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All Lankans duty-bound to protect Buddha Sasana, says Bodu Bala Sena

Feb 24 (ST) All Sri Lankans should act as “unofficial policemen” and do their part to protect and preserve the Buddha Sasana, said Bodu Bala Sena leaders at a general meeting held in Maharagama. The Bodu Bala Sena (“Buddhist Strength Force”) has announced a list of 10 demands drawn up to counter any attempt to limit the rights of the Sinhala Buddhist people. The organisation describes itself as a more..

Under-fire Treasury Secretary struggles to balance budget

Feb 24 (ST) Plagued by financial constraints, the Treasury is resorting to local commercial borrowings anticipating difficulties in raising revenue through taxes this year, informed sources said. The Treasury officials are yet to work out modalities on balancing the revenue account as the 2013 budget proposal restricted foreign borrowings to Rs. 86 billion from Rs. 205.6 billion in 2012, these sources revealed. more..

Neo-fascism on the rise in Sri Lanka

Feb 24 (GN) In shades reminiscent of Nazi fascism of yesteryear, Buddhist militancy in Sri Lanka has lately begun to rear its ugly head of intolerance towards the island’s minorities. A massive rally was held in the capital city of Colombo last week by the belligerent Sinhalese Buddhist group, the Bodu Bala Sena, and the message was very explicit. ‘This is a Government created by Sinhala Buddhists and it must remain Sinhala Buddhist.This is a Sinhala country, Sinhala Govt. more..

ETI Finance faces severe crisis

Feb 24 (NS) The core company of Sri Lanka’s well known family controlled entity, EAP Edirisinghe Group is presently facing a severe strain in its capital adequacy ratio (CAR) and hence undergoing a major restructuring exercise, The Nation Gain learns. The banking and finance company regulator, Central Bank of Sri Lanka has requested ETI Finance Limited, the finance unit of the group to inject capital and also set an ultimatum to comply with all regulatory directions by mid-2014. more..

Kidney Disease: Causes confirmed

Feb 24 (CT) The final report of the investigations and evaluation of the Chronic Kidney Disease of Uncertain Aetiology (CKDu) in Sri Lanka by the World Health Organization (WHO), in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, has identified pesticides and fertilizers as prime causes for the disease. One or more pesticide residues were found to be above reference levels in 31.6% of people with CKDu. more..

Fears over pesticide sprayed in Eravur

Feb 24 (SL) Farmers in Eravur allege that the indiscriminate spraying of a type of pesticide in the area intended to eradicate dengue mosquito larvae has had a negative impact on their crops. The former director of the dengue campaign had arbitrarily decided and ordered the spraying of Metaforce to around 9000 wells in the Eravur area that were found to contain dengue mosquito larvae, without seeking the advice of agriculturists or environmentalists regarding the resulting more..

Lankan bizman's body exhumed in TN

Feb 24 (DM) The body of a 75-year-old Colombo-based businessman, who reportedly died of a heart attack in Thondi, Ramanathapuram district three days ago, was exhumed on Saturday after his second wife alleged foul play in his death. Hyther Ali, a native of Thondi, had two wives- the first one lived in SS Colony in Madurai and the second in Colombo. According to police, Ali had come to Thondi last week to visit his daughter. He suffered a fatal heart attack on Wednesday while more..

Lankan fishermen allege harassment

Feb 24 (SL) Sri Lankan fishermen in the North and East continue to encounter harassment by Indian trawlers that enter Sri Lanka’s territorial waters illegally, officials said. However in spite of various discussions being held between the two countries, there has been no reduction in the number of Indian trawlers entering Sri Lankan fishing grounds, which has led to the over-exploitation of our resources and more..

Youth arrested over highest mobile bill

Feb 24 (SL) A 21-year-old youth has been arrested over the non-payment of a mobile bill to the value of over Rs. 3 million. The youth was produced before the Fort Magistrate and released on bail, his lawyer said. The mobile phone bill of the youth amounted to Rs. 3,212,454.87 and he was arrested last weekend following a complaint lodged by the mobile company. The youth had obtained the mobile connection last month on a credit limit of Rs. 7,500 and a monthly rental of Rs. 96.77. more..

Garbage tax to be imposed on Kandy hotels

Feb 24 (SL) Luxury hotels operating in the Kandy town will be charged a tax for garbage collection, the Kandy Municipal Council said. Deputy Mayor Sena Dissanayake said that the Kandy MC is faced with a huge garbage collection crisis. He said that nearly 150 tonnes of garbage is collected from the Kandy hotels on a daily basis but a tax is not charged for that by the Kandy Municipal Council. He said that the Kandy Municipal Council will convene a special meeting on Tuesday to decide on the rate more..

'Govt. efforts at investigating alleged war crimes lack credibility'

Feb 24 (ST) UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay says none of the steps taken domestically in Sri Lanka, to investigate allegations of war crimes, have inspired confidence. This made an international investigation essential. Excerpts from her email interview with the ST. Q: There is to be another resolution on Sri Lanka at the upcoming sessions. What use are such resolutions, when (as is evident from your most recent more..

CMC raids warehouse with foodstuffs unfit for human consumption

Feb 24 (Island) The Public Health Department of the Colombo Municipal Council (PHD CMC) on Friday initiated legal action against the owner of a warehouse and the drivers of two container lorries on Old Moor Street for trading and conveying consumables unfit for human consumption. PHD Chief, Pradeep Kariyawasam said that food inspectors and PHIs raided the warehouse on Thursday on information received by the Keselwatta police and sealed it after they discovered more..

WI v SL, 2nd women's ODI: Campbelle ton in vain as Sri Lanka down West Indies

Feb 24 (CI) Despite West Indies' Shemaine Campbelle scoring 105 after an early collapse, Sri Lanka leveled the three-match series at 1-1, chasing down West Indies' total of 180 in Dambulla. West Indies elected to bat, but had a horror start as Udeshika Prabodhani took three quick wickets to help reduce West Indies to 7 for 4 and then 23 for 5. From there Deandra Dottin and Shemaine Campbelle put together a 45-run stand to try and steady the ship, before Dottin was dismissed. more..

'Govt, that makes importing fuel a racket, increased fuel prices to square up...'

Feb 24 (LT) The govt has made import of fuel a racket and sells petrol at Rs.162 a liter that could be sold at Rs.120 a liter with profits says JVP MP Vijitha Herath. He said, “The govt increased fuel prices with effect from midnight day before yesterday. This has caused a massive threat to the economy of the country. The govt reiterates that the economy of the country is strong, inflation has come down and it is not necessary to get more..

Illegal hiring of maids continues despite instructions

Feb 24 (AN) Brokers and labor offices are continuing to promote recruitment services of housekeepers from Indonesia and Sri Lanka despite an announcement by the Ministry of Labor that negotiations for recruitment are still ongoing. Recruitment from these countries was suspended following a series of incidents involving housemaid abuse. “These offices are run by brokers who take advantage of the growing need of citizens for domestic help,” said Nasser Abu Serhud, more..

CoL likely to soar as fuel prices are increased

Feb 24 (ST) Millions of people faced a further increase in the soaring cost of living after the Govt yesterday revised fuel prices, citing financial losses of the CPC, increase in world market prices and issues involving fuel storage. Accordingly, the price of diesel has been increased by Rs. 6 a litre and petrol by Rs. 3. The petrol price is the second in three months after the increase of Rs. 9 in December. The CPC increased diesel prices in February last year, but more..

Govt rejects allegations raised by the clergy

Feb 24 (CG) The govt has strongly rejected allegations raised by a group of clergy who have written to the UNHRC calling for a strong and action oriented resolution in relation to accountability, reconciliation and human rights in the island nation. The letter signed by the Bishop of Mannar and 132 members of the clergy from the North and East, says the new resolution should go beyond the resolution adopted at the 19th more..

Arrest those involved in acid attack – ACHSU

Feb 24 (LT) All Ceylon Health Services Union has demanded authorities to take action to arrest and take legal action against all those who were involved in the acid attack on the Commissioner of Ayurveda for North Central Province Dr. Kumara Alwis. An announcement released by the Union states doctors who serve the public being subjected to such attacks is a serious situation and the government should realize the gravity of such situations. It points out not providing proper security to doctors, more..

The unnoticed India-Sri Lanka fishing war

Feb 24 (IDN) A recent skirmish has highlighted a widely unnoticed fishing war that has been going on for two years in the Palk Straits, a stretch of sea about 30 km long, that separates India’s Tamil Nadu state from Sri Lanka’s northern province that was plagued by a civil war for over 30 years. The southern state of Tamil Nadu is often at daggers drawn with the central govt in New Delhi. The latest flare-up occurred on Feb 24, 2013 when Tamil Nadu politicians and media accused more..

EU demands independent probe

Feb 24 (CG) The European Union (EU) wants an independent investigation and evaluation into the final years of the war in Sri Lanka, in addition to the national enquiries. Jean Lambert, Chair of the European Parliament Delegation to South Asia, said that the EU remains concerned about reports of threats and attacks on human rights defenders and journalists in Sri Lanka, and encourages authorities to hold those more..

Several INGOs submit reports on Sri Lanka to UNHRC

Feb 24 (CG) Several International Non-Governmental Organisations (INGO) have submitted reports on Sri Lanka to the UNHRC ahead of the 22nd session which begins in Geneva tomorrow. In all, at least eight written statements relating to Sri Lanka have been submitted to the Council apart from the reports by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay and the report on Sri Lanka’s Universal Periodic Review. The INGOs have submitted reports on more..

'Muslims to acquire rights, should transform as Independent claimant'

Feb 24 (OU) Govt is in the attempts of creating hatred amidst the Tamil and Muslim community. Today Muslim people’s lands are grabbed. Mosques are attacked. Halal oppose protests are carried out. Speak about these issues. To achieve your rights transform as Independent claimant. TNA Secretary Mawai Senathiraja made this statement while addressing the debate on Council adjourned motion. It is much hurtful to us, Ministers who should respond with responsibility, are speaking more..

NGOs should back off from Sri Lanka

Feb 24 (TA) The main thrust of Gordon Weiss's attack against the Sri Lankan govt (The Australian, Feb 22) is to dismiss the situation analysed objectively by the visit of Julie Bishop, the Liberal Party's deputy leader. Having got the inconvenient facts out of his way, he cites the report of the International Crisis Group, produced in distant New York, as the acceptable analysis of the current situation in Sri Lanka. more..

Iranian warships to dock in Sri Lanka

Feb 24 (DM) A fleet of Iranian warships is moving towards Southeast Asia and will likely dock in Sri Lanka, India or China, Iranian Navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari said. Rear Admiral Sayyari said the fleet of Iranian warships is moving towards Southeast Asia to pass through the Strait of Malacca. The Strait of Malacca is a narrow, 805 km stretch of water between the Malay Peninsula and the Indonesian island of Sumatra. The Navy commander told the Islamic Republic more..

Killing a 12-year old

Feb 24 (Hindu) “Did you see the picture of that little boy in The Hindu … he reminds me of my son who is only a few years younger. I am outraged,” thundered a colleague as she barged into my cubicle. By now, there have been enough pained people in India and abroad seeing the images of a 12-year old munching on a piece of chocolate, biscuit or whatever, little realising that this perhaps was going to be his last meal before being pumped with bullets. And for what reason? more..

Irreversible family planning methods banned

Feb 24 (CT) Last week the govt sent out a communiqué to all govt hospitals and private institutions banning all irreversible family planning methods that control birth. Following the ban Maternity Hospitals and NGOs that do Ligation and Resection of Tubes (LRT) on women and Vasectomy on men shelved their plans and struck off all scheduled procedures from the hospital registers. This follows an announcement by the govt that the more..

Meeting the UNHRC Challenge

Feb 25 (DBS) The UNHRC season is upon us. This was heralded by the release of photos of Prabhakaran’s younger son Balachandran who is alleged to have been shot dead by the army. The photos certainly look authentic, since the boy is shown wearing what appears to be the same pair of shorts that he was shown wearing when he was shot, but what strikes a discordant note is the pristine condition of the bunker that he is shown sitting in with its clean new green sand bags. more..

The shooting of Faraz Shauketaly

Feb 25 (SL) Despite the title of this column, my intention is not to play Sherlock Holmes in the matter of the attempted assassination of yet another journalist but to, briefly, examine how such an event as the shooting of Faraz Shauketaly is being treated (and will be treated and could be treated) in the Debacle of Asia (DoA). Let me say, at the outset that, given the fact that no one has been charged in the execution-style slaying of Lasantha Wickrematunge despite almost more..

'Terrorist-criminal-political nexus in Tamil Nadu growing'

Feb 25 (SO) International counter terrorism expert based in Singapore, Prof. Rohan Gunaratna warns that there is a well concerted campaign in Tamil Nadu, launched by the LTTE, to make Tamil people rise up against Sri Lanka and this is a development that Sri Lanka should be concerned about. He said, “The terrorist-criminal-political nexus (in Tamil Nadu) is growing” and went on to caution the Govt that the LTTE more..

AIBA change age-limit; Manju’s chance to seek redemption

Feb 25 (SL) Much water has flowed under the bridge since Manju Wanniarachchi handed back the gold medal he won at the 2010 Commonwealth Games, the consequence of a failed drug test. Two-plus years on, and you’d expect the boxer to have moved on, with the forfeiture of his proudest possession now a less painful memory. Right? Not quite. “Enduring the hurt, shame and the two-year ban was difficult, but with my final appeal (to an independent court in Lausanne) pending, more..

Urban wetlands park plays host to Army tank

Feb 25 (GV) UDA has seen fit to place a used army tank there for everyone to see. Every evening, as the park fills up, people clamour to get an up close look at the vehicle. While such objects naturally attract the attention of most people, it is surprising that the authorities have chosen to place this in a “child friendly” environment. In fact, the image of the people crowding a tank in a public place is not too dissimilar to those images seen of people in the West Bank in Palestine crowding around more..

Today is Navam Poya

Feb 25 (DN) The most important event that took place on this Poya Day was the appointment of the two chief disciples - Sariputta and Moggallana. Ven Sariputta was given the title of Dharmasenadhipathi and Moggallana Dharmapurohita. These two were major or chief disciples of Siddhartha Gautama Buddha. Sariputta was considered as the msot brilliant and foremost in wisdom, among the Arahats of Sakyamuni Gautama Buddha. more..

On photographs showing Prabhakaran’s son’s death

Feb 25 (CT) On the eve of the release of a full length film on Sri Lanka’s alleged war crimes, the British daily the Independent carried an article along with two photographs showing Prabhakaran’s son eating a snack before his Sri Lankan captors allegedly shot him dead in cold blood. This serious allegation pertaining to a war India supported. It is about a brutal and heinous act by a state with very friendly to India. So apart from humanitarian concerns, India in its own interest, more..

Reducing fiscal deficit vital for economic stability and growth

Feb 25 (ST) Containing the fiscal deficit to 5% of GDP is vital to achieve economic stability and growth, prevent the public debt from escalating to an unsustainable level and avert a balance of payments crisis. Today we explore the reasons why successive govts have found it difficult to contain the fiscal deficit to the announced targets. The need to consolidate the country’s public finances was stressed by the recent IMF mission. Time and again the Central Bank has stressed the need more..

'A minute 1% controls the economy'

Feb 25 (CT) UNP MP and economist, Dr. Harsha de Silva, spoke to Ceylon Today on the state of the country’s economy, and the oppressive tactics adopted by the government towards certain segments of society. Dr. de Silva said that Sri Lanka is a country where the divide between the rich and the poor is widening, adding that the poor pay taxes far in excess of what they can afford whereas the rich don’t pay much by way of tax. Excerpts: more..

Sarath Fonseka is bluffing on war crimes

Feb 25 (CT) A reputed newspaper in the UK, “The Independent”, published a disturbing news item and an article on 18 Feb 2013, under the headlines, “Handed a snack, and then executed: the last hours of the 12-year-old son of a Tamil Tiger” (Photographs show boy was held before he was killed at close range) and “This is proof, beyond reasonable doubt, of the execution of a child – not a battlefield death”. The author of this news item is Callum Macrae, director of “No Fire Zone more..

Editorial : Lucky racketeers

Feb 25 (Island) The govt does not seem to care a damn about gaping holes in the public purse. A massive vehicle racket that had cost the country Rs. 6.4 bn was laid bare three years ago by the Auditor General. Chassis, engines and gearboxes were imported as spare parts to assemble vehicles illegally and about 2,000 of them with old registration numbers were sold in the local market. Transport Minister Kumara Welgama told Parliament on Friday that investigations were still on. more..

Inauguration of India Corner in Jaffna

Feb 25 (HCI) Ashok K. Kantha, High Commissioner of India and G.A. Chandrasiri, Governor of Northern Province, jointly inaugurated the ´India Corner´ located at the Consulate General of India, Jaffna on 23 Feb. Senior govt officials of Northern Province, prominent personalities in the cultural and academic fields as well as media persons were present on the occasion. ´India Corner´ which has been informally more..

'ICT, enabler in country’s development'

Feb 25 (Island) ICT has been the enabler in the country’s tremendous improvement and development, says Information and Communication Technology of Sri Lanka (ICTA) CEO Reshan Dewapura. "Today post-war Sri Lanka has seen ICT creating an enabling environment for the Govt, private sector and civil society to develop as individual sectors, and together as a Nation. Information and Communication Technology has been that transformational tool that has more..

eGovernment at work; eRevenue Licence

Feb 25 (Island) The basic definition of eGovernment is the use of Information and Communication Technology for improving the efficiency of the Government and providing better services. The Information and Communication Technology Agency of Sri Lanka (ICTA) has supported many Govt organisations in implementing eGovernment projects aimed at achieving the above objectives. The eRevenue Licence project is one of the best examples such eGovernment projects. more..