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Sri Lanka faces more challenges at UNHRC

Feb 25 (Xinhua) The UNHRC sessions began on Monday placing a strong challenge for the Sri Lankan govt to prove that it has improved its human rights record and post-war reconciliation or have a second U.S.-led resolution passed on them. Last year the U.S. tabled the first resolution on Sri Lanka insisting that it had not done enough to address war crimes allegations that civilians were killed during the last phase of a three-decade war against the LTTE in 2009. The resolution also scored more..

Chinese nationals arrested with tortoises

Feb 25 (CG) Three Chinese nationals, of who two are employed at the Norochcholai coal power plant, were arrested for killing and having in their possession a species of tortoise protected under local wildlife laws. The police media unit said that one Chinese man was initially arrested by officers of the police post at the power plant after it was found that he had killed a tortoise to consume its meat. Following investigations launched by the Kalpitiya police another Chinese man was arrested more..

'Authenticity of Balachandran Prabhakaran photos to be probed'

Feb 25 (TOI) Sri Lankan minister Douglas Devananda has said an inquiry would be conducted into the authenticity of the photographs of the slain LTTE chief V Prabhakaran's son Balachandran, circulated by a channel. The lankan minister who participated in St Antony Church's festival in Katchatheevu islet evaded a direct reply to a query on the involvement of Sri Lankan military in the alleged execution of Balachandran in more..

Islamic Mission alleges malpractices in selection of Haj pilgrims

Feb 25 (Island) The Islamic Religious Education Mission has, requested prime minister D.M. Jayaratna, and the Director of the Department of Muslim Religious and Cultural Affairs to stop the, malpractices going on in the selection of Hajj pilgrims by giving priority to those who got registered in 2012 for the pilgrimage in the proposed Hajj quota to be allocated for the year 2013. Arguing the legality of the move of giving priority to those who could not performs Hajj pilgrimage last year more..

Dinuka wins Uganda open title in Kampala

Feb 25 (Xinhua) Dinuka Karunaratre and Rane Saili from India are the 2013 Uganda International Badminton Open Championships winners of the men's and women's singles respectively. The tournament that climaxed on Sunday at the MTN Arena, Lugogo saw Dinuka, brother to last year's winner Niluka beat India's Dey Subhankar 21-16, 21-17 in a game that lasted 34 minutes. Subhankar took the lead in the two games, but Dinuka's good game reading and clever net play was more..

UNP claims govt marked up fuel by 100%

Feb 25 (Island) UNP MP Ravi Karunanayake is of the opinion that a litre of petrol could be sold at Rs. 115 and that the price hikes, announced by the govt, with effect from Saturday, are all due to corruption, mismanagement, waste, lavish spending etc. Karunanayake told The Island yesterday that the cumulative effect of all those had forced the govt to increase the prices of petrol and diesel arbitrarily in a desperate bid to tide it over. more..

Batting for Lanka

Feb 25 (Hindu) He has been a prolific batsman, hitting centuries across the world and an aggressive wicketkeeper. He also led Sri Lanka to a World Cup final in 2011. “Losing that game was extremely tragic. It was one of the worst moments of my life,” says Kumara Sangakkara. He was in the city as part of an initiative to promote tourism in Sri Lanka. Commenting that he enjoyed being in India, he said: “Both countries have a common passion for cricket and also have many common cultural and more..

Chinese power sets for Podi Menike

Feb 25 (DN) Two of the 13 new hi-tech power sets imported from China will be used on the Podi Menike train beginning March 1. Minister Kumara Welgama said new power sets imported from China have been specially designed for long distance travel with all facilities. “The main objective of replacing two new power sets for the Podi Menike train is to provide a quality service to commuters by reducing travel time, contributing towards promoting tourism and uplifting the productivity more..

'Giving up HSZs unthinkable a few years ago'

Feb 25 (Island) Jaffna Security Forces Commander Maj. Gen. Mahinda Hathurusinghe said that the military wouldn’t have been able to vacate the Jaffna High Security Zones (HSZs) if the LTTE had retained a conventional fighting capability. He pointed out that HSZs in the Jaffna peninsula had remained in place though the peninsula was liberated in December 1995. "We never thought of giving up HSZs until the more..

Tough on Tigers, soft on Tamils

Feb 25 (DC) When cornered on his inconsistent stand on the Sri Lankan Tamils issue, DMK president M. Karunanidhi cites two statements of AIADMK supremo J Jayalalithaa on Tiger chief Prabhakaran and a resolution in the Tamil Nadu Assembly during her tenure as chief minister to buttress his argument that consistency was not achieved by anyone on the issue. This is far from the truth. Yes, Jayalalithaa had said at one time that if anything happened to Prabhakaran, more..

New A’Level stream starts in May

Feb 25 (Island) The Education Ministry would introduce a new stream for the GCE (A/L) exam from 2015, Education Minister Bandula Gunawardena said. He said that the new stream would be named ‘Technology’ stream, mostly based on skills of students. "We will introduce the new stream in collaboration with the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Skills Development," Gunawardena said adding that the preliminary preparations for the new stream had already been completed. more..

Malaysia arrest 11 Sri Lankans in ATM fraud

Feb 25 (CG) Malaysian authorities have arrested 11 Sri Lankans in an ATM and Credit Card fraud, the Malay Mail reported today. The report said that the police busted the international syndicate specialising in ATM card and credit card fraud after detaining 25 suspects, including Canadians, following several raids in the city from Feb 20 to 22. The activities of the syndicate was exposed through an exchange of more..

Presidential Secretariat refutes Sunday Times column on UNHRC sessions

Feb 25 (DN) The Presidential Secretariat is greatly disturbed to see the Political Column of the Sunday Times of 24 February 2013 making references to the forthcoming UNHRC sessions in Geneva and trying to sully the reputation and cast aspersions on the professional conduct of our Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva, Ravinatha Aryasinha, the President’s Spokesman Mohan Samaranayake said. He added: It is the view of His Excellency the President that both more..

State institutions have to manage with fuel allocated - Yapa

Feb 25 (Island) State institutions which get fuel allocations from the Treasury will have to manage with their quotas effective Jan 2013, Petroleum Minister Anura Yapa said. He also said that he had negotiated with the Treasury and other state organisations regarding imposing credit limits on the issue of fuel to state organisations. He added that unlimited subsidies and credit could not be provided indefinitely. "The Treasury provides various limits to state institutions on fuel to state more..

Sangakkara defends role of player agents

Feb 25 (CI) Kumar Sangakkara believes the role of player agents has been misunderstood by Sri Lanka Cricket and said they were not a detriment to the game. His comments came after the Sri Lankan board had said it will not recognise agents any more and will deal directly with the players instead. "There is a lot of misunderstanding and an even bigger case of miscommunication as to what the role of a more..

John finds fault with his own partymen

Feb 25 (Island) Chief Opposition Whip John Amaratunga yesterday found fault with some of his own party men for not working in unison to achieve the party’s aim of toppling the govt, which fleeced the public by jacking up fuel prices. Amaratunga said that the govt should be sent home, there were no bones about it and that was the resolve of the party. The govt increased the prices of essential items and the general public found it hard to cope with the sky rocketing cost of living. more..

'Confess before Goddess Kali'

Feb 25 (CT) In a bizarre, but ‘godly’ challenge, Deputy Mayor of the Dambulla Municipal Council has challenged the Dambulla Mayor to confess before Goddess Kali that he didn’t fleece people of their money. “If the Mayor invokes Kali Amma’s wrath on those who have forwarded a petition against him, we will challenge the Mayor to confess to the deity that he did not plunder money from people to build a luxury house for himself,” Deputy Mayor, Kusumsiri Ariyaratne and a group of more..

Pillay notes 'massive' violations in Sri Lanka

Feb 25 (CG) The UN High Commissioner for human rights Navi Pillay today noted that “massive” violations had taken place during the war in Sri Lanka. In her opening speech on the opening day of the 22nd session of the UNHRC in Geneva, Pillay said that there are too many people with command responsibility in several countries who escape justice for serious crimes and human rights violations. “Hundreds of thousands of more..

International Crisis Group has a mote in its eye

Feb 26 (NS) In preparation for the opening of the UN Human Rights Council’s 22nd session, the International Crisis Group (ICG) has once again brought out a report condemning Sri Lanka. The ICG describes itself on its website as ‘an independent, non-profit, non-governmental organisation committed to preventing and resolving deadly conflict’ and as ‘the world’s leading independent, non-partisan, source of analysis and advice to govts, and intergovernmental bodies’. more..

Deputy minister Ekanayake and son Rasika illegally grabbing land in Anuradhapura

Feb 26 (DBS) Deputy Irrigation and Water Management Minister, W. B. Ekanayake, and son, Rasika Ekanayake, a member of the Manupa Pradeshiya Sabha, are accused of grabbing land in Anuradhapura. Amongst the State lands the Ekanayake family has encroached on over the years, are irrigation reservations in Tissa Wewa and Ponnaramkulam aru in Anuradhapura. Ekanayake has built his house in the high spill level in the Tissa Wewa, which is a violation of environment more..

The moving spirit behind Mul Pituwa

Feb 26 (SO) Bandula Padmakumara is the enterprising creator and the moving spirit behind Mul Pituwa. It has proved to be one of the most prestigious and sustainable programmes in the three-decade history of television. I reckon that Mul Pituwa has commanded most of the time I have spent watching television. So Bandula's must be the face that I have seen most and the voice I have heard most on the idiot box. more..

View from Ritigala

Feb 26 (NS) CBK, after eight years of retirement, is now writing her autobiography. Mahasona is quite sure that her autobiography will turn out to be interesting. She must have got a lot to write. Not only about the Sanath, the Harrys and the Taras, but also about the Mangalas, the SBs and the Channel Nine etc. It will be more interesting to see the extent to which CBK’s autobiography deviates from her other biography written by Victor Ivan, ‘Chaura Regina’ (Queen of Thieves). more..

Paradise Lost – A Post Script

Feb 26 (CT) Reading the comments for the previous article Paradise Lost, it was observed that some were under the misconception that since there was inequality in society, there was no paradise for the majority as alleged, in this country. Incidentally, Inequality is not only peculiar to Sri Lanka, but is prevalent in all societies. Inequality is more apparent in the tropical countries as Sri Lanka, more than the Western countries that are snow bound where Nature has designed the basics for mankind. more..

'Govt cannot overcome current crises'

Feb 26 (SL) UNP MP Ravi Karunanayake said the govt’s incompetence in handling the international community has resulted in the current issues faced by the country. “Your own bad governance, your own white van records, your own media harassments, your own opposition attacked or your own impeachments have led to the resolution,” he said referring to the US move to present a new resolution before the UNHRC. more..

Promoting language rights, right to development

Feb 26 (DBS) After some depression about not achieving very much with regard to either Reconciliation, or the Human Rights Action Plan, I was heartened by several factors last week. In the four Divisional Secretariat meetings I attended in the Wanni, it was clear that things were improving all the time. Several problems were brought to my attention, but these were largely practical problems, similar to those prevalent in other parts of the country. The impact of inclement weather on more..

Sri Lanka’s ongoing shift to authoritarianism under Rajapaksa and his cronies

Feb 26 (CT) One word that is increasingly mentioned when discussing contemporary Sri Lanka is “authoritarianism.” This is primarily due to President Rajapaksa’s frittering away of citizens’ civil liberties even as he and his “First Family” arrogate power and—together with their close relatives, cronies, and supporters—govern extra-constitutionally and extrajudicially. The malpractices were tolerated, even justified as necessary, during the war against the separatist LTTE. more..

Private universities in FTZ good or bad?

Feb 26 (NS) The govt’s decision to set up private universities through the Board of Investment has met with a positive response from several foreign universities wishing to invest capital and set up affiliated universities and colleges from leading universities abroad. Ten universities from the UK and India have already sought approval to set up such institutions. The Investment Promotions Ministry in its website has justified this move more..

Editorial : Does English make you poor?

Feb 26 (Island) It was only recently that a team of academics of the Liverpool University argued that the works of Shakespeare, Wordsworth et al were rocket boosters to the brain. They proved scientifically that challenging prose and poetry set off far more electrical activity in readers’ brains than the pedestrian versions thereof. We were on cloud nine, thinking that we could boost our brain power by reading more and more English classics. But, alas, a Yale University don has shattered our dream; more..

Brandix sustainability report bags ACCA Award

Feb 26 (F2F) The maiden Sustainability Report of Sri Lanka’s Brandix Group has received valuable third-party validation, being adjudged the ‘First Time Report Winner’ in the Large Scale category at the Sri Lanka Sustainability Reporting Awards presented by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) Sri Lanka Liaison Office. The report, a first by a private company in Sri Lanka, was released by Brandix in September 2012 as a detailed disclosure of the Group's more..

Aussie coffee house giant Toby Smith in town to open first outlet in South Asia

Feb 26 (FT) Toby Smith, coffee house giant of Australia, is visiting Sri Lanka today to explore potential investment opportunities and to launch world famous Toby’s Estate coffee in Colombo, making it the first South Asian part of his global chain. The founder, Toby Smith, is the backbone of specialty coffee and direct trade in Australia. After long stints on coffee plantations in Brazil and Guatemala honing his cupping and trading more..

Girl (17) stabbed to death

Feb 26 (Island) A young man who had a one sided love affair with a 17-year-old schoolgirl, brutally stabbed her to death last Saturday morning inside her house when she resisted his advances. She was the youngest of a family of three and a student of Kimbulapitiya Maha Vidyalaya. Dinushika Madurika, was stabbed to death on Saturday morning at her home in Aswedduma, Kimbulapitiya while her father and mother were away at work. The suspect (22), a resident of Kaltota, Balangoda, more..

SL lottery creates 5 millionaires a week

Feb 26 (ST) Sri Lanka’s oldest lottery, the National Lotteries Board (NLB), produces at least five millionaires a week and 40-45 a year. The lottery, due to mark its 50th anniversary next year, reported a turnover of Rs.12 billion last year from Rs 10 billion in the previous year, a top official of the NLB said. The NLB plans to introduce SMS, e and Internet lotteries targeting computer savvy youths as this segment is still not attracted to lotteries in a big way, General Manager M.S. Karunaratne more..

Health Ministry fails to adhere to WHO recommendations

Feb 26 (Island) The World Health Organization (WHO) had made strong recommendations following the completion of its final report on the investigation and evaluation of the Chronic Kidney Disease, but the Health Ministry had failed to either come out with the facts or take immediate preventive measures, an official of the Technical Committee, appointed by the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC), said. more..

'Ethics and professionalism must for SL pharmaceutical industry'

Feb 26 (ST) Adherence to ethics and professionalism is the way forward for Sri Lanka’s pharmaceutical industry, Virender Lamba, Director Compliance (Nepal and Sri Lanka) of Sanofi India said addressing a recent workshop on ‘ethics and good practices’ in pharmaceutical marketing. The workshop was organised by the Sri Lanka Chamber of Pharmaceutical Industry (SLCPI) in Colombo. “Society demands accountability and transparency from pharmaceutical marketers. more..

Information Ministry Website up and running

Feb 26 (DN) The official Website of the Mass Media and Information Ministry hacked two days ago by an organized anti Sri Lankan global movement has been fully restored and will function again with a high security system to prevent any future cyber attacks, Media and Information Ministry Secretary Dr. Charitha Herath said. He said with the UNHRC sessions at hand, these types of acts of sabotage are carried out by pro - LTTE elements who aim to tarnish the good image of the motherland. more..

FUTA to agitate again

Feb 26 (CT) The Federation of University Teachers' Association (FUTA) has threatened to re-launch their agitation campaign as their demand for 6% GDP to be allocated for the education sector has been 'overlooked by the govt.' "We are going to reassume the struggle for 6% for education with the help of a large number of other trade unions. We intend starting again because the govt remains indifferent to more..

Nishantha back to form with Grand Slam title

Feb 26 (DN) World Champion Nishantha Fernando returned to his top form and bagged the 13th Grand Slam Carrom Championship title beating Chamil Cooray 25/18, 25/5 in the final as the tournament concluded at the Carrom Federation building, Maharagama yesterday. Chalani Lakmali clinched the women's title by defeated Yashika Rahubadda 25/10, 25/18 in the final. Nishantha who experienced a set back in recent times played with confidence and proved his prowess by maintaining a more..

Heroin thrown into Kandy Prison

Feb 26 (CT) Kandy Prison authorities have initiated an inquiry into an incident where a ‘bag’ of narcotic drugs was found inside the prison premises, on the instructions of Prisons Superintendent, Tissa Jayasinghe. Prison Guard, H.U.Kumara, had seen a tennis ball like object falling into the prison premises, over the wall while the inmates were being taken out for the day’s work. As the ball was heavy they had suspected it to be something else and checked it. They had found it was heroin packed like more..

Sri Lanka allows Red Cross committee access to LTTE rehabilitation camps

Feb 26 (PTI) After stonewalling for nearly three years, Sri Lanka has allowed a team of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to visit the rehabilitation camps housing ex-LTTE combatants. Brigadier Darshana Hettiarachchi, the Commissioner General of Rehabilitation said that ICRC delegation had visited the Marandhamadu rehabilitation camp in the north on February 22. The ICRC had not been more..

Benedict XVI, a saint and a friend of the people of Sri Lanka

Feb 26 (AN) For Fr Benedict Joseph, spokesman for the Archdiocese of Colombo, Benedict XVI is "a saintly man and a friend of Sri Lanka who on several occasions came out against the cruelty of war and the dangers of terrorism". He spoke to AsiaNews on the pope's decision to give up the Petrine Ministry. "We in Sri Lanka have great respect for him and feel close to him as a spiritual leader and as a friend," the clergyman said. For Fr Joseph, "Benedict XVI was unique in many ways. more..