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Editorial : A gruesome reminder

Feb 18 (Island) Friday night’s attack on Faraz Shauketaly, a Sunday Leader journalist, has come as a gruesome reminder that though the LTTE military muscle was crushed nearly four years ago, other forms of terrorism exist. That dastardly act of terror must be condemned unreservedly. It is being claimed in some quarters that media freedom is non-existent in Sri Lanka, but a more accurate description of the situation would, in our book, be that a journalist has the freedom to write more..

Women not bothered about money

Feb 18 (Island) There was not much of fanfare as Sri Lanka’s women’s cricket team arrived home in the early hours of yesterday after an outstanding World Cup tournament where they finished fifth. Sri Lanka beat defending champions England, hosts India and South Africa during the competition grabbing the world attention. First they beat England in a last ball thriller before knocking India out of the competition in a televised more..

IMF loan: Paradox of high reserves and further borrowing

Feb 18 (ST) The Govt’s request for a further US$ 1.5 billion loan from the IMF has been turned down on two grounds: that the IMF does not provide budget support to govts and that Sri Lanka’s external reserves have now reached a level of about US$ 7 billion and “accordingly, there appears to be a very limited need to build up a further cushion in external reserves through traditional IMF Balance of Payment support programmes, such as Stand-By Arrangements and Extended Fund Facilities”. more..

Women's World Cup: Australia champions for the sixth time

Feb 18 (CI) On the day it mattered, every aspect of Australia's game came good to earn them their sixth Women's World Cup. The batting, wobbly for most of the tournament, started with a bang and ended with a bang, despite another wobble in between. The bowling and fielding, top class through the tournament, choked West Indies in the chase. Jodie Fields, a captain who wants to get wickets at all costs, took her aggression to another level, consistently targetting the opposition's more..

Sri Lanka enters top global Country Brand Index

Feb 18 (FT) Sri Lanka has made it to the influential Country Brand Index for the first time in the compilation’s eight year history, debuting at what was described as “respectable” 67th rank with great potential to move up the ladder fast. The Index’ compiler FutureBrand’s South East Asia CEO Sarah Reiter described Sri Lanka’s rank as a “wonderful achievement for a debutant.” Out of 118 countries surveyed by FutureBrand, Sri Lanka is at 67 more..

Seenigama: Rural empowerment and philanthropic success

Feb 18 (Island) A couple of months back, I attended a dinner function organised by the Ananda College OBA, which happens to be my alma mater, and one of the speeches was made by old Anandian Kushil Gunasekara. I had heard of Kushil for being the Manager of Spin King Murali and also for running a rural BPO operation in Seenigama. Never did I expect to hear what I did. Kushil has done much more. The organisation that has been built by this man does a lot more. more..

Colombo all set to woo fund managers in Mumbai

Feb 18 (FT) The stage is being set for Sri Lanka to woo interests from Mumbai-based fund managers at a first of its kind capital market investment road show later this week in the financial hub of India. Over 100 fund managers have so far registered for the event to be held on 21 February at the Four Seasons Hotel in Mumbai under an initiative of the Colombo Stock Exchange in partnership with Bloomberg. The investor forum comprises a formal session involving top speakers more..

Govt. can borrow locally without causing difficulty -IMF

Feb 18 (Island) There is space for the govt to raise funds to finance the budget deficit through domestic non-bank sources without crowding out the private sector and pressurising interest rates and inflation, the IMF said on Wednesday as the govt plans not to raise funds via international commercial borrowings this year. However, the IMF urged the govt to make a concerted effort to increase tax revenue which has fallen last year and more..

Ten fold increase in Valachchenai paper production

Feb 18 (DN) The Valachchenai Paper Mill, destroyed by terrorists has been in operation during the last three years and is on course to reaching a monthly production target of 2,000 metric tons of paper by next year, Minister Dayashritha Tissera said. He said when he became State Resources and Enterprise Development State Minister, the monthly production of this paper mill was around 30 metric tons. "We increased this 10 fold following the end to terrorism," Tissera said. more..

More trained teachers a must to help hearing impaired youths

Feb 18 (DN) Sri Lanka Central Federation of the Deaf (SLCFD), requested the govt to provide special training to teachers on sign language through the National Institute of Education (NIE), so that hearing impaired students would benefit. Though the NIE had a sign language teaching programme, only a very limited number of teachers follow the training course, while this number was insufficient to meet the existing demand for those students with listening difficulties. One of the major obstacles in more..

Tuesday’s robbery in HSZ exposes security lax in Colombo: How safe is Colombo?

Feb 18 (ST) One of Colombo’s biggest highway robberies in recent times took place in a High Security Zone (HSZ) in broad daylight on Tuesday, underlining that the country’s commercial capital is still not safe despite spy cameras at strategic locations and police presence at virtually every junction. Vigneshwaran Narendran (not his real name), the owner of a money exchange centre visited the Sampath Bank head office at more..

Gunasekara and Rajasekara National Cross Country champs

Feb 18 (Island) Western Province athletes Sampath Gunasekara and Niluka Rajasekara won the men’s and women’s titles respectively of the 24th National Cross Country Championship held in the afternoon at Diyagama yesterday. While many complained about the heat in the evening, Gunasekara and Rajasekara beat odds to win their maiden titles. Gunasekara clocked 39.20 minutes to complete the distance of 12 kilometres in the men’s category, while Rajasekara clocked 30.23 minutes more..

Kandy city roads out of bounds till 10.00 p.m. for sand carrying trucks

Feb 18 (Island) Trucks transporting sand to Colombo, from Mahiyangana, will not be permitted to enter the Kandy City limits during day. This decision was taken by the Kandy District Coordinating Committee at its recent meeting. Trucks transporting sand have turned out to be the major cause of traffic congestion on roads in Kandy. In addition they are said to be the cause of heavy damage to the city roads, it was pointed out the meeting of the DCC, jointly chaired by more..

Govt. clips DIG’s wings for ruffling minister’s feathers

Feb 18 (Island) Moneragala DIG M. R. Latiff has been stripped of one of the police divisions he administered following a tussle between the Moneragala police and some ruling party politicians. Police headquarters has named newly appointed DIG Roshan Fernando as Latiff’s successor in the Moneragala District. Latiff, formerly of the elite STF, will continue to be in charge of Badulla. Earlier, he administered both the Moneragala and more..

'No ethnic based land categorisation in North'

Feb 18 (DN) Lands Minister Janaka Bandara Tennakoon said there was no ethnic based land allocation when resettling citizens in the North. He was explaining his views on the satyagraha organised by the joint opposition opposite the Durga Amman Kovil in Jaffna on Feb 15. He said the writ application filled by TNP MP M A Sumanthiran against circular 2011/04 created total confusion among Tamil citizens and is misleading. Sumanthiran is complaining that the govt is more..

UDA warning Thousands living in Colombo 3, 4 and 6 asked to show proof of ownership

Feb 18 (CT) Thousands of families living in Wellawatta, Bambalapitiya, Colpetty and the immediate environs have been issued a 'last warning' by the Urban Development Authority (UDA) citing their establishments as unauthorized structures. In a letter issued to the occupants, the UDA has asked them to provide permits obtained by relevant authorities to carry out construction or development activity, if they have such permits in their possession. more..

UK sells arms to Sri Lanka's brutal regime

Feb 18 (Independent) Britain is selling millions of pounds worth of small arms and ammunition to Sri Lanka despite the country’s dire human rights record, The Independent can disclose today. Figures taken from the Govt’s own database show how the authorities in Colombo have gone on a buying spree of British small arms and weaponry worth at least Ł3m. Some of the items sold to Sri Lanka include pistols, rifles, assault rifles, body armour more..

Don’t let the Rajapaksas ruin Sri Lanka

Feb 18 (BN) Sri Lanka was for decades an example of how sectarian conflict can wreck an otherwise fortunate country. It has had three years to show how devolving power to an ethnic minority can bring about lasting peace. Now it looks as if the opportunity will be lost. Sri Lanka paid an enormous price to bring 26 years of civil war to an end. An estimated 40,000 people died in the last months of fighting in 2009, bringing the conflict’s final toll to more than 100,000. This includes a sitting more..

Editorial: Britain's hypocrisy over Sri Lanka

Feb 18 (Independent) Few Western countries were louder than Britain in condemning the Sri Lankan army’s shocking violations of human rights as it moved to suppress a bloody rebellion by ethnic Tamils demanding a separate state. Clearly, those words of reproach were either not intended to be taken that seriously, or we just move on fast from such squabbles because, as this newspaper reveals, the UK sold several million pounds worth of arms last year to a regime we castigated more..

Bodu Bala Sena calls for halal boycott

Feb 18 (BBC) A new hardline Sinhalese Buddhist group in Sri Lanka has called for the abolition of the Muslim halal system of certifying foods and other goods. The Bodu Bala Sena, or Buddhist Strength Force, also said foreign propagators of religions should leave the country within a month. Thousands of supporters of the group attended a rally in a suburb of the capital, Colombo. The calls come at a time of more..

Students commend Kuwait aid to Sri Lanka

Feb 18 (KUNA) A group of female high school students, taking part in the "be distinguished" program, appreciated the contributions of Kuwait to the development in Sri Lanka. Speaking to KUNA on Sunday, one day after arriving here for trip in the south Asian country, Fatma Malallah said she was looking forward to know more about the activities of Kuwaiti Fund for Arab Economic Development (KFAED) in Sri Lanka. "I didn't imagine how beautiful this country is and how scenic the more..

Two arrested over journalist shooting

Feb 18 (Island) The Mt. Lavinia police yesterday arrested two suspects over Friday evening’s shooting of Sunday Leader journalist Faraz Shukataly. Shuakataly was shot at his guest house, Ocean Blue House at Barnes Avenue off Hotel Road, Mount Lavinia, by three men, who had entered his room on the top floor.He was immediately rushed to Kalubowila hospital by some foreigners who were staying at the guest house. He was later transferred to the National Hospital. more..

'Britain undermining Lanka’s reconciliation process'

Feb 18 (Island) Deputy Speaker Chandima Weerakkody alleged that the British were playing politics at the expense of Sri Lanka, hence undermining the post-war reconciliation process. The Galle District MP was responding to the UK based Global Tamil Forum (GTF) planning to use the British parliament as a platform to target Sri Lanka. He said that the British action would only strengthen those who were working overtime more..

Venkadasalam Sudeshkar: Sri Lankan on death row in Qatar – Appeal papers filed

Feb 18 (AT) The lawyer appointed by Venkadasalam Sudeshkar’s mother has already filed appeal in the Supreme Court of Qatar against the death sentence imposed by the Appeal Court of Qatar, on 31 December 2012. Sudeshkar’s mother has retained Dr. Mohamad Bin Ahamed Al- Mohannadi, the Qatari lawyer who appeared for him in the Court of Appeal and Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment has agreed to pay Qatari Riyal 25,000 as the retainer for the lawyer. more..

Gang threatens BBC team in Maharagama

Feb 18 (CG) A BBC team covering the Bodu Bala Sena convention in Maharagama this evening were threatened by a gang following the event. The BBC team, which included Colombo Correspondent Charles Haviland, were doing a video recording opposite the ‘No Limit’ store in Maharagama when the gang approached them. Following the Bodu Bala Sena convention in Maharagama the BBC team had decided to make an ‘on location’ recording regarding the convention. However the gang more..

Pillay calls on govt. to protect journalist

Feb 18 (Island) In an exclusive interview with Channel 4 News, UN Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay has urged the Sri Lankan govt to provide immediate protection to Sunday Leader journalist Faraz Shaukatally, who is currently in intensive care after being shot by three unidentified gunmen on Friday night. Channel 4 quoted Pillay as having said: "It’s an act of attempted assassination so he needs to be protected immediately." more..

Editorial: Valentine how many rapes will it happen till they know…

Feb 18 (DM) This year Feb 14 was marked not only by the commercially hyped and abused Valentine’s Day with flowers, teddy bears and chocolates but also with another campaign that is timely and has far greater value. ‘One Billion Rising’(OBR), a global movement of about 200 countries to end gender and sexual based violence, rape, abuse and sexual harassment on women and girls was marked with a peaceful demonstration and candle light vigil in Colombo and other parts of the country. more..

Celebration of Wijaya Kumaratunga's life and vision

Feb 18 (DM) Wijaya was brutally gunned down outside our home on February 16, 1988. Wijaya was my life’s partner and we raised two children, but he did not live to see them grow up. We shared a vision for our country and sought a solution for its burning issues based on humaneness, equality, justice and plurality. Towards this, we journeyed together and he took many daring and unconventional initiatives and made many sacrifices, including going to jail for his beliefs when the powers that were more..

Legal fraternity wants a leader with a cause

Feb 18 (ST) Senior lawyers Tirantha Walaliyadde P.C. and Upul Jayasuriya. are the two major candidates contesting for the Presidency of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) at its forthcoming election next week (20). The election has been necessitated due to the resignation of incumbent President Wijayadasa Rajapaksha, PC. Both Mr. Wallaliyadde and Mr. Jayasuriya have contested previously. Mr. Jayasuriya has been more..

Battle lines drawn ahead of UNHRC session

Feb 18 (SL) Pressure has begun to mount on the govt ahead of what seems like a do or die situation at the UNHRC. Human rights groups say they will push for foreign govts to endorse a hard hitting report on Sri Lanka made public last week by the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay. The report, which will be submitted to the February-March session of the Council, has already drawn a strong reaction from the more..

'TNA not prepared to bail out Sri Lanka Govt in the international forum'

Feb 18 (AT) The TNA has no obligation to bail out Sri Lanka Govt in the international forum, when the Govt has failed so far to actively engage them. The Govt is bringing this precarious situation upon itself and TNA has asked why they should be the advocate of the Govt? Mr. R.Sampanthan said, “Please understand that the Govt is bringing this situation upon themselves.” When elaborating, TNA Leader said, “I told the President when more..

LTTE campaign delayed Rajiv Gandhi's killers’ hanging, source says

Feb 18 (TOI) Three Rajiv Gandhi assassins have opposed the execution of the death sentence awarded to them by pointing to the 12 year-lag between the Supreme Court's confirmation of the high court's order to send them to the gallows and the rejection of the mercy petition by President. Behind this argument, it turns out, is a well-organized campaign by LTTE cadres, sympathizers and human rights groups opposed to death more..

US to seek full UN access in Sri Lanka

Feb 18 (NIP) An early draft of the “procedural resolution” against Sri Lanka, which the US plans to place before the UNHRC in Geneva next month, seeks “unfettered” access to UN rapporteurs responsible for governance and human rights. An unnamed Lankan official, who had had access to the draft, to say that it seeks access to international rapporteurs responsible for the independence of judges and lawyers; torture; human rights more..

'Teach the children to value humanity'

Feb 18 (GDI) President Rajapaksa said that all have to ensure that petty rivalries relating to ethnic, religious and cultural issues are a burden that future generation should never have to bear and the children should be taught to look beyond such petty differences and live in harmonious co-existence while respecting ethnic, religious and cultural plurality. He said that the children should be taught the value of humanity. more..

Health Minister eliminates tender procedure

Feb 18 (Island) Two MoU with the Indian and the Bangladeshi govts for the purchase of drugs would be signed by Sri Lanka soon. In future, those two govts would purchase the drugs from the registered companies and officially export them to Sri Lanka. Constant delays in obtaining drugs could be eliminated and the two govts would be responsible for supplying quality assured drugs, the Health Ministry said yesterday. more..

Govt. to brief diplomats on Thursday

Feb 18 (DM) Ahead of the session of the UNHRC, the govt will update the diplomatic community in Colombo on Thursday on the implementation of recommendations by the LLRC, a minister said yesterday. The previous briefing on the National Action Plan for the implementation of these recommendations was done a month ago. During the briefing, copies of a report that contained measures taken and to be taken by the govt more..

GTF secures foothold in British parliament for anti-SL offensive

Feb 18 (Island) The Global Tamil Forum (GTF), spearheading a campaign to haul Sri Lanka up before an international war crimes tribunal, over accountability issues, has secured space in the British parliament to mount an all-out attack ahead of the US moving its second resolution targeting the country. According to the GTF, several British politicians, including the Deputy Prime Minister, who is also the leader of the Liberal more..

Sri Lanka to plans to offer oil blocks for joint study

Feb 18 (LBO) Sri Lanka is planning to offer up to 11 off-shore oil blocks on production sharing deals in a bidding round that will close around September and others where less data is available for joint study, a media report said. Sri Lanka is to open a second bidding round in March 2012 which will be kept open until September for up to 11 off-shore oil exploration blocks, with a road show kicking off in Houston USA. more..

UNP: How did Rs.6.9 bn cost in 1998 become Rs. 47 bn in 2013?

Feb 18 (Island) The UNP yesterday asked how the cost of the Colombo-Katunayake expressway had shot up from Rs. 6.9 bn in 1998 to Rs. 47 billion in 2013. "This is a ridiculous state of affairs. When I raised a question in Parliament in 1998, the then Minister of Highways Jeyaraj Fernandopulle replied that the cost of the project then was Rs. 6,900 million or Rs. 6.9 billion, but now, in 2013, Deputy Minister of Highways Nirmala Kotelawela says that the same expressway, with the same length more..

A comment on the report for promoting reconciliation and accountability

Feb 18 (CT) The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms. Navanethem Pillay, on Feb 11, issued the Report of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on advice and technical assistance for the Govt of Sri Lanka on promoting reconciliation and accountability in Sri Lanka. This report is in terms of Resolution 19/2 of the Human Rights Council and in preparation for the debate on the resolution which will take place in Geneva in March of this year. more..