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BASL presidency election today

Feb 20 (FT) The election for the presidency of Sri Lanka Bar Association (BASL) will be held today. Today’s election is expected to be a battle between prominent criminal lawyer Tiranta Walaliyadda, PC and Human Rights lawyer Upul Jayasuriya. Attorney-at-law R.R.S. Thangarajah, who has regularly contested for the presidency, is also in the fray. BASL Secretary Sanjaya Gamage said that the necessary more..

Monk wanted over pen bomb

Feb 20 (Island) A devotee of a temple in Panamure was yesterday remanded, till Feb 26, by the Embilipitya Magistrate for possessing a pen bomb, a hand bomb and a small quantity of C-4 plastic explosives. The 46-year-old suspect had told the police that the items were given to him by the Chief Incumbent of the Walallagoda, Thenpita ancient temple as a gift. When the police raided the temple and made the detection, on a tip off, the monk had already given them the slip. more..

Lanka’s ambitious economic targets could be derailed by climate change – Minister

Feb 20 (Island) Sri Lanka needs to develop a pool of professionals and leaders, who serve both within govt and beyond to drive the country’s initiatives to combat climate change, newly appointed Environment and Renewable Energy Minister, Susil Premajayantha said. Speaking at the launch of the publication Climate Change Issues in Sri Lanka, he stressed that his ministry will not be able to address climate change related issues without the support of the relevant stakeholders. more..

Ranil raises ethnic tensions flare-up in Parliament

Feb 20 (FT) Leader of the Opposition Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday pointed out the continuation of ethnic and communal violence taking place in some parts of the country and emphasised on the urgency of finding a firm solution to defuse the increasing tension between the Sinhalese and the Muslims. “The Police reports that no incidents have taken place in Hiriyala and Kurunegala are incorrect. more..

'BASL can’t be a private club'

Feb 20 (DM) As the battle for the head of Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL), the policy making body of over 11,000 lawyers in the country heats up, the Daily Mirror queries from one of the two main contestants, Tirantha Walaliyadde on pertinent issues relating to country’s justice system, bar, law and order and important happenings related to the recent history. Q: What made you to decide to lead the Bar? A: To prevent it being politicised again. The main opponent is an out and out seasoned more..

'We must not compromise on principles'

Feb 20 (DM) Attorney-at-Law and candidate in the two-pronged race to the helm of the Sri Lanka Bar Association (BASL), Upul Jayasuriya speaks on the challenges ahead, the mistakes of the past and the need to consolidate. The hotly contested election scheduled to be held tomorrow would decide on the next man to step into the rather nondescript shoes of Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe who decided against contesting for the presidency for a second term as has been the norm among incumbents. more..

Nimal says Ranil making mountains out of mole hill

Feb 20 (Island) Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva charged in Parliament yesterday that Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe tried to fan communal disharmony by highlighting minor incidents out of proportion and interpreting them as major outbreak of ethnic crisis. Replying to a special statement made by Wickremesinghe, he said that the Opposition Leader’s statement was based on another reply made to the House by the more..

Trade union front expresses concern over V’chenai Mill

Feb 20 (Island) The Valachchenai Paper Mill was going the same way as the Embilipitiya factory, leased out to an international bidder, the Free Trade Zones and General Services Employees Union (FTZ &GSEU) alleged yesterday. The joint union alleged that the huge losses continued to be incurred by the National Paper Company (NPC) in Valachchena due to rampant corruption and waste. In a letter addressed to the Minister of State Resource and Enterprise Development, more..

Architect 2013 begins today

Feb 20 (DN) Architect 2013, the annual sessions of the Sri Lanka Institute of Architects (SLIA), would be held from today till February 24 at BMICH. One of the main features in this year's event would be the SLIA Annual Awards which would foster and recognise outstanding talent among the membership. The SLIA established by an Act of Parliament is the governing body of Architectural professionals. The ARCHITECT 2013 is the 31st consecutive Annual Session of the SLIA. more..

Sri Lankan envoy in Rome axed

Feb 20 (CT) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has ordered the Ministry of External Affairs to terminate the services of Sri Lankan Ambassador to Rome, Asitha Perera, following months-long protests by the Sri Lanka community and diplomatic staff in Italy. Accordingly, the ministry yesterday dispatched the termination letter, signed by the Secretary to the Ministry, Karunaratne Amunugama. The termination letter more..

'Indo, Lanka ties have stood the test of time'

Feb 20 (DN) India and Sri Lanka are the greatest of friends.We are witnessing dramatic developments in our part of the world. Ever since the Industrial Revolution in the early part of the nineteenth century, the centre of gravity for economic development was very much Western Europe, said External Affairs Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris speaking at a public lecture on "The Rise of Asia and Sri Lanka's Role" Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA) in New Delhi, India. more..

UN rights council should launch inquiry

Feb 20 (HRW) At its March 2013 session, the UNHRC should authorize an independent, international investigation into war crimes committed during the final months of Sri Lanka’s armed conflict, Human Rights Watch said in a letter to council members today. Since the council adopted a resolution on SL at its Mar 2012 session calling for action, the Sri Lankan govt has taken no significant steps to provide justice for victims of abuse and accountability for those responsible. more..

TN parties to step up pressure on Centre

Feb 20 (TOI) Pictures of 12-year-old Balachandran, son of LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran, detained in an army bunker before he was shot dead in cold blood, have revved up the pro-Eelam rhetoric in Tamil Nadu and can potentially create complications for UPA govt. With the US all set to move another resolution before the UNHRC on March 15, the UPA govt at the Centre would be under intense pressure to vote in its favour more..

'Cannot vouch for authencity of pictures'

Feb 20 (Hindu) Union External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said he had seen the pictures and the report on the alleged coldblooded killing of LTTE chief V. Prabakaran’s minor son by the Sri Lankan Army but could not vouch for their authenticity. Mr. Khurshid was asked about the government’s response to the op-ed in The Hindu’s Tuesday edition based on a British documentary featuring the pictures of the killing of Prabakaran’s 12-year-old son, Balachandran. more..

Ranil, Tissa restrained from acting against SLMC MPs

Feb 20 (CT) Colombo District Judge Amal Ranaraja yesterday issued an enjoining order on the UNP Leader, Ranil Wickremesinghe, and Party General Secretary, Tissa Attanayake, to prevent them from taking any steps against the Minister of Justice, Rauff Hakeem, and MPs of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) regarding their Parliament membership. The Judge issued the order after considering six petitions filed by Minister Hakeem and SLMC Members of Parliament. more..

Faraz hails MR in statement issued by President’s office

Feb 20 (CG) In a statement sent to the international media by the President’s office today purportedly written by the Sunday Leader journalist Faraz Shauketaly, President Rajapaksa has been praised for pushing the authorities to investigate the recent shooting incident in Mount Lavinia. The statement quotes the journalist, who was shot by unidentified gunmen last week, as saying that the intervention of the President more..

Editorial: Learn from history - End this racial tension

Feb 20 (DM) Though the Rajapaksa regime is promising much but doing little to implement the recommendations of the LLRC it is vitally important for Sri Lanka to learn the right lessons from what happened in history and especially the recent past and take effective action. In the 1950s the ethnic problems of the Tamil speaking people began basically with a language issue. LSSP stalwart Colvin R. De Silva, with prophetic foresight warned that Sri Lanka had a choice before it—if we more..

Failure of CB, Golden Key Curse and fall of a CJ

Feb 20 (DM) The Supreme Court in its order of 23.03.2009 granting leave to proceed in the SC applications filed by some depositors of the Golden Key Credit Card Company stated thus: ‘On a perusal of the file… it was revealed that Folio containing report of the Head of the Special Investigation Unit (SIU) of the Central Bank which had considered the very matter raised by Counsel for the petitioners has stated as follows: ‘In view of the above facts the examiners are of the view that more..

Baby vendors caught red-handed

Feb 20 (ST) Three persons have been arrested on a charge of attempting to “sell” an infant born last week at the Avissawela Hospital. The arrested persons are a minor female hospital employee, her husband, and a third party. Under court orders, the mother and infant are being detained at the Ratnapura Hospital, where they will remain till Feb 22. The story revealed in court was that a married but childless couple who more..

'Vijaya, a fearless, noble leader'

Feb 20 (DN) Vijaya Kumaratunga was the founder of the Sri Lanka Mahajana Party which sacrificed the most number of lives. His noble qualities were much respected. The people who loved him belonged to two categories - those who admired his political career and those who loved him as an artiste. Minister Basil Rajapaksa made the above observations when he addressed the 25th Vijaya Kumaratunga death anniversary more..

Iranian official rejects reports on ban on Buddha statues

Feb 20 (DM) An Iranian official rejected media reports alleging that he has called for a ban on the imports and sales of Buddha stautes in Iran, saying that his remarks have been "misquoted". Media reports have recently quoted Secretary of the Headquarters for Supporting and Protecting Cultural Works Saeed Jaber Ansari as saying that the statutes which represent the saints, beliefs and values of other religions than Islam, more..

New Minister to halt stealing of elephant calves from National Parks

Feb 20 (Island) Wildlife Department will soon tighten existing laws to safeguard baby elephants from going into the wrong hands after being inhumanly separated from their mothers in the wild. A Department official told The Island yesterday that newly appointed Wildlife Minister Wijithamuni de Zoysa had given strict instructions that baby elephants should be safeguarded at any cost. Minister’s directive came after he found that more..

Law College entrance exam: CJ has agreed not to make immediate changes -Hakeem

Feb 20 (Island) Justice Minister Rauff Hakeem told Parliament that CJ Mohan Peiris had agreed to re-consider a request by those seeking admission to the Sri Lanka Law College, not to effect an immediate change to the entrance examination format. Responding to a series of queries raised by JVP MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake, who made a special statement in Parliament that a decision had been taken to change the format of more..

Mother dives for sand to keep home fires burning

Feb 20 (SL) Sand mining in the traditional manner is a dangerous profession where the person dives to the bottom of the river to collect sand bit by bit, and for decades has been a profession that has been dominated by men in the rural areas. However for this mother of two, when the cruel hand of fate took away the only person she could depend on in this world to protect and care for her and her two children, she had no other choice but more..

'Prabhakaran's son killing: an act of extreme cruelty'

Feb 20 (Hindu) Describing “as a war crime of gravest nature and unforgivable act” the killing of Balachandran, the son of LTTE leader Prabakaran, Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on Wednesday wanted the Indian govt to hold discussions with the USA and like- minded countries and draft resolution to be passed in the UN against Sri Lanka. “It is an inhuman act of extreme cruelty. Balachandran was only 12 years old and was just a child. more..

President launches third phase of English language initiative

Feb 20 (DN) English language should be used as a tool by the younger generation to achieve their objectives. The govt has well understood the importance of providing facilities to improve their skills in English, President Rajapaksa said. “It is our duty to provide the necessary tools for students to learn the English language,” he said. The Tamil and Sinhala students did not receive opportunities to learn each others languages, more..

'Photos of LTTE Chief Prabhakaran's son morphed in documentary'

Feb 20 (IBN) Sri Lankan High Commissioner Prasad Kariyawasam rejected claims made by a documentary that showed LTTE's chief Prabhakaran's son dead with five bullet wounds and said the photos in the documentary are "morphed". He added the documentary was the propaganda of LTTE backers and that the Sri Lankan military did not kill Prabhakaran's 12-year-old son. "Prabhakaran's son could have been more..

US to introduce resolution on Lankan human rights in Geneva

Feb 20 (PTI) Deeply concerned about allegations of violations of international humanitarian law and human rights in Sri Lanka, the US today said that it plans to introduce its own resolution on the issue at the Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva. "We continue to be deeply concerned by allegations of violations of international humanitarian law and human rights in Sri Lanka," State Department spokesperson more..

Can we disagree with the report of the UNHCHR and on what grounds?

Feb 20 (CT) The much awaited report of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on Sri Lanka is out now in anticipation of a debate and a resolution in the Human Rights Council soon on ‘reconciliation and accountability’ issues. It is a short report of 18 pages with a brief summary and 8 recommendations. The conclusions are equally important. Although it is formally a report of the Office of the High Commissioner, it is good as a report of the High Commissioner or the UN. more..

US President intervened to take charge of al-Qaeda suspect

Feb 20 (Island) Inquiries into Sri Lanka’s involvement in the US extraordinary rendition programme have revealed that the then US President George W. Bush personally intervened in 2003 to have a wanted foreign al-Qaeda suspect extradited from Sri Lanka to an unknown destination. Highly placed sources told The Island that only the then Premier Ranil Wickremesinghe, Defence Minister Tilak Marapone, Defence Secretary Austin Fernando and Minister Milinda Moragoda more..

Sri Lanka Debrief News: 20 02 2013

Editorial : Defiling the great teachings

Feb 20 (CT) It is very pertinent to record that most extreme reactions to any reconciliation between warring communities do not necessarily originate from the 'other side'. History, both modern and ancient, notes it usually came from within. Mahatma Gandhi sought to bring about reconciliation between the Muslims and Hindus in India. He was not killed by a Muslim; he was brutally gunned down by a Hindu fanatic. Anwar Sadat was not killed by an Israeli Jew. He was slain by a member of more..

Michelle Boutique Hotel opened

Feb 20 (GDI) Michelle boutique hotel in Balapitiya was open by Minister Basil Rajapaksa on Monday. Presidential advisor Dr. Saman Weerasinghe, MP Sachin Vaas Gunawardena, Managing Director of the Hotel Ranjaka De Mel, Russian Ambassador in Sri Lanka Alexander Karchava and Buddhapriya Ramanayaka were also present. Michelle boutique hotel is one of a kind conceptual `Life Style' boutique hotel located in Balapitiya` on the Southern Coastal belt of Sri Lanka. more..

Sri Lanka's gov't criticized for resolution at UNHRC

Feb 20 (Xinhua) The UNP blamed the govt on Wednesday for failing to protect the country's international reputation ahead of a second U.S. backed resolution being tabled at the UNHRC on human rights in the island. UNP MP Lakshman Kiriella said that the govt failing to promote human rights and reconciliation after the end of a three decade war in 2009 was the main reason for successive resolutions at the UNHRC. more..

Range Bandara complains police breached his privileges

Feb 20 (Island) UNP MP Palitha Range Bandara told Parliament that his privileges had been breached by the Mirihana police by searching his house on a complaint that he was holding a woman against her will there. Raising a privilege issue, the MP said that he had been getting ready to leave his house in Nugegoda on Feb 8, to come to Parliament, to attend the debate on the bill on the convention for the suppression of terrorist financing, when three police officers, including more..

Fish harvest up, but costly imports continue

Feb 20 (Island) Minister Rajitha Senaratne revealed that Rs. 3,822 million had been spent on the importation of 14,165 MT of dried fish and 1,383 MT of Maldive fish last year. Dr. Senaratne, during an observation tour of dried fish and Maldives fish projects, of the Ceylon Fisheries Corporation recently, said that it was his aim to produce dried fish and Maldive fish to meet the country’s demand. Two projects had been commenced under the supervision of two trade unions of more..

Sri Lanka to seek Chinese support at UNHRC

Feb 20 (Xinhua) The Sri Lankan govt on Wednesday said it will seek the support of several countries including China against a U.S. sponsored resolution against the island nation which is to be submitted before the UNHRC next month. The Sri Lankan External Affairs Ministry said that the govt will first want to see the resolution which is to be submitted before the Council, after that, the respective govts will be approached more..

Geneva preparations not shared with the UNP: Govt

Feb 20 (DM) The govt in response to assertions made by the UNP to the effect that the country is not prepared to face the upcoming UNHRC sessions said “The govt is fully prepared both internally and externally for the UNHRC sessions”. Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said the government has made all preparations for the upcoming sessions. “We don’t share our preparations with the UNP. We have done everything in order to prepare ourselves for this upcoming session” he said. more..

Sri Lankans protest Iran's ban on Buddha statues

Feb 20 (Xinhua) Dozens of Sri Lankan protestors marched to the Iranian embassy here on Wednesday, calling for a ban on Buddha statues in that country to be rolled back and for the Iranian government to respect religious rights, an activist said. The protest, which took place in the morning, was also participated by several Buddhist monks who headed the organization "Sihala Rawaya." "This morning we staged a peaceful walk to the Iran embassy. This is not a racist organization but more..

'Soon a garland will be plaited with flowers of various fragrances'

Feb 20 (LT) Very soon a single garland will be plaited with flowers of various fragrances, not only trade union movement but all masses have the responsibility of building a people’s movement to win rights and a beginning should be made to struggle for a genuine new social order without restricting the trade union movement to fight for mere salary struggles says the President of NTUC K.D. Lal Kanthe. more..