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Army court clears troops

Apr 10 (CG) An army court of inquiry has, in a new report, cleared the military over allegations of targeting civilian locations during the final stages of the war. Human rights groups had raised doubts over investigations carried out by the army as the allegations are against the army in relation to some incidents reported during the war. The first part of the report of the army court was handed over to more..

MR hails Thatcher’s fight against terror

Apr 10 (CG) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has sent a message of condolence on the death of the former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in which he commends the late prime minister for her commitment to fighting terrorism. “While the late Prime Minister stamped her impress on the political and economic spheres of her country bringing it back on the economic landscape of Europe, she also stood steadfastly against the scourge of terrorism both in the UK and around the more..

Petty disputes shut two vital kidney transplant units

Apr 10 (Island) A tug of war between the National Hospital kidney transplant unit’s vascular surgeons and doctors attached to the Colombo Medical Faculty, kidney transplant operations at the NHSL have been suspended since last week. Even at the Maligawatte Kidney Transplant Centre, no transplants have been performed for the last three years due to a dispute between doctors and nurses. NHSL Director Dr. Anil Jasinghe said that some doctors attached to the Colombo University more..

Dr. Jayalath goes to HRC to speed up his case

Apr 10 (Island) UNP MP Dr. Jayalath Jayawardena called on the Chairman of the Human Rights Commission (HRC) to request immediate action on his complaint lodged against the govt for its delay in implementing the WHO recommendations on the chronic kidney disease. The UNP MP met HRC Chairman, retired Supreme Court Justice, Priyantha Perera yesterday on the matter, which he said was dragging on more..

SB orders garbage disposal, recycling unit be expedited

Apr 10 (Island) While local bodies in the Kandy district are pressing for solutions to the garbage disposal problem, Minister S.B. Dissanayake has issued directions to the Central Environment Authority (CEA) to expedite the commissioning of the proposed Garbage Disposal and Recycling Unit at Gonadikawatta in the Udunuwara sector. Dissanayake issued the instruction at a meeting of representatives of local bodies and Central Environment Authority officials, to discuss the more..

CEB urged to have competitive bidding for all new plants

Apr 10 (LBO) Sri Lanka's state-run Ceylon Electricity Board should have competitive bidding for all new plants, electricity users said at a public hearing, as an expensive plant that was 'negotiated' came under repeated fire from irate customers. Some diesel plants running reciprocating engines are selling power at a little over 20 rupees to the CEB. There are also questions over the efficiency of other combined cycles. An independent power producer (IPP) is selected on two criteria. more..

Sri Lankan actors reach out to their Tamil Nadu counterparts

Apr 10 (Hindu) In 1978, one of the finest actors of India and a much-acclaimed star from Sri Lanka played the lead roles in a film that was shot in both countries. Over three decades later, actor-turned-Parliamentarian Malini Fonseka – who played the female lead in Sivaji Ganesan’s ‘Pilot Premnath’ – is reaching out to their counterparts in Tamil Nadu to visit Sri Lanka and assess the situation post-war. more..

CPI urges Puducherry to implead in TN’s Kachchatheevu case

Apr 10 (ENS) Stating that retrieval of the Kachchatheevu island from Sri Lanka is the only permanent solution to the continuing attacks on India fishermen by the island nation’s navy, CPI state secretary R Viswanathan has urged the Puducherry administration to implead in the case filed by Tamil Nadu in the Supreme Court in this respect. Viswanathan said the fishermen of TN and Puducherry could not earn their livelihood due to the ongoing attacks by the Sri Lankan navy. more..

'Massive developments in Hakmana'

Apr 10 (GDI) Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardhene said that he could initiate massive infrastructural development programmes in the Hakmana electoral division under the present administration with the blessings of President Rajapaksa. He said that work on Mulatiyana, Deiyandara and Urubokka towns are successfully progressing and the Hakmana town has already been developed. The Minister said that out of all seven electoral divisions in the Matara more..

'80% Vanni Tamils willing to learn Sinhala'

Apr 10 (DM) Presidential Task Force for Trilingual Sri Lanka Chairman and Presidential Adviser Dr. Sunimal Fernando said more than eighty percent of Tamils living in the Vanni district had expressed their willingness to learn the Sinhala language which was to be offered by the Govt. Dr. Fernando said at an open forum that this was confirmed by a survey report submitted by his research team in January 2013. more..

Sri Lanka to publish accurate private savings number

Apr 10 (LBO) Sri Lanka will consider publishing an accurate number for private savings from next year, separating out state enterprises which are lumped together as 'private' firms at the moment, officials said. Domestic savings are made up from central govt savings, state enterprise and private entities. A deficit in the current account of the budget is net spending or 'dis-saving', and can be readily seen. In 2012 the deficit in the current account was 1.4% of gross domestic product, more..

Next batch to be sent to South Korea despite tensions

Apr 10 (DM) Quelling fears of a possible war in the Korean peninsula and the probability of Sri Lankan workers in South Korea being exposed to danger, resulting in migration back to Sri Lanka, Minister Dilan Perera said there was no imminent danger of war, and the Ministry was preparing to send the next batch of workers to South Korea. “This is just rhetoric; even in Sri Lanka we have organisations such as the Bodhu Bala Sena who give these kinds of threats, which are only confined to rhetoric more..

We have no faith in presidential commissions: JVP

Apr 10 (DM) While refusing to accept the Commission appointed by President Rajapaksa to investigate the Matale mass grave site, the JVP asked for an Independent Court of Inquiry to probe this issue. “We have no faith in the presidential commission. As the case may linger for ages in a court, we are asking for an Independent Court of Inquiry to be appointed to probe the issue and expedite the investigations,” JVP MP more..

Govt. avoids answering questions on Ekneligoda

Apr 10 (DM) The govt postponed, for the second time, answering a question on the disappearance of journalist Pradeep Ekneligoda and the subsequent statement by present Chief Justice Mohan Peiris that he (Mr. Ekneligoda) was alive. UNP MP Dayasiri Jayasekara placed the question on the order paper in this regard, and asked for the date of disappearance of this journalist. Also, he asked whether Mr. Peiris, the then legal consultant to the Cabinet, made a statement to the more..

EC should ensure free and fair elections: Karu

Apr 10 (DM) The Elections Commissioner is responsible to create an atmosphere conducive for free and fair elections and to win the faith of political parties amid massive international pressure on the country, UNP MP Karu Jayasuriya said today. “There is international pressure on the country today. Holding elections for the Northern, Central and North Western Provinces will mitigate that pressure to some extent,” he told a news conference. “The recommendations of more..

Wikileaks credits Jaya with flushing out LTTE from Tamil Nadu

Apr 10 (TOI) The latest Wikileaks revelations throw light on how the LTTE influenced political parties in Tamil Nadu in the 1980's and 1990's, starting from the IPKF days till the crackdown on the dreaded outfit after Rajiv Gandhi's assassination. Two dispatches sent by the US mission in Chennai to Washington, in April and March of 1990, compare contrasting approaches of AIADMK supremo J Jayalalithaa and DMK chief M Karunanidhi more..

Gotabhaya Rajapaksa’s statement

Apr 11 (NS) “The ongoing crisis in the Southern Indian State of Tamil Nadu, over accountability issues here, should discourage those pushing for devolution of power under the 13th Amendment to the Constitution. A hostile Provincial Council Administration in the Northern or the Eastern province in Sri Lanka could be inimical to the post war national reconciliation process”. (March 29, The Island). The above statement by Gotabhaya Rajapaksa we believe should not only open more..

13th Amendment a Trojan horse

Apr 11 (NS) The Trojan horses theory of the Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa: How True! Our Defence Secretary has said well of Trojan horses type of activity by foreign sources. He has referred to NGOs. To my thinking these nefarious activities have been done by Govts as well. Sri Lanka is an unfortunate country in terms of foreign interference. In the 1971, JVP Rebellion it was established that the North Korean Govt played a role in it and its Embassy was closed down more..

Unsolved grievances radicalize youth

Apr 11 (NS) Some interested parties, recently commemorated the 42nd anniversary of 1971 abortive insurrection that took place in our country. When certain critiques identify 1971 incidents as a form of terrorism, some others argue that it was a heroic resistance offered by the proletariat against the bourgeoisie system. Also, there are many who view it as a manifestation of a deep social division between the township more..

UNHRC resolution is victory not defeat

Apr 11 (DBS) The 21 March UNHRC vote was a victory for Sri Lanka since the US sponsored, India supported resolution did not call the human rights violation as State sponsored. Last year’s resolution as well as this year’s resolution calls for implementation of the recommendations of the LLRC. Eelam Tamils consider it a mockery of justice as President Rajapaksa is both the culprit and the judge. The LLRC report provides a dangerous blueprint for structural and cultural genocide more..

The Fashion Bug case: A turning point for Muslim rights in Sri Lanka

Apr 11 (GV) The judicial case related to the violent attack on Muslim owned Fashion Bug head office and warehouse in Pepiliyana, 10 km away from Colombo, is destined to be a turning point in Muslim Rights in Sri Lanka. Following is a brief recap of the incident in order to get the context right. As the darkness descends around 8.00 p.m. on 28th March, the mob, which has been there for some time, came out form the Sunetradevi Pirivana Temple nearby. The mob was led by more..

Collective Agreement between plantation trade unions and EFC lauded

Apr 11 (SO) The signing of the of Collective Agreement (CA) last Thursday between the three major plantation trade unions and the Employers' Federation of Ceylon (EFC) fetching an increased wage of Rs. 620 to the estate workers was lauded as a success and welcomed by a cross section of the plantation community and their representatives. It is remarkable that unlike on many previous occasions when negotiations more..

Attacks on Muslim, A new ball-game

Apr 11 (CT) When Lanka’s civil war ended in May 2009 with the extermination of the LTTE it was thought that thirty years of strife was over and military victory would usher in stability and economic progress. Events have dashed these hopes; despite victory the govt has shown no inclination for reconciliation or to reach a political settlement with the Tamils; barefaced attempts to consolidate an authoritarian regime and have run into determined opposition; the economy which showed more..

Editorial : Of that US warning

Apr 11 (Island) The US has once again warned that unless Sri Lanka addresses reconciliation and accountability issues, the conflict it has put behind it is likely to recur. That is what usually befalls countries that fail to sort out post-war problems, US Ambassador Michele J Sison has recently told a group of Colombo-based foreign correspondents. There have been many such warnings and prognoses since the conclusion of the war in 2009. The problem with some warnings is more..

Why are the Chinese interested in our corals?

Apr 11 (CT) Environmentalists have urged the Sri Lankan Govt to address the issue of Chinese nationals causing destruction to the environment by their growing interest in corals. They say the mystery behind the sudden demand of corals by the Chinese is yet to be solved as no valid reason has been attributed so far. According to the latest reports, there is a new trend to investigate biochemical properties in marine organisms. more..

We have no ‘sovereignty’ despite boastful talk

Apr 11 (CT) It is exquisitely humorous that state media propagandists still believe that legitimate criticism leveled at the govt may be suppressed through vicious barbs aimed at dissidents accusing them of supporting the defeated LTTE. They must realize in no uncertain terms that these allegations only expose the mala fides of their originators who, lacking the basic capacity to engage in reasoned debate, can only take refuge in scandal and calumny. After all, we live in a country where more..

Ports authority profits up 58% in 2012

Apr 11 (Island) Despite a slight decline in port activity in 2012, the Sri Lanka Ports Authority saw profits increase by 58% due to the 10 percent depreciation of the rupee during the year and the opening of the new port in Hambantota, the Central Bank said. "The financial performance of the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) has improved significantly despite the sluggish pace of global trade as per unaudited financial data. The revenue of the SLPA increased by 24% to Rs. 38.7 billion more..

The battle for sacred ground

Apr 11 (FT) The misty mountain village of Kuragala, just off Balangoda, came alive on Monday when a Sri Lanka Air Force helicopter landed in the area carrying Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa and a full retinue of military, Police and intelligence officers onboard. Accompanied by dozens of Buddhist monks including Jathika Hela Urumaya Leader Ellawela Medhananda Thero, Moulavis, Chief of more..

UAE may deport refugee Tamil journalist

Apr 11 (CPJ) The Committee to Protect Journalists is deeply concerned by news reports that a Tamil journalist in the UAE may be deported to Sri Lanka this week despite her United Nations refugee status, and calls on authorities in the UAE to halt any such deportation measures. Lohini Rathimohan, a former television journalist, is one of 19 Tamil refugees facing deportation from the UAE, the BBC reported. UAE authorities have told the group they must leave the country by April 11 and return to SL, more..

No Grade One admissions in 275 schools

Apr 11 (CT) Not a single student has been admitted to the grade one classes of 275 schools in the country, Minister Bandula Gunawardena told Parliament. He said there are 2,123 schools in the country to which the grade one admissions were less than ten students. The minister said there are 123 schools, which had only one Grade One admission, 143 schools, which had admitted only two students, 181 schools, which admitted three students, 210 schools, which admitted only more..

Dr. Bandaranayake will not flee Sri Lanka

Apr 11 (CT) Controversially impeached CJ, Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake, intends to remain in Sri Lanka despite reports in several media institutions that she is attempting to flee the country. Speaking to Ceylon Today, on conditions of anonymity, lawyers close to the former CJ said she has no intention, whatsoever, to leave the country. "As far as I know, there is no truth in the speculation that Dr. Bandaranayake is about to flee," more..

Visakha records highest number of A 9s

Apr 11 (DN) Visakha Vidyalaya, Colombo has emerged the best in the island recording the highest number of A 9 passes numbering 172 at the 2012 GCE O/L exam. Out of the 392 students who sat the exam, 390 students or 99.5% qualified to follow A/L courses. Compared to the two previous years, the number of students with A 9 passes has increased. It was 34% in 2010, 38.7% in 2011 and 44% in 2012. In 2010 and 2011 O/L exams, the school had the student with the best results islandwide. more..

Two Jaffna sisters playing the ‘Nathswaram’ and ‘Thavil’ in male dominated music sphere

Apr 11 (DBS) “Mangala Isai” is a traditional music group that performs at Hindu temples during festivals, Hindu weddings, and at puberty ceremonies. This particular group has two women who play “Naathaswaram” and “Thavil” generally played only by male musicians. A unique combination of women traditional musicians is a rare treat to the festival goers. Rajeshwary Suntharalingam plays “Naathaswaram”, while Pushparani Thiruchelvam plays the “Thavil”. more..

Legend of the Seas calls at Colombo with 1,800 tourists

Apr 11 (FT) The Royal Caribbean International’s ‘Legend of the Seas’ arrived yesterday in Sri Lanka with 1,800 passengers before it set course to India. Currently engaged in a 14-night cruise, the ship will be repositioned in Europe to offer Mediterranean cruises by mid this year after having undergone a US$ 50 million refurbishment at its home port in Singapore. With Hemas Travels being Royal Caribbean International’s more..

‘2013 apparel target US$4.1billion'

Apr 11 (Island) As Sri Lanka draws near ‘Y2015 apparel target’ while battling defiant int’l markets, it also is closing in on its $4 Bn resolute apparel exports goal, the Ministry of Industry and Commerce said in a statement. Also, Sri Lanka is to link its SME apparel sector shipments to the global ASYCUDA e-system by next month. "We are steadily approaching the 2015 target of $ 4 Bn apparel exports, set by the Mahinda Chinthana and to this end, already achieved $ 3.8 Bn exports in 2012. more..

Samurdhi dues to be given before Avurudhu

Apr 11 (DN) Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said in Parliament that arrears of the Samurdhi allowance and the Samurdhi allowance due for April would be issued before the Sinhala and Tamil New Year. He made this comment in response to a question by DNA MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake under Standing Order 23 (2). He said measures have been taken to release Rs 7,028 million to Samurdhi banks through the District Secretariats to provide the Samurdhi allowance and its arrears. more..

'Chips are down for masses but Govt. playing on high-stake casinos'

Apr 11 (FT) Casinos are not on its agenda and the Govt has no plans to extend it further making use of the Bills amended, clarified Minister Dr. Sarath Amunugama on Tuesday in Parliament, moving the debate on the second reading of the Value Added Tax (Amendment) Bill, Nation Building Tax (Amendment) Bill, Finance Bill – with Amendments, Betting and Gaming Levy (Amendment) Bill, Tax Appeals Commission more..

New Golden Key Board formed, meets CB Chief

Apr 11 (FT) Central Bank said yesterday as per the order of the Supreme Court made on 04.04.2013 in the case bearing No SC (F/R) 191/2009, a new Board of Directors was appointed to take control of The Golden Key Credit Card Company Ltd with the mandate to operate its business and safeguard and recover all of its assets. Accordingly, Priyantha Fernando, Chairman; Jehan Amaratunga, Director; Aruna Lekamge, Director; V K Choksy, Director; Mrs. Dushanthi Hapugoda, more..

Sri Lanka 'welcomes' asylum boat returns

Apr 11 (AAP) Sri Lanka will welcome asylum seeker boats turned around by Australian authorities, the country's high commissioner to Australia says. Admiral Thisara Samarasinghe was commenting on Opposition Leader Tony Abbott's pledge to reinstate the Howard-era policy of towing back asylum seeker vessels. "Any Sri Lankan asylum boat being brought by the Australian navy to our waters we will welcome, and we'll take over them at appropriate locations," he told ABC on Wednesday. more..

'I will resign if proved wrong'

Apr 11 (CT) Noting there is a severe shortage of essential drugs, especially for cancer, UNP MP, Dayasiri Jayasekera, said he will resign if the facts he had submitted to Parliament on the prevailing drug shortage at the National Cancer Institute, Maharagama, are proven wrong. He said: 17 different drugs needed to treat cancer patients are in short supply at the Cancer Hospital, in addition to the lack of facilities needed to more..