human rights groups and ethnic Tamil politicians praised the move as an opportunity for the country to build peace after a quarter-century of horrific violence. On Thursday, the UNHRC in Geneva passed a resolution more..

Time to implement LLRC - Opposition

Mar 23 (BBC) Sri Lankan opposition parties have expressed mixed views on the resolution passed against Sri Lanka in Geneva Human Rights Council on Thursday. The main opposition, UNP said that the LLRC was appointed by the president and it was not something imported. “It is a homemade solution to reconcile the divided nation, therefore there are no impediments before it to implement. But government failed to do that”, said Secretary General of the UNP, Tissa Attanayake. more..

Sri Lanka rupee edges up on thin inflows

Mar 23 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's rupee closed a tad firmer on Friday on light inflows from worker remittances and low importer dollar demand a day after the island nation's treasury secretary forecast the currency would strengthen to at least 125, dealers said. The rupee closed at 130.00/130.10 a dollar, edging up from Thursday's close of 130.10/130.30. It hit a record low of 131.60 on Monday mainly due to importer demand for greenbacks for the upcoming April festive season. more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 23.03.2012

Stricter standards

Mar 23 (Economist) Sri Lanka suffered an embarrassing defeat in the UNHRC on March 22nd. A clear majority of the council’s members backed an American-led initiative which called on Sri Lanka’s govt to account for the massive toll of civilian fatalities from the end of its long and brutal civil war in 2009. Despite an exhaustive, sometimes aggressive, Sri Lankan campaign lobbying against the initiative, the Geneva-based council’s 47 members voted by, 24 to 15, for a resolution more..

Sri Lanka rejects outside intervention despite UN's resolution

Mar 23 (Xinhua) Sri Lanka has refused to accept technical assistance from outside when addressing allegations on the violation of international humanitarian law despite the adoption of a resolution at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. Acting External Affairs Minister D.E.W. Gunasekara, in a special statement to the Sri Lankan parliament on Friday, said that the government will also not leave room for any outside intervention in Sri Lanka's domestic affairs. more..

'Dictators cannot confront pressure from imperialists'

Mar 23 (LT) Dictators and those who are straining to become dictators are unable to confront imperialists’ pressure and they are also unable to get independence and sovereignty for masses says the Leader of the JVP Somawansa Amarasinghe. He said the inability of Mahinda Rajapaksa and his govt to defend independence and sovereignty in Sri Lanka should be considered seriously. more..

Sri Lanka car imports growth tapers off

Mar 23 (LBO) Sri Lanka's car imports have begun to taper off after surging following tax cuts with sales of Malaysia's Perodua rising rapidly in a market where Japanese and Indian brands hold sway. In brand new car imports, India's Maruti/ Suzuki remained the most popular by far with registrations rising from 97 in March 2010 to 1,269 in Feb 2012, data compiled by a Colombo based stock brokerage shows. Malaysia's Perodua has emerged as the second most popular car, more..

Kevin Pietersen wary of Sri Lanka heat

Mar 23 (Independent) Kevin Pietersen believes the searing heat will be the biggest challenge facing England in their Test series against Sri Lanka, but admits his old nemesis of left-arm spin must also be tamed. England have worked hard at acclimatising to the soaring temperatures and draining humidity by training in the middle of the day but Pietersen ranks it as the most physically demanding trip of his career. He is also aware that Rangana Herath, Sri Lanka's first-choice spinner, more..

'Karunanidhi politically bankrupt'

Mar 23 (DM) Minister Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan alias “Karuna Amman” stated that Karunanidhi is using the Tamil People to stay afloat politically. “Karunanidhi and many of the Tamil Nadu politicians are today politically bankrupt. They don’t have the backing of sincere Tamil people. They are using this rejected ideal of an Eelam to rouse the Tamil people and stay afloat politically”. Earlier Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu M. Karunanidhi more..

Trilingual bus signboards

Mar 24 (GV) The 135 bus runs past my house on its way from Kohuwala to Kelaniya. There’s one particular bus which I see regularly with a trilingual nameboard (see photo): in English it says “Kelaniya-Kohuwala”; in Sinhala it says “Kelaniya-Kohuwala”; in Tamil it says “Muhaduhasooailu-Mudeelaruruhaduha”. This appears to be a random collection of Tamil letters, typed on a keyboard with the caps lock key on. Did no one else notice? We’re used to seeing English signboards more..

Don’t hold your breath for truth, justice or reconciliation

Mar 24 (GV) By the time this article is published, the votes on the hotly-contested UN Human Rights Council resolution on Sri Lanka will have been cast and counted. I am writing this as the debate over the resolutions is taking place in Geneva, and I find myself wondering if the outcome will be meaningful for the lives of hundreds of thousands of victims of our 30 year war. Don’t get me wrong – I recognise the significance of the UNHRC resolution in terms of its moral and political more..

Beeralu sustained as a cottage industry

Mar 24 (SO) The making of beeralu lace by villagers in the South commenced as a cottage industry over 600 years ago. It was during the time when the country was ruled by ancient kings and the industry became very popular and active with the arrival of the Portuguese in the 16th century. This cottage industry was thereafter developed by the Dutch who ruled the country during the 17th century. The legend says that the wives of ancient kings such as Dutugemunu, more..

whose move is it anyway?

Mar 24 (GV) The passage of the United Nations Human Rights Council Resolution on Sri Lanka raises a fundamental question: what next? When the dust settles and tempers calm, all parties concerned will be faced with the actuality that things have changed quite dramatically. This piece attempts to identify the challenges and opportunities presented by the passage of the Resolution to a number of political entities or individuals. The Sri Lankan government now faces an awkward situation. more..

Surprise yet uneven Human Rights Council conclusion

Mar 24 (CT) Human Rights Council voted yesterday (22) to criticize the Sri Lankan govt for “not adequately address[ing] serious allegations of violations of international law” when conducting its final phases of war against the liberation guerrilla army LTTE, which ended, May 18, 2009, with govt-caused massive blood baths. The resolution called upon Sri Lanka to implement its own findings and recommendations make in its report of the LLRC, but extended that call to more..

Witness protection: Path to justice

Mar 24 (NS) First thing he heard was, stones being pelted at his house. It was 2.30 am and the retired public school teacher, who was a witness in a corruption case, knew full well that his life was in danger. “I switched on the lights, but didn’t step out,” said Lionel Chandrasiri. The shots that ensued did Rs 300,000 worth of property damage. The two vehicles in his front yard as well as the front of his house had been badly damaged by the shooting. more..

India should send a strong message to Sri Lanka by voting for motion on Sri Lanka

Mar 24 (DBS) Clearly Indian govt is trying to find its famous “middle path” to make up its mind. And ‘middle path’ as per its standard operative procedure is to buy time. So we see the hapless minister, facing the flak from the media and other political parties, indulging in word play rather than answering question squarely. Allegations of Sri Lanka’s war crimes which are now firmed up in public mind — both at home and abroad –cannot be wished away by anyone. more..

When victims of mass abuse are ignored they are twice victimized

Mar 24 (TC) Human rights violations are too big to ignore, Canada and the UN now say When victims of mass abuse are ignored they are twice victimized: first by their oppressors, secondly by the world’s indifference. That’s why few failures in the field of human rights are more discouraging than the old double standard of favouring one set of victims over another. Just ask the ethnic Tamil’s of Sri Lanka. In the past three years they’ve absorbed brutality, military defeat more..

Walking with the dead

Mar 24 (CT) A spooky yet fascinating spot of Colombo, which was established in 1840 and is the last resting place of one of the world’s best selling science fiction writers – Arthur C. Clarke who made Sri Lanka his home for over fifty years. The cemetery is located along three roads – Elvitigala Mawatha and Bauddhaloka Mawatha (formerly Bullers Road) where they meet at a large roundabout, and Model Farm Road at the rear. The best place to start a graveyard walk is more..

Editorial: After Geneva

Mar 24 (Island) No sooner had the US resolution on Sri Lanka been passed than the UNP asked the govt to get cracking with the LLRC recommendations. Addressing the media yesterday morning, UNP spokesman Lakshman Kiriella warned that non-compliance on the part of the govt would pave the way for an international probe. He is known for crying wolf, which seems to be his favourite pastime, and one may not take his prophesies seriously. But, the general consensus in this country is that more..

War Crimes: Bales of US Accountability

Mar 24 (Island) Geneva has had its run. All the excitement is over. If the deities whose favours were sought did not help us in the voting, the pro-LTTE Tamils abroad are also not happy at the ending. It is best not to bother with the calculations of those who believe that abstention in a vote against you is a vote for you. Such miscalculations will continue, and the deities had better be ready for further pleas for help. I continue to use Google despite my opposition to the US moves against Sri Lanka, more..

Geneva outcome 2012

Mar 24 (Island) Let’s learn the right lessons from the Geneva outcome, not the wrong ones. It is not the case that a small country such as Sri Lanka cannot fight a diplomatic battle with the mighty USA and win. Minutes after the Sri Lanka vote at the HRC this time, the Cubans moved a resolution on the composition of the staff of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the opacity (code-named independence) of which the West regards as a holy of holies. more..

Tendulkar has all the records, but Lara is better: Murali

Mar 24 (CC) Legendary spinner Muttiah Muralitharan opines that even though Sachin Tendulkar is ahead of every batsman in terms of runs scored and centuries hit, the great West Indies batsman Brian Lara is better than him. "Statistics-wise he may be but there are better players such as Ricky Ponting while Brian Lara is the best player that has ever been. When I bowled, I always found Brian Lara difficult,” Murali said. Murali, who retired from international cricket more..

New German vocational training centre in K'chchi

Mar 24 (DN) Deputy Minister Duminda Dissanayake and German Ambassador Jens Ploetner unveiled the foundation plaque for the Sri Lankan German Vocational Training Institute in Kilinochchi. This is the largest vocational training facility in Northern Sri Lanka. Germany has committed Euros 8 million for this project, which aims to provide vocational training opportunities to young men and women from conflict affected areas. It will offer three year courses to 400 full-time students and more..

Sri Lanka Expo 2012 next week

Mar 24 (Island) Sri Lanka Expo-2012, the mega trade, investment and tourism promotion initiative will be staged from 28th to 31st March 2012 at the BMICH, Colombo under theme "Partnering with the Hub of Asia". The Expo comprises a unique combination of an international exhibition, Symposium, Business Meetings and other corporate events. "Sri Lanka Expo 2012 will be a spectacular showcase of Sri Lanka’s export quality products and services, attracting more..

Dallas cautions against hating India

Mar 24 (Island) Sri Lankans should not hate India although it supported the anti-Lanka resolution moved by of the US, Youth Affairs and Skills Development Minister Dallas Alahapperuma said. The policy of the SAARC countries was to support members when they faced an international problem. But India’s vote could be viewed as a measure taken to protect the power of the present Indian government from prevailing internal problems, he told The Island yesterday (24). more..

Sri Lanka, Pakistan ties exemplary - HC

Mar 24 (DN) Pakistan yesterday said that the relationship between Sri Lanka and Pakistan can serve as a shining example of cooperation at bilateral, regional and international levels. "We rejoice at the fact that the relationship between Sri Lanka and Pakistan is one of choice and not compulsion. It can serve as a shining example of cooperation at bilateral, regional and international levels," Pakistan High Commissioner Seema Ilhai Baloch said. Pakistan and Sri Lanka continue to maintain more..

සුනිලා අබේසේකර

Japan funds WFP’s school meal programme

Mar 24 (Island) The Government of Japan has decided to provide food grant assistance, to the value of 120 million Japanese Yen (approximately Rs. 180 million), to the Government of Sri Lanka through the World Food Program to support the ongoing School Meals Programme in the Northern Province of Sri Lanka. There is much concern about the nutritional needs of the resettled Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) especially of children in the North. more..

Public told to be vigilant

Mar 24 (CT) The National Child Protection Authority (NCPA) has called upon the general public to be more vigilant and cautious over any form of harassment that takes place against school children. Anoma Disanayake, the Chairperson of the NCP A told the Ceylon Today the story of a eleven year old girl school who escaped from a group of abductors on 21 March. She said that the little girl should be praised for her boldness.”She is a student from a leading Girl’s High School in Colombo more..

Illegal tourists on the rise!

Mar 24 (FT) Showcasing the need for vigilance, over 1,500 foreigners who remained illegally in the country after their visas expired were detected within the first two months of 2012, a top immigration official said yesterday. Controller General of Immigration and Emigration Commissioner for Registration of Persons of Indian Origin W. Perera told the Daily FT that the numbers could touch 1,700 if the March detections were added on as well. more..