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GL slams US over double standards on human rights

Mar 30 (Island) Citing a simmering row between Israel and the UNHRC over the latter’s decision to investigate Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, the Sri Lankan govt yesterday pointed out the inconsistency of the US position, with regard to the contentious issue of human rights. Addressing the Expo-Sri Lanka 2012 at the BMICH, Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris explained the contradictory position taken up by the world’s solitary super power. more..

Sri Lanka exporters told 'green' compliance has advantages

Mar 30 (LBO) Sri Lankan exporters will have to ensure the 'greenness' of their products to comply with environmental rules of importers to ensure future market access, an official said. There is a major shift in environmental and sustainable policies worldwide, said Edward Clarence-Smith of the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation Sri Lankan companies which succeed will be those that adapt and comply with new rules which might even enable them to gain more..

Scandalous video clip rocks Kotte MC

Mar 30 (DM) The Kotte Municipal Council is in the midst of a scandal with Deputy Mayor Madura Vithanage suing Mayor Janaka Ranawaka for Rs. 20 million as damages for allegedly showing a “doctored’ video clip of the Deputy Mayor in a compromising position. The petition of the Deputy Mayor was filed by S.B. Dissanayake Associates before the Colombo District Court claiming that the Deputy Mayor who hails from a respectable family in the area and a social worker was elected to the Kotte Municipal Council at the last LG election more..

Govt. detaches itself from Ministers' statements

Mar 30 (CT) The govt yesterday detached itself from the statements by cabinet ministers over the US backed resolution adopted by the UNHRC claiming the govt is yet to issue an official response to the resolution. Speaking at the weekly cabinet briefing yesterday Acting Media Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena said the statement made by External Affairs Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris in which he said he is not accepting the resolution, is his personal opinion. more..

Geetha alleges death threats

Mar 30 (SM) SLFP organizer for Benthara-Elpitiya Geetha Kumarasinghe claims that a government minister and several provincial councillors have threatened her with death. One of them is planning an attempt on my life, she alleges. Mrs. Kumarasinghe says these persons are trying to sabotage her political journey by levelling false allegations against her. They are also giving a wrong example to the people by creating divisions within the same party, she alleges. The actress-turned-politician more..

'Drastic change in educational system needed'

Mar 30 (Island) Minister Kumara Welgama recently said that the education system needed to be drastically changed in order to assist Sri Lankans to obtain employment anywhere in the World. He said the traditional system should change to suit the present day global employment needs. The minister was addressing the graduates of the Oxford College of Business Institute at the Degree Awarding Ceremony, held at the BMICH. The international job market was highly competitive. more..

Killing Balachandran and saving Uvindu

Mar 30 (SL) “There are theories and there are facts. Theories vary… The facts however cannot be denied. Thousands of Tamils, old and young, and even little children, were assaulted, robbed, killed, bereaved, and made refugees. They saw their homes, possessions, vehicles, shops and factories plundered, burnt or destroyed. These people were humiliated, made to live in fear and rendered helpless…” A Cry From the Heart… What happened at the end of July 1983? more..

Mothers of U-18 children to be discouraged from seeking overseas jobs

Mar 30 (Island) The govt wants to discourage mothers with children under 18 from seeking employment overseas. The spokesperson for the Ministry of Child Development and Women’s Affairs said yesterday that the Ministry was concerned with the number of child abuse and incest cases being reported due to lack of maternal protection. The Ministry is bent on strengthening the law against rape and violence against women and children. more..

No Salvaging of wrecks

Mar 30 (DM) The Ministry of Fisheries together with the National Aquatic Research and Development Agency are to strictly implement the law against any form of salvaging of ship wrecks. Deputy Minister of Fisheries Susantha Punchinilame said that the strict implementation will serve two purposes. “Salvaging of old ships are banned under the countries archeological act. On one hand a ship wreck provides the birth of fish colonies and on the other there is a lot of archeological value in the wrecks” more..

Ten Veteran Journalists to be felicitated by President, Today

Mar 30 (GDI) Ten Veteran journalists who have excelled in the spheres of Mass Media will be honored with special awards by President Mahinda Rajapaksa at a ceremony to be held in Colombo on Friday. This felicitation ceremony organized for the first time, by the Department of Government Information will take place when its new five storied Centre for Media Development is declared open by the President. more..

Johnny denies website story on spirited millions

Mar 30 (Island) Minister Johnston Fernando vehemently denied allegations, made by a certain website, that he spirited away millions of rupees on a recent official visit to Thailand and made a stopover in Singapore to invest the monies. Another Sri Lankan, Rizly Illyas, who accompanied Minister, on this overseas trip, was alleged to have carried two bags and when the Customs at the Katunayake Airport had wanted to check the bags, more..

JVP rebels form new party

Mar 30 (Island) The split in the JVP is now permanent with the rebel JVP faction deciding to register its own political party with the Elections Secretariat. Rebel spokesman Senadeera Gunatilleke said that the new party had been named the Progressive Socialist Party or Peratugama Samajawadi Pakshaya, though they were yet to seek the polls chief’s approval. He said that the party wouldn’t be guided only by the ideals of slain JVP leader Rohana Wijeweera. more..

No Indian fisherman in Sri Lankan custody

Mar 30 (PNO) There have been reports of apprehension of Indian fishermen by the Sri Lankan authorities on charges of fishing related violations. According to information available, in 2009, 127 fishermen along with 32 boats were apprehended, in 2010, 34 Indian fishermen and 4 boats were apprehended and in 2011, 164 Indian fishermen and 31 boats were apprehended by the Sri Lankan Navy. Further, as of 19 March 2012, 107 Indian fishermen and 20 boats were apprehended. more..

Sri Lankan conservationists battle national park highway

Mar 30 (Guardian) As Sri Lankans prepare to celebrate the Sinhala or Buddhist New Year in April, conservationists will be quietly praying that a proposed major road through Wilpattu national park will finally be ruled illegal. Controversially funded by the Chinese government, the road has been the centre of a case sitting with the Sri Lankan supreme court for nearly two years. During that time it has become a legal cause celebre for those who more..

Sri Lanka on track to get IMF tranche next week

Mar 30 (LBO) Sri Lanka is on track to resume a loan program with the IMF next week, with preliminary data showing that action taken to break credit and domestic demand are showing results. The IMF held back the final two tranches of around 800 million dollars from its 2.5 billion dollar bailout facility given after a 2008/2009 balance of payments crisis shortly before Sri Lanka entered the current balance of payments crisis. more..

Team to Iran to brace for payment crisis

Mar 30 (DM) Despite assurances by the United States that Sri Lanka’s tea exports to Iran do not fall under its sanction category, Sri Lankan authorities are planning to dispatch a delegation to Iran next week to discuss measures to avert a possible crisis, particularly in terms of arranging payments, informed sources said yesterday. A spokesman for the US Embassy said that the law exempted exports of food, medicine and medical devices to Iran, and it is significant for more..

Sri Lanka shares end up 0.4-pct

Mar 30 (LBO) Shares closed slightly firmer Friday in somewhat choppy trade, brokers said. The main All Share Price Index rose 0.35 percent to 5,431.09, while the more liquid Milanka index fell 0.13 percent to close at 4,897.54. Turnover was 789 million rupees. Index heavyweight John Keells Holdings closed at 206 rupees, down 2.40 while Commercial Bank closed at 100 rupees, up 30 cents. Index heavyweight John Keells Holdings closed at 206 rupees, down 2.40 more..

Editorial: If Rs. 7,500 is enough, let it begin with ministers

Mar 30 (DM) Minister Bandula Gunawardene who had a close encounter with the GCE A/L Z-score system or formula and the district and island rankings nearly plunged the entire education sector down a precipice last year. As the subject minister directly or indirectly responsible for the crisis he ignored or rejected the many calls for his resignation as is the usual practice among ruling party politicians of whatever govt in office. As a teacher of economics he has more..

WikiLeaks: 'The plane seems to be heading for Singapore, but it might land in Burma'

Mar 30 (CT) “COMs — including those such as Norwegian Ambassador Hattrem with long experience in Sri Lanka — were unsure whether the recent political crackdown was temporary or indicated a new style of leadership by the Rajapaksa regime. But it did appear that the Rajapaksas were headed in a more authoritarian direction. “The plane seems to be heading for Singapore,” EU Ambassador Savage quipped, “but it might land in Burma.” more..

Broad out of Sri Lanka tour

Mar 30 (CI) Stuart Broad has been ruled out of the second Test against Sri Lanka in Colombo after being diagnosed with a right calf strain. He will return to the UK immediately and the injury could prevent him joining the IPL for the second year running. Broad was clearly limping during England's failed second-innings run chase in Galle and was also increasingly hampered when bowling as the match progressed. He was sent for scans shortly after the match. He entered the Test under more..

I’m ready: Mervyn

Mar 30 (DM) Minister Mervyn Silva said that he is ready to face any inquiry held against him as he has done no wrong. “I’m ready to face any inquiry against me because i know I haven’t done anything wrong. What I said was that I trust that the President would not take any decision that would cause injustice. That is true,I know that the President would not take decisions that would be wrong or prejudicial, that’s the trust I have placed in him” he said. more..

Talk of 'traitors'

Mar 30 (HM) A stubby man in an open-necked shirt stands against the backdrop of a Buddhist temple in Kelaniya, on the outskirts of Colombo, waving a thick forefinger threateningly in the air. Mervyn Silva, the minister of public relations, growls that traitors should be executed as in the times of ancient kings. Only days before, Silva also volunteered to break the limbs of Sri Lankan journalists living in exile. Other ministers distanced themselves and more..

U.N. Sri Lanka vote redefines India’s regional role

Mar 30 (Time) In the early months of 2009 when Sri Lanka’s war was reaching its final crescendo, frantic calls were made to Colombo by Sri Lankan diplomats at the United Nations headquarters in New York. According to a top Sri Lankan diplomat, some calls were directly to Mahinda Rajapaksa himself, warning the Sri Lankan president that the U.S., Britain and France were contemplating unilateral action against the govt for the conduct of its war against the Tamil Tigers. more..

Sri Lanka tea crop hit by bad weather

Mar 30 (LBO) Tea production in Sri Lanka has been reduced by bad weather with crops in other key origins like Kenya and India also down for the same reason, brokers said. "Due to the extremely hot and humid conditions, plantations are experiencing dwindling intakes," tea brokers John Keells said. "It is reported that many plantations are currently recording intakes which are about 20 – 25 percent below the corresponding month of 2011, particularly in the Western High/Medium more..

Sri Lanka inflation jumps to 5.5-pct in March

Mar 30 (LBO) Inflation in Sri Lanka's capital Colombo accelerated to 5.5 percent in the 12 months to March 2012 up from 2.7 percent in February with the index growing 2.2 percent in the month. Food prices remained stable with the foods index growing just 0.1 percent after falling 1.3 percent a month earlier. Non-food items rose 4.0 percent, with clothing and footwear rising 1.3 percent, housing gas and fuels rising 4.3 percent and transport rising 9.6 percent. more..

The Joy of Six: England v Sri Lanka

Mar 30 (Guardian) Half a dozen memorable moments from this fixture, including Murali, Hurricane Jayasuriya, a forgotten feelgood England win – and an episode of Neighbours. 1. Sanath Jayasuriya goes ballistic, World Cup quarter-final, Peshawar, 9 March 1996: Unusual thrashings come no more predictable than Sri Lanka's demolition of England in the quarter-final of the 1996 World Cup. It was unusual because Sri Lanka had never beaten England in the World Cup and had never more..

Committed to working with Lankan govt. for lasting peace – US

Mar 30 (SM) The United States says it is committed to working with the Sri Lankan government to help realize the goal of lasting peace through real reconciliation and accountability. The remark came in a fact sheet issued by the office of the spokesperson of the US State Department on the key US outcomes at the UNHRC 19th session in Geneva. The fact sheet says with regard to Sri Lanka, “The United States, together with the international community, sent a strong signal more..

Lalith and Kugan not in custody - Govt. tells court

Mar 30 (AD) The Sri Govt today informed the appellate court that the Movement for People’s Struggle activists Lalith Kumar Weeraraj and Kugan Muruganathan are not in their custody. The state attorney said that objections will be filed regarding the petition, filed by the relatives of the two missing activists. Informing court that the missing individuals were not in the custody of the respondents named in the petition, the state attorney therefore said more..

One power plant of Kotmale project commissioned after delay

Mar 30 (Island) The first of the two power generators with a capacity of 75 MW each was connected to the national grid on Wednesday after a delay of nearly three months. It was to be commissioned in January, 2012 and the second plant on March 27. Project Director Shavindra Fernando yesterday announced that the 75MW from the Kotmale hydro-power plant had been connected to the national grid on Wednesday night. The second plant would be added to the grid in June, more..

New teacher transfer scheme for national, secondary schools

Mar 30 (Island) Under a new scheme approved by the Cabinet, teachers could be transferred from national to secondary schools and vice versa. Cabinet spokesman Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena said that the new Combined Teacher Transfer Policy proposed by Minister Bandula Gunawardena, would permit transfers both within and among the 342 national schools and 1,000 secondary schools, which came under the purview of the Education Ministry and provincial councils respectively. more..

Govt. makes official stand on UNHRC

Mar 30 (DM) Making an official statement of the Govt, with regard to the UNHRC resolution Minister Prof. G.L.Peiris said that said Sri Lanka would not allow any foreign intervention at any time. Speaking in Parliament today, he said Sri Lanka’s stand on the issue was consistent right throughout. The Minister said his views are official views of the govt. This was in response to a query raised by the opposition whether his views are accepted by the govt. more..

Murali irreplaceable - Rangana Herath

Mar 30 (BBC) The new generation of bowlers are determined to help Sri Lanka come out of Muttiah Muralitharan’s shadows says Sri Lanka left arm spinner Rangana Herath. Herath, the fifth Sri Lankan bowler to get 10 or more Test wickets in a match, was adjudged the Man of the Match after he claimed 12 English wickets in the first Test in Galle. “I don’t think I am filling in Murali’s shoes; I don’t think we will able to replace Murali, he is irreplaceable, but we as a new bowling more..

Gooch confident Strauss can arrest slump

Mar 30 (CI) Graham Gooch, England's batting coach, has jumped to the defence of his embattled captain Andrew Strauss as doubts intensify about his international future. With England slumping to their fourth straight Test defeat, Strauss' batting form has become a far greater issue than when a winning side was laying claim to the No. 1 Test ranking that they are now on the brink of surrendering. Strauss refused to be drawn into speculation over his future when pressed following more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 30.03.2012

CPI hails UN resolution on Sri Lanka

Mar 30 (PTI) CPI considers the resolution passed by the United Nations Human Rights Council as a positive step in restoring human rights in Sri Lanka. Gross human rights violations took place during the civil war in Sri Lanka in which thousands of Tamils were killed, displaced and disappeared, senior CPI leader Atul Anjaan told reporters quoting CPI's 21st congress resolution. The union government's response to the Tamil Nadu assembly resolution, demand by more..

Sri Lanka rupee slips as importers seek dollars

Mar 30 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's rupee ended weaker on Friday as demand for dollars from importers outweighed dollar sales by exporters and residents exchanging remittances from workers abroad ahead of festivals in April to mark the local new year. The rupee weakened to 128.10/128.30 per dollar from Thursday's close of 127.60/127.80, snapping a run of four sessions of gains. The currency has risen 2.65 percent since it hit a record low of 131.60 on March 19. more..

Publish positive news urges President

Mar 30 (BBC) The President of Sri Lanka has urged journalists in the island to focus on what he called as positive news rather than only focusing on negative aspects. The duty of the “responsible journalist” is not only to report “rapes, murders and that one can survive a month with Rs 2500,” said President Mahinda Rajapaksa, but also to inform the public of the development initiatives launched by the govt. The president Mahinda Rajapaksa made more..

Sri Lanka seen 'priority destination' for Indian investment

Mar 30 (LBO) Indian companies are keen to invest in Sri Lanka with the island's Expo 2012 international trade drawing a large group of Indian businessmen, the High Commission of India said. Indian industry is committed to making Sri Lanka a 'priority destination' for Indian investment and wants to improve trade and economic relations between the two countries, it said in a statement. The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) has offered to help the Sri Lankan govt more..

'Sri Lanka forex inflows rising'

Mar 30 (LBO) Central bank said there had been a "considerable improvement" in foreign exchange inflows in March 2012 with the rupee recovering slightly against the US dollar after falling sharply following its free float. More than 500 million US dollars in foreign investment is expected in the next few weeks, it said in a statement. Total net inflows to the Colombo Stock Exchange had amounted to 164.2 US dollars million by March 30 and another 400 million dollars had come in more..

Sri Lanka rejects Indian proposal on UNHRC resolution

Mar 30 (PTI) More than a week after the UN's top rights body censured it for alleged war crimes in the conflict with LTTE, Sri Lanka today said it had turned down a request by India and the US to amend the American-sponsored resolution against it at the Geneva-based Human Rights Council. "We took a clear stand that we will not agree to this and we will express our opposition to it," Foreign Minister GL Peiris told Parliament. On March 22, the 47-member more..