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'Why did Channel 4 take three to four years to screen the documentary?'

Feb 22 (DN) The entire Channel Four episode is fabricated and the govt completely denies and rejects the so called allegations in their footage on the last stages of war in Sri Lanka, Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said. The release of this kind of sensational footages on the verge of the UNHRC session in Geneva is an organized agenda of the pro LTTE diaspora to tarnish the image of the country. The minister questioned why the Channel Four took 3 to 4 years to come up with this more..

Pork to be on menu of Parliament canteen

Feb 22 (DM) Despite objections from Muslim MPs, the Speaker decided yesterday that pork may be offered, to MPs, in the Parliament canteen, revoking a previous ban on it, informed sources said. Earlier Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa had, at the request of Muslim MPs, decided not to offer pork at the parliamentary canteen. However some MPs, including Chief Opposition Whip John Amaratunga, had objected to the decision. The Speaker had revoked the decision yesterday. more..

Gota rubbishes Channel 4 photos

Feb 22 (DM) Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa rejecting the photographs displayed by Channel 4 television station of UK which is alleged to be of Prabhakaran’s youngest son Balachandran, questioned as to how Channel 4 could say that he is in a bunker with the military by only looking at the pictures which do not indicate anything related to the military. “They always cut and put these pictures which they more..

Let us be more diplomatic

Feb 22 (DM) The thrust of our diplomacy in terms of our national interests should without doubt, be directed at winning over the western countries, their close friends and India. At a time when the country needs the best of efforts to counter the huge propaganda campaign mounted against it, we appear to be going out of our way to make enemies of friends, particularly the powerful countries whose friendship we do most badly need in this new ‘war’ against the pro LTTE Diaspora. more..

Practical steps for religious unity in diversity

Feb 22 (DM) On Wednesday, the Daily Mirror in its editorial highlighted the urgent need for the Govt to take effective action to stop the growing racial tension between the Sinhala Buddhist and Muslim communities. The foundation of Sri Lanka for thousands of years has been multi-racial and multi-religious unity in diversity. The Bodu Bala Sena held a massive convention in Maharagama last Sunday and vowed to end the Halal certification by March 31, while calling on the Singhala people to more..

Elephant survey report finally ready for launch after many shenanigans

Feb 22 (Island) A top official of the Wildlife Department was transferred in December on suspicion that his department was responsible for leaking information on the status of a publication dealing with the first countrywide survey on the elephants of Sri Lanka. Newly appointed Wildlife Conservation Minister Wijithamuni De Zoysa assured that none of the Wildlife Department officials would be penalised in any manner. more..

Uma Oya project: Register your objections, urge environmentalists

Feb 22 (ST) Environmentalists have voiced concern over public apathy regarding the supplementary Environmental Impact Assessment of the second phase of the Uma Oya multi-purpose project though it has been open to public comment since January. The EIA document will be open for public comment at the Central Environment Authority (CEA) only until Feb 22, and environmentalists are urging the public to more..

In these dark graves…

Feb 22 (SL) Skeletons are used in medicine and doctors are not expected to fear them or excavating for them. However, skeletons bring panic to some. Little children fear skeletons. The murderers of the owners of skeletons panic when they see skeletons. Their wish is to let skeletons lie in the hastily buried graves forever. They want the truth about their dark secrets to lie with skeletons in those dark graves; to black out that history. more..

CEB probe: Engineers cry foul, slam ministry

Feb 22 (Islaand) The CEB Engineers’ Union (CEBEU) has raised concerns about a Cabinet decision to investigate delay and eventual cancellation of a CEB tender (R1/P&D/T/20111/4) for the supply and delivery of 750 tonnes of 9.52 mm aluminum redraw rods used for manufacturing electrical wires in the distribution network, The Island learns. Printed handouts, circulated by some CEB engineers, claim that more..

The story behind his recall: Ambassador Assitha Perera tells it all

Feb 22 (AT) The Ambassador to Italy Asitha Perera told Asian Tribune that he has received the letter of recall and he said that he has no regrets over his recall, but he alleged that it was a well coordinated ruse to get him out of Italy by vested interest groups – a section of the career diplomatic officials, both in Rome and Colombo and human smuggling facilitators. Asitha Perera said that it was another well coordinated effort to more..

India promises to probe its drug companies in Lanka

Feb 22 (Island) The Indian govt has pledged to carry out a full investigation into Indian drug companies which allegedly supply low quality drugs to Sri Lanka. The spokesman for the Health Ministry said yesterday that Indian Health Minister, Ghulam Nabi Azad had reassured the Sri Lankan Health Minister, Maithripala Sirisena that a full investigation would be carried out by the Indian Drug Control Board into the matter. more..

Old leprosy hospital at Hekitta to be modernized

Feb 22 (MED) Minister Basil Rajapaksa this week inspected the 300-year-old leprosy hospital at Hekitta, Wattala for renovating it under the Gampaha District hospital modernizing programme. Admission of patients to this hospital was stopped in 1983 following the discovery of a cure for leprosy. However considering the historical importance of this hospital, constructed in 1708, steps are being taken to renovate and more..

Court refuses to stay pictorial warnings on cigarette packs

Feb 22 (AD) The stay order sought by the Ceylon Tobacco Company (CTC) to quash the Gazette for pictorial warnings on cigarette packs was refused by the Court of Appeals. The appeal was filed by the CTC against the Health Ministry directive requiring 80 percent space in every single cigarette packet allocated to display both printed and pictorial health warnings about the health hazards of smoking. The application cites Minister more..

Dy. Minister of Power in the dark

Feb 22 (Islaand) Foreign companies came here not for the love of Sri Lanka’s power sector but for the purpose of making huge profits as evident from constant repairs being effected to the power plants in the country, Deputy Power and Energy Minister Premalal Jayasekara said. He said that though he was the deputy minister neither he nor any of his officials was privy to crucial discussions in the power sector. more..

Fonseka ready to testify

Feb 22 (CG) Former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka says he is prepared to go before any investigation to clear the name of his troops. In a statement issued by his media unit, Fonseka insisted that the army was never involved in war crimes. ”Even now I say , My troops are disciplined and well trained to carry out hostage rescue operations , That I will go before any investigation to clear the name of my troops,” Fonseka said in the statement. more..

The Geneva stakes and the path forwards

Feb 22 (CT) The 2nd US Resolution on Sri Lanka is to be presented to the UNHRC to be submitted to a vote. Whether ‘procedural or ‘substantial’, it is meant to further tighten the screws on the Mahinda Rajapakse Regime (MRR). But not to decapitate or even suffocate it. Just enough to discipline and bend it. This is while attracting it with even more shares of profit and plunder. More lucrative oxygen to keep its blood vessels open, flowing and alive. Enough support and aid to keep it in line. more..

Editorial : Oh Wimal!

Feb 22 (CT) Minister Wimal Weerawansa is, as they call, a 'pet' of the ruling elite. His closeness to the 'First Family' is beyond dispute. Some even go to the extent of surmising that Weerawansa does not open his mouth unless he is so commanded by his 'Masters', especially when the targets of his verbal venom could be found within the govt ranks. In such a context, one has to take very serious note of his latest vocal barrage aimed very specifically at Secretary of the Treasury, more..

'Let’s rally for peace although we agree to disagree on many issues'

Feb 22 (LT) The people of the world should not delay in defeating the attempts to maintain the new world disorder that would jeopardize World Peace, Security and Reconciliation and work hard together for the victory of Panchaseela Principles of Peaceful Co-Existence, although we agree to disagree on many issues says the Leader of the JVP Somawansa Amarasinghe. He made these observations addressing the 22nd Rotary more..

Don’t make scholars do the job of money collectors – VAC

Feb 22 (LT) The govt has made scholars in the education sector money collectors says the convener of ‘Voice Against Corruption’ (VAC) Wasantha Samarasinghe. He said this speaking at a media conference today to apprise the media regarding complaints received by VAC on collection of funds in the education sector. He said VAC received 2616 complaints from masses in response to the request made to inform the organization regarding collections from school children more..

Illegal fishing: Govt. rules out talks with South India

Feb 22 (Island) The govt yesterday ruled out talks with South India on the burning issue of poaching in Sri Lankan waters. It said it would deal with New Delhi direct. Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said that some vested interests were trying to create a rift between India and Sri Lanka over the issue of fishermen straying into Indian and Sri Lankan waters. "As a sovereign govt, we deal with other nations at the same level," the Minister said, adding that the two countries would amicably sort out more..

Hawkers to get IDs and uniforms next month

Feb 22 (MED) The Govt will issue special identity cards and uniforms to 2500 small-time traders at bus stands and railway stations from next month. Minister Basil Rajapaksa made the proposal on President’s advice in order to solve the problems of these self-employed persons, raise their living standards and help them to offer a better service to the public. The programme is being launched under Minister Rajapaksa’s direction with the more..

Vehicle theft mastermind grilled by police

Feb 22 (Island) The number one vehicle theft mastermind in the country, responsible for a spate of vehicle thefts, especially between Kotahena and Mount Lavinia, was being questioned over the heists he had carried out with five others from 2012, the Mirihana Special Investigation Bureau head, DIG Sumith Edirisinghe, said. He said that officers of the Mirihana Special Investigation Bureau, who launched the operation to bust the professional vehicle theft syndicate, more..

Canada overtakes GTF in anti-Lanka offensive

Feb 22 (Island) Although the Global Tamil Forum (GTF) was pushing extremely hard for an international war crimes probe into the alleged accountability issues in Sri Lanka, with a major conference in the UK parliament scheduled for Feb. 27, the Canadian govt had emerged as the leading campaigner against Colombo, ministerial sources told The Island. The target of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s campaign was the CHOGM scheduled to be held in SL more..

Cong MPs from TN meet PM, want resolution against Lanka

Feb 22 (PTI) Seeking to exert pressure on the Centre, Congress MPs from Tamil Nadu today met PM Manmohan Singh demanding that India join western countries like the US in bringing a resolution against Sri Lanka at the UNHRC over the alleged human rights violations during the war. The MPs said India should join hands with the US in bringing out a Resolution against Sri Lanka asking it to categorically implement the more..

Thai Buddhist delegation calls on President

Feb 22 (GDI) A delegation from Thailand including Ven Phra Dharmakosajarn Thera and Niwattumrong Boonsongpaisan, a Minister of the Thai Prime Minister’s Office, called on President Rajapaksa at Temple Trees Thursday. The visit is a part of a series of events organized by the Royal Thai Embassy in Sri Lanka to mark the 260th anniversary of the establishment of the Siam Maha Nikaya in Sri Lanka. Both President Rajapaksa and Venerable Phra Dharmakosajarn Thero more..

Hirunika fears for her life

Feb 22 (CG) Hirunika Premachandra, the daughter of late govt member Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra fears that she may face death threats considering that the AG’s department had instructed the police to file a case against MP Duminda Silva. 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 meanwhile also raised hope that justice will finally be meted out against her father’s killers, more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 22.02.2013

Sri Lanka bourse up from 7-week low; turnover at 8-week low

Feb 22 (Reuters) Stocks recovered from a seven-week low on Friday on foreign buying in heavyweight John Keells Holdings but turnover slumped to a near eight-week low as domestic investors stayed away after some worrying IMF comment. The main share index ended 0.17% or 9.50 points firmer to 5,735.61, from its lowest since Jan 2. Turnover was 300.09 million rupees ($2.36 million), the lowest since Dec. 31 and well below this year's daily average of 1.06 billion rupees. more..

SL v WI, 1st Women's ODI: Bowlers, Dottin set up West Indies win

Feb 22 (CI) West Indies began their tour of Sri Lanka on a good note, beating the hosts by four wickets in the first ODI in Dambulla on Friday. Sri Lanka chose to bat, but struggled through their innings. While the top four all managed to get starts, no one was able to carry on. The West Indies bowlers, medium-pacer Shakera Selman in particular, kept a lid on the scoring rate. Selman finished with a miserly 10-5-8-2. A lower-order collapse didn't help matters and, at 127 for 8, more..

Sanath appointed Sri Lanka Tourism Brand Ambassador

Feb 22 (AD) Former cricket captain and MP Sanath Jayasuriya has been appointed as the Brand Ambassador for Sri Lanka Tourism. Buoyed by the successful results achieved in its 2011 campaign ‘Refreshingly Sri Lanka - Wonder of Asia’, the Sri Lankan Tourism Promotion Bureau has started a new campaign for 2013 titled ‘Get Sri Lankaned’. This promotion programme will be carried out in five emergent markets, more..

PMB warehouses ready for paddy

Feb 22 (Island) Paddy Marketing Board (PMB) warehouses in the Eastern, Northern and North-Western provinces and also in Ampara and Anuradhapura districts have been made ready to purchase and store paddy during the 2012/2013 Maha season. Although the Maha purchasing began two weeks ago, due to rain interruptions and high moisture content of the paddy brought for sale, the actual purchases by the Board had been mere 250 tonnes so far, Minister Johnston Fernando more..

Sri Lanka and Korea air links to expand

Feb 22 (LBO) Sri Lanka and Korea has liberalized an air services agreement allowing traffic rights to third countries which is expanding air links between the capitals of the two countries, the foreign ministry said. A new air services agreement had been signed on Feb 20 allowing Korean Air to fly to Maldives and back via Colombo and for state-run SriLankan Airlines to operate to Seoul via Hong Kong. Korean Air will start flying from Colombo to Seoul three times a week from March 09, more..

Mahinda Samarasinghe appointed to head delegation

Feb 22 (CG) Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe has been appointed at the last minute as the head of the Sri Lankan delegation to the UNHRC session in Geneva. Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva Ravinatha Aryasinghe, who was earlier appointed to temporarily head the delegation, will still be part of the delegation under Samarasinghe. The appointment of the high level delegation to more..

Sri Lankan military urged to withdraw from former war zones

Feb 22 (ABC) The Sri Lankan military has defended its ongoing presence in the Tamil majority north and east, pointing to 'security sensitive areas'. A 2011 report by the LLRC, recommended the demilitarisation of former war zones, to allow civilian administration. Caritas, the international aid and development organisation of the Catholic Church, agrees with the LLRC. Presenter: Sen Lam Speaker: Father George Sigamoney, national director, Caritas Sri Lanka. SIGAMONEY: I will say that more..

'SL public don't like juniors playing IPL'

Feb 22 (PTI) Former captain and present chief selector Sanath Jayasuriya feels that it will be better if junior Sri Lankan players are kept away from IPL although it remains an "individual decision". The dashing opener feels that Sri Lankan people don't like young players participating in the IPL because they adopt different technique which is detrimental to their game. "However, experienced cricketers playing in IPL is infact good. But it is left to individual player's discretion which of the two games is more..

TULF leader says Tamil Nadu helped Lanka

Feb 22 (CG) Leader of the TULF V. Anandasangaree says India had and has a bigger role to play during and after the war. In a letter to President Rajapaksa, a copy of which was released to the media, Anandasangaree noted that if the Tamil Nadu police had not been put on alert, thousands of tons of steel balls and chemicals used for the manufacture of bombs and hand grenades would have found their way into various parts of more..

Navy assists visually handicapped Women

Feb 22 (SLN) In a response to a request made by the National Forum of the Visually Handicapped Women of the Sri Lanka Federation of the Visually Handicapped from the Naval Headquarters, 65 persons including 32 visually handicapped women and 9 men were looked after by the Northern Naval Command during their visit to Jaffna islands. A complimentary dinner was arranged for them on the 16th at Naga Vihara Pilgrim Rest by SLNS Elara and assistance was rendered for the ferrying more..

Murali and Malinga discourage boat people

Feb 22 (CT) The Federal Govt has turned to a pair of Sri Lankan cricket stars in attempt to stop the flow of asylum seeker boats from the country. Retired Test great Muttiah Muralitharan and Twenty20 star Lasith Malinga each appear in short videos aimed at Sri Lankans living in Australia. English and non-English versions of the video have been recorded, with the cricketers urging people not to encourage family members in Sri Lanka to seek asylum on risky boat journeys with people smugglers. more..

Sri Lanka’s first Aviation Sports Zone unveiled

Feb 22 (CT) SkY CluB (Pvt) Ltd with the approval and assistance of the Ministry of Defence, the Civil Aviation Authority and the Sri Lanka Air Force launched South East Asia’s first Aviation Sports Zone in Koggala on 16 Feb with an ‘Air show’ of Sky Diving and Paramotoring. This is the first time a sport of this nature is being introduced to Sri Lanka and will be conducted by internationally qualified personal for the niche tourist market more..

Sri Lanka forum highlights risks to ocean resources

Feb 22 (LBO) Sri Lanka's future lies in the vast resources to be found in the ocean surrounding the island but this wealth is at risk from pollution and illegal practices, experts said. The country is on the verge of discovering oil and gas in offshore waters and its location makes it well-placed to serve as a regional shipping hub, they told a forum. Sri Lanka's navy commander Jayanath Colombage said the island's position almost in the centre of the Indian Ocean gives it an advantage at a time more..