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Sri Lanka rejects 100 of 210 recommendations at UPR

Nov 5 (SL) Sri Lanka has rejected 110 of 210 recommendations submitted by 99 countries at the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in Geneva, the troika tasked with serving as rapporteurs for Sri Lanka’s UPR said. Benin, India and Spain submitted its draft report on Sri Lanka at the UPR today. Presenting the report on Sri Lanka, the Ambassador of Spain to the UN in Geneva said that 210 recommendations were made to Sri Lanka by 99 countries during the UPR. more..

Galle gripped by gang rivalry: Four youths killed in Poddala apparently in retribution

Nov 5 (DM) The bodies of four youth were found in a culvert after being shot and hacked to death by a rival underworld gang in the Poddala area in Galle early yesterday. Police believe the killing was linked to the Oct 25 killing of Kumara Seneviratne who was hacked to death in the Galle town allegedly by the victims. The four bodies were found near a by-road leading to a tea estate and the Poddala-Galle main road. The bodies were more..

Declining exports widen trade deficit

Nov 6 (NS) In the first eight months of the year ending in August, export earnings fell by 5.7% compared to that of the same period last year. On the other hand, although consumer and intermediate imports decreased by 12.5 and 1.7% respectively, in the eight months, total import expenditure increased marginally by 0.2% owing to investment goods imports increasing by 15.7% to result in a trade deficit of US$ 6.27 billion for the first eight months of the year: 5.6% higher than it was more..

It’s high time to repeal 13th Amendment

Nov 6 (NS) It is my conviction that the 13th Amendment is inimical for development. The crisis point has now arrived with the inability to pass the Divineguma Bill, the most progressive piece of legislation of the Rajapaksa Govt. Already under the Divineguma functions headway has been made in spurring people to get down to production. The necessity today is to take Divineguma further to increase the incomes for all people and that is to be done by the amalgamation of the more..

Rude rain dampnens hopes

Nov 6 (NS) While the focus was on the US and ‘Sandy’, Sri Lanka faced its own problems when unceasing rains wreaked havoc in many parts of the island. Nearly 70,000 people were affected by one of the worst natural disasters faced by the country in recent times. The Met Department on Monday (29) warned of a depression in the Bay of Bengal that would develop into a ‘marginal’ cyclone and added it would go through the more..

Raising taxes for debt reduction

Nov 6 (LB) A ccording to critics of Sri Lanka’s economy, the country is in too much debt with an excessive budget deficit. The opposition says that we are in a debt trap. The govt replies that the debt/GDP ratio is only 79% while arguing that it poses no threat, contrary to what is being stated by the opposition. Nevertheless, it appears that the govt has committed to the IMF to reduce the budget deficit to 6.2% of the GDP. What is the Debt/GP ratio? It is the ratio of outstanding total debt more..

Emergence of Sinhala chauvinism at top layer of ruling elite

Nov 6 (DBS) The campaign started by those who are very close to the President to do away with the 13th Amendment shows that the Constitution making process in the coming period could become arbitrary and carried out at the whims and fancies of the chauvinist elements within the regime. If it really takes place, this will go into history as yet another effort to cater to the popular majoritarian impulses in Lanka. As the all powerful Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa called for more..

Development, Democracy and Devolution – Sri Lanka’s 3 Dimensional Dilemma

Nov 6 (DBS) Since the end of the civil war in May 2009, there has been an unprecedented emphasis on what is popularly known as development. The most visible signs of this type of development are the improvement to roads and bridges, the construction of harbours and airports, the building of big hotels and resorts, and the cleaning up and landscaping of our cities. At least two arguments support this more..

Why Ranil has directed the UNP MPs to refrain from commenting on CJ impeachment

Nov 6 (CT) Until 1700 the King of England had the power to appoint and remove Judges. The King exercised his powers to remove Judges who incurred his displeasure. Therefore the Parliament of England made provision to secure the independence of Judges in the Act of Settlement 1701. According to this Act the Judges Commission was made Quamdiu se bene Gesserint, ie. for good behavior, subject to the power of the King to lawfully remove a judge upon an address made by more..

A concordant UPFA, A discordant opposition? Not quite!

Nov 6 (CT) There is a superficial view that the government is a concordant gathering of the like minded while the opposition is all hither and thither and unable to get its act together. Superficial observations are not entirely without merit as sycophants and bootlickers line up on both side of the Cabinet table and parliament, echoing their masters’ voices (note plural in honour of the siblings), reciting “Yes Sir! No Sir! Three bags full Sir”. It is also true that the political opposition more..

'China to be economic superpower soon'

Nov 6 (NS) The USA is about to elect its new President and has become the focus of global media. Whoever wins, the incumbent President Barack Obama or the challenger Mitt Romney, the country is heading for a transition. Meantime, the other superpower China is also gearing for a leadership change. It is reported that at their party convention which begins on Nov 8, 2012, both incumbent Chinese President Hu more..

Editorial: The Jumbo talk

Nov 6 (Island) UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe seems to have experienced an intuitive flash and epiphany recently. He is reported to have said at a party meeting that elections cannot be won with the help of the media alone and there is no substitute for hard work at the grassroots level. Unless the UNP gets its act together and win over the masses, he has said, a third force is sure to overtake it. One could not agree with him more! There is no other way out for the ailing Jumbo party, more..

Many shades of accountability: The UN and Sri Lanka

Nov 6 (GV) In the last stages of the war in Sri Lanka tens of thousands of civilians were killed and no one has been held to account to date. This article though is not about the accountability of the Govt of Sri Lanka (GoSL) for the killings. Hundreds, if not thousands, have already discussed, written and produced documentaries demanding GoSL for action on this count. The UN Secretary General’s Panel of Experts (PoE) put GoSL on the dock and recommended independent and more..

Blatant manipulation, corrupt practices in CSE must stop: MPs

Nov 6 (ST) Eminent economists and concerned parliamentarians called out to stop blatant manipulation and corrupt practices in the stock market and bring crooks to justice. They stressed the fact that the ‘stock market mafia’ is real and not a term used randomly generalising the stockbroking industry, but stated in the context to highlight robbers and their barons in the share market. “Many accuse me of ‘many’ things, but I am as more..

'More mini-hydro power projects coming up'

Nov 6 (DN) All measure are in place to construct 200 mini-hydro power projects in Sri Lanka with the aim of making the national electricity grid a system where electricity is provided by the public, Minister Champika Ranawaka said. Various countries operate mini-hydro power projects. Sri Lanka is the only country which operates such power projects in a successful manner, the minister said. He said the private sector implemented around 100 mini-hydro power projects in the country and more..

Govt to replace substandard seed paddy

Nov 6 (DN) The govt will replace substandard seed paddy provided for farmers, Deputy Minister S M Chandrasena said. The Deputy Minister said some media have reported that drought affected farmers have been provided with substandard seed paddy. However, if seed paddy is not planted, the authorities will take the responsibility, he said. Thirteen districts were affected by drought. Anuradhapura, Kurunegala, Polonnaruwa and Puttlam Districts were badly damaged, more..

Mahela blasts new ODI rule

Nov 6 (AP) Mahela Jayawardene said the new one-day international rule on field restrictions is disadvantageous to bowlers and could even diminish the role of spinners in the future. Mahela said the International Cricket Council rule to restrict the number of outfielders to four, even outside of powerplay overs, heavily favors batsmen. Even though he is a batsman, Mahela thinks the move is not in the best interests of the sport more..

Killing the ODI spinner by decree?

Nov 6 (CI) At the dawn of one-day cricket, the only fielding restriction applied to the format was the rule it had inherited from Tests: only two men on the leg side behind square. Since then ODIs have been through several facelifts. The 1992 rule change that allowed only two men outside a 30-yard perimeter spawned a new breed of opening batsman. Perhaps sensing that none of the more recent changes had helped enhance ODI cricket to any great extent, the ICC has now enforced perhaps its most more..

No growth in reserves

Nov 6 (Island) Gross official reserves stood at US$ 7,053 million by end September 2012, unchanged from end August 2012, the Central Bank said yesterday with balance of payments supported by borrowings and short term capital which grew 74% year-on-year to US$ 5,640.4 million as at end Sept 2012. "Gross official reserves amounted to US dollars 7,053 million by end September 2012, while total international reserves, which include gross official reserves and foreign assets of commercial banks amounted to US dollars 8,610 more..

Sri Lanka to restart refinery with oil cargo from Dubai

Nov 6 (Reuters) Ceylon Petroleum Corp (Ceypetco) will resume operation of Sri Lanka's sole refinery, a 50,000 barrels-per-day facility, after a 10-day closure, because it has received a cargo of 75,000 tonnes of crude from Dubai. Sri Lanka's decades-old refinery is configured to run on Iranian crude and has been scrambling to fill a shortfall after Western sanctions prevented it from bringing in the crude from Iran. more..

Rubber cheque: UPFA PS member faces arrest

Nov 6 (Island) A UPFA Horowpatana Pradeshiya Sabha member faces arrest over issuing a bad cheque for Rs. 350,000 to a businessman from Kandy. The Horowpatana police have commenced an investigation to arrest the schoolteacher turned politician, who had taken a contract to build a distributor canal from a tank in the region with a backhoe hired from the Kandyan businessman. After failing to pay the businessman the hire charge of Rs. 350,000 for his machine, for more..

Sri Lanka container, bulk cargo handling lower in August

Nov 6 (LBO) Ships calling at Sri Lanka's ports fell by 38 to 350 in August 2012 from a year earlier and domestic container handling fell sharply as the economy slowed amid a trade contraction, but transshipment volumes were steady, official data shows. In August 83,974 containers (twenty foot equivalent units) were handled for domestic activities down 9.8% from a year earlier, data showed. In the eight months to August total containers were up 2.6% to 697,451 TEUs. more..

First ever skills exhibition in Sri Lanka

Nov 6 (DN) Sri Lankan Skills Touch Your Future, a competition on Skills Innovations and Educational Exhibition organized by the Youth Affairs and Skills Development Ministry will be held on Nov 6-8 at the BMICH. Minister Dullas Alahapperuma said this was the first-ever skills exhibition held in Sri Lanka. "The main objective of organizing this event is to strengthen the social image of the Technical, Vocational, more..

MIA looks back to go forward

Nov 6 (Guardian) Before releasing a new album and presenting new artwork at India's first biennial, the London-born artist Mathangi Maya Arulpragasm – better known by her stage name MIA – went through a period of collection and reflection in advance of the release of her self-titled book. The book went out 23 October and is a bright, art-driven survey of the five years that cover the production and release of her three LPs: Arular, Kala and Maya. To assemble its technicolor pages, she had to dig around more..

London daily blasts Rajapaksa for grabbing all power

Nov 6 (Island) A prominent London newspaper has blasted Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa and two of his brothers Gotabhaya and Basil for trying to grab all power in the island nation. In a stinging article reproduced in the widely-circulated Indian Express today, The Financial Times of London said the Rajapaksa government had "steadfastly refused a full investigation into claims of war crimes, despite a resolution passed in March by the UNHRC urging it to do so." more..

Climate change wreaks havoc on communities and resources

Nov 6 (IFRC) Since December last year Sri Lanka has been waiting for rains that finally arrived last month. Adding to the problems caused by the drought, Cyclone Nilam hit the island last week, affecting over 50,000 people and displacing close to 5,000 across the island. Usually rains are welcomed after a long period of drought, but this time they brought floods and landslides, worsening the situation for farmers and communities who more..

JVP-led Samurdhi officers complain

Nov 6 (Island) JVP-led Samurdhi officers yesterday claimed that the Authority was using their overtime payments to forcefully transport them to the Parliament roundabout for today’s pro–govt protest rally. General Secretary of the Samurdhi Development Officers’ Union Chamara Maddumakaluge said that the Supreme Court decision would be announced in Parliament today and the government had organized a protest with their henchmen. "We had been ordered to work last Saturday and Sunday to more..

Rice flour as bad as wheat - Minister

Nov 6 (DN) Minister Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena stressed the dangers posed by the obsession with flour based food products - be it wheat or rice flour - which he noted was the chief cause for various health problems among Sri Lankans. “People have only changed the source of flour but not the quantum,” He said. “The country’s wheat flour consumption has been reduced tremendously for the past two to three years due to awareness programmes conducted by the govt. But rice flour consumption has increased. more..

SSP promises swift action over continuing killings in Galle

Nov 6 (Island) The four suspects arrested in connection with the killing of four men in the Poddala police area, in Galle on Saturday night, will be detained for 48 hours. SSP Prishantha Jayakody said that the suspects were produced before the Baddegama Magistrate yesterday and the court ordered that they be detained in police custody until Nov 7, to probe the incident and to arrest other suspects involved. The Island reliably learns more..

Peace is key for sustainable development globally – President

Nov 6 (FT) President Rajapaksa emphasised the need for constant efforts to achieve peace as peace is the basis for sustainable development and harmony in the world. Addressing the attendees to the inauguration of the Inter- Cultural and Inter Faith Peace Dialogue under the theme ‘Overcoming Crisis through Education’ at Temple Trees, the President said that a moral society will prevail with the existence of peace since peace promotes mental relief and spiritual ideals. more..

LTTE battered vehicles handed back to owners

Nov 6 (DN) The remains of nearly 2,500 vehicles, burnt or damaged by the LTTE during the final stages of the battle in Pudukudirippu in 2009, were handed over to their owners by the govt following the authentication of ownership. The ownership of another 900 vehicles have been identified and will be handed over to the claimants in due course. The process of handing over the vehicles to the owners is being coordinated by the Registrar of Motor Vehicles (RMV) and the Government Agent. more..

Rights groups want inquiry into Sri Lanka wartime crimes

Nov 6 (Reuters) Leading human rights groups called on Monday for an independent international inquiry to investigate massacres of civilians and aid workers during Sri Lanka's three-decade civil war after accusing the government of having failed to do so. Families of victims, including 17 staff of Action Contre la Faim (ACF) executed in Muttur in 2006, and five students shot dead in Trincomalee that year, joined the call for justice. more..

Shutterbug sketches Lanka war

Nov 6 (TOI) Soon after the 2004 tsunami, Benjamin Dixie landed in Vanni as a photojournalist. Though the tsunami had wreaked havoc, he found the fishing village beautiful and spent hours photographing its people, paddy fields, beaches and sandy roads. But as the conflict between the LTTE and the Sri Lankan govt escalated, the situation in Vanni changed. Govt forces began to clear the villages and people fled towards the LTTE administrative headquarters, more..

Kerosene pipeline bursts, loss unknown

Nov 6 (Island) The loss suffered by the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation had not been estimated as of late yesterday following another pipeline bursting at Meetotamulla on Sunday night. It was an old one pumping fuel from the Colombo Port to the Kolonnawa oil Installation. Spokesman for the CPSTL Nissanka Jayawardena said that it was a Kerosene pipe and the loss could not be worked out as oil had got contaminated with water. "The area where the pipe burst is a marsh," more..

Minister Samarasinghe appreciates support expressed for Sri Lanka at the UPR

Nov 6 (AT) Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe addressing the concluding session of Sri Lanka's Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Working Group in Geneva on Monday, appreciated the interest shown by the 98 countries that made interventions during the Review on Nov 1. Referring to the outcome document adopted which summarized the comments made by the participating countries, he said most more..

SL v NZ ODI 3: Rain a threat, new rules a challenge

Nov 6 (CI) For a side that has lost eight of its previous nine ODIs, New Zealand can take a lot of heart from the way they played in the second match of the series. The batting, albeit a touch too slow at the start, proceeded along the lines the captain Ross Taylor had wanted it to: preserve wickets for a late push. Probably that is an approach we might see more of with the latest tweak in rules. The end of the bowling Powerplay could induce sides to start safely against the two new balls and have key more..

Mannar fishermen concerned of nuclear fallout

Nov 6 (CT) Mannar Bishop Rt. Rev. Rayappu Joseph yesterday conveyed the growing fears of the people in Mannar, particularly the fisher folk, over the Kudankulam nuclear plant, to Indian High Commissioner Ashok Kantha. A memorandum highlighting the concerns, addressed to Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh was handed over to Kantha by Rev. Jayapalan Croos, representative of the Rt. Rev. Rayappu Joseph. Rev. Croos was accompanied by Mano Ganeshan. more..

Prelates urge President to reconsider impeachment motion against CJ

Nov 6 (Island) The Mahanayakes, of the four main Buddhist sects, yesterday urged President Mahinda Rajapaksa to reconsider analytically the need for an impeachment motion, handed over to Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa, against Chief Justice Mrs. Shirani Bandaranayake. Following is the full text of the appeal sent to the President by the prelates: It appears that there is an atmosphere of crisis within the country and with the more..

Editorial: Impeachment - The crisis and the solution

Nov 6 (DM) The 2013 Budget to be presented in Parliament on Thursday has been overshadowed by events that could make or break democracy in Sri Lanka. When Parliament meets today, the Speaker will announce the ruling of the Supreme Court on the Divi Neguma Bill amid one of the most serious crises between the all-powerful Executive and the Legislature on one side, and the Judiciary on the other. Minister Basil Rajapaksa – widely more..

Competition or Monopoly in Education?

Nov 6 (DM) There is considerable opposition from the university students as well as university teachers to the establishment of national or international private universities in Sri Lanka. The FUTA and the IUSF are at the forefront of this opposition. This opposition is based on the false pretence that such private universities would erode the so-called “free education” in Sri Lanka. The hearts and minds battle against and for private universities, in my view, is a battle for and against monopoly in education. more..