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Samit Patel's Sri Lankan sauna test

Mar 24 (CI) Samit Patel will already have come to regard Sri Lanka as his personal sauna. Instead of a simple pine-stripped room, his sauna comes with palm trees and an ocean view, but the effect will be much the same. It is here, in the sapping heat of Galle and Colombo, that Patel might be about to discover whether he has the stuff to become an England Test cricketer. April on the west coast of Sri Lanka is the most draining of months and April is almost upon us. more..

Sri Lanka warns India may face repercussions

Mar 24 (Xinhua) Sri Lanka on Saturday warned that India may face repercussions over its decision to vote in favor of a resolution on Sri Lanka at the UNHRC in Geneva. Govt spokesman Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena told a gathering at a public event that some countries or groups may use the vote on Sri Lanka as a precedence to bring a resolution on India over the dispute in Kashmir. However the minister said Sri Lanka was mindful that the Indian govt was more..

Ex-Maldivian president briefs diplomats in Sri Lanka

Mar 24 (Haveeru) Former President Mohamed Nasheed today called for a public referendum to determine the legitimacy of the new govt. After meeting with diplomats here in Colombo, Nasheed told journalists that he was ready to face a referendum on the legitimacy of his successor Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan Manik. "The referendum question can be framed to determine the legitimacy of the [new] govt," he said at the end of his visit to Sri Lanka, his first travel abroad since his resignation. more..

Unborn foetus beaten to death by dad

Mar 24 (CT) A tragic story is reported from Rattota, Ehelagasttenna in which a father, who could not afford to raise a second child conceived by his wife, forcefully aborted the foetus by repeatedly hitting on his wife’s enlarged abdomen. The 25-year-old woman who had undergone this ordeal complained to the Rattota Police about the incident that took place on 20 March. Due to the family’s extreme poverty, the husband refused to bring up another child, the Police said. more..

'India made all efforts to balance UN resolution on Sri Lanka war crimes'

Mar 24 (IBN) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday offered Sri Lanka an olive branch explaining India's vote against it at the UNHRC. The PM in his letter said that Delhi made every effort to ensure the resolution was balanced. The PM said that it is India's conviction that a meaningful devolution package would lead towards a lasting political solution. "I had instructed our delegation to remain in close contact with its Sri Lanka more..

Muddied waters

Mar 24 (TW) For the past couple of weeks, offices of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President Mahinda Rajapaksa of Sri Lanka have been communicating intensely with each other. Rajapaksa sent his close aide Bandula Jayasekara to New Delhi, where he held discussions with National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon. Sources say that the Sri Lankan president was informed beforehand of India's decision to side with the resolution of the UN Human Rights Council targeting Sri Lanka's alleged human rights more..

ICG reports detail the militarisation in Sri Lanka’s North

Mar 24 (wsws) The Brussels-based think tank, the International Crisis Group (ICG), released two reports on March 16—Sri Lanka’s North 1: The Denial Of Minority Rights, and Sri Lanka’s North II Rebuilding Under The Military—that expose the extent of the permanent military occupation of the country’s Northern Province after the defeat of the separatist LTTE in May 2009. The reports indirectly expose many of the false claims made by President Mahinda Rajapakse and his govt that more..

England fans in Sri Lanka fume over them-and-us tickets

Mar 24 (Guardian) Galle may provide one of the most attractive venues for Test cricket in the world, but there are many disenchanted English supporters in the town, their anticipation of the Test series dented by much confusion over the ticketing arrangements. First they learned of a two-tier system of ticketing, 5,000 rupees (about £25) for visitors, a fraction of that price for locals. This is far more expensive than previous tours. more..

'Sri Lanka should re-think economic ties with India'

Mar 24 (PTI) A coalition partner in the Sri Lankan govt said that Colombo should stop according any preferential trade treatment to New Delhi, two days after India voted in favour of a UNHRC resolution against it. "We should not grant favours to countries merely because they are our neighbours. India was the only Asian country that sided with the US. "Whenever we (Sri Lanka) take a decision we are always concerned how it would affect India", Udaya Gammanpila, more..

Jayawardene puts faith in spin

Mar 24 (ESPN) Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene is looking to follow Pakistan's lead by taking England down with spin. The world's number one Test side were defeated 3-0 in the United Arab Emirates as Pakistan duo Saeed Ajmal and Abdur Rehman exposed a weakness against slow bowling. They have since worked hard on their technique against spin and will get the chance to confront their demons when the first of two Tests gets under way in Galle on Monday. Slow left-armer Rangana Herath and more..

India feels Lanka has done very little on devolution of power

Mar 24 (ANI) India has said that it decided to vote in favour of the U.S.-sponsored UNHRC resolution against Sri Lanka on the alleged war crimes issue, because it felt Colombo has done very little on devolving political power to Sri Lankan Tamils. Sources said that New Delhi believes there is a dichotomy prevailing in Sri Lanka i.e. that on the one hand, Sri Lanka has done a great deal for rehabilitating Tamils, but has done very little in terms of more..

Editorial: Deeds are mightier than words

Mar 25 (SO) The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) sessions in Geneva brought into sharp focus who Sri Lanka’s real friends are. Although Sri Lanka could not muster enough votes to shoot down the US Resolution at the UNHRC, it helped Sri Lanka identify countries which would stand by us in a crisis. Apart from the friendly countries which had supported Sri Lanka during the 2006-2009 humanitarian operation, the country has now won new friends too. more..

Editorial: Violation of national sovereignty or protection of sovereignty of the people?

Mar 25 (SL) Let not the Rajapaksa govt and its supporters pooh-pooh the Resolution adopted at the UNHRC on alleged war crimes committed by the govt. The Resolution was adopted by the 47 member council by 28 to 15 with 8 abstentions and it is a serious indictment against the govt that could have a severe bearing on the future of the country. We hope govt apologists will not give juvenile interpretations to the voting such as adding more..

'Police and land powers should remain with Central Govt'

Mar 25 (SO) Minister Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena said it is premature to comment on the consequences of the US sponsored resolution against Sri Lanka which was passed at the UNHRC on Thursday. He said we will have to wait and see its implications. Minister said there was nothing in the resolution that would help the Tamil community to fulfil their aspirations. This resolution is a result of political pressure mounted on Sri Lanka. more..

Editorial: Arrest this thug!

Mar 25 (NS) A few years ago, a man called Poddala Jayantha was abducted. He was found not too long after that. His abductors had assaulted him and caused him grievous harm. A journalist and an advocate for media freedom, Poddala Jayantha was also a man with a poor track record when it comes to accountability, integrity and honesty. This is evident in ‘the lack of clarity’ in well documented transactions associated with media advocacy organizations. Poddala Jayantha, however, , has never been charged with wrongdoing by those who ought to have. more..

Editorial: Despicable, deplorable, dastardly

Mar 25 (LB) There is something that can be said without equivocation whatsoever about the aftermath of Geneva UNHRC – this is one of the most despicable, deplorable, crude and petty-minded ganging up by institutionalized state, non-state and other noteworthy actors of the international community of nations ever, against one small country – and her delegation to a UN session, in the history of the body. The details would follow about the sessions and the minutiae connected more..

'I reduced fuel, energy costs by 15%'

Mar 25 (NS) The ‘Heta Venuwen Ada’ national electricity conservation programme was launched island-wide Tuesday. The following is an interview with Minister Champika Ranawaka regarding how he intends to change Sri Lanka’s electricity consumption habits for the better. Q: Did the recent hike in fuel prices make a major influence on electricity generation? A: Yes. The rise in the prices of petrol, diesel, and kerosene caused much distress to the citizens. more..

Editorial: The Geneva vote

Mar 25 (Island) After the voting in Geneva, a Sri Lankan who had lived in that city and worked for many years within the UN system remarked that "even we could have voted for that resolution; India has ensured that." There is a great deal of substance in that observation. By ensuring that any UN action on the internal situation here, or UN special procedures as they are called, "should be in consultation with and with the concurrence of the Sri Lanka govt," it has been ensured that UN agencies and more..

Editorial: Reassess foreign and domestic policies

Mar 25 (ST) Thursday's vote at the UNHRC in Geneva pitted Sri Lanka against the world's most formidable powerhouse, the United States. It stretched that super-power to the limit. The US sponsored resolution received the slimmest of majorities - just a solitary vote (24 out of 47), but it ended with Sri Lanka now in the dock of the world community. Could this have been averted? It was the second attempt by the US, after the botched resolution soon after the defeat of more..

Huge credibility issue of Rajapaksa presidency is that no one believes them anymore

Mar 25 (DBS) Since 1983, the Sri Lankan state struggled to defeat the Tamil insurrection, because India and most of the Western democracies were sympathetic to the Tamil cause, and the Sinhalese were always perceived as the oppressors from the days of Sinhala only. India armed and extended training facilities to Tamil militant groups. Tamil rebels were also trained in Lebanon. more..

War on diplomatic terror has just begun

Mar 25 (NS) The passage of the United States sponsored resolution against Sri Lanka in Geneva on Thursday marks not only the culmination of a protracted diplomatic offensive against the country, but also a defining moment that will mould the country’s international relations in the near future. The passage of the United States sponsored resolution against Sri Lanka in Geneva on Thursday marks not only the culmination of a protracted diplomatic offensive against the country, but also a defining moment that will mould the country’s more..

A new political combine in the offing

Mar 25 (NS) As widely expected, the US-sponsored resolution on Sri Lanka tabled before the 19th sessions of the UNHRC in Geneva was adopted with 25 member states voting for it and 15 against and nine abstentions. The United States could score this victory largely thanks to the proactive role played by US State Secretary Hillary Clinton. The US had initially planned to get another friendly country to move the resolution. However, the US, it appears, had later decided to more..

Geneva Resolution: What next?

Mar 25 (NS) The US sponsored resolution on Sri Lanka was adopted at the UNHRC in Geneva on Thursday. Twenty four countries voted for the resolution, 15 against and eight abstained. Both sides battled hard, but the US might finally prevailed. The most significant of the proceedings was India’s voting in favour of the resolution. While the government claimed it was a case of “Might prevailing over Right”, the fact remains that the resolution has more..

Damage control after the Geneva fallout

Mar 25 (Island) Well, what the events of last week showed was that there is something called talking too soon. The present columnist said the Americans were going to lose the vote, but they won. This is undoubtedly the biggest foreign policy victory achieved by the USA in recent times and perhaps Robert O.Blake and the other Sri Lanka baiters in the State Department should be congratulated for being able to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. How close a call this was to the USA can be gauged from more..

First salvo against MR’s administration fired at UNHRC

Mar 25 (SL) The 19th session of the UNHRC in Geneva that concluded last week is the first step by the international community to hold the Sri Lankan govt accountable for its action. The passing of the US backed Resolution sent a strong signal to the govt that it will only achieve lasting peace through real reconciliation and accountability and that international community is standing by ready to help. The defeat experienced by the Mahinda Rajapaksa administration at more..

Kumar Gunarathnam back on the block

Mar 25 (LB) The breakaway faction of the JVP is set to launch a new party on April 9 at a convention at the Sugathadasa Indoor Stadium. LAKBIMAnEWS met Senadeera Gunathilake, aka Opatha, one of the most senior leaders of the new party to discuss their strategy, the challenges ahead and whether the illusive Kumar Gunarathnam or Kumar Mahattaya will make an appearance during the convention. Q: Why did you choose April 9th to launch the party and what is the name? more..

Geneva debacle: ‘Patriots versus traitors’ game in House once again

Mar 25 (ST) Hours before the UNHRC voted on the resolution against Sri Lanka in Geneva last Thursday, Govt MPs, wearing black armbands and carrying placards, staged a protest in front of Parliament building, to express their opposition at the moves to interfere in the “internal affairs of the country”. “Hands off Sri Lanka”, “Defeat the international plot against President Mahinda Rajapaksa”, read some of the placards the MPs carried. Inside the Chamber later that afternoon, more..

5th column: To be judged a sinner by hypocrites

Mar 25 (ST) My Dear Obama, David Cameron and Manmohan,I thought I must write to you after the three of you ganged up on us and passed that resolution about war crimes at the United Nations. I guess you must be celebrating now after trying to bully our little country which each of you did for different reasons of your own. Obama, you thought of moving this resolution against us because America is now the only superpower in the world and you believe the rest of more..

Treasury plan to tackle the media

Mar 25 (ST) Sri Lanka's Treasury which has maintained secrecy on the country's financial affairs as a long standing practice suddenly opens its eyes this week to disseminate information on the economic situation among the public through media providing an opportunity for journalists to gather news from top officials. Treasury Secretary Dr. P. B. Jayasundera, the govt's top bureaucrat who normally evades journalists due to pressure of work at the hot seat, more..

Rage in Colombo, post Geneva

Mar 25 (LB) In Colombo, the air is thick with anger. Defeated in Geneva, at the UNHRC, the govt is on the offensive. State controlled media have modelled themselves after notorious Rwandan hate radio, RTLM, that whipped up racial animosity, prologue to the Rwandan genocide. Some private media commentators have followed suit. They, of course, have a following (just like the Rwandan hate radio did.) And the state television has described journalists as traitors and accused them of "betraying the motherland." more..

Promoting National Reconciliation through LLRC recommendations

Mar 25 (Island) Jean Arasanayagam and Anne Ranasinghe are two of Sri Lanka’s most accomplished writers and poets. Despite their last names, neither of them is Tamil or Sinhalese. But both have written extensively on violent conflicts. Arasanayagam was a witness to the pogroms against the Tamils in Sri Lanka and Ranasinghe was a witness to both the pogroms in Sri Lanka as well as the holocaust against the Jews by Hitler’s Nazis. Their poems therefore are written with feeling more..

The CFL bulb: A double edged sword

Mar 25 (ST) The widespread use of CFL bulbs in the country is increasing. The bulb is also being widely promoted as a means of lowering light bills. However there is a downside to the use of this bulb, if correct procedures in its disposal are not followed. A lack of public awareness and the absence of an organized system to collect used CFL bulbs could pose a health hazard in the future. If CFL bulbs are not disposed off correctly it can harm the more..

Power conservation – LG bodies respond positively

Mar 25 (SO) The Local Govt Ministry has responded positively to the Govt’s ‘Electricity Conservation Program’ by directing all local bodies to switch off additional street lights and refrain from using high voltage street lights. Accordingly, local authorities countrywide have taken steps not only to switch off additional street lights and replace low voltage street bulbs, but also to keep a close tab on street lights kept on even after 6.00 a.m. Most employees in more..

CSCL to resume Colombo-Tuticorin ferry service

Mar 25 (SO) The Ceylon Shipping Corporation Ltd (CSCL), the national carrier of Sri Lanka will resume the passenger service between the ports of Colombo and Tuticorin in India after considering operational, commercial and financial proposals that have been presented by three reputed companies to operate the service shortly. The passenger ferry service launched by an Indian operator Ms Flemingo Liners Ltd in June last year was suspended in November, due to technical reasons. more..

'Govt ready to face challenges'

Mar 25 (SO) Since terrorism was eradicated, peace, national integration, political stability and sound economic management have fortified Sri Lanka to defeat any challenges. Consequently, the national development project, one project for each village linking every village could be launched, said Minister Basil Rajapaksa. Time and again we faced various challenges. Some countries tried to deny the GSP plus facility when we were in a critical phase economically. more..

Faulty footboard on train leads to death of youth

Mar 25 (LB) The loss of a young life – that of a youth who fell from a train on the railway track near the Veyangoda railway station on March 17 is being mourned by the people of the area. The injury sustained by Sameera Prasad Asuraman (24), a resident of Elupitiya, Veyangoda, resulted in the lower half of his body being severed. Sources who had known the youth said that an hour before his death he had spoken to a relative and had requested that his mother and sisters more..

IPC (former NPC) is now a toothless commission

Mar 25 (LB) While the National Police Commission (NPC) has been re-established as the Independent Police Commission (IPC), informed sources said that the IPC is not positioned to take any authoritative decisions in the course of its functions. These sources added that the IPC has become a toothless commission as it has not been mandated to grant promotions to police officers or effect transfers while the NPC, as it had functioned in the past, was empowered to carry out more..

Milk companies threaten to stop imports

Mar 25 (ST) Milk food traders have threatened to halt imports and close down packaging factories if the Govt does not allow a price increase. Hit by the declining rupee value, importers say the decision by the Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) not to allow a Rs 15 price increase for a 400 gram pack, was adding to their losses. A senior CAA official said a letter was sent to milk powder importers on Monday informing them to maintain the price level which prevailed on May 2 last year. more..

Minister ignorant about health sector - ACHSU

Mar 25 (CT) The All Ceylon Health Service Union (ACHSU) alleged that Minister Maithripala Sirisena is ignorant about the health sector. The General Secretary of the ACHSU Gamini Kumarasinghe told Ceylon Today that though the Minister of Health has promised heads of all vital health trade unions that positive measures would be taken to address their grievances for many years, almost none of them have been addressed. “We have been meeting the Minister, the Deputy Minister and more..

Attack on lawyer condemned

Mar 25 (CT) Senior Attorney at Law Thirantha Walaliyadda commenting with regard to the attack on Attorney at Law Sumith Silva who was appearing on behalf of the suspects in the murders of the two monks said that the law and order situation in the country was deteriorating. According to Walaliyadda, those who attacked lawyer Sumith Silva while appearing on behalf of his client at the Gangodawila Magistrate Court on Friday should immediately be taken to task. more..