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Three Pak drug smugglers sent off without fine

Feb 21 (Island) Three Pakistanis were detected at the BIA attempting to smuggle in injections to induce abortions and sleeping tablets. According to Customs media spokesman Leslie Gamini among the contraband detected last Sunday were 3750 injections used to induce abortions and 26100 sleeping tablets, both worth Rs 2.2 million. The three smugglers had arrived from Pakistan aboard UL184 flight and had attempted to leave the airport through the Green Channel on the basis that more..

Upul at the helm of Bar Association

Feb 21 (FT) Upul Jayasuriya, Attorney-at-Law and senior human rights lawyer, was elected as the new President of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka, in what lawyers called a ‘historic’ margin of victory. Jayasuriya beat his main contender Tirantha Waraliyadda, the senior criminal lawyer, by a margin of over 1,700 votes. Former President Wijeyadasa Rajapakse won in 2012 with 1297 votes in total, while Waraliyadda who also more..

Ravi breaks Ranil's rules

Feb 21 (CT) UNP Colombo District MP, Ravi Karunanayake, has flouted the rules of UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe and has held several meetings in Kotte, without informing the Kotte UNP organizer, Dr. Harsha de Silva. It is reported that Karunanayake, who is the Colombo North Organizer for the UNP, has taken the authority into his hands and not followed protocols, when holding a meeting in Kotte. It is learnt that Kotte Organizer Dr de Silva was not consulted about the meeting. more..

'India must vote against Sri Lanka'

Feb 21 (Hindu) Communist Party of India leader D. Raja on Wednesday termed the alleged cold-blooded killing of LTTE chief V. Prabakaran’s minor son further proof that the war in Sri Lanka was nothing but a “structural genocide” against the Tamil people. He demanded that India vote against Sri Lanka at the coming UNHRC session. He was addressing the media along with the former Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court, Rajinder Sachar, and representatives of May 17 Movement, more..

NTPC mulls exit from Sri Lanka venture

Feb 21 (IE) NTPC Ltd has informed the govt that it cannot accept the fresh terms set by the CEB for its proposed 500-MW project in Sri Lanka. Indicating its willingness to withdraw from its maiden overseas venture, the state-owned power generator has sought permission to pull out two of its top functionaries from Sri Lanka. NTPC and CEB had inked an agreement in 2011 for jointly setting up a 500-MW power project at Trincomalee more..

Russian support to strengthen security and economy

Feb 21 (DN) Russia will stand by Sri Lanka to help strengthen its security and economy for the success its march towards becoming the wonder of Asia. The new Russian Ambassador Alexsender A Karchava gave this assurance when he called on PM D M Jayaratne at his official 'Visumpaya' residence for discussions yesterday. The Ambassador said Russia would supply Sri Lanka with Technical and Security equipment valued at Rs 300 million under an MoU signed between the two countries more..

Student-friendly exams proposed: Govt. plans to reform education

Feb 21 (CT) The govt yesterday said plans are underway to introduce changes to the education system in the country and the Department of Examinations has already drafted a module making general exams more student-friendly. Minister Bandula Gunawardena told Parliament, he in fact, is planning to make a ministerial announcement in the House soon to reveal more details on the steps the Department is planning to take, with regard to reforming the process of exams. more..

Mahinda dropped

Feb 21 (CT) President Rajapaksa's special envoy on human rights, Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe, who served in that capacity for well over half a decade, has been dropped from the list of delegates attending the UNHRC sessions in Geneva next month. However, a high profile delegation comprising senior officials from the Ministry of External Affairs and the AG's Department, along with Sri Lanka's more..

'No easy fix on asylum boat issue'

Feb 21 (DT) New Immigration Minister Brendan O'Connor says he has no short-term way to stop asylum boats, as he digests the first horrifying loss of life since he took the role this month. He said the 98 Australia-bound asylum seekers thrown overboard by shipmates as they died one by one after weeks without food off Sri Lanka were likely not the only victims. The Sri Lankan navy released shocking photographs of some of the 32 emaciated survivors who ran out of food 21 days ago more..

Sri Lankan media ignores Indian reactions

Feb 21 (Hindu) Sri Lankan media largely ignored the sensation created in India and elsewhere in the world, after the publication of new pictures which suggested that Tamil Tiger chief V. Prabakaran’s youngest son, Balachandran, was captured by the Sri Lankan forces ahead of being shot dead. The English press, barring Ceylon Today, did not even carry the Sri Lankan rebuttal of the story. The main Tamil newspaper, Virakesari, carried the rebuttal prominently, but made this an excuse to more..

UN looks, Sri Lanka ducks

Feb 21 (IPS) It has now become an annual affair. When the Geneva based UNHRC readies itself for the first of its annual regular sessions in February, the govt in Sri Lanka gets ready to ward off yet another attempt to scrutinise its rights record. Till last year, for three years since the end of three decades of bloody conflict, the govt was successful in its endeavours to keep international pressure at bay. In March last year that changed, more..

Editorial: Stand against religious extremism

Feb 21 (DM) It seems that somebody has shifted the gear to the reverse. It’s really disheartening to see how a golden opportunity the country was presented with about three and a half years ago is allowed to slip away carelessly. Chauvinism, racism and religious and cultural intolerance have forced themselves into the front seat while harmony, unity and respect for difference have retreated to the back seat. It is tragic to see how young men and women, who are supposed to herald the wonders of more..

The world day of social justice: Are we on track?

Feb 21 (DM) Marking the ‘World Day of Social Justice’ today (20), UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said: “As we seek to build the world we want, let us intensify our efforts to achieve a more inclusive, equitable and sustainable development path built on dialogue, transparency and social justice.” Inspiring words indeed, but in the context of globalisation, regions and nations like Sri Lanka with small populations and weak economies have virtually no say. more..

Blood ivory is not for showcasing

Feb 21 (ST) Releasing a cargo of confiscated ivory would only create a demand for more ivory, and this would trigger a surge in the poaching of Sri Lankan tuskers, warn animal lovers. Environmentalists and conservationists protested on hearing that a consignment of 359 African Elephant tusks seized by the Sri Lanka Customs was to be released last week. Last month, the Presidential Secretariat ordered the Customs to release more..

Ex-LTTE cadres contribute to economy

Feb 21 (SL) The Civil Security Department (CSD) has recently recruited 3,500 former LTTE cadres despite requests by the TNA that rehabilitated cadres should be given a chance to lead normal lives as civilians and not be recruited into any military or paramilitary organizations. While in the LTTE they had caused so much destruction to this country, but today having realized their mistake they have joined hands more..

'SL saying Yes to humanitarian norms'

Feb 21 (Island) "There is a very interesting and positive response from a wide cross section of the Sri Lankan public, including the Army, the Police, academic circles and the Ministry of External Affairs, to awareness-raising on human rights norms by the International Committee of the Red Cross," Head of Delegation, ICRC, Sri Lanka, Yves Giovannoni said. "We have reached a stage with the Sri Lankan armed forces, where we feel that the ICRC’s more..

'25% of national budget wasted'

Feb 21 (CT) Nearly 25% of the national budget, amounting to Rs 100 billion, is wasted due to rampant corruption in the public sector. UNP MP, Sujeewa Senasinghe, told Parliament the public has to bear the burden of corruption and wastage, as the govt increases every possible fee, to cover-up the losses instead of reducing waste. A number of major development projects in the country have been awarded to the Chinese and more..

'TNA claiming to be liberators taking Tamils to ruin'

Feb 21 (Island) Minister Douglas Devananda accused the TNA of sabotaging the development process in the war battered North and East by describing themselves the champions of Tamil people’s liberation. The minister replying in a debate on an adjournment motion moved by TNA Leader R Sampanthan said that the TNA could never achieve liberation of Tamils but only paved the way for their destruction. more..

'Tamils in Netherlands ready to support Lanka in Geneva'

Feb 21 (Island) In the wake of pro–LTTE factions lobbying against Sri Lanka, ahead of the UNHCR sessions in Geneva, Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to the Netherlands Buddhi Athauda revealed that the Tamil Diaspora in Netherlands was ready to hold protests in support of the country outside the forthcoming Human Rights sessions. He maintained that the LTTE and its sympathisers were fast fading in the Netherlands and more..

ACJU clears the air on Halal certification

Feb 21 (AD) The All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulama (ACJU) stated that it has never engaged in any promotion or compulsion of the Halal certificate and claimed that it was only meant to provide Muslims with easy access to permitted products. In a statement issued to the media, the ACJU stated that its Halal Division had been carried out in a very transparent manner with access to any state institution for verification. It explained that several more..

Ban wants accountability in Sri Lanka

Feb 21 (CG) UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon wants accountability in Sri Lanka through a genuine and comprehensive national process. Ban Ki-moon’s spokesman Martin Nesirky said that the UN Chief was aware of the new video footage released on the war in Sri Lanka and the reports about that video footage. He was referring to the video allegedly showing the youngest son of LTTE leader Prabakaran having snacks in an more..

'Suspended UNPers can enter Sirikotha on official business'

Feb 21 (Island) Amidst speculation that a group of UNPers including parliamentarians Palitha Ranga Bandara, Ashoka Abeysinghe and Palitha Thevarapperuma had been debarred from entering Sirikotha with effect from yesterday, several senior members of the party said that no such directive had been sent out. Chief Opposition Whip John Ameratunga said that false stories were being circulated by interested parties. more..

'No Lankans please: Jayalalitha refuses to host 20th Asian Athletics meet'

Feb 21 (NDTV) Tamil Nadu will not host the Asian Athletics Games scheduled for July, Chief Minister Jayalalithaa said, because the Centre has not asked Sri Lanka to skip the event. She cited the alleged war crimes by Sri Lankan defence forces as they defeated the rebel LTTE in 2009, ending the island's lengthy civil war. "Sri Lanka's participation would hurt people's sentiments in Tamil Nadu," she said, adding that more..

Short films, a powerful tool – Keheliya

Feb 21 (GDI) Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said that short films could be used as a palanquin to rise up as a nation by displaying the dignity and glory of the country to the whole world. He said that the concocted documentary produced by Channel Four of Britain against Sri Lanka has become a powerful example. Minister pointed out the need to produce a documentary film from Sri Lanka as a response to this concocted documentary. He made these comments inaugurating the more..

Editorial : Where are the women's groups?

Feb 21 (CT) Aheadline in yesterday's edition of this paper said 13 prostitutes had been arrested by the police in Maradana and released on bail. Some might argue that such stories are far from the juicy pieces written about sexual escapades and the mere arrest, detention and subsequent release of sex workers in a place that has been notorious for prostitution over the years, has no news value. Interestingly, in this country sex is a taboo subject in public, unlike the way it is taken up in more..

WikiLeaks: ‘KP’s arrest should close the chapter on the LTTE’ – GoSL

Feb 21 (CT) “As previewed by Foreign Secretary Kohona’s comment, this will likely be cast as a major success by the govt. KP was seen as the last top LTTE leader still at-large since the end of the war, and the govt will likely feel they have tied up the last loose end with this capture. KP had a much higher level of international notoriety than the few other remaining LTTE leaders, and had worked to cast himself as the successor to Prabhakaran more..

Those holding high office should resign if not physically fit - PM

Feb 21 (Island) Prime Minister D. M. Jayaratne yesterday told Parliament that Pope Benedict XVI had shown the greatness of humility to the world and became an epitome of enormity in rendering his services to the universal Catholic Church. Participating in the vote of appreciation for the services of His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI, the Prime Minister said that the decision by Pope Benedict XVI to resign from his post had shocked the nations worldwide. more..

The debasement of politics after the 1953 hartal

Feb 21 (CT) For the purpose of this article I would describe positive or genuine politics as the attempt of political parties and others involved in politics trying to improve the material conditions of lives of the citizens. By material conditions I mean food, which also would imply employment, shelter which would imply conditions of housing, and sanitation, and clothing, those necessities to allow the people to engage in social life with dignity. To this may be added the conditions of transport, which more..

Sri Lanka Debrief News: 21 02 2013

Over 700 teachers idle in EP

Feb 21 (Island) There are 700 teachers, in various education zones of the Eastern Province, without any timetable while there is a serious shortage for teachers in some education zones in the province. Lack of a transparent transfer scheme for teachers has led to the serious problem. To arrest the situation Eastern Province Governor Rear Admiral Mohan Wijewickrema is working out a system to give teaching appointment based on district basis, Eastern Provincial Director more..

Sri Lankan traditional dance & music at WB

Feb 21 (GDI) Sri Lanka Embassy in Washington DC as part of its vigorous cultural diplomacy programme organized the fifth annual Sri Lanka cultural performance at the World Bank on Monday (11). The large and representative audience at the prestigious Preston Auditorium, World Bank, were in rapt attention and erupted in applause as they witnessed the spellbinding performance of the internationally renowned Visha School of Dance from Sri Lanka. The Event was compered by more..

Establishing of Police Commission would be referred to a PSC: Govt.

Feb 21 (DM) The Govt responding to the controversy surrounding the transfer of DIG M.R. Latheef said today the establishment of an Independent Police Commission as recommended by the LLRC would be referred to a Parliament Select Committee. Minister Keheliya Rambukwella while admitting that it would be wrong for any public servant to exert pressure on the Police to release their supporters said the country’s law more..

Bishop and clergy ask UN to help civil war refugees

Feb 21 (AN) Mgr Rayappu Joseph, bishop of Mannar, and 133 Tamil Christian religious wrote a letter with a list of demands for the UNHRC. They include repatriation of the last civil war refugees, the demilitarisation of north-eastern Sri Lanka and a probe into summary executions and the forced disappearance of people during and after the conflict. Set to meet next week in Geneva, the UNHRC will discuss, among other things, a United Nations resolution on alleged more..

Hospitals told to prevent minor employees from gallivanting

Feb 21 (Island) The Health Ministry has sent out a circular to all hospitals prohibiting minor staff from being absent from duty. Minor employees attached to the National Hospital, Lady Ridgeway Children’s Hospital, MRI and De Soysa Maternity hospital were found to be flocking to the Health Ministry on a daily basis to attend to their job-related problems. Therefore those medical institutions were badly affected. The employees were in the habit of visiting the Ministry in their white uniforms to more..

Australia is playing a dangerous game with Sri Lanka

Feb 21 (Guardian) It's election year in Australia, and that means open season on boat migrants. Last year, 17,000 people arrived by boat, with a massive surge of 6,500 from Sri Lanka. These numbers have an alarming impact on Australia's human rights record as the govt puts in place draconian domestic measures to deal with the increase, and plays a foolhardy game of building military and security links with SL to stem more..

'Govt prevented privatization of State Banks'

Feb 21 (GDI) State Banks should strive to be catalysts in national development while maintaining profitability and profit maximization should not be their only objective. President Rajapaksa made this observation at a ceremony at Temple Trees on Wednesday to hand over letters of appointments to nearly 1,800 trainee staff assistants, recruited to the Bank of Ceylon (BoC). He told the new entrants and staff of the BoC to strive and foster a more rewarding relationship with customers. more..

Sri Lanka’s journey to a foreboding future

Feb 21 (SG) At a time when the Sri Lankan govt should have seized the bull by the horns and ensured ethnic harmony, the opposite is seen as unfolding with very little interference from the govt. Today, there are verified charges against that form of complacency by a govt not willing to act against a rising terrorist force in the form of an extremist Sinhalese Buddhist group that calls itself the Bodu Bala Sena, or the Buddhist strength force. It has in recent times focused its target of more..

Sri Lanka bans sale of land to foreigners

Feb 21 (AFP) Sri Lanka on Thursday banned the sale of land to foreigners, charging that prime properties bought by outsiders had been neglected and that the country was not reaping the full benefits of their tourism potential. Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said the cabinet had approved the move in the wake of intense local demand for land for tourism development and industry in a country emerging from nearly more..

Stop sending Sanhidiya to schools

Feb 21 (CT) The Buddhist organization, Bodu Bala Sena, demanded that the Iranian Embassy in Sri Lanka stop the distribution of the Islamic magazine Sanhidiya to Sri Lankan schools, especially since Iran has allegedly decided the presence of Buddha statues in Iran was damaging to their cultural practices. General Secretary of the organization, Ven. Galabodatte Gnanasara Thera said the politicians in the country will be duly persuaded to take action against the distribution of the more..

Jaffna native holding British citizenship missing

Feb 21 (OU) Jaffna national holding British citizenship had gone missing in Colombo was a complaint made to the police. Concerning this incident, the British Embassy in Colombo had been notified. Arumugam Yogeswaran aged 37 years a native of Karainagar had lived in Jaffna Eechamottai locality had gone missing. He migrated to London and had obtained British citizenship and recently visited to Jaffna to meet his wife and relations. To proceed to London he had come to Colombo. more..