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Why SLRFU and Caltex need each other

Mar 26 (SL) IT is not difficult to guess that the SLRFU intends to strike a new sponsorship deal for its premier domestic tournament this season – which is why the present sponsor of thirteen years, Caltex, has been venting its spleen to the media. The lubricant company’s worries and concerns over the Union’s move are understandable, not least because its present sponsorship doesn’t expire till 2014. So any premature termination has to be considered unethical, if not a violation of a signed agreement. more..

First they came for the “Kudu Karayas…” (with apologies to pastor Niemoller)

Mar 26 (SL) Most of those writing about the abominable state of human rights in Sri Lanka have made reference to the experience of Pastor Niemoller, the Protestant clergyman in Nazi Germany, who went through the various stages of denial in the matter of human rights violations until the Nazis came to his door and he was picked up by Hitler’s men. Incredibly, Niemoller survived his incarceration by the Third Reich. Lady luck has not smiled similarly on many of those that more..

'Resolution aimed at protecting US global interests'

Mar 26 (SO) Senior Minister D.E.W. Gunasekera said that the US-backed resolution was aimed at protecting the geopolitical and global strategic interests of the US in the changing world economic order and had nothing to do with the protection of human rights. The fact that President Mahinda Rajapaksa did not heed to international pressures to abandon the war at its last lap was also another reason for the hasty resolution, more..

Water, water, everywhere …!

Mar 26 (NS) The principal celebrants were those who call themselves the World Water Forum (WWF) a giant Corporate gathering of crooks from various parts of the world. When they met last week in Marseilles, ‘representatives’ from over a hundred govts were also there. They sure weren’t there to speak for the people they supposedly represent but for free luxury air-travel, accommodation and pocket money taken from the people to finance that excursion for R&R. The WWF set out, yet again, to tell us about water. more..

Choosing Martyrdom?

Mar 26 (NS) Two months before my father’s birth, Irish rebels fought the British Empire. My father encouraged my interest in Irish history and told me about “800 years of British oppression” and the genocide caused by Cromwell and later by the free trade dogma that allowed the 1845 famine to be so lethal. In my callow youth I wondered whether, had I lived in Ireland in the 1920s, I would have been out there fighting the British. However, even reading, when I was a child, mainstream history and popular biographies about the Easter Rising, more..

'We can defuse UNHRC resolution simply by implementing our own LLRC recommendations'

Mar 26 (DBS) Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanmuttu, political analyst and head of the Centre for Policy Alternatives, spoke to The Sunday Leader about the recently passed US backed Resolution and what it will mean to the country. He expressed his hope that this will see Sri Lanka move forward from ‘post-war to post-conflict’. Excerpts: Q: Now that the Resolution has been passed, what does this mean for Sri Lanka? more..

‘In the face of such overwhelming pressures it is still Impressive that we secured 15 votes’

Mar 26 (DBS) I was first asked by the External Affairs Ministry to go to Geneva, after a lapse of a couple of years, the night the US tabled its Resolution. The reason, I believe, was the work I had done in reconciliation, since the impression the United States and its friends were trying to create was that Sri Lanka would do nothing unless it was under pressure. This is nonsense, given the massive amounts we have done in resettlement, rehabilitation and more..

Is the UPFA sans the ruling cabal realistic?

Mar 26 (Island) Let me begin by carefully defining the distinction between the terms UPFA, govt, state, and regime, as used in this essay. UPFA is the political alliance of parties functioning inside and outside parliament and the provincial councils (PC), led by the SLFP and including the racist parties (JHU and Weerawansa), the Dead Left (LSSP, CP, DLF) and some smaller ones. Govt denotes the Cabinet of Ministers, the parliamentary majority (UPFA plus SLMC, CWC, and UNP deserters), more..

'West’s motive to form administration of separatists forces'

Mar 26 (LB) LAKBIMAnEWS reporter Sanjaya Nallaperuma met Minister Wimal Weerawansa on the recent political developments here and abroad. The minister said: “Our view is that simply because this resolution was adopted by the UNHRC in Geneva, we should not stay dormant agreeing to any of its contents.” Excerpts: Q: Sri Lanka lost the crucial vote trying to dissuade the US from adopting the resolution against us, at the UNHRC more..

Geneva 2012: The signs missed, lessons unlearnt

Mar 26 (GV) 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..

The Geneva II debacle

Mar 26 (GV) The US-sponsored resolution at the UNHRC had to be defeated. It was not. 24 in favour, 15 against, 8 abstained. Hearts are broken, glasses are shattered, the ‘gods’ have ignored our prayers, there is madness surrounding us; 2012, we are now sure, is when the world comes to an end. But that was yesterday. Today, the morning after, is once again cold; we need to pick up the pieces, mend our hearts, move on. And there are questions too: what is this resolution? How did we perform? Is it all India’s fault? Where did we go wrong? more..

New Delhi must step up pressure on Mahinda Rajapaksa to evolve a new political system

Mar 26 (DBS) Human Rights organizations and Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora have valid reasons to be jubilant about the outcome of the 19th Session of Human Rights Council held in Geneva on March 22. There was intense lobbying by the Sri Lankan Govt to defeat the US sponsored resolution to promote reconciliation and accountability in Sri Lanka. On the other hand, activists in the Tamil diaspora ceaselessly campaigned, supported by more..

Geneva has come and gone; what next?

Mar 26 (Island) The UNHRC resolution is neither a victory nor defeat for anyone. There is no regime change. The sky has not fallen on Sri Lanka. Life goes on for most people pretty much the same way it did the day before the vote. For the worst victims of the war, the vote in Geneva brings no special or immediate hope. The difference before and after Geneva, if at all, is for the govt. The implication for the govt is that it has to change direction. The import of the resolution is more..

Editorial: Hillary and quick responses

Mar 26 (Island) US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is a woman in a mighty hurry––at least where diplomatic offensives against small nations are concerned. Even before the ink on Thursday's UNHRC resolution against Sri Lanka had dried, she demanded a quick response. She called for the implementation of the 'constructive recommendations of the LLRC' and the adoption of 'necessary measures to address accountability'. more..

Economy grows 8.3% in 2011

Mar 26 (Island) The economy grew 8.3 percent in 2011 to Rs. 6,542.7 billion with the per capita income increasing by 15.5 percent to Rs. 313,511, provisional showed, with industry sector contributing more at the expense of the agriculture sector with the services sector relatively static. The annual average change in price was 7.8 percent in 2011, the highest for the last three years after dipping to 5.9 percent in 2009 from a high of 16.3 percent in 2008. more..

Sri Lanka told proper economic management key to prosperity

Mar 26 (LBO) Proper economic management is the key to prosperity, not whether a country is resource-rich or poor, a top Japanese economist has told Sri Lanka. Price stability is also necessary for development and should be considered a priority by policymakers, said Hirohisa Kohama, professor in the faculty of international relations, the University of Shizuoka. And good policy dialogue between govt and business was another key ingredient in Japan's success and more..

Mattala awaits Flydubai

Mar 26 (ST) Dubai's low-cost carrier Flydubai has affirmed its commitment to the Sri Lankan govt of flying into the upcoming Mattala airport when completed but didn't say when flights would begin. The Middle Eastern carrier was in Colombo last week to announce its increase in flight frequencies to Colombo from Dubai from 5 to 7 since March 11 this year. The airline's CEO Ghaith Al Ghaith said "we have made a commitment to fly there (Hambantota), adding that there is a need for an alternative place (to Colombo) more..

1st Test preview: No room for error in short series

Mar 26 (CI) This is an odd tour - two Tests and nothing else - but one with great significance for both sides. It is Mahela Jayawardene's first Test series since returning to the captaincy and Sri Lanka are still searching for their first series win since Muttiah Muralitharan's retirement. England, meanwhile, are coming off a 3-0 whitewash by Pakistan in the UAE, which raised questions about their No. 1 ranking. more..

Mixed system of public, private universities will benefit students - minister

Mar 26 (DN) The pioneering work of the Graduate School of Management (GSM) to offer the first international PhD programme in business and management in collaboration with the Open University Malaysia is a unique step towards developing Sri Lanka as a knowledge-hub in Asia, Minister Susil Premajayantha said. Speaking at the launching ceremony in Colombo recently, he said developing strong, independent private institutions insulated from public pressure, would help more..

Major changes in Colombo to beautify and develop the capital

Mar 26 (ST) The Sri Lankan Govt is to capitalize on the natural advantages of the historic Colombo city. The unique blend of cultures and the shared heritage of the various communities of this country must be highlighted in its urban growth, according to Defence ad Urban Development Ministry Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa. He was delivering the keynote address at Tuesday’s launch of the South Asia Region Urbanisation Knowledge platform, a high-level policy workshop more..

SLC rips off cricket fans: Lowest ticket Rs. 5,000 a day

Mar 26 (Island) Not a single day passes without Sri Lanka Cricket being in the news for the wrong reasons. In the lead up to the first Test in Galle between Sri Lanka and England, spectators, both local and foreign were virtually begging SLC to cut down on its exorbitant prices for tickets for the series. The minimum price of a ticket for a day’s play is Rs. 5000, according to SLC and a large section of nearly 4000 devoted English supporters were more..

Sayura FM celebrates first anniversary

Mar 26 (DN) Sayura FM the first FM service in the world which has dedicated itself to the fisheries community celebrates its first anniversary today. This channel provides information, knowledge and entertainment beneficial to the fisheries community and was launched by President Mahinda Rajapaksa to coincide with the opening of the Peliyagoda Central Fish Market complex. This radio channel is established according to a concept of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development Minister Dr Rajitha Senaratne. more..

'There won’t be price hikes, shortages during New Year'

Mar 26 (Island) Minister of Cooperatives and Internal Trade Jonston Fernando is confident that there will not be price increases and shortages of essential food items during the forthcoming Sinhala and Tamil New Year which falls on April 12 and 13. He told The Island that there were ample stocks of essential items in the warehouses and had even imported Dhal, Sugar, Canned fish, wheat flour, dry sprats and dry chillies to meet the demand during the festive season. more..

Govt. minister outlines home-grown solutions

Nine irrigation schemes in EP renovated

Mar 26 (DN) The Economic Development Ministry has drawn up plans to renovate nine major irrigation schemes in the Eastern province in the programme to reconstruct conflict affected areas under the Negenahira Navodaya development programme, Additional Secretary Nihal Somaweera said. He said that 90 percent of the work has been completed by now. The estimated cost for each irrigation project are the Peraru scheme - Rs 1,500 million, Morawewa-Jica Rs 225 million, more..

Rs. 300 million worth of illegally imported raw alcohol detected

Mar 26 (Island) An illegally imported consignment of 13,000 litres of rectified spirits worth Rs. 300 mn for the manufacture of liquor was taken into custody by sleuths of the Excise Department on Saturday at Malwana in Biyagama. Excise Superintendent Prasath Jayawickreme said that it was the biggest detection of illegal spirits so far. The contraband was in barrels loaded into two lorries and was being taken to a warehouse when it was detected. more..

'UNHRC resolution anti-govt, but pro-people'

Mar 26 (Hindu) Rejecting the notion that the Sinhalese community as a whole would harden its stand as a result of the resolution against Sri Lanka in the UNHRC, TNA MP M.A. Sumanthiran said that on the contrary, there was realisation that the resolution had come about because of the Sri Lankan Govt's failure to do the right things at the right time. “There is realisation that grave injustice has been done to the Tamil people and it is coming back to them. more..

Colombo censors BBC Tamil, Sinhala services

Mar 26 (TN) Sri Lankan state-run SLBC, which relays BBC's Tamil and Sinhala services in the island, avoided airing Sandeshya, the BBC Sinhala service on Sunday. In the meantime, BBC's Tamil language service 'Thamizhoasai' was jammed on Friday and Saturday. The SLBC informed the listeners to listen to the service on BBC's own website. Informed sources in Colombo told TamilNet that while the Tamil service was interrupted with jamming, the Sinhala service was not aired at more..

Mervyns’ statement should be condemned: GL

Mar 26 (DM) External Affairs Minister G.L Peiris yesterday said he could not condone statements made by a government Minister who claimed that he would clamp down on journalists and human rights activists who had travelled to Geneva. “It is wrong and there is no defense of it. I cannot condone a statement from anybody when they state they are going to resort to violence. It is clearly wrong; no right thinking person is going to defend it or justify it,” he said. more..

'UN can prove C-4 wrong'

Mar 26 (Island) The UN and INGOs deployed in Sri Lanka during Eelam war IV could help the international community to verify the validity of allegations contained in Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields: War Crimes Unpunished, Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa said. Those INGO chiefs as well as expatriate staff deployed in the Northern and Eastern Provinces should be able to reveal how the LTTE had used the civilian population in the Vanni for its protection, more..

'India’s stand in UN will not affect ties with SL'

Mar 26 (PTI) Overseas Indian Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi on Sunday said India supported the UNHRC resolution against Sri Lanka keeping in mind Tamil sentiments, but assured that it would not affect relations with Colombo. "Issues of human rights violation were moved by certain western countries before the UNHRC. Due to the Tamil issue, the Govt of India could not ignore the resolution and voted for it," Ravi told reporters on the sidelines of the diamond jubilee more..

India's support should not be forgotten - minister

Mar 26 (DN) Though India voted in favour of the US resolution at the UNHRC on alleged human rights violations due to Karunanidhi's decision, we should not forget India's support during the humanitarian operation, said Minister Dullas Alahapperuma. Addressing the certificate awarding ceremony of the youth who completed English and computer courses, he said that Karunanidhi informed the Indian govt that he will resign from the govt, if India voted against the resolution. more..

Akashi reiterates Japan's support for Sri Lanka

Mar 26 (DN) The Sri Lankan govt is making a positive initiative towards development in the North and East and commitment to the people of the region, Japan's special representative to Sri Lanka Yasushi Akashi. He said so when he met Defence and Urban Development Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa in Tokyo, Japan last week. Akashi also said Japan as a longstanding and sincere friend of Sri Lanka, will always extend its fullest support to the country. more..

Saudi govt pays compensation to stranded Sri Lankan maid

Mar 26 (AN) The Saudi govt paid SR72,000 in compensation to a stranded Sri Lankan housemaid whose Saudi sponsor had not paid her wages for the last 17 years. Kusuma Nandini, 57, who had come to Riyadh in 1994, was kept a virtual slave in the house of her employer. She was not paid her wages and was not allowed to contact anyone including her relatives back home. Nandini’s case came to light two years ago when her 25-year-old daughter complained to more..

Sirikotha attack probe report to be presented to Ranil today

Mar 26 (Island) The report on last year’s attack on UNP headquarters Sirikotha will be handed over to party leader Ranil Wickremesinghe today. The report prepared by a committee headed by UNP WPC member and President’s Counsel Srinath Perera would be presented to the Party’s Working Committee tomorrow, party sources said yesterday. Scuffles broke out at the UNP headquarters after the party voted to retain the leadership of Ranil Wickremasinghe on Dec 19, 2011. more..

Feasible LLRC recommendations will be implemented – Govt

Mar 26 (Island) The govt has decided to continue the process of implementing the recommendations made by the LLRC without the participation of the Opposition or holding a referendum on it. Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said yesterday that the govt had decided to implement those recommendations long before the international community demanded it to do so. It was wrong for some political parties and groups to interpret more..

JVP dissidents complain of discrimination against former suspended u’grads

Mar 26 (Island) More than 60 undergraduates of the Sri Jayewardenepura University yesterday blamed the university administration for delaying Mahapola and Bursary payments to them during the last two years. Representative to the Students Council Ven. Kumbullewe Chandaloka thera said that 67 students from the Management, Arts and Applied Sciences faculties had not received Mahapola or bursary payments for varying periods. more..

Hospitals run out of life saving tubes

Mar 26 (Island) Lives of Intensive Care Patients, especially children in neo-Natal ICUs approximately 300 in State-run hospitals, are at stake due to a severe shortage of Endotracheal Tubes (connected to the trachea to facilitate artificial ventilation to patients unconscious during surgery or in patients affected with respiratory failure). Although some stocks of Endotracheal Tubes are available at some hospitals, they are unusable as their shelf life has already expired. more..

Monk ignores Mahanayake’s ruling

Mar 25 (SL) The former Chief Incumbent of the Mihintala Rajamaha Viharaya has come under severe criticism for his refusal to hand over his office to his deputy. The Chief Incumbent Ven. Namalwewe Ratanasara was removed from the Chief Incumbent (CI) post on March 9, by the Mahanayake of the Malwatte Chapter Most Ven. Thibbatuwawe Sri Siddhartha Thero following his arrest for alleged child molestation. Ratanasara Thero was arrested in August last year by the Mihintale Police and more..

All at sea over whereabouts of Lankans working on foreign vessels

Mar 25 (ST) A large number of Lankan seafarers who were promised employment on cargo vessels, in return for large fees, have been duped, and instead, dumped on foreign fishing vessels, allegedly by local shipping companies, maritime and trade union officials said yesterday. The seafarers who had each paid something like Rs 140,000 and more, had been recruited by three local shipping companies their whereabouts unknown, more..