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UK high court blocks Tamil deportations

Feb 28 (C4) The high court in London blocks the deportation of a group of failed Tamil asylum seekers who were due to be sent back to Sri Lanka on Thursday despite torture concerns. The high court decision was described as "unprecedented and precedent-setting" by a legal source. The group of failed Tamil asylum seekers was due to be sent back to Sri Lanka on Thursday, on a flight leaving the UK at around 4pm, more..

Israel raises concerns on Iran with Sri Lanka

Feb 28 (CG) Israel today raised concerns over Iran with Sri Lanka’s Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris, the Israeli Foreign Ministry said. It said that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the visiting Sri Lankan Minister that the visit is an opportunity to strengthen the relationship between Sri Lanka and Israel. He later said Israel faces great challenges of security and peace, with peace being peace with the Palestinians. “We have another problem. We have the problem of Iran that is continuing to defy more..

Marathon deaths: President wants students tested before sports events

Feb 28 (DN) President Rajapaksa advised Minister Bandula Gunawardena to take measures to devise a methodology to check on physical fitness and the health condition of students participating in sports events. He made the directive following the recent incidents of deaths of schoolchildren while taking part in athletic events, especially marathons. President Rajapaksa also advised the Education Minister to obtain the assistance of several other ministries related to sports and health. more..

US aid to Sri Lanka to continue amid Human Rights pressure

Feb 28 (LBO) The United States aid programs to Sri Lanka would continue as a separate process from calls to address allegations of human rights abuses, a senior US foreign aid official said. "We feel strongly that reconciliation, addressing the issues that we have been raising for some time, that will continue," "Denise Rollins, senior deputy assistant administration at US Agency for International Development (USAID) said. more..

Editorial: Govt. is either naive or foolish?

Feb 28 (DM) Either we are too naïve or extremely foolish. While the forces against Sri Lanka had been getting ready to degrade Sri Lanka for months, a team leader to counter the allegations on behalf of the country was appointed just 72 hours before the UNHRC sessions in Geneva, Switzerland. It has been reported in the media that the decision to appoint President Rajapaksa’s Human Rights envoy Mahinda Samarasinghe to present Sri Lanka’s case in Geneva was a sudden decision. more..

Lives in shadow

Feb 28 (DM) During the past decade, legalisation of the sex trade has been promoted as a solution to various issues plaguing the illegal sex trade and other crimes including rape and child abuse. In the late 1990s even an International Labour Organisation report encouraged South East Asian govts to officially recognise the ‘sex industry’.The debate on the legalisation of the sex trade has surfaced time and again in Sri Lanka but has faded due to cultural and religious fetters. more..

Stirring the pot

Feb 28 (SL) War does not start with a bang, but rather with hateful whispers. Over the past few months, extremist groups have begun vigorously campaigning against halal food – or so they claim. And this pot-stirring is beginning to have its effect. On February 17, a BBC reporter was threatened by an angry mob, whilst another reporter from the newspaper Nawamani, was detained for four hours after the recent Bodu Bala Sena more..

Nishantha enters the fray as Independent candidate

Feb 28 (DM) Nishantha Ranathunga the current secretary of Sri Lankan Cricket handed over his nominations today, to the post of secretary as an independent candidate. Ranathunga said the purpose of him seeking renomination to the board was to continue with the development that has been carried out thus far by SLC. The purpose of my re-nomination to the board is to continue with the development work we have started at the more..

Minister Sirisena fears assassination bid

Feb 28 (Island) Health Minister and SLFP General Secretary Maithripala Sirisena yesterday alleged that there was an attempt by a section of the media to destroy him. The minister was addressing a hastily arranged media briefing, at his official residence, following his son Daham Sirsena’s involvement in a brawl where Asela Waidyalankara, the son of DIG Baticaloa, Ravi Waidyalankara sustained injuries on Sunday in Passekudah. more..

US unaware of numbers killed in Lanka’s war

Feb 28 (Island) A senior US official admitted that the US could not, on its own, estimate the number of persons killed during the final phase of the conflict in Sri Lanka. Visiting Senior Deputy Assistant Administrator, Asia Bureau, USAID, Denise Rollins said so, addressing the media in Colombo before leaving for Jaffna to inspect a USIAD supported project to expand operations of an ice making factory at Point Pedro. more..

Blaming and shaming or learning from errors the way out

Feb 28 (ST) Doctors are under the microscope with headlines highlighting two separate incidents of a hand-amputation and a death of a child allegedly linked to preparations before an MRI scan. This brings to the forefront not only issues of patient safety but also whether there should be a “naming, blaming, shaming culture” or learning from errors, said a cross-section of doctors that the Sunday Times spoke to. more..

Opposition to brothels may have led to attack - JVP

Feb 28 (Island) The JVP affiliated All Ceylon Govt Ayurvedic Medical Officers Union (ACGAMOU) yesterday faulted the govt and the police for their apparent negligence and slow paced inquiry into the acid attack on North-Central Province (NCP) Ayurvedic Commissioner Dr. Lokuliyanage Chandrakumara Alwis, who suffered severe burn injuries to his face and eyes last Friday. the president of the ACGAMOU, more..

University dons signal restart of agitation

Feb 28 (Island) University teachers yesterday warned that they would have to resume their agitation for more funds for the education sector, claiming that the entire sector was in a mess. President of the FUTA Dr. Nirmal Ranjith Dewasiri said that they would hold a massive public rally in Colombo, on April 2, as the first step towards preparung the general public for a common battle to protect the free education system. more..

'Govt. should not take on halal certification'

Feb 28 (CT) THe Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) yesterday strongly recommended that the government desists from accepting responsibility to certify products as halal, as was suggested by the All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulama (ACJU). Addressing the media in Colombo, BBS General Secretary Galaboda Aththe Gnanasara Thero said, "The ACJU has very cunningly tried to pass the halal certification off on the govt. They mustn't accept this suggestion. more..

Sri Lanka hits U.N. rights chief Pillay on abuse reports

Feb 28 (Reuters) Sri Lanka accused the U.N. human rights chief on Wednesday of being biased against it for criticizing alleged killings of former Tamil Tiger independence fighters and political dissenters and journalists. In a speech to the UNHRC, a senior official from Colombo also asserted that Western countries strongly critical of the country's record had fallen prey to lies spread by former members of the Tamil Tiger more..

Sports minister to probes Thilanga's eligibility

Feb 28 (DM) UPFA MP and Former Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) President Thilanga Sumathipala handed in his nomination for the presidency of SLC yesterday together with his team but Sports Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage has appointed a special committee to inquire into Sumathipala’s eligibility to hold SLC and International Cricket Council (ICC) office as the run-up to next month’s SLC election heated up more..

Editorial: A repeat performance in Geneva

Feb 28 (CT) Head of the UNHRC, Navanethem Pillay, and Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs of the US, Dr. Esther Brimmer, have both focused the spotlight on the Sri Lanka's human rights situation in the opening session of the 22nd UNHRC sessions that got underway in Geneva early this week. Pillay in her inaugural speech on Monday and Brimmer in her address on Tuesday regretted the fact that there had been hardly any improvement in Sri Lanka's more..

Need to safeguard Sri Lanka from external interference

Feb 28 (CT) The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) is a UN Agency that works to promote and protect the human rights that are guaranteed under international law and stipulated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948. The office was established by the UN General Assembly on 20 December 1993 in the wake of the 1993 World Conference on Human Rights. The office is headed by the High Commissioner for Human Rights, who more..

Remarks by Denise Rollins, senior deputy assistant administrator, Asia bureau, USAID

Feb 28 (SLE) Members of the media, ladies and gentlemen, good morning, I last visited Sri Lanka one year ago, in February 2012. It is such a pleasure to be here again just one year later. I am excited to witness first-hand the important work that communities, civil society organizations, and local authorities across the island are undertaking to improve the living standards of Sri Lankans. The American people are more..

Illegal gem miners pay heavily

Feb 28 (Island) The National Gem and Jewellery Authority (NGJA) had raked in Rs. 21 million by conducting countrywide raids on illegal gem mines last year, NGJA, Senior Operational Manager, Thilak Kulananda said yesterday. He told The Island that the NGJA had arrested 1,063 people engaged in illegal gem mining last year. The NGJA has been vested with power, in accordance with the National Gem and Jewellery Act No 50 of 1993, to prevent illegal gemming and smuggling. more..

eDoctor a home made Elixir for Sri Lankans

Feb 28 (DN) Most global health web sites which are very popular amongst Lankans, are not tailor made to Sri Lankan lifestyles and health conditions. However Lankans don't have to visit foreign web sites, as there is the local eDoctor whihc can be viewed at, eDoctor is a dedicated team of Sri Lankan working doctors, headed by Dr. Harsha Jayakody, ready to help people with medical and surgical initial questions. eDoctor is a home made elixir for the Sri Lankan more..

Sri Lanka to double pay to graduate recruits

Feb 28 (LBO) Sri Lanka will soon double the pay of around 50,000 unemployable graduates absorbed into state service to 23,000 rupees a month, a media report said. Sri Lanka's 'Yes FM' a radio station, station broadcast minister Basil Rajapaksa as saying in a speech that monthly allowances for the graduate trainees would be raised to 23,000 rupees from the current 10,000 totaling about 14 billion rupees a year. more..

CWE files writ against CMC takeover bid

Feb 28 (Island) The Board of Director of the Co-operative Wholesale Establishment (CWE) has filed a Writ Application in the Court of Appeal, requesting for interim relief by suspending attempts by the Colombo Municipal Council to auction the CWE premises at Nos. 25, 25/1 and 27, Vauxhall Steet, Colombo. The CMC has indicated by notices that it will shortly seize the premises, because the CWE has failed to pay rates amounting to Rs. 16.4 million or more. The petitioner has more..

IOM to boost rural development in Sri Lanka

Feb 28 (OW) IOM has teamed up with Bank of Ceylon (BOC) to assist vulnerable communities in northern Sri Lanka by providing financial literacy trainings at which people can learn how to access banking services. The process has the full support of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka. The programme will start in areas that were worst-affected by Sri Lanka’s civil war – Jaffna, Mullaitivu, Killinochchi, Vavuniya and Batticaloa districts, and will then be rolled out nationwide. more..

Former NSB Chairman released on bail

Feb 28 (AD) Court released former National Savings Bank (NSB) Chairman Pradeep Kariyawasam on two personal bails of Rs.10 million each over the bribery case he is alleged to be involved in. The Bribery and Corruption Commission filed action at the Colombo Magistrate Court against former NSB Chairman Pradeep Kariyawasam for alleged corruption in The Finance Company (TFC) and NSB transactions. more..

Human Rights lawyer under threat

Feb 28 (CG) Amnesty International has sent out an urgent appeal for the protection of human rights lawyer Lakshan Dias who is reportedly under threat. In the appeal, Amnesty says since 22 February Dias has reported being followed and has been under surveillance by unidentified men who have sought information about him from his wife and neighbors. “Colleagues are concerned that he is in danger of enforced disappearance and physical violence. According to human rights lawyers more..

Sangakkara in squad for tour match

Feb 28 (CI) Kumar Sangakkara has been named in the squad for the Emerging XI that will play a three-day warm up match in Matara against Bangladesh, while offspinner Akila Dananjaya misses out due to injury. "I've started batting in the nets this week and have had a good week of practice, so the match against Bangladesh is a good opportunity to get some match practice," Sangakkara said. "As long as I pull through ok, I will play in the Galle Test." Sangakkara has not played competitive more..

'Govt. cannot take over issuance of Halal certification'

Feb 28 (AD) The Govt today stated that it could not take over the responsibility of the issuance of the Halal Certification, Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said today. The All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulama (ACJU) requested the govt to take over the issuing and administration of Halal certification in Sri Lanka. The ACJU, the Muslim scholar council asked the govt to take an initiative to end the row after Bodu Bala Sena (BBS), more..

Death of mother & daughter in Lebanon a mystery

Feb 28 (LT) Deaths that occurred within a week due to the same illness of a Sri Lankan mother and her daughter who had been employed in Lebanon are a mystery say relatives. The deceased are H.P. Margret (62) a resident of Koswadiya, Mahawewa at Naththandiya who had been employed in Lebanon for 28 years and her daughter Mallika Kusumalatha (37) a resident of Weehenawellakele at Mahawewa who had left to Lebanon 6 years ago. Both of them had been employed in Beirut and lived more..

Nuwara Eliya flowers to bloom for April festival

Feb 28 (E24|7) Nuwara Eliya, the picturesque Sri Lankan town in the hill country surrounded by a vast tea plantation, welcomes the maximum number of tourists, both local and foreign, in April. The city’s residents, leading hotels and guest houses are preparing their flower gardens for the forthcoming April festivities. The local municipal council is sprucing up the popular Victoria Park while exotic varieties of flowering plants are being planted by the Colonial Hotel, the British Club, more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 28.02.2013

Sultanate, Sri Lanka take part in annual cyclone meeting

Feb 28 (OO) The Sultanate, represented by Civil Aviation Authority, the Ministry of Regional Municipalities and Water Resources and the National Committee for Civil Defence, participates in the annual meeting of the committee of tropical cyclones over the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal which is being held in Colombo. The 5-day meeting discusses ways of co-operation among committee members in the areas of forecasting tropical cyclones, the exchange of experience more..

Govt. using Open University to destroy free university education - FUTA

Feb 28 (Island) The govt had launched a programme to turn Sri Lankan universities into profit making venture, beginning with the Open University of Sri Lanka (OUSL), which was currently offering undergraduate and post-graduate courses to those who did not qualify for other universities, the FUTA said. Assistant Secretary of FUTA Dr. Harini Amarasuriya said that the recent trend, in Sri Lanka’s higher education policy, was towards comodification of education and valuing more..

UNHRC refuses to stop screening of video

Feb 28 (CG) The UNHRC has refused to stop the screening of the Channel 4 film “No Fire Zone: The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka” organized by Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and FIFDH to be held at the UN premises in Geneva tomorrow. The President of the UNHRC Ambassador Remigiusz A. Henczel has however observed that such events “do not reflect an official position of the Council”. more..

Sri Lanka inflation 9.8% in February

Feb 28 (LBO) Sri Lanka's consumer prices rose 9.8% in February 2013 from a year earlier, with the index rising 0.4% during the month. The state statistics office said food and non-alcoholic beverages rose 0.6% and non-food items rose 0.2% during the month. During the 12-months food prices rose 12.9% in the 12-months and non-foods rose 7.2%. Central bank cut policy rates by 25 basis points in December to 7.5% and 9.5% but kept them steady in January and February. more..

Father, mother and eight month old baby found dead in Panadura

Feb 28 (AD) Three members of the same family were found dead in a home at Sagara Mawatha in Panadura, police stated. The victims were the father, mother and an eight month old baby. The bodies were found this morning (28), by the Panadura South police after they received a 119 call regarding a foul smell that was coming from the residence in which the bodies were found. The police found the owner of the house hanging from a beam of the ceiling in the hall of the residence while more..

Sri Lankan gov't renews invitation to main Tamil party for talks

Feb 28 (Xinhua) The govt renewed a call for the main Tamil party to join a parliamentary select committee to discuss minority issues on Thursday amid the island' s human rights record being criticized at the UNHRC sessions. "We have invited the TNA to participate in a Parliamentary Select Committee comprised of all political parties belonging to different ethnicities to discuss an inclusive power sharing more..

100 Chinese tour agents to visit Sri Lanka in 2013

Feb 28 (Xinhua) Over a hundred Chinese tour agents will visit Sri Lanka in 2013 to promote the tropical island as a tourist destination for the world's fastest growing economy, a top official said here on Thursday. Sri Lanka's Cabinet has given approval for the Economic Development Ministry to sponsor over 100 Chinese tour agents to visit Sri Lanka this year as part of its plan to attract 2.5 million tourists by 2016. "As far as Sri Lanka is concerned, Sri Lanka had the problem within the country, more..

UNHRC disassociates itself from screening Ch-4 film

Feb 28 (DM) The UNHRC has disassociated itself from the screening of the Channel 4 film ‘No Fire Zone: The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka’ to be held on Friday (1) in Geneva at the UN premises. In response to a protest lodged by Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the UN Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha last Monday, which was followed up with a meeting on Tuesday, the President of the UN Human Rights Council Ambassador Remigiusz A. Henczel in a letter more..

Riyadh clarifies envoy’s ‘recall’

Feb 28 (AN) Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials said yesterday the “recall” of Saudi Ambassador to Sri Lanka Abdulaziz Bin Abdurrahman Al-Jammaz was a summons for consultation. “The Saudi ambassador has not been recalled permanently, but asked to come to Riyadh for consultations,” said Alauddin A. Alaskary, deputy foreign minister for protocol affairs, here yesterday.“There is a difference between more..