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Editorial : The Kudankulam radiation leaks

Feb 19 (Island) The proponents of the Kudankulam nuclear project sought to pooh-pooh the safety concerns raised by anti-atomic power campaigners last year. In response to adverse criticism of that nuclear plant, the High Commission of India in Colombo, issuing a media statement on Sept. 27, 2012, declared that it had ‘high safety standards’ posed no threat to Sri Lanka’. The Indian govt assigned utmost attention to nuclear and radiation safety, including the safety of more..

West Indies Women to play 3 ODIs and 5 T20s in Sri Lanka

Feb 19 (TE) Fresh from their campaign in the ICC Women's World Cup in India, West Indies will head to Sri Lanka for an eight-match limited overs series, the West Indies Cricket Board announced yesterday. The Merissa Aguilleira-led side will clash with the Sri Lankans in a series comprising three ODIs and five Twenty20 Internationals from February 22 to March 8. West Indies will leave India today and open their ODI series on Friday at Rangiri Dambulla International Stadium, more..

Buddha statue taboo in Iran

Feb 19 (DM) The Buddha statue has become a banned item in Iran and the Iranian authorities are confiscating Buddha statues from shops in Tehran, to stop the promotion of Buddhism in the country, foreign media reported. Buddha statues have been labelled as symbols of “cultural invasion,” an official for the protection of Iran’s cultural heritage, Saeed Jaberi Ansari, was quoted in the independent Iran-based Arman daily more..

NTB promotes remittances in Qatar & Bahrain

Feb 19 (Island) Nations Trust Bank (NTB) was on a promotional tour "Nations Trust Bank with Sanga - Middle East Tour 2013" in Qatar and Bahrain with their brand ambassador Kumar Sangakkara, the former SL Cricket Captain, promoting remittances to Sri Lanka. Many activities were arranged in these markets to coincide with this tour in February targeted at Sri Lankans employed in Qatar and Bahrain who were also given the opportunity to meet the Bank’s ambassador, Kumar. more..

Stalin tells Centre to deploy naval forces in Rameswaram

Feb 19 (TOI) DMK treasurer M K Stalin has condemned the attacks on Tamil fishermen at the hands of the Sri Lankan navy and urged the Centre to take measures to re-claim Katchatheevu from the island nation. Stalin, who was presiding over a demonstration called by the Tamil Eelam Supporters' Organisation (Teso) on Monday, also sought the Centre to deploy strong naval deployment in Rameswaram to prevent any attacks on the Indian fishermen. more..

Gen. Fonseka says learnt of wife’s candidacy from newspapers

Feb 19 (Island) DNA leader and former Army Commander, General Sarath Fonseka said that he came to know of his wife’s possible candidacy for the chief ministerial post in either the Wayamba or Central Provincial Council, both of which are expected to be dissolved soon, only through newspapers. "Nobody mentioned such a thing to me, until I saw it on newspapers. Nobody has so far asked her to contest a provincial poll." more..

Temperance Movement too demands pictorial warnings

Feb 19 (Island) The ‘Jathika Minis Paura’ (National wall of Humans) and the Sri Lanka Temperance Movement (SLTM) urged the govt to implement the law on pictorial warnings on the cover of cigarette packs. The Spokesman for the Health Ministry said that the two organisations had collaborated in staging a protest march yesterday morning, commencing from Sathutu Uyana to Lipton Circus. A petition signed by over one million people had been handed over to the Health Secretary, more..

Woman seeks help to secure husband's release

Feb 19 (TOI) A 28-year-old woman from Trichy, on Monday demanded the district administration to help bring home her husband who is jailed in Colombo for allegedly possessing 'ganja'. However, she claimed that her husband was innocent and he went there to do garment business. R Nithya, 28, a resident of Anna Nagar came to the district collector's office along with her two children demanding the collector to take steps to secure the release of her husband P Ramkumar, 32 from Colombo jail. more..

JVP leader calls on world to oppose US threat

Feb 19 (Island) JVP leader Somawansa Amarasinghe said that all should unite to defeat attempts, by the United States and its allies, to jeopardize world peace, security and reconciliation. Addressing the 22nd Rotary District Conference, he said that all were aware that there were more than 1,000 US military bases around the world. The JVP believed that there was no threat whatsoever to the US or its interests anywhere in the world more..

Editorial: The killing of a young boy

Feb 19 (Hindu) It is a war that has produced some truly terrible images, but this one is particularly disturbing. A young boy sits looking distressed, like a child who has been lost in a supermarket. He has been given a biscuit or some kind of snack. In the second photograph, he is looking anxiously up, as though hoping to see someone he recognises. The boy is Balachandran Prabakaran, the 12-year-old son of Tamil Tiger leader V Prabakaran. These photographs, which we are releasing today, more..

First Lady lauds service of Siva Obeysekere

Feb 19 (DN) First Lady Shiranthi Rajapaksa yesterday praised the social service rendered by Deshamanya Mrs Siva Obeysekere and said ladies of the calibre of Mrs Obeysekere who made social service a part of their life have been born to the nation's good fortune. The First Lady expressed these sentiments when she attended the Golden Jubilee celebrations of the Wathupitiwala Sir J P Obeysekere and Deshamanya Siva Obeysekere Childrens and Elders Centre at which more..

Alarm sounded over danger to Lanka from Indian radiation leaks

Feb 19 (Island) Leading environmentalists urged the Indian govt to protect Sri Lanka from the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant, as it had developed leaks even before being commissioned. Environmental Lawyer Jagath Gunawardena noted that the relevant Atomic Energy Authority should take necessary steps to check the radiation levels in the sea water and air to determine whether any radioactive materials had more..

Desire to silence outspoken journalists seen in murder attempt

Feb 19 (RSF) Reporters Without Borders and its partner organization, Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka, firmly condemn an attempt to murder Sunday Leader journalist Faraz Shaukatally on the night 15 February, when he was shot and wounded by gunmen inside his Colombo home. Doctors say his life is no longer in danger. “This appalling shooting suggests that the enemies of media freedom are trying to silence those journalists who still dare to report the news freely,” more..

CTU threatens action if promotions are withheld

Feb 19 (CT) The Ceylon Teachers' Union (CTU) threatened to engage in tough trade union action if the teachers' are not granted promotions, with immediate effect. CTU General Secretary, Joseph Stalin, said teachers have not been promoted since 2008, thereby making pay hikes and other benefits that are given along with promotions, unaccessible. "The Education Minister and the Secretary of the Education Ministry are aware that promotions are long overdue but they continue to more..

SL not only facilitated US rendition project but also nabbed key al-Qaeda suspect

Feb 19 (Island) A top level investigation has revealed that Sri Lanka not only allowed the use of its only international airport at Katunayake for flights associated with US extraordinary rendition project but also handed over a terror suspect apprehended on its soil to US agents. The then UNP-led UNF govt had arrested the wanted foreign national following the US govt making representations, in the wake of more..

SL offers huge potential for investment

Feb 19 (TOO) With Sri Lanka's economy on a high growth trajectory, the picturesque Island nation offers a canvas of opportunities for investors seeking to invest in the country, said Ajith Nivard Cabraal, the governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka. Speaking at an event to explore Sri Lanka's emerging investment opportunities organised here yesterday, Ajith Nivard Cabraal said: "We have substantial investments from Oman, but this needs to further improve." more..

Regulatory mechanism for int’l schools

Feb 19 (DN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa ordered officials to bring all international schools operating in the country under a regulatory mechanism. He stressed that the younger generation should not be led astray. The President was speaking at the Education Ministry progress review meeting at the Ministry auditorium yesterday. It was the first meeting chaired by the President at ministry level to review the progress of the programmes implemented by the respective ministries. more..

'President’s mouth piece Weerawanasa is trying to fix Jayasundera'

Feb 19 (Island) The Supreme Court had prohibited Dr. P.B. Jayasundera from holding public office due to the infamous ‘petrol price episode’, but it was President Mahinda Rajapaksa who had re-appointed him as Treasury Secretary. Now, Minister Wimal Weerawansa was behaving as if he were deaf and dumb, the UNP said. The entire country knew that Weerawansa was President Rajapaksa’s mouthpiece and considering the more..

School collection policy: Civil society submissions invited

Feb 19 (FT) The Policy and Research Division of Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL) has called for civil society inputs about new education policy presently being formulated regarding the collection of money from students by school authorities. The controversy over a young student in Horana who stole coconuts in order to pay a contribution for painting her school has prompted authorities to formulate a new policy regarding the collection of money from students, more..

GK case: Judge Amaratunga declines to sit on Bench

Feb 19 (DM) When the fundamental rights petition filed by Golden Key Credit Card Company depositors came up before the Supreme Court today, Presiding Judge N.G. Amaratunga said he would not participate in the proceedings. The Bench comprising Justices N.G. Amaratunga, K. Sripavan and S.I. Imam directed the SC Registrar to submit the matter to the CJ for the nomination of a new Bench. The matter was fixed to be mentioned on Mar 4. Petitioners cited the Central Bank more..

Kerry Packer Jr. in town for mega gaming venture

Feb 19 (FT) Billionaire gaming mogul James Packer, son of the famous Kerry Packer, is in town to explore prospects for a mega gaming venture in Sri Lanka. Packer Jr. had arrived yesterday and held meetings with Minister Basil Rajapaksa and Treasury Secretary Dr. P.B. Jayasundera. Opportunities explored include a US$ 350 million gaming venture down D.R. Wijewardena Mawatha, which the Govt is keen to develop as more..

Editorial: Building without a foundation

Feb 19 (DM) Many of the top officials in the public service go to places of religious worship, to placate the one they give obeisance to. From the highest in our land to the lowest, they go on pilgrimage to such well-known places here and abroad. They do so before undertaking official duties or to ward off malefic influences over their lives, or so they believe. Probably this is being done to gain merit, to build a solid foundation. Such a foundation they believe would help them to carry out their functions, more..

Coconuts, courts and cultural concoction

Feb 19 (DM) The President, an exceedingly nice man, has been moved by the plight of a schoolgirl who stole some coconuts so that her class room could be painted brightly. Kumbhakarna is deeply touched. We know that the President has not been pleased with the Judiciary lately, and this case surely gives him a terrific opportunity to point out the pig-headedness of judges and the inhumanity of our legal system in general. In short, a serious overhaul is in order, and the man has already moved more..

Who will speak for Tamils at UNHRC?

Feb 19 (SL) Our President declared in India that everyone has a right to protest in a democracy. But Tamils are questioned over religious functions and protesters are ducked in dirty engine oil, locked up or worse. He claimed to be performing a Suprabhata Seva for Venkateswara. But that seemed intresting given how many Hindu temples have been destroyed during the war. Claiming ‘a private visit’ he reportedly met the head of more..

Money, money, money, not so funny in poor parents’ world

Feb 19 (ST) Maheshika Pubuduni, a 13-year-old schoolgirl from Horana with a whole life ahead of her, could have ended up in a juvenile offender’s facility over serious criminal charges. Her crime: stealing coconuts to pay off Rs. 800 charged by her school to paint the classroom. Maheshika is not alone in her dilemma. A Sunday Times investigation revealed that throughout the country, students and parents are burdened with more..

Another GMOA strike?

Feb 19 (CT) Doctors threatened to launch a lightning strike if the authorities fail to implement the transfer circular by 25 February as promised, Media Spokesman of the Govt Medical Officers' Association (GMOA), Dr. Naveen De Zoysa said. Addressing the media, he said: "The doctors' transfer list is not implemented properly though it was finalized after many hours of hard work. We sacrificed so much time towards formulating more..

LTTE lobby swamps Geneva

Feb 19 (DN) All three pro - LTTE factions have started lobbying ahead of the UNHCR sessions in Geneva in March, international terrorism expert Prof Dr Rohan Gunaratna said yesterday. He said the three factions are the Tamil Eelam People’s Assembly led by Perinpanayagam Sivaparan alias Nediyawan in Norway, the Global Tamil Forum led by Father S J Emmanuel in London and the Transnational Govt of Tamil Eelam led by more..

LIOC to be brought under supervision of regulator soon

Feb 19 (Island) Lanka Indian Oil Company (IOC), which has a 33% stake in the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC), was unaware of its duty to take price revision appeals before the Public Utility Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL), a top official said. Lanka IOC, Managing Director, Subodh Dakwale said that they usually acted on their own when it came to price revision. However, he said that if they were informed they would more..

Sri Lanka Navy facilitates Kachchathive Church festival

Feb 19 (SLN) Under the direction of the Ministry of Defence and the supervision of the Commander of the Sri Lanka Navy, Vice Admiral Jayanath Colombage, Sri Lanka Navy facilitates the conduct of the annual feast of the St. Anthony’s Church in Kachchathive on a grand scale. The feast, which is scheduled to be held on 23rd and 24th March 2013, will be attended by a large number of devotees including clergy from Sri Lanka and more..

Sri Lanka begins re-building Hamilton canal as tourist attraction

Feb 19 (LBO) Sri Lanka has begun re-building a colonial era canal north of the capital Colombo as an eco tourism attraction due to its access to nearby wetlands. A 600 million rupee project to rebuild the canal banks, clear silt and spruce up the surroundings had been inaugurated on Sunday by minister Basil Rajapaksa. The Canal in its present form had been completed in 1802 by the then British Revenue and Commerce more..

Minister Jayasena says called IGP to “seek relief”

Feb 19 (DM) Cabinet Minister Sumedha Jayasena while admitting that she called the IGP and requested the release of three illegal sand miners, who were arrested on Dec 27, said she intended to make a statement regarding the issue. “This is all fabrication; the media is slinging mud at us. There were three people who were caught on Dec 27, and they were helpers working at a building I am constructing but I had no knowledge of more..

Injured Mahela out of Bangladesh series

Feb 19 (DM) Sri Lanka’s entry into a new phase of international cricket under the country’s youngest ever captain Angelo Mathews received a devastating blow when Mathews’ imposing predecessor Mahela Jayawardene injured his finger and will be ruled out of the homes series against Bangladesh starting in the first week of March. Jayawardene dislocated the middle finger of his left hand while attempting a catch on Sunday more..

AG orders CID to file case on Duminda

Feb 19 (CG) The Attorney General has instructed the police CID to file a case against MP Duminda Silva over the killing of former MP Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra. According to the instructions issued by the AG, the CID has also been told to file cases against 12 others in relation to the case. Premachandra was killed in the shooting incident in Oct 2011 and Silva was seen as one of the main suspects in the murder. more..

Editorial: Sri Lanka’s squandered opportunities

Feb 19 (WP) Almost four years ago, the govt of President Rajapaksa won a decisive victory in a 26-year-long civil war with rebels from the island’s minority Tamil community. The cost was horrific: A UN investigation subsequently found that up to 40,000 civilians may have died in the govt's final offensive. But the triumph made Mr. Rajapaksa a hero among the majority Sinhalese community and gave him an opportunity to modernize his country while healing its ethnic rift. more..

No sleep need be lost in Delhi about the Rajapakse sleeping with Beijing

Feb 19 (CT) The befuddlement in Delhi regarding the procedural resolution on Sri Lanka to be tabled by the US at the March UNHRC meeting is seen as a reaction to its Indian Ocean strategic funk. I will address this in this essay; the UNHRC-Lanka dimension is marginal to today’s topic. The legendary pusillanimity of Manmohan Singh, above all on Sri Lanka related matters, is not explanation enough. That Indian decision makers have taken fright at a Chinese strategic threat more..

EU to push for accountability

Feb 19 (CG) The European Union (EU) will push for accountability from Sri Lanka during the UN Human Rights Council session in Geneva next month. A statement following the EU Foreign Affairs Council meeting in Brussels yesterday said that the EU will also support efforts aimed at keeping the issues of accountability and reconciliation as well as the current human rights situation in Sri Lanka on the agenda of the Human Rights Council. more..

Editorial : End the climate of impunity

Feb 19 (CT) Faraz Shaukatally, a journalist to attached the Sunday Leader newspaper was shot by three unidentified gunmen who had walked into Blue Oceanic, the hotel he owns and was living in, on Hotel Road, Mt. Lavinia. The attack set off an usual pattern of events. President Mahinda Rajapaksa condemned the incident and ordered an investigation. Police questioned several witnesses while the international community and the local media fraternity expressed their outrage. more..

'Reducing imports of palm oil, won’t slash coconut prices'

Feb 19 (Island) The Coconut Growers’ Association (CGA) of Sri Lanka said yesterday that high import duty on palm oil and the reduction of farm gate price did not necessarily mean that the price paid by the local consumer for coconuts and coconut oil for edible purposes would drastically come down. "It is only the increase in crop production that can generate a genuine price reduction and such increased production can only be achieved by maintaining a price structure that assures more..

Pakistani navy delegation in Sri Lanka for anti-terrorism exchanges

Feb 19 (Xinhua) A four-member Pakistani navy delegation arrived here on Tuesday for a six-day visit to Sri Lanka to promote defense relations and anti-terrorism measures between the two countries, a statement from the Pakistan embassy said. The visit is aimed at sharing experiences in the field of anti- terrorism between the two countries. "The current visit is a follow up of the Staff Level Talks initiated between more..

Night club killing: five suspects remanded

Feb 19 (Island) Five suspects arrested over the killing of a 26-year-old youth, in a night club brawl on Valentine’s Day, were remanded till February 28 by the Hulftsdorp Magistrate. The suspects were from Colombo 12, 14, 15, Baticcaloa and Maligawatte. The deceased was identified as M. Jayakumar of Barnes Watte, Colombo 7. The suspects had allegedly assaulted the victim after he came out of the club around 2.00 a.m. The rift between victim’s party and the suspects had begun more..