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Sri Lanka's Independence Day outlines post-war challenges

Feb 4 (Xinhua) President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Monday took a tough stance against Western criticism on human rights and reconciliation aspects within the island and called for ethnic harmony in an island that has a long history of racial dischord. For the first time in history Sri Lanka's 65th Independence Day celebrations were held in the scenic seaside town of Trincomalee in the once war torn Eastern Province. The town was liberated from the Liberation Tamil Tigers of Eelam in 2008. more..

Sonia tells Karuna she shares his concern about Lankan Tamils

Feb 4 (MO) Stating that she shared the concerns of DMK chief M Karunanidhi regarding Sri Lankan Tamils issue, UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi has told him that she "shall take up the matter" with the External Affairs Minister. "I share your concern regarding the disturbing developments in Sri Lanka vis-a-vis the Tamils. I shall take up the matter with the Minister of External Affairs" she said in a letter to Karunanidhi. more..

C-city complex for construction material sales soon

Feb 4 (ST) The success of the govt’s planned mega project, C-city – the one stop shop for all construction needs coming up in Peliyagoda – depends on the initial deposit or advance that is to be charged from those building materials and services’ suppliers who would set up their units in the C-city complex. The one-stop-shop for building materials and services is being constructed in Peliyagoda on a 16-acre block of land. The govt intends to build 250 units to house more..

Jaffna city land prices up 10 times over last 5 years : KPMG report

Feb 4 (ST) A 10 perch parcel of land, called a “Parappu”, in the heart of Jaffna town, is estimated to cost between Rs. 7 million and Rs. 8 million, according to a real estate report titled “Emerging Jaffna” published jointly by KPMG and the Research Intelligence Unit. Further, the report also adds that this is up to 10 times higher than just five years ago. However, the report also reveals that there are beach front properties in areas such as Cashuna and Karanagar where a “parappu” can more..

UN against plan to block SL asylum seeker boats

Feb 4 (SMH) The United Nations and international law experts say a Coalition plan to block every Sri Lankan asylum seeker boat from reaching Australian waters, without first testing their passengers' refugee claims, may breach international laws. In a further sign of the tough policies the Coalition will take to the election, shadow immigration spokesman Scott Morrison said the Australian Navy would be used to more..

Sri Lanka promoted in US as a travel destination

Feb 4 (GDI) Continuing its vigorous nation branding campaign in the US, the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Washington DC embarked on yet another initiative on January 31 by hosting a glittering evening for over 100 guests who were keen to experience different cultures of the world, from the Greater Washington area. The primary objective of this well attended function jointly organized by the Embassy and the International Club DC was to promote Sri Lanka as a travel destination. more..

World's largest passenger ship here today

Feb 4 (MoD) The Queen Elizabeth cruise ship, one of the world's largest passenger ships, will arrive at the Colombo Port today. This is the first time such a large ship will arrive in Sri Lanka. Around 6,600 persons, including 3,000 crew members and 3,600 passengers, are on board the ship. It will arrive from Cochin Port, India. The ship will leave for Singapore in the evening. It will be at the Colombo Harbour until 6 pm. Minister Rohitha Abeygunawardena said the peaceful environment in the country more..

Rajapaksa rules out Tamil autonomy

Feb 4 (Hindu) The solution that President Rajapaksa has in mind for the Tamil quest for a greater say in their own fate — which he said soon after the war in 2009 that he will reveal at an appropriate time — involves “equal rights to all communities”. Ruling out granting minority Tamils of the North any political autonomy as a solution to the three-decades-long ethnic conflict, he said when people lived together in unity there should be no more..

Kadirgamar, Wijekoon and Barker kept democracy alive

Feb 5 (NS) Temple Trees’ was cordoned. It was tense all around; no one knew whether the coup was still on. The circumstances and factors that motivated the conspirators were dealt in the preceding chapters -politics of Ceylon post independence and the transitional era. Family and socio-cultural background of the coup leaders was taken up next. The plan to arrest the Prime Minister, other political heavy-weights and military / police chiefs was discussed in detail. more..

Fixed terms for parliament to avoid manipulation of elections

Feb 5 (DBS) I believe it is essential to reform Parliament, to establish fixed terms to avoid elections being manipulated for the advantage of the ruling party, and to have a Second Chamber based on equal representation for all provinces, so as to promote the consultation of regional interests in legislation. Many of our problems have sprung from hasty legislation, while international experience teaches us that a second chamber, with powers to go through legislation calmly, can often save more..

'Earth tremors: No cause for alarm'

Feb 5 (SO) As a country considered free from earthquakes in its recorded history, Sri Lankans hardly bothered about facing disasters caused by earthquakes. But the 2004 Dec 26 Tsunami which brought us disastrous effects of a huge earthquake near Indonesia, compelled us to be ever vigilant on earthquakes happening around the globe. The constant vigilance of Sri Lankans for Tsunami warnings has made them more sensitive more..

Time to ban sectarian politics

Feb 5 (NS) Lamentably, despite the best efforts by our post independent leaders to form identity neutral political parties, like the united national party, SLFP, CP, LSSP, etc, there were those that fanned the flames of identity politics by establishing political parties based on race and language. These selffish power hungry politicians succeeded in dominating the political conversation with divisive agenda that even those other parties that began their journey as a united polity, also unwittingly joined the more..

It’s not only about Army camps in Tamil areas

Feb 5 (DBS) In its working plan on the LLRC Report, the Army’s Board of Officers has said that there could be no question of shifting military camps out of the North and the East. Defending the govt’s ‘absolute right’ to maintain its armed forces ‘anywhere in the Island, according to the country’s strategic and security needs,’ the Board has also noted that ‘military bases are located causing minimum inconvenience to the public’ in the regions impacted by the ‘Humanitarian Operation,’ more..

'UK to do utmost to see Lanka abides by C’wealth principles'

Feb 5 (ST) Britain will do its utmost to ensure that Sri Lanka is able to recognise the principles on which the Commonwealth works and takes the right course, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the United Kingdom’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Alistair Burt said last week in an interview. Q: The UK has regularly expressed concern over negative developments in Sri Lanka—whether during the war, over other more..

Davos-2013: Directionless and purposeless

Feb 5 (CT) The futility of the World Economic Forum in Davos from 23 to 27 January drove home that state and corporate leaders of global capitalism are at sixes and sevens; President Obama did not bother to attend and the Chinese all but boycotted it. In truth it was a European affair and even then pulling in different directions. David Cameron dropped a bombshell saying that if he won the next election he would hold a YES/NO referendum on whether Britain will stay in the EU. more..

Stoking the tinderbox of extremism

Feb 5 (CT) As a Sri Lankan and as a follower of the Buddhist philosophy I have every right to take umbrage at what is going on in our multi religious country under the guise of a “Buddhist nation”. First and foremost the Sinhalese in Sri Lanka do not own the Buddhist philosophy. Lord Buddha was not a Sinhalese and neither was he a Sri Lankan. And he certainly did not appoint the Sinhalese as the guardian of his philosophy! In this context not everyone who drapes himself in a sacred more..

Women-migrants: Caught in the chain of poverty

Feb 5 (ST) Many are the voices that have been raised and focused on the raging imbalances and inequality created by the 10 Commandments of the Washington consensus and, the dominant development paradigm that was promoted with much missionary zeal. Many are also the heart rending accounts of the pain and agony consequences by the resulting distortion in the distribution of wealth that has become a more..

Sri Lanka’s 65th anniversary of independence

Feb 5 (GV) Greetings Lanka! Today marks the 65th Anniversary of Independence of our country. This year would also mark the fourth year anniversary of ‘defeating terrorism’. But, little has changed, and there is little to celebrate this year. The country is treading a catastrophic path and our future is a disaster waiting to happen. For the one who hath his eyes open, it would be obvious that we are gradually plunging into an abyss from which there will be no return. Even though we have been treading more..

Pillars of deception a future leader from the opposition may want to address

Feb 5 (GV) I enjoyed reading several articles written by Dayan Jayatilleka and Laksiri Fernando, on the future form of a democratic struggle launched by the people of Sri Lanka, to rise above the current political catastrophe. This is a complementary note as a Sri Lankan voter that maybe of some use to a future leader from the opposition who would give leadership to such a struggle. President Rajapaksa himself made the remark “the intellectuals in a country hear the first footsteps of a dictator”. more..

සංවිධිත | Coexistence

Foreign investments with long-time horizon to add confidence to Bourse: Asia Wealth

Feb 5 (FT) Asia Wealth Management said that foreign investments with long-time horizon would add confidence to the Colombo stock market. Noting that the talk of the Bourse over the past few weeks was the disposal of large holdings in Commercial Bank, the broking firm said equity stakes in Commercial Bank were believed to be sold to book profits by Janus Capital Management, where the fund would have gained through its long-term investment made since end of 2009. more..

Mixed concerns over decline in growth of tourist spend per night

Feb 5 (NS) Sri Lanka should consider formulating and achieving a tourist spend per night target in addition to the target to increase visitor arrivals if the lucrative industry is to further support the island’s economic growth, industry analysts said. The comments were made in the backdrop of the island’s average spend per tourist per night in 2012 showing only a marginal increase of US$5 to US$103 from the year 2011’s figure of US$98 though the value had risen by US$10 from the year 2010, more..

One trillion rupee EPF before PAC for first time in six years!

Feb 5 (Island) For the first time in six years, the Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) will come before parliamentary oversight committee, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), this week, as opposition law makers decry the lack of governance and transparency with family and friends of the incumbent heading public enterprises but not being held accountable. "This is a small victory for the people. The EPF will come before the more..

Lankem Consumer commissions Rs. 70 mln laundry soap plant !

Feb 5 (ST) Lankem Consumer Products Ltd, a subsidiary of Lankem Ceylon recently commissioned its brand new laundry soap plant at its manufacturing complex in Sapugaskanda. Lankem Ceylon Director Ruwan T. Weerasinghe said, “After months of hard work, we are proud and delighted with this achievement and the outcome of the facility. This Rs. 70 million state-of-the-art laundry soap plant is on par with any international standard and has a capacity of producing 15 MT more..

Sri Lanka expects 27 cruise calls this year

Feb 5 (LBO) Sri Lanka is expecting 27 cruise calls in 2013 with ocean liner Queen May 2 leading the way, docking at Colombo on Feb 4. Sri Lanka's tourism promotion office said the liner canned 2,300 tourists from the US, UK, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Canada. Sri Lanka's Gemini Tours and Travels, which was in charge of local excursions, had taken the visitors to Kandy in Sri Lanka's central hills, an elephant orphanage at Pinnawala. Queen May 2 has 13 decks with swimming pools, more..

First Lady visits Rizana’s home

Feb 5 (DN) First Lady Shiranthi Rajapaksa yesterday visited the home of Rizana Nafeek who was beheaded in Saudi Arabia over the alleged killing of an infant under her care. The First Lady’s visit to Rizana’s house at Muthur, Trincomalee was of great relief to the family members who were grieving over the loss of their daughter and sister. The First Lady gave a patient hearing to the plight of the family members more..

Pension payments increase by 14.3%

Feb 5 (DN) Pension payments increased by 14.3% during the first eight months of last year to Rs. 75 billion from Rs. 65.7 billion of the same period of 2011. The full impact of around 23,447 retirees in 2011 and the partial impact of new retirees of around 14,033 during the first eight months of 2012 has contributed to this increase. The increase in allowance to the pensions of public servants who retired on or before December 31, 2003 by Rs. 500 from January and by another Rs. 500 from more..

Ranil carrying out another agenda of Govt.

Feb 5 (CT) UNP Southern Provincial Councillor, Maithri Gunaratne, accused Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe of carrying out another agenda of the govt by challenging it to go for a referendum to extend the term of the Parliament. Wickremesinghe challenged the govt to go for a referendum to extend the term of Parliament while attending a programme to recruit new members to the party in Galle on Saturday. "He did not, reveal that the govt is planning to hold a referendum now, more..

Did Sri Lanka's growing stability come at the cost of human rights?

Feb 5 (National) 65 years after Sri Lanka gained independence from Britain, the spring in the step of the president, Mahinda Rajapaksa, and his supporters has turned to something of a swagger.The recent history of the island, known as India's teardrop because of its shape and location off the southern tip of the subcontinent, helps to explain the self-satisfaction. The deadly tsunami of 2004, when an estimated 40,000 Sri Lankans died, more..

Dr. JJ to raise private security in govt. hospitals at COPE

Feb 5 (Island) UNP Deputy General Secretary Dr. Jayalath Jayawardena said that he would take up, at the next sessions of Parliamentary Consultative Committee on Health, the Health Ministry’s outsourcing of security work to a private security firm. He said he would do that to ensure that the Ministry would be more transparent and accountable to the people in all its activities. He pointed out that the Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) should be informed about the outsourcing. more..

Special exam for flood victims on Feb. 9, 10, 11

Feb 5 (Island) Around 1,800 students who were unable to sit for the GCE O/L exam, due to being marooned by floods, will sit for it from February 9 to 11, with the Examinations Department conducting a special examination for them. Examinations Commissioner General W.M.N.J. Pushpakumara said that arrangements had been made to hold a special exam and the admission cards had been sent to the candidates. If any candidate had not received his or her admission card, he or she more..

Bishop asks Christians to speak out against injustice

Feb 5 (FT) The Anglican Bishop of Colombo Rt. Reverend Dhiloraj Canagasabey called Christians yesterday to be prophets who speak out against unjust systems and repent apathy and the wickedness of the nation, on the occasion of Sri Lanka’s 65th Anniversary of Independence. “We acknowledge that we as individuals and as a community have contributed to the decay of good governance throughout more..

Harsha pooh-pooh's TN Gov's call

Feb 5 (CT) The UNP yesterday criticized the remarks made by the Tamil Nadu Governor, calling for the imposition of economic sanctions on Sri Lanka. UNP MP Dr. Harsha De Silva said remarks by the Tamil Nadu Governor were highly uncalled for, especially when the two countries are striving to boost trade. A joint study group comprising five Indian and five Sri Lankan delegates are discussing the specialized economic partnership agreement between the two countries at the moment," more..

Saviour on the field, in the pool

Feb 5 (DNA) ‘Saviour’ Seneviratna! Chamani Seneviratna may be well known for her ‘rescue’ acts on the field but only a few are aware of her stint as a lifeguard. The oldest member of the Sri Lankan squad, and the second-oldest in the ongoing Women’s World Cup (India’s Sulakshana Naik was born four days earlier), Chamani is a certified international lifeguard with more than three years experience in Dubai. And it was during this period that she saved two lives in a swimming pool. more..

Opposition slams govt. for legitimising 5,800 illegally imported vehicles

Feb 5 (Island) The UNP and JVP slammed the govt for its attempt to legalise over 5,800 illegally imported vehicles by allowing them to be registered after a fine of one million rupee was paid. The initial announcement came from the Director of Govt Information, on Saturday, that an amnesty was being provided by the govt for all those who had illegally imported vehicles. UNP MP Ravi Karunanayake and JVP MP Anura Kumara more..

12 Tamil Nadu fishermen allegedly thrashed by Sri Lankan Naval personnel

Feb 5 (PTI) Twelve fishermen from Tamil Nadu were allegedly assaulted by Sri Lankan Naval personnel while fishing near Katchatheevu, an islet ceded by India to the neighbouring republic, early this morning. The fishermen, from Thondi in Ramanathapuram District, were fishing in a mechanised boat when they were surrounded by the Sri Lankan Navy men and thrashed with sticks. They also cut their fishing nets and dumped their catch into the sea, besides snatching their more..

Doha school celebrates Sri Lanka’s day of independence

Feb 5 (GT) The Stafford Sri Lankan School in Doha (SLSD) organised yesterday a function to mark the 65th Independence Day of Sri Lanka, which falls on February 4. Sri Lanka’s Independence Day is celebrated in accordance with the Lipass/Joshua Louis Law to commemorate its internal political independence from British rule in 1948. The anniversary event at the SLSD was marked with the hoisting of national and school flags, a dance performance by primary school students, more..

Lanka insists on insurance coverage for housemaids

Feb 5 (AN) Sri Lanka is seeking the implementation of a negotiated insurance plan from employers in the Kingdom for new housemaids arriving here to protect both the employees as well as the Saudi sponsors, a senior official from the SLBFE said. Amid reports from Colombo that Sri Lanka has suspended sending maids to Saudi Arabia, SLBFE Chairman Amal Senadhilankara said that SLBFE is seriously considering to send more..

Indian smuggler nabbed at BIA

Feb 5 (Island) Customs officers at the BIA on Sunday evening thwarted an attempt by an Indian national to smuggle out foreign currency to the value of Rs. 3.4 million. A high ranking Customs officer, attached to the Customs preventive unit, told The Island that the smuggler, a 50-year-old web designer, had attempted to board a SriLankan Airline flight at 6.45 p.m. when he was searched on suspicion by the duty officer, Assistant Superintendant J.K.L.S. Perera. more..

Civil Security Force propels cultivation drive

Feb 5 (DN) The Civil Security Force (CSF) cultivated over 10,500 acres since the end of the humanitarian operation. According to the Civil Security Department (CSD), they deployed 35,000 Civil Security personnel in plantation activities. The CSF launched around 900 agri-projects, including paddy, coconut and fisheries projects. According to sources, they have cultivated paddy in 3,800 acres, maize and coconut in 3,500 acres and kurakkan, mustard, ginger, green gram, undu, more..