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Katunayake, Matara Expressways open in August, Sept.

Feb 27 (Island) Two new mega projects, the Katunayake Expressway and the extension of the Southern Expressway to Matara would be inaugurated in August and September this year, the Ports and Highways Ministry said. The construction work on the projects is now in the final stages. According to the ministry, the Construction work on the second section of the Southern expressway, from Pinnaduwa to Godagama, about 35Kms, is nearing completuon and would be more..

'Israel firmly committed to Sri Lanka’s economic development'

Feb 27 (MEA) Mr. Shimon Peres, President of the State of Israel, congratulating Sri Lanka on her achievement in eradicating terrorism, said that Israel stands firmly committed to supporting the development of the country’s economy in the prevailing environment of peace and stability. He made these remarks when Prof. G.L. Peiris, Minister of External Affairs, called on him at the President’s Office in Jerusalem on Tuesday. more..

Sri Lanka state entity listing a 2-3 year process: SEC chief

Feb 27 (LBO) Listing minority stakes in state entities is a two to three year process, but there is positive response to the move from the highest levels of the administration, Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Nalaka Godahewa said. "Sri Lanka Insurance is already in the pipe line. By 2015 it will come to the market," Godahewa told the LBR-LBO Chief Financial Officers forum Tuesday. "Before that we need to bring others to the market." He said the policy of the administration was more..

Thilanga Sumathipala to run for SLC presidency

Feb 27 (CI) MP Thilanga Sumathipala has announced his candidacy for the position of Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) president for next month's election, while three others will run for other board positions as part of his group. Sumathipala has been SLC president three times from 1997 to 2004, and also served as president of the Asian Cricket Council from 2000 to 2001. He also served as the director of the ICC from 1998 to 2000. He currently represents Colombo as an MP for the ruling more..

Fonseka warns UN will probe war in Lanka

Feb 27 (CG) Former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka has warned that the United Nations (UN) is expected to introduce some regulations soon through which a delegation will be able to come to Sri Lanka even without visas to investigate the incidents which took place during the war. He said that the European Parliament has already said that allegations of war crimes which took place in Sri Lanka should be more..

'NTPC’s Sampur power project progressing'

Feb 27 (Hindu) Despite some teething troubles, NTPC’s first overseas coal-fired power project at Sampur in Trincomalee district is progressing, Sri Lanka has asserted. Answering questions, Treasury Secretary P B. Jayasundera dismissed news reports appearing in a section of the Indian press that NTPC was pulling out of the project. “In fact, the [NTPC] chairman and team were here last week,” he said, addressing the inaugural meeting of the Foreign Correspondents Association, Sri Lanka, more..

Mixed forecast for Lankan sovereign debt performance

Feb 27 (DM) The announcement of the failure to agree on a new follow-up funding package by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has led to a slide in investor sentiments and country’s sovereign bond prices from 1 to 1.25 points, according to a US banking giant. Evaluating the Lankan macroeconomic environment in the aftermath of IMF engagement failure, JP Morgan asserted that the impact on the economy was largely psychological at least in the short term. more..

Video & Text: Minister Mahinda Samarasainghe's address to the UNHRC

Feb 27 (IL) It is an honour and a pleasure to address this august Council today. On behalf of my delegation, let me felicitate you upon your assumption of the Presidency and offer our support to you in the discharge of your office during your tenure. As with your distinguished predecessors, we are confident of working together in ensuring that the objectives of the Council are met. At the conclusion of Sri Lanka’s more..

Pursuing social justice in the Age of Neo-Liberalism

Feb 28 (NS) UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message marking World Day of Social Justice on February 20 underscores a defining challenge of our times: “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.” In a time of rapid global integration, on one hand and widening disparities, on the other, pursuit of social justice is not only critical, more..

Kandy’s Tea plantations turn into housing land

Feb 28 (NS) Sri Lanka known the world over as ‘the Pearl of the Indian Ocean’ also happens to be among the most renowned for its tea plantations. The lush green tea estates are spread mainly throughout the central hills. The tea plant though not an endemic of Sri Lanka has been in the spotlight in every sector of the country and contributing to its economy. When considering tea and Kandy, the bonds go back to the 19 century when the first tea plant was brought to the island more..

Ranil’s ‘path’ and the ‘thorns’ on it

Feb 28 (NS) One of my friends recently met a member of a visiting Australian opposition delegation. Discussing matters of mutual interests, the foreigner had informed my friend that a prominent stalwart of the UNP had submitted a dossier on alleged abductions and disappearances of journalists in Sri Lanka. The stalwart had further stressed that steps would be taken to raise the matter in relevant international forums, more..

The Crucifixion of Sri Lanka

Feb 28 (DBS) The crucifixion of Jesus Christ which is said to have been committed approximately 2000 years ago is commemorated annually by Christians the world over. The crucifixion of Sri Lanka, however, is an ongoing process which becomes most intense as the meeting of the UNHRC draws closer each year and is hence in no need of commemoration. Originally this was purely an exercise of local Tamil politicians spreading ‘horror stories’ about the alleged discrimination more..

Where will the buck stop? Whose head will roll?

Feb 28 (CT) A British politician the other day was heard expressing the opinion that the scandal evolving Britain and Europe, of horse meat being labelled as beef and sold in super markets as an ingredient of pre-cooked food, was an ‘international conspiracy’. In the recent past many politicians around the world have found such ‘international conspiracies’ a convenient whipping horse on which to blame the various acts and omissions of misgovernment by them, more..

Minister Sirisena attempting to obstruct justice to safeguard son

Feb 28 (DBS) Sri Lanka today is a land of perplexing paradoxes and ironic contradictions. A former Army commander is forcibly dragged to captivity and court-martialled on flimsy charges by military personnel and officers who served under him. The De jure Chief Justice is “removed” from office on the basis of an adverse report presented by partisan Govt MP’s after PSC proceedings amounting to a Kafkauesque trial. more..

A Mass struggle – the need of the hour

Feb 28 (DBS) Lal kantha said, in the present era the joint struggle of the opposition led by MPs is ineffective. Instead one has to concentrate on mass struggle with total participation of the partners of this struggle. At least that is how I understood what he presented at the new political orientation of their party. According to a media report, the JVP Politburo member K.D. Lal kantha has said, fighting to affect social transformation from within Parliament will not bear fruit and it is necessary to join with more..

A backward march towards 1915?

Feb 28 (CT) In the aftermath of a pyrrhic victory over the LTTE and in a mood of triumphalism, President Mahinda Rajapaksa lectured to an anxious nation that there would henceforth be no more Sinhalese, Tamils or Muslims, and no more majority and minority in his country but only Sri Lankans. Those who listened to those words at that time or read them afterwards heaved a sigh of relief. After a little more than one quarter of a century of physical and mental trauma inflicted upon the nation by more..

The fog of War

Feb 28 (Island) Last week, we were once again forced to think about what happened at the end of the war, with Channel Four releasing a preview of its latest documentary, ‘No Fire Zone’, and the director, Callum Macrae, promoting it in interviews with newspapers and television stations around the world. In principle, this should be a good thing. Nobody should be left to think that getting rid of the LTTE was easy. more..

‘Ethnic animosities’ – whose handiwork?

Feb 28 (Island) Apparently, ‘discourse’ in Sri Lanka on what has come to be characterized as the National Question is continuing to be bedeviled by issues in Historiography. If greater clarity is to be achieved in our understanding of the ‘conflict’ in this country, there needs to be objective, impartial, factual and unemotional commentary and writing on the issues at the heart of this country’s ethnic relations, which make-up a good part of the substance that constitutes our ‘conflict.’ more..

Editorial : Doctoring pictures

Feb 28 (Island) Stars happened to be eclipsed at this year’s Oscars ceremony. US First Lady Michelle Obama stole the show with her stunning appearance at the star-studded event to announce the Oscar for the best picture, Argo. She looked, as usual, gorgeous, flashing as she did a disarming smile, in a shoulderless dress which outshone all others’. Not even the Iranians with a visceral antipathy towards anything American could ignore her though they obviously did not take kindly to Argo, more..

සංවිධිත | Coexistence

Three years after his abduction, Pattani Razeek's family still await answers

Feb 28 (UCAN) Pattani Razeek went missing in 2010 near a mosque in Polonuwara. His family received several calls from his mobile phone, demanding money in exchange for his release. Then the calls stopped. For his son Razeek Rizkkhan Mohamed, the ensuing years have been a tedious process of waiting and suffering. It was quickly established that Pattani, a rights activist and civil organizer, was abducted and later murdered. Police in Valachchenai in Eastern Province more..

Player agents have only caused severe harm to our cricket – Arjuna

Feb 28 (Island) Former captain Arjuna Ranatunga called for a thorough probe to be carried out on player agents yesterday, calling them probably the worst thing that has happened to the sport in the country. SLC derecognized player agents a fortnight ago, claiming that they were having a detrimental effect on the game, and Ranatunga yesterday said that player agents have only caused severe harm to the game. Ranatunga, who has been a harsh critic of certain manipulative player agents, more..

UNHRC 22: Geneva braces for Swiss knives and Sri Lankan swords!

Feb 28 (FT) The beautiful Palais des Nations building in Geneva, once the home of the Woodrow Wilson’s League of Nations, will host a screening of the latest instalment in a British documentary series tomorrow that relentlessly seeks to expose alleged crimes of war during the final phase of Sri Lanka’s battle against the LTTE. For the next month, the classical building in the Swiss city will also be the foreground of more..

Premier League Tournament 2012-13: SSC and Tamil Union stay top

Feb 28 (CI) Sinhalese Sports Club and Tamil Union remained atop the Group B table after round four of the Premier League, while Moors Sports Club leapt to the top of Group A with a big win over Burgher Recreation club. Round four yielded nine outright results and four innings victories across the ten matches. Thilan Samaraweera was named in Sri Lanka's Test squad as a replacement for the injured Mahela Jayawardene, but he suffered an injury himself during SSC's innings more..

Certificates for 40 students who completed Life Saving Training course

Feb 28 (DN) Sri Lanka Coast Guard held the certificate awarding ceremony of the 'Life Saving Course' conducted by the Sri Lanka Coast Guard Life Saving Training School, Balapitiya. Certificates were presented to students of five schools who completed the Life Saving Training course successfully. Forty students received certificates. This was held under the patronage of Sri Lanka Coast Guard Deputy Director General Commodore Ananda Guruge. 24 schoolchildren and more..

Sri Lanka and Korea air links to expand: Direct flights from March 9

Feb 28 (IL) Sri Lanka and Korea concluded a successful round of air services consultation in expanding bilateral Air Transport arrangements between the two countries in Seoul, Korea during 19th to 20th Feb. During the Consultations, the Sri Lankan side agreed to grant traffic rights for Korean Air to operate flights to Maldives via Colombo whereas the Korean side agreed to grant traffic rights for Sri Lankan Airlines to operate to more..

SC gives UDA go ahead for 7-acre Slave Island project

Feb 28 (Island) The Supreme Court yesterday permitted the Urban Development Authority to continue with its re-development project on a seven-acre land at Justice Akbar Mawatha, Slave Island. In this case, the city dwellers of Slave Island residences had complained to the Court of the danger to their places of living due to the inauguration of the project. The petitioners have been granted alternative options, in respect of residences. Among the respondents cited more..

Fix accountability for rights violation, India tells Sri Lanka

Feb 28 (Hindu) Even as the UNHRC took up for discussion a U.S.-sponsored resolution on issues related to Sri Lanka, New Delhi on Wednesday said Colombo would have to fix accountability for the alleged violation of human rights and torture of Tamils and ensure a sustainable settlement of issues concerning them. “There is no future [in Sri Lanka] unless there is reconciliation, there is no future unless there is accountability,” External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said, more..

Change CHOGM venue – Miliband

Feb 28 (CT) UK MP and former Foreign Secretary, David Miliband, supporting further action on Sri Lanka at the 22nd Sessions of the UNHRC in Geneva, in a video message, urged the UK and other Commonwealth members to call for a change of venue for the CHOGM scheduled to be held in Colombo. He was one of the key international speakers who participated at the Global Tamil Forum (GTF) third anniversary more..

Morrison accused of vilifying asylum seekers

Feb 28 (SBS) A federal Liberal backbencher has accused his own party of vilifying asylum seekers. Victorian MP Russell Broadbent made the comments after a colleague, Immigration spokesman Scott Morrison, called for behaviour protocols for those released into the community. Mr Morrison says police should be notified of where asylum-seekers are living in the community, and there should be strict guidelines for the behaviour of those on bridging visas. It comes after a more..

Political agendas fuelling ethnic clashes

Feb 28 (CT) With the defeat of the LTTE, the govt has lost the scapegoat it needs to win another election. It has therefore made the Muslim community of Sri Lanka as the next scapegoat. This strategy would allow the govt to recoup its fragile Sinhalese-Buddhist vote base, the UNP alleged. UNP Western Provincial Council member, Mujibur Rahman said, "It is increasingly obvious that political agendas are fuelling ethnic clashes between the Sinhalese and Muslim communities. more..

Restraining order on ‘Changumi’ novel

Feb 28 (DM) The Colombo Commercial High Court yesterday restrained the publishers of the novel ‘Changumi’ based on the popular television series telecast over Rupavahini under the same name from being distributed and sold. The order was made following a petition filed by Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation. The court issued the order on Vidharshana Publishers from using the name 'Changumi' or 'Sujatha Diyani' more..

MAS Holdings lauded for culture of empowerment by The New Economy

Feb 28 (FT) MAS Holdings was declared winner of the prestigious Women’s Empowerment Corporate Leader 2012 award by The New Economy (TNE), a global multimedia platform that captures and commends the spirit of thought leadership. With the company’s ever-present focus on employee empowerment and sustainability practices, MAS has set longstanding benchmarks throughout their 25-year-old history in the apparel industry, both regionally and globally as ‘Pioneers of more..

India silent over US-backed resolution against Lanka at UN rights body

Feb 28 (TOI) India is not ready to reveal its hand on the US-sponsored resolution against Sri Lanka at the UNHRC. And, the radio silence is all for a good reason. Despite the loud support by DMK and AIADMK members in the Rajya Sabha for the resolution on Wednesday, there is discomfort within the Indian government regarding the document's fine print. Sources said recommendations in the resolution are "intrusive", which would be unacceptable for India. more..

Basil gets SLFP National Organiser job

Feb 28 (FT) The SLFP Central Committee last night appointed Minister Basil Rajapaksa as the party’s National Organiser. The unanimous decision was taken at the Central Committee meeting held under the patronage of President Rajapaksa at Temple Trees. The post of National Organiser fell vacant following the death of former Minister Anuruddha Ratwatte. senior party member and a leading figure in the party, more..

Boycott Sri Lanka, Robertson urges

Feb 28 (BT) The prominent barrister Geoffrey Robertson wants Australia and other commonwealth countries to boycott a leaders' meeting in Colombo to protest against the impeachment of the nation's chief justice. The Australian lawyer also wants the Queen to steer clear of November's CHOGM after Shirani Bandaranayake was declared guilty of misconduct seven weeks ago. "Govts which respect the rule of law should not attend," Mr Robertson states in a written report for England's more..

Indian textile firms back out of Colombo fabric fair

Feb 28 (SBS) With the four textile firms from Tamil Nadu announcing their decision to call off their participation in the 4th Colombo International Yarn and Fabric Show 2013, Thanthai Periyar Dravidar Kazhagam (TPDK) has called of its proposed agitation in front of their offices. Soon after the news about participation of four textile firms from Coimbatore and Chennai planning to participate in the fair to be held in the island nation, TPDK announced that it would picket more..

The passage back to India beckons Welikada prisoners

Feb 28 (Hindu) “Saare, Nasiraannu.” (Sir, this is Nasir). I first heard the voice announcing him over the phone a fortnight after I moved to Colombo as The Hindu’s Correspondent in December 2010. Over the next two years and two months, I would hear this voice often, sometimes in excited whispers, and, at other times, in anxious half-sentence wails. Nasir was one of the 31 Indians serving a term in Welikada prison. more..

... will move strong resolution against Lanka in Geneva —Visiting official

Feb 28 (Island) Senior Deputy Assistant Administrator, Asia Bureau, USAID, Denise Rollins said that the wording of the second US resolution on Sri Lanka, scheduled to be moved at the ongoing UNHRC, would be stronger. Rollins said that the US expected the GoSL to address accountability issues. She was responding to a query at a briefing held at the United States Information Service. Rollins stressed that the US was not alone in pushing SL to address accountability issues. more..

Wide ranging complaints to TISL's 'Shelter for Integrity'

Feb 28 (CT) Complaints ranging from fraud, bribery and blackmail, to corruption and malpractice in the workplace are made to the 'Shelter for Integrity,' Transparency International Sri Lanka's (TISL) advocacy and legal advice centre, regularly. The centre has received over 500 complaints in the past few months. While many of them are currently being pursued, more than 40% of them have been successfully resolved. A large number of these complaints stem from concerns regarding more..