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Mahela cherishes victory over England

Mar 29 (CI) Mahela Jayawardene's manner was as unassuming as ever, but he knew the importance of Sri Lanka's Test victory against England in Galle. "This was a big win," he said. "It's been a tough period for us." Twenty months earlier, on the same ground, the ancient walls of the Dutch Fort were lit up by fireworks as Muttiah Muralitharan ended his Test career in momentous fashion, the first man to 800 Test wickets, achieved in Bollywood style: India's last pair more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 29.03.2012

2 suspects netted over lawyer attack

Mar 29 (SM) Two suspects have been arrested in connection with the manhandling of a lawyer at the Hulftsdorp court complex, ASP of Nugegoda Nishantha Soyza said. The senior police official has informed the Sri Lanka Bar Association about the arrests, as they are planning an island wide protest tomorrow against the failure of police to apprehend those responsible for the incident. The two persons under arrest – identified as Sujith Lasantha and Ranga Chinthaka more..

New party explains objectives

Mar 29 (SM) The newly-announced Frontline Socialist Party says it does not have the sole objective of contesting at elections. Explaining the party’s objectives to the media, FSP front-man Senadhira Gunatilake told the media today that they never reject the election process. He said the party hopes to fill the massive void of a party that mediates on behalf of the oppressed and them win their rights, instead of a party that issues media releases on a daily basis. more..

Plans afoot to send all-party delegation to Lanka

Mar 29 (PTI) Indian Govt plans are afoot to send an all-party delegation led by Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj to Sri Lanka in April to press for stopping all atrocities against Tamils living there and also look into their living conditions after the end of LTTE. Swaraj told reporters that the all-party delegation's visit to Sri Lanka is very much on and is tentatively scheduled from April 16 to 21. BJP has nominated more..

Resolve completes Sri Lanka wreck removal project

Mar 29 (ML) Resolve Marine Group, Inc. and its Resolve Salvage & Fire (Asia) Pte Ltd. subsidiary report that wreck removal operations at Kankesanthurai (KKS) Harbor in northern Sri Lanka have been completed. Retained by the Government of India/Shipping Corporation of India, and working on site in cooperation with the Govt of Sri Lanka and Sri Lankan Navy since June 2011, Resolve crews undertook the mapping, removal and disposition of ten vessels sunk more..

Tamil expats issued death threats

Mar 29 (CT) Several expatriate Tamils in various cities in Switzerland described as ‘anti Sri Lankan’ have been issued with death threats, according to a Swiss newspaper called ’20 Minuten’. Expatriate Tamils in Switzerland have brought to the notice of the Switzerland Federal Intelligence Agency that they have been issued with death threats in the form of letters and audio CDs saying that their anti Lankan Govt attitude would be severely dealt with according to more..

Govt yet to react to UNHCR resolution says Cabinet spokesman

Mar 29 (BBC) Sri Lanka govt has not officially announced its response to the resolution passed by the UNHCR in Geneva, says cabinet spokesman, Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena. “Govt may give its official reaction in the future”, he said answering to a question from a journalist on Thursday. He said that a statement made by Foreign Minister Prof. G.L.Pieris that the decision taken at the UNHCR will be rejected, is not the decision of the govt. more..

Devolution of police powers

Mar 30 (NS) Now coming to the question of why Police powers should not be given to the Provincial Councils, I mention two bitter experiences that India herself suffered in recent times owing to this policy. When the well known Mumbai terrorist attack happened, it took well over 12 hours for the Indian Central Govt to move its elite commandos to the scene owing to the delay in obtaining clearance from the Maharashtra State Govet. There was another incident, where Sonia Gandhi, more..

Can you blame him?

Mar 30 (NS) I wonder if it behoves me to say something about the current issue instead of being so stuck in the past and its different presentations. I could, but then there is very little emotional satisfaction to be had in holding up a spotlight to mediocrity. “To employ Pinter’s language, too many Sinhala wives and too many Sinhala children wanted peace, and so we killed as many Tamils as necessary. We just killed them. And for so many today, that’s ok.” That is Sanjana Hattotuwa more..

Naguleswaram temple stands sentinel over Jaffna

Mar 30 (SO) The ancient shrine Naguleswaram stood majestically on the northern coastline of Jaffna as a sentinel watching over the people of Jaffna for almost two millennia. Unfortunately, this impressive temple was destroyed by the Portuguese invaders in the early 17th century and its wanton destruction left hardly anything in the old site. It was Sri Arumuga Navalar who led the revival movement and helped to rebuild the temple in its more..

Western hypocrisy, our hypocrisy and human responsibility

Mar 30 (DM) Sri Lanka is in the bad books of the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada. Many other Western Nations condemn our nation for alleged human rights violations. Fascinatingly, many of these Western Nations, particularly the United States and the United Kingdom, are not themselves clear from similar accusations. United States soldiers are at this time infamous in Iraq and Afghanistan for human rights violations. The United States in particular has a more..

Headless Chicken

Mar 30 (CT) It is quite usual to employ the name of a country when referring to its government; for example, “China criticised India at such and such a forum.” However sometimes, as in this piece, it is important to avoid this usage to forestall confusion. Hence I will use ‘government’ or more precisely ‘regime’ (meaning the Rajapakse sibling cabal which is the quintessential locus of state power) in my analysis today. The resolution adopted at the UNHCR in Geneva on 22 March more..

Govt must present road map for implementing recommendations in LLRC Report

Mar 30 (DBS) The Friday Forum is an informal gathering of public spirited persons wishing to contribute to the future development of Sri Lanka within a framework of democracy, social justice and pluralism. It is in that spirit that we wish to share some of our concerns with the wider public. The Friday Forum welcomed the setting up of the LLRC and co-operated constructively by making representations before it. more..

India’s vote:What went wrong?

Mar 30 (CT) One may justifiably argue that India’s vote in favor of the US Resolution against Sri Lanka happened to be the main reason behind its adoption in Geneva. India has been regarded as the undeclared moral leader of the Global South so that the countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America usually take into note what position India holds on important global and regional issues. I am sure that India’s vote surprised Sri Lankan delegates in Geneva and India’s explanation why more..

Country has fallen from ‘Safe Zone’ into ‘Endangered Zone’ due to Indo-American resolution

Mar 30 (TC) There is a time to criticize and a time to be constructive. Country is being systematically throttled with a lasso thrown around its neck by an alien fist. Reconstruct is the proper term. Let’s stand firm and heave the wretched curse of the albatross stuck around our neck and breathe again like a free nation. Country is in the dock with the men who won the war, providing the space to inhale freely, being targeted by the West for punishment and more..

‘Shape karala ganna puluwan’ (Can fix it) plan of Govt failed in Geneva

Mar 30 (DBS) The reaction of the Rajapaksa regime to the successful US resolution at the Human Rights Council makes out the resolution to be, in effect, the first defeat suffered by the regime, its feeble efforts at damage limitation notwithstanding. Needless to say it should not have come to this. What passed for policy was “shy-making” when set against the standards set by Sri Lankan diplomats of yore who were the envy of the developed and developing world. more..

Post – conflict Sri Lanka needs Canadian R2P

Mar 30 (TC) In the wake of the world’s inaction to intervene and stop the grave human rights abuses in Rwanda and Srebrenica, and following the controversial intervention in Kosovo, the Responsibility to Protect doctrine emerged. Sri Lanka has presented us with another situation whereby the notion of sovereignty is being used to shield a state from fulfilling its obligations to its citizens. The govt of Sri Lanka continues to deny any allegations of serious human rights more..

USA adopts carrot and stick policy towards Sri Lanka to curtail Chinese influence

Mar 30 (TC) On March 22 the UNHRC meeting in Geneva passed a US-sponsored resolution on human rights violations in Sri Lanka. The toothless, non-binding resolution has nothing to do with addressing abuses in Sri Lanka but is aimed at advancing US interests in the South Asian region. The resolution urges the Colombo government to implement the recommendations of its own LLRC, to take steps “to ensure justice, equity, accountability and reconciliation.” more..

‘We opposed the resolution because of our respect for the UNHRC'

Mar 30 (DBS) In an interview with Ayesha Zuhair for the Daily Mirror, Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha, MP, Presidential Advisor on Reconciliation, discusses the resolution against Sri Lanka adopted at the 19th Session of the UNHRC. Q: Why was Sri Lanka unable to defeat the resolution brought against it at the UNHRC last Thursday? Was it because India turned against Sri Lanka due to domestic compulsions or were there other factors at play? more..

Editorial: Calculating leaders' calculated moves

Mar 30 (Island) It is being argued in some quarters that India voted with the US against Sri Lanka in Geneva recently owing to the so-called coalition compulsions and pressure from Tamil Nadu. But, Lt. Gen (Retd) Prakash Menon, Military Advisor to the National Security Council Secretariat of India, is convinced otherwise. He has said that India's vote against Sri Lanka was a 'calculated' move in the national interest, according to The Hindu newspaper. more..

What happened in Geneva?

Mar 30 (Island) On 2nd March 1815, we ceded our sovereignty to the - greatest empire at the time -The British Empire- of which it was said ‘the sun never set’. On 22nd March 2012 we were intimidated into taking the first step to cede our sovereignty to the most powerful empire of today—the US. Though separated by 200 years, these two events have many similarities, except for one. At that earlier event, the enemy was there in person, while at the latter it was only his hand that was visible. more..

Boston Lanka News: March 29, 2012

Rupee gets stronger, dealers expect trend to continue

Mar 30 (Island) The rupee made its sharpest gain against the dollar in recent times, firming up against the greenback to close at Rs. 127.80 yesterday, from the previous day’s close of Rs. 129.25/40. Currency dealers said they expect the rupee to gain further against the dollar in days to come. Exporters and BOI companies, who were largely inactive after the exchange rate was floated early February, are now converting their dollar holdings to pay salaries and bonuses more..

Tea industry hit by fuel costs

Mar 30 (BBC) Tea producers have been adversely affected by increased electricity charges and transport costs due to the fuel price hike. Ceylon Tea Traders Association (CTTA) Chairman Jayantha Keragala said that as a result tea producers have to incur additional Rs.5.50 to the cost of a production of a Kilogram of a tea. "Regional Plantation Companies have complained to me about the factory running costs," he told BBC. The CTTA Chairman said that in addition to the increasing more..

'Bandula is hallucinating charges'

Mar 30 (FT) UNP MP Dr. Harsha de Silva yesterday charged that Minister Bandula Gunawardena is hallucinating. De Silva’s comments were in response to Minister Gunawardena’s assertion that a family of three could live an income of Rs. 2,500. Following is UNP’s statement. The official poverty line (OPL) for February 2012 is Rs. 3,329 a month. Calculated by the Department of Census and Statistics based on the 2002 Household Income and Expenditure Survey and more..

New licensing system to streamline HCFC-affected imports and exports

Mar 30 (DN) The Environment Ministry in collaboration with Sri Lanka Customs is to introduce a national licensing system to keep better track on imports and exports containing Hydrochloroflurocarbons (HCFCs) from 2013. Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa said that imports containing HCFCs would be subjected to a system of annual import quotas parallel to the introduction of the new license system. He said that the importation of products for more..

Experiment with new paddy varieties - President

Mar 30 (DN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday instructed officials to encourage farmers to experiment with new paddy varieties aiming to explore an export market for Sri Lankan paddy. Explaining the importance of carbonic fertiliser instead of chemical fertiliser, President Rajapaksa instructed the officials to promote carbonic fertiliser with a proper mechanism. He made these remarks at the acquisition of land of Walawa division of the Mahaweli Authority for the more..

Cardinal wants amendments to Abortion Act stopped

Mar 30 (DN) The Catholic Bishops' Conference (CBC) yesterday expressed its opposition to the proposed relaxation of laws pertaining to abortions in Sri Lanka and requested President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the govt not to proceed with it. Archbishop of Colombo Most Rev Father Malcolm Cadinal Ranjith stated that the Church is against the Child Development and Women's Affairs Ministry's move to introduce amendments to relax laws pertaining to abortions. more..

Avuduru Fairs in 324 towns

Mar 30 (Island) The Economic Development Ministry has planned to hold 324 Avurudu Fairs in the main towns of 324 Pradeshiya Sabha Divisions for the Sinhala and Tamil New Year. The fairs are to be held from April 6 to 11 beginning at 9 a.m. and ending at 8 p.m. daily. A spokesman for the ministry said that the main objective is to provide essential items for the New Year, including clothes, vegetables, fruits, sweetmeats, spices and many other items to assist rural industries. more..

Young couple injured in suicide attempt

Mar 30 (Island) A young couple, who attempted to commit suicide by jumping before a moving train yesterday, received critical injuries. Police spokesman SP Ajith Rohana said that the boy (23) and girl (22), who were in love, had attempted to commit suicide at the 105 mile post, between the Hatton and Rosale stations between 5.00 and 7.45 a.m. He said the driver of another train which was running in the opposite direction had seen the injured couple and removed them to more..

SLFP to take disciplinary action against Mervyn

Mar 30 (DM) The central committee of the SLFP yesterday unanimously decided to take disciplinary action against Minister Mervyn Silva over a statement that the minister had made asserting that no one could touch him while President Mahinda Rajapaksa was in power. Informed sources said that President Rajapaksa had instructed Party Secretary Maithripala Sirisena to call for an explanation from the minister regarding his statement. more..

GMOA chief blames ‘disgruntled members for no-confidence story

Mar 30 (Island) Govt Medical Officers’ Association President Dr. Anuruddha Padeniya said that the Negombo Branch of the GMOA had never brought a no-confidence motion against him at the General Committee Meeting. He said that at that meeting some members, who were politically motivated, wanted the GMOA to resort to trade union action over various issues. Dr. Padeniya said that as the President of the GMOA, he had to consult 90 branches before making decisions. more..

'Conspiracy to topple goverment'

Mar 30 (DN) The Socialist Alliance said that there is a conspiracy against Sri Lanka by America to topple the present regime for America's own benefit. This was disclosed by Socialist Alliance at a media conference held yesterday. "There is an attempt by America to change the regime in Sri Lanka and establish a regime favourable to them. We must understand that they are trying to use human rights as their weapon and excuse to interfere with Sri Lankan affairs and pressure Sri Lanka," said LSSP General Secretary, Prof. Tissa Vitarana. more..

Wimal lashes out at Ranil, Solheim

Mar 30 (Island) Had a Ceasefire Agreement arranged by Norway remained in force today, UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe wouldn’t have been able to visit the LTTE-held area without obtaining a ‘Vanni visa,’ said NFF leader Wimal Weerawansa in Kandy. He was responding to a statement attributed to Wickremesinghe that the govt had done nothing for the people living in the Northern Province in spite of conclusion of the conflict in May 2009. more..

Sri Lanka Expo offers fruitful trade opportunities

Mar 30 (AN) Sri Lanka’s strategic location is one of the major factors that contributed to its growth as an economic hub in Asia, said Sarath Amunugama, senior minister for International Monetary Cooperation. Amunugama was making the keynote address at the Sri Lanka Expo 2012 — Trade, Investment and Tourism Symposium at the Colombo Hilton. The symposium followed the inauguration of the Sri Lanka Expo 2012 by President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the BMICH. more..

This is my best moment in cricket – Herath

Mar 30 (Island) Twelve months ago, there were debates whether Sri Lanka should look for a younger spinner to bank on as Rangana Herath was 33-years-old and the team probably wasn’t getting desired results from him. But since then he has come a long way having bowled Sri Lanka to a famous Test win in Durban, Sri Lanka’s first in that country and yesterday he finished with 12 wickets to give the team their first Test win at home since the retirement of great Muttiah Muralitharan. more..

Sri Lanka may stop dollar payment for oil bills

Mar 30 (Reuters) The head of central bank said on Thursday it may stop supplying dollars to pay for oil import bills from May, its latest move to allow more rupee flexibility after it refrained from intervening in foreign exchange markets last month. The central bank shifted its foreign exchange policy to allow the market to determine the currency’s rate on Feb.9 and stopped defending a certain price level by selling dollars in the market. more..

Broad international dialogue to be launched on US resolution against SL

Mar 30 (Island) The govt will launch a broad dialogue internationally following the UNHRC adopting the US Resolution on Accountability and Reconciliation in Sri Lanka. Acting Media Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena said that while the govt was totally opposed to external interference in the country’s affairs, it would seek to establish a broad dialogue with all countries regardless of whether they had voted for the US resolution or not. The global community needed to be given more..

Sri Lanka Parliamentary delegation visits Romania

Mar 30 (AT) A five member delegation of the Sri Lanka – Romania Parliamentary Friendship Association of the Sri Lanka Parliament headed by Deputy Minister Neomal Perera, who is also the President of the Association visited Romania from 25 - 27 March 2012 at the invitation of Mr. Attila Korodi, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Romanian Parliament, Chamber of Deputies. The Sri Lankan delegation comprised of Deputy Speaker Chandima Weerakkody, more..