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Editorial: Control drug prices, consultation fees

Mar 27 (DM) With the rupee value plunging and the cost of imported items soaring, the Govt needs to move fast and effectively to curb prices of vital imported items like medicinal drugs. For more than seven years, the Govt has given various reasons or excuses for delaying a comprehensive National Medicinal Drugs Policy (NMDP) through which quality drugs could be made available to all people at affordable prices. Instead of cost-effective drugs we have only been given an more..

Some Lankans have joined hands with maoists: Ashok

Mar 27 (PTI) The Karnataka government has come to know that Sri Lankan nationals have joined hands with a small group of Maoists operating in forests of Western Ghats, state Home Minister R Ashok said today. "..We have come to understand that some Sri Lankan nationals, along with a group from neighbouring Andhra Pradesh, have joined hands with 25-30 Maoists operating in Chikamagalur, Udupi, Shimoga and Dakshina Kannada," he said in the Legislative Council. more..

'Nearly 70 pc marriages below age of 25 fail'

Mar 27 (Island) A Health Ministry study has revealed that 70 percent of the marriages below the age of 25 fail due to low education levels and economic reasons. A majority of those marriages took place against the wishes of parents who disowned them. "Parents should be considerate towards their children and help them achieve economic stability under such circumstances as more often than not their income is very low." more..

No-confidence motion a lie - GMOA

Mar 27 (CT) Govt Medical Officers Association (GMOA) General Secretary Dr. Chandika Epitakaduwa asserted that a no-confidence motion was not moved against the President of the GMOA during the last General Committee meeting. He said that reports of a no-confidence motion being leveled against Dr. Anurudhdha Padeniya that were published in certain newspapers were completely false. “These news reports were published without any evidence. more..

Minister says Caritas wants anarchy

Mar 27 (UCAN) Caritas yesterday dismissed allegations from a senior cabinet minister accusing the Church’s social arm of involvement in a major conspiracy to create anarchy within the country. Minister Maithripala Sirisena said Caritas members had organized recent farmers’ protests and had gone to the UNUNHRC in Geneva to speak against the govt ahead of the war crimes resolution made last week. “Caritas provided buses for the farmers to go to the protests and gave them food as well,” said Sirisena, more..

Sri Lanka hold edge after spinners' day

Mar 27 (CI) Rangana Herath exposed England's failings against spin bowling once more as Sri Lanka took a firm grip on the first Test in Galle. Seventeen wickets fell in the day as the batsmen of both sides struggled to play the turning ball and set up the prospect of a three-day finish. The match is not over. England's bowlers - excellent as ever - fought back with five wickets in the evening session but a first innings deficit of 125 should prove decisive more..

Sri Lanka use their heads to press for victory

Mar 27 (CI) Chanaka Welegedera was involved in an action-packed opening over to the second day as Sri Lanka added 16 runs. It included two boundaries off the bat - a flayed edge over the keeper and a crunching pull - and two sets of four leg-byes. The second of those came when a bouncer from James Anderson took Welegedera flush on the helmet and Graeme Swann couldn't gather it at second slip. It was a glancing header that would not have looked out of place in the more..

Christian religious and civil society call for end to hate campaigns in Sri Lanka

Mar 27 (AN) Christian religious, activists, journalists, academics and civil society organizations have called on the government of Sri Lanka to stop the hate campaigns and protect human rights defenders. In recent days, in fact, inside and outside the country there have been several demonstrations against the approval of the resolution of the UNHRC on War Crimes in Sri Lanka. Minister of Public Relations and Mervyn Silva has threatened to "break the legs" of more..

'We all want an end to LTTE terror, but not in a way that kills thousands of civilians'

Mar 27 (CT) “Ambassador subsequently spoke to senior advisor, Basil Rajapaksa and sought to convince him of the need for time to persuade the LTTE to surrender peacefully. Rajapaksa responded that so far the UN had not broached the idea of a Special Envoy. Further, he asked how we could know that the LTTE wouldn’t take the envoy hostage? Or that Prabhakaran would agree to meet? He said the GSL would need firm commitments on these issues before more..

Sri Lanka rupee inches up on inflows, remittances

Mar 27 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's rupee closed marginally firmer on Tuesday on exporter dollar conversions and inflows from worker remittances, and as April seasonal importer demand declined to ease depreciation pressure, dealers said. The rupee inched up to close at 129.80/130.00 a dollar from Monday's close of 130.00/130.10. It hit a record low of 131.60 on Mar. 19, mainly due to importer demand for greenbacks for the upcoming April festive season. more..

Rs. 91,000 m debt to CPC from state institutions

Mar 27 (SM) State institutions owe nearly Rs. 91,000 million to the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation for the fuel they have obtained on credit during 2011. The Ceylon Electricity Board alone has borrowed Rs. 72,000 m worth of fuel from the CPC in that year. In this light, the CPC has been forced to obtain a Rs. 53,000 m loan on a 2.5 per cent annual interest from the Ceylon and People’s Banks to continue with its functions. Officials of the CPC were not available for comment. more..

'Media using me to increase sales'

Mar 27 (DM) Minister Mervyn Silva today said that if the media wants to use his name to increase their sales by spreading rumours about him, then so be it. “I heard that the SLFP Central Committee is going to take a decision against me. However, I have not yet been formally informed about it. The media is giving publicity to the rumors to increase their sales. If they could sell Mevyn Silva, so be it. As a man from the south I will fight against any move to more..

Opening remarks for TIFA by U.S. embassy chargé d’Affaires Valerie Fowler

Mar 27 (USE) It is terrific to join the Govt of Sri Lanka and our delegation from Washington, led by Assistant USTR Michael Delaney, for the tenth annual round of our official TIFA talks. These talks help us resolve bilateral trade issues and strengthen our bilateral economic ties. I particularly appreciate the participation of Secretary Collure and Ambassador Wickramasuriya. Both have worked hard on advancing our bilateral trade issues for years, with more..

Archaeological sites out of bounds for EPC

Mar 27 (DM) The government has stopped the Eastern Provincial Council (EPC) from gaining control over archeological sites in the province. After studying the draft proposals prepared by the EPC, a Parliamentary Committee had informed the provincial council that it was inconsistent with the constitution as it was a subject mentioned in the reserved list of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution. "Archaeological Remains Development Statute of the Eastern province," more..

Take a definite stand on LLRC-UNP

Mar 27 (DM) The main opposition UNP today said that the govt must take a definite stand on the resolution and on the recommendations of the LLRC. UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake said that Minister Nimal Siripala De Silva gave an assurance to Parliament that the LLRC recommendations would be implemented but has now recanted what he said then by saying the government will only implement the recommendations which it could agree to. more..

Sri Lankan farmers demonstrate for a higher rice price

Mar 27 (wsws) Thousands of rice farmers have held protests in recent weeks at Eppawala, Thambuththegama, Polonnaruwa and Hingurakgoda in the North-Central Province, Batticaloa in the east, and Dambulla in the Central Province, to demand a higher guaranteed price for their crop. The demonstrations, which are expected to spread to other areas of the country, took place despite the government and media slandering farmers as part of a “conspiracy of wheat flour companies more..

Have England’s batsmen learned nothing?

Mar 27 (Yahoo) The way England ended the second day of the first Test in Galle - taking five wickets to peg Sri Lanka back - belied the dejected faces in the camp earlier in the day after yet another failure with the bat. Rangana Herath exposed England's failings against spin bowling once more as the Sri Lankan spinner claimed six wickets and took his standing ovation at the end of the innings, only thinly veiling his own disbelief at the gifts he received. Seventeen wickets fell in the day as the batsmen of both sides struggled more..

'No one can touch me as long as Rajapaksas are in power'

Mar 27 (AD) As long as Mahinda Rajapaksa is serving as the President and the family of D.A. Rajapaksa is in power, "no one can touch me,” Minister Mervyn Silva said today. “Because as a man who was raised in Medamulana, I do not do any wrong deeds. I do good deeds as much as possible. I help other people,” he said talking to media persons after taking part in religious activities at the Kelaniya Rajamaha Viharaya. more..

Avoid another resolution, urge Elders

Mar 27 (BBC) A group of world leaders formed by Nelson Mandela has urged Sri Lanka to try and avoid another showdown in the UNHRC by adhering to the recent resolution adopted by the body. Former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson told BBC that The Elders are very pleased that UNHRC adopted a resolution urging Sri Lanka to ensure a proper reconciliation process after decades of a brutal conflict. Saying that the "quite mild resolution" was not a Western sponsored one, more..

Obama picks Sison as next ambassador to Sri Lanka

Mar 27 (AD) U.S. President Barack Obama on Monday nominated Michele Sison to be ambassador to Sri Lanka and Maldives. Ambassador Michele J. Sison, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service with the rank of Minister-Counselor, is currently the Assistant Chief of Mission for Law Enforcement and Rule of Law Assistance in Baghdad, Iraq. From 2008 to 2010, she was Ambassador to the Republic of Lebanon. She was Ambassador to the UAE from 2004 to 2008 and more..

Nationalists doth protest

Mar 27 (Economist) “HILLARY CLINTON is naked! Obama is naked!” shriek the Sinhala-language graffiti across a wall in Colombo. Following their govt’s lead, many Sri Lankans are reacting angrily to the passage of an American-led initiative in the UNHRC which seeks reconciliation and accountability for war crimes that are alleged to have been committed at the end of their state’s civil war against the Tamil Tigers. Three decades of war ended in 2009 with a more..

Korea importers association signs a MOU with Sri Lanka export development board

Mar 27 (IL) A seventy-member business delegation, comprising of more than 50 Korean companies in the fields of trade, investment and tourism, led by the Korean Deputy Minister of Knowledge Economy, will be attending the Sri Lanka Expo scheduled from 28th to 31st March 2012 in Colombo. The visit is organized and coordinated by the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Korea in association with the Sri Lanka Export Development Board. The Korea Importers Association (KOIMA), more..

Sri Lanka warned against 'subsidy culture'

Mar 27 (LBO) A top Japanese economist has warned Sri Lanka of continuing a 'subsidy culture' that could retard growth and also of letting slip opportunities for closer trade ties with neighbouring India. Shinji Asanuma, a professor in the school of international and public policy, Hitotsubashi University said Sri Lanka's economic growth provided a stark contrast with Malaysia although both had similarities when they gained independence from colonial rule. more..

Players defend Galle wicket

Mar 27 (CI) Games dominated by bowlers make for the most absorbing contests in Test cricket and the opening two days of this match have been compelling viewing for those inside the Galle stadium, those watching from the Dutch Fort and the millions glued to television sets. However, one beleaguered observer was wishing that batsmen hadn't donated quite so many wickets so cheaply. Jayananda Warnaweera, the Galle groundsman and a former more..

Fundamental rights is our business

Mar 28 (NS) It always pays to read between the lines. In fact to read. It seems a truism, but in these days of tweets and clicks, it seems we do this less and less. First comes the actual resolution passed in the UNHRC in Geneva. As I followed the vote and aftermath of celebrations on the Toronto based Diaspora group, Sri Lanka Without Borders, on Facebook – I realized that even nearly 20 hours after the vote, none of the prolific commentators there knew what they more..

Lessons from Geneva and New Delhi

Mar 28 (NS) The debate over the UNHRC attempts to prod the govt of Sri Lanka (GOSL) to speed up the reconciliation process has been accusatory; divisive; bitter and ugly. The supporters of the US sponsored resolution have been nagging in their persistence, and as if not to be outshone by something as innocuous as persistence, some GOSL spokespersons (govt office holders, diplomats and military personnel) have gone on the offensive vilifying real and imaginary villains more..

Campaign to check sexual harassment

Mar 28 (SO) The alarming number of incidents of rape in Sri Lanka was highlighted at the International Women’s Day celebrations at Temple Trees recently. At least three children are raped daily and many are sexually abused according to police reports. Around 89 percent of those who are raped are under-aged girls. The Child Development and Women’s Affairs Ministry, launched the ‘Stop Rape Now’ campaign to mark the International Women’s Day 2012. more..

Human Rights in Sri Lanka

Mar 28 (Island) A sense of outrage pervades Sri Lanka after the passing of a resolution in the UNHRC critical of that country. The chief mover of the resolution was the USA, which has become the main target of public indignation. Street demonstrations have taken place and calls made for the boycott of US goods. The resolution was passed despite strong efforts by Sri Lanka to lobby against it; large numbers of senior state functionaries were deployed for the purpose. more..

India’s action and govt’s reaction to UNHRC resolution

Mar 28 (Island) The govt attempted to make the best of a bad situation by pointing to the narrowness of its defeat at the UNHRC last week. Out of the 47 countries on the Council, 15 of them supported Sri Lanka and voted against the resolution on Sri Lanka proposed by the United States. In addition there were 8 abstentions, making a total of 23 countries that did not vote for the resolution. As this was only one less than the 24 who did vote in favour of the resolution more..

The Geneva debacle and lessons still unlearnt

Mar 28 (ST) Sri Lanka's humiliating defeat in the 'war' unsuccessfully fought in Geneva this week over the resolution brought by the United States is a textbook illustration of the combined effect of arrogance, bravado and ignorance. When such disastrous combinations determine the course of our foreign policy, should we be surprised at the consequences? But still, lessons remain unlearnt. In the wake of this defeat at the UNHRC, Sri Lanka's more..

Now is the time for spring cleaning the regime

Mar 28 (LB) At the time of writing, the outcome of the voting on the US sponsored resolution at the UNHRC is not known but I can’t expect a Sunday paper to hang on till Friday morning for my copy. I have heard that the Indian Prime Minister has made a statement tilting in favour of the resolution and that Nigeria is a co-sponsor, thus splitting the African block. Reading the leaves it seems that the resolution will be carried comfortably, or defeated by a small margin. more..

Two giants, and yet we are standing...

Mar 28 (LB) when 15 countries voted against the US resolution on Promoting Reconciliation and Accountability in Sri Lanka at the just concluded UNHRC sessions, after India had stabbed this country in the back — it had to be a moral victory of sorts for the concerned nation, and that delegation from Colombo. The Indians had repeatedly announced in various forums in Geneva in the run up to the 19th sessions proper — and even while they were going on — that the Indian delegation’s more..

Obstacles to a genuine people’s movement

Mar 28 (Island) A broad national movement to fight ‘imperialist interventions’ in the country is to be formed by representatives from various sectors in the country, says a media report. The organizers were to hold a seminar at the Public Library Auditorium on the theme to defeat imperialist interventions in the country?" The initiative, no doubt, is timely and praiseworthy. Any national movement to promote national aspirations or combat threats to more..

Arrest This Thug!

Mar 28 (CT) 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, more..

Editorial: The post-Geneva hullabaloo

Mar 28 (Island) The govt stands accused of managing the country's international affairs exactly the way Minister Mervyn Silva handles political affairs in his constituency, Kelaniya. We have the whole caboodle of ruling party politicians and their lackeys including those who do not know the UNHRC from the UNHCR tucking up their sarongs, bellowing rhetoric and hurling abuse at the countries that voted for the US-sponsored resolution against Sri Lanka. They are babbling about more..

No conflict between myself and Minister Samarasinghe–G.L. Peiris

Mar 28 (TC) Minister Prof. G.L Peries yesterday stated that he could not condone the statements made by a government Minister that who claimed that he would clamp down on journalists and human rights activities, who had travelled to Geneva. On Friday Minister of Public Relations Mervyn Silva stated that he will break the limbs of some journalists, who have gone abroad and made various statements against the country, more..

Herath now our No. 1 - Mahela

Mar 28 (CI) Sri Lanka's captain Mahela Jayawardene has said that his left-arm spinner Rangana Herath has taken over the mantle of Sri Lanka's No. 1 bowler following his six-wicket haul against England on the second day of the first Test at Galle. "Ever since Murali retired Rangana has been our No. 1 spinner and he has now taken the mantle of being the No. 1 bowler as well," said Jayawardene in praise of his largely unsung spinner whose bowling effort has placed Sri Lanka with a chance to force victory. more..

The Laguages of Sri Lanka:A Model for national unity

Mar 28 (Island) Some countries are predominantly monolingual. Perhaps England, Japan, France, Germany and Thailand could, subject to some qualifications, be placed in this category. Some other countries appear to be predominantly bilingual, again subject to some qualifications. This category could include Sri Lanka, Scotland, Belgium and Spain. Many other countries are unambiguously multilingual. India and South Africa and the former Soviet Union are more..

Plight of journalists in Sri Lanka worsens after Geneva UNHRC Resolution-CPJ

Mar 28 (DBS) The sorry situation faced by Journalists in Sri Lanka has seemingly worsened after the US sponsored resolution was passed by 24 to 15 at the UNHRC in Geneva on March 22nd. Bob Dietz, coordinator of Asia Program at media watchdog Committee for Protection of Journalists (CPJ) has written three blogs on the Sri Lankan situation for the CPJ website. Dietz has reported across the continent for news outlets more..

Wheels within wheels?

Mar 28 (FT) CWC Leader and Minister Arumugam Thondaman threw a curveball at the Govt when he suddenly decided to resign from his portfolio. Given that ministers would rather deny their mistakes till they are blue in the face, sometimes with barefaced lies, rather than give up their ministerial post, this development came as a surprise to many. The Minister was in dispute over the reinstatement of the NLDB Chairman, who he claimed had been removed due to charges of corruption. more..