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Commonwealth training for Sri Lanka Human Rights Commission staff

July 9 (TC) Staff from the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) today completed a Commonwealth workshop on how to conduct national inquiries in compliance with international human rights standards. John Walters, National Ombudsman of Namibia, led the three-day event in Colombo, which was attended by more than 50 staff from the HRCSL. Namibia's Office of the Ombudsman is an ‘A’ accredited institution compliant with the Paris Principles, which more..

Ten myths around asylum seekers arriving on boats in Australian waters

July 9 (News) DO you believe that thousands of illegal boat people are swamping our shores in unprecedented numbers and threatening Australian jobs and the economy? You wouldn't be the only person to do so - and you'll be hearing more about it as politicians jockey for your vote ahead of the federal election. Asylum seekers arriving on boats in Australian waters is likely to be one of the top issues debated throughout the election campaign. explains 10 boat-people myths. more..

Mantras from mending Menon

July 9 (FT) Indian National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon arrived in Colombo last afternoon, officially for a trilateral maritime security dialogue with Sri Lankan officials and a visiting Maldivian delegation, but his visit will also focus on attempts by the govt to tinker with the powers of the provincial councils. Indian Premier Manmohan Singh has expressed dismay over the govt’s move to dilute the provisions of the 13th Amendment more..

WHO award for Health Minister

July 9 (DN) The World Health Organization (WHO) named Minister Maithripala Sirisena for an annual award presented by the WHO for the best decision maker in connection with health development and public well-being. The award will be presented to Minister for his decision to implement pictorial warnings on cigarette packets. The minister was informed about the award when he visited the WHO office in Sri Lanka on the invitation of WHO Country Representative Dr. Firdosi Rustom Mehta. more..

Cabinet minister’s brother released due to pressure from above

July 9 (DM) The brother of a cabinet minister had been stopped by police yesterday, following a long chase, with the help of obstacles -- after his vehicle had sped away ignoring an order to stop. But he had been released soon after as a top government official had intervened. A constable on traffic duty had signaled the vehicle to stop at Pasyala as it was speeding towards Colombo. The driver had ignored the order and two policemen had given chase on a motorcycle. An urgent call had also been more..

'Seek people's opinion before making policy decisions'

July 9 (DN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday advised public service administrators of the country to seek the people's opinion at the grassroots at all times, before making public policy decisions and formulating such decree from the confines of the City's 'Ivory Towers'. The President was addressing the progress review meeting of the Ministry of Public Administration and Home Affairs held at the Ministry's more..

EU-SL Business Dialogue launch today

July 9 (FT) Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena and Deputy Minister Faiszer Mustapha will launch the European Union-Sri Lanka (EU-SL) Investor Dialogue with the European Chamber of Commerce of Sri Lanka (ECCSL) today, at the Hilton Colombo Residence. The European investors in Sri Lanka have been invited to be an integral part of this initiative on a long-term basis. The EU-SL Business Council in Brussels, Belgium launched the EU-SL Business Dialogue in collaboration with more..

Sri Lankan cricket hits new low

July 9 (Island) Sri Lankan cricket yesterday paid a heavy price for constant cancellation or postponement of Test series after the newly updated ICC Rankings were announced pushing the national cricket team to a new low. Currently, Sri Lanka are just above New Zealand and Bangladesh. The current ranking is partially due to Sri Lanka’s struggles in Test cricket in recent times. While Sri Lanka drew a two match Test series against New Zealand last year, they were whitewashed more..

NIA questions man for Bodh Gaya blasts

July 9 (Hindu) A day after serial blasts rocked the Mahabodhi temple in Bihar’s Gaya district, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Monday interrogated one person detained in connection with the incident. A team of the central agency arrived in Gaya to investigate the case. Based on a bag found in the temple premises, the police detained Vinod Mistri, resident of the Barachatti block in Gaya. more..

Sri Lanka tea crop hit by heavy rains

July 9 (LBO) Sri Lanka's tea crop has been hit badly by heavy rain in June with some estates seeing a production falling to less than half and losses in some firms mounting to 100 million rupees, an industry association said. The Ceylon Planters' Association of Ceylon, representing about two dozen large firms said due to high labour costs and low volumes the cost of production was now about 700 to 735 rupees per kilogram of made tea while the average auction price was 325 rupees. more..

'Kama Colombo nightclub was illegal'

July 9 (DM) The Excise Department said yesterday that the “Kama- Colombo” nightclub did not possess a valid liquor licence and was functioning illegally at the time of the alleged assault on a youth on Saturday. “They were functioning completely illegally. The liquor license of Kama- Restaurant, at No. 328, Macan Markar Mawatha, Colombo 3, was suspended in June. Thereafter they had no authority to function as a club”, said Excise Superintendent Prabath Jayawickrema. more..

Paralyzing Strike

July 9 (CT) Thousands of commuters were stranded as the trade unions of Sri Lanka Railways (SLR) launched a countrywide strike, which is expected to continue till midnight tonight. Fort Railway Station was deserted, and was inhabited only by several sleepy, stray dogs, and a handful of stranded passengers who stood at closed counters, looking bewildered. Only 11 trains had operated from the Fort Railway Station yesterday, more..

Editorial: The vicious attacks on religions

July 9 (DM) Obviously the culprit behind the attack on Bodh Gaya is either politics or religious fanaticism. There cannot be any personal reason behind it. Had any group perpetrated this treacherous act with political motivation it is conceivable as politics has become the manifestation of all evils in the world today. There are groups to suspect such as the Tamil Nadu politicians and other pro-Eelam groups from the Tamil diaspora, as these groups know more..

Editorial: The virtues of women’s liberation

July 9 (DM) In the west and most of the countries women today are playing more powerful and dynamic roles in society, much in contrast to the male chauvinism that had prevailed since ancient times. Equality and equal opportunities have been given to women in these countries while the worldwide Anglican Church, in one of its most enlightened moves, is even ordaining women priests. While there are more women than men in the world there are many sectors worldwide more..

'We aren’t obliged to honour Indo–Lanka Accord'

July 9 (DM) Shiv Shankar Menon is Indian Prime Minister’s all-powerful National Security Advisor. He has served as Indian High Commissioner in Sri Lanka. In fact, in certain cases, he has acted as a de facto Ambassador for Sri Lanka in India defending Sri Lanka within the Indian circles. There was a news item published in both Indian and Sri Lankan media that Menon was scheduled to visit Sri Lanka sometime soon to convey India’s more..

CHOGM 2013 : Global Conversation on post-2015 Development

July 9 (DM) Salma Yusuf in conversation with Vijay Krishnarayan, Director, Commonwealth Foundation on the upcoming Commonwealth People's Forum to be held at the Commonwealth Heads of Govt Summit. Q: Could you share with us the objectives of your visit to the country? A: Delegates of the Commonwealth Foundation arrived in Sri Lanka for three specific reasons. Firstly, to work with more..

Sri Lanka is a corrupt nation

July 9 (SL) Public sector corruption is still high in Sri Lanka, and by the looks of it we have a long way to go to clear our name. According to Transparency International, Sri Lanka is ranked 79 from among 174 countries in the corruption index for last year as compared to 86 the previous year. The least corrupt nation is at number one while the worst is at number 174 and based on that Sri Lanka is on the margin between the good and bad. more..

Prevent measles, get your infants immunised

July 9 (ST) Hard on the heels of a measles outbreak, the Health Ministry launched on Friday an islandwide campaign to administer a booster dose of the measles vaccine for infants between six to 12 months and parents have been requested to get their babies immunised against this contagion. 600 confirmed cases of measles were reported during the first six months of the year compared to the 803 cases for the whole of more..

'Vaas Gunawardena’s son also a suspect'

July 9 (AD) The CID informed court that the son of former DIG Vaas Gunawardena, Ravindu is also a suspect in the same murder case and needs to be arrested. Earlier today former DIG Vaas Gunawardena was further remanded until July 19 over his alleged involvement in the murder of a businessman in Dompe. Bambalapitiya-based businessman Mohamed Siyam was abducted and murdered in the Dompe area on May 22. more..

Sri Lanka's character pleases Mathews

July 9 (CI) Sri Lanka overcame adverse playing conditions and a poor start on the first day of their rain-affected ODI against West Indies to achieve a victory that has all but put them in the final of the tri-series, a result the captain Angelo Mathews said had proved the character of his side. Play was abandoned on Sunday with Sri Lanka 60 for 3 in 19 overs. They had to restart their innings, which was reduced to 41 overs, on Monday more..

UNP decision on National question PSC today

July 9 (Island) UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake said that the UNP was scheduled to take a decision on the PSC on the National Question after discussing it with the party’s parliamentary group last night. Its decision will be announced today. The govt has already nominated its members to the PSC, which will be chaired by the Leader of the House Nimal Siripala de Silva. Other govt members are Ministers G.L. Peiris, Basil Rajapaksa, more..

At least 11 dead as ship held by pirates sinks off Somalia

July 9 (Reuters) At least four foreign crew members and seven Somali pirates died when a cargo ship that the pirates were holding to ransom off the Somali coast sank on Sunday, and 13 others were missing, a pirate who works with the gang said. The Malaysian-owned MV Albedo cargo vessel and its crew were hijacked 900 miles off Somalia on Nov 26, 2010 while sailing from the UAE to Kenya. "The ship has been gradually sinking for more..

'CHOGM in Sri Lanka: victory for country'

July 9 (DN) The selection of Sri Lanka as the venue of the CHOGM this year is a great victory achieved by the country which will silence its international critics, said Most Ven. Udugama Sri Buddharakkhitha Mahanayake Thera of the Asgiriya Chapter on July 6. Thera expressed these sentiments delivering an anusasana when Minister G.L. Peiris called on him at the Asgiriya Viharaya and received his blessings. more..

'Summon Lankan envoy on fishermen issue'

July 9 (PTI) Accusing the Centre of maintaining a “stoic and apathetic silence” over the issue of attacks on Indian fishermen by Sri Lankan Navy, TN Chief Minister Jayalalithaa has urged it to summon the Sri Lankan envoy and “strongly advise” Colombo on this matter lest the attacks should exacerbate the situation. Referring to the latest “high-handed and illegal abduction” of 21 Indian fishermen by the Lankan navy more..

The Tamil University movement

July 9 (CT) The World of Learning, covering education worldwide, announced that “Navalar Hall Colombo was founded in 1957 as the first Tamil University in Ceylon” (1960 issue). In that felicitous announcement, the memories of universities by Christians in the Pearl Fishery and Batticotta were suppressed. In backdrop, a 1951 Official Language Commission under Justice Arthur Wijewardena on how Sinhalese and Tamil could be introduced, mooted the replacement of English with more..

Torchbearers of religious radicalization

July 9 (CT) Mahabodhi Temple, one of the foremost Buddhist places of worship, is surely not a military target, nor is it an economic nerve centre. But that would not make it a lesser target for terrorists. It is one of those places that you would see on a picture postcard, just like the Taj Mahal, Eiffel Tower, the Temple of the Tooth and other historic sites. Terrorists crave for publicity and a terror attack on one of those picture postcard targets generate more publicity, in terms of more newspaper more..

Sri Lanka women's manager Aroos resigns

July 9 (CI) Sri Lanka women's team manager ARM Aroos has resigned from all his posts connected to the women's game in the country, following the board's sanctioning of a formal inquiry against him because of a complaint made by captain Shashikala Siriwardene last week, accusing Aroos of extortion. Retired SSP, Hemachandra Dias, had conducted a preliminary inquiry into the matter, and recommended that the board conduct a more..

Sri Lanka grows rubber in new areas

July 9 (LBO) Sri Lanka has expanded rubber cultivation into the non-traditional dryer regions of the island’s Eastern and Northern regions with the crop showing high yields in several pilot projects, a senior official said. "We have introduced rubber into the Eastern and Northern region," Gamini Seneviratne, director, Rubber Research Institute, said. "In the East we have earmarked Padiyathalawa, Mahaoya in Ampara district and Chenkaladi in Batticaloa district. more..

Sri Lanka stocks down 0.2%

July 9 (LBO) Stocks closed down 0.26% on Tuesday with the market down for the fifth consecutive day amid losses in index heavy stocks. All Share Index closed 15.48 points lower at 5,980.16 and the S&P SL 20 Index closed 03.53 points lower at 3,347.96 down 0.11%. Turnover was 254 million rupees down from 413 million from a day earlier. Foreigners brought 38 million rupees worth shares while selling 41 million rupees in a day that 61 stocks advanced and 87 stocks declined. more..

Two Sri Lanka umpires banned over TV sting

July 9 (AFP) Sri Lanka cricket bosses on Tuesday banned two umpires named by an Indian television programme last year that claimed they were willing to make favourable decisions during matches for cash. Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) said it banned Sagara Gallage for 10 years from umpiring in domestic matches, and Maurice de la Zilwa for three years after a disciplinary hearing over allegations in the television sting. more..

UNP asks govt. to resume external degree courses

July 9 (Island) The UNP yesterday urged the govt to resume external degree courses in Sri Lankan universities. The University Grants Commission (UGC) temporarily stopped the external degrees two years ago for subject revision. UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake said that the UGC issued a circular stopping the external degree courses on Oct. 15, 2010. Attanayake was addressing a media conference at the National Estate Workers’ Union office in Rajagiriya. more..

India need win, West Indies need Sri Lankan win

July 9 (CI) Even in a tournament as short as this tri-series, there's time for plenty of twists and turns. Five days ago, West Indies were on top with two wins in two games, and seemed to be cruising to the finals. Instead, after two consecutive losses, they will spend Tuesday anxiously tracking the final league game, cheering Sri Lanka on against India. A defeat for India will send both Sri Lanka and West Indies through to the final. Sri Lanka, after their 39-run rain-influenced victory over the home side, more..

India tells Sri Lanka to keep its word on political settlement

July 9 (Xinhua) India has told Sri Lanka to adhere to the commitments made by its govt to India and the international community on a political settlement in the country, the Indian High Commission in Sri Lanka said on Tuesday. Indian National Security Adviser Shiv Shankar Menon, who ended a two day visit to the island on Tuesday, met the govt and opposition and discussed moves by the govt to amend a clause in the constitution more..

'I have confidence in the President, I will contest NW election'

July 9 (LT) He trusts the President and forwarded his applications to get nominations for the North – Western Provincial Council election says former Member for North – Western PC Ananda Sarath Kumara who created quite an uproar by getting a lady teacher to kneel down in front of her students and staff members as a punishment. He has said he was a dedicated member of the SLFP though the media still attacked him regarding the minor incident that occurred recently. more..

Hemas, Morrisons deal in legal tangle

July 9 (LBO) Sri Lanka's Hemas group is seeking legal advice following the purchase of JL Morrisons, a consumer goods firm, after an agency held by the distributor was terminated within days of the take-over. A document offering to buy out minority shareholders of Morrisons by Hemas said that legal advice was being sought "with regard to the entitlement to claim compensation from breach of obligations" to either firm. Morrisons in a stock exchange filing said on June 14 that more..

Menon told 13A needs changes

July 9 (CG) India has been told by President Rajapaksa that the 13th Amendment to the constitution needs some changes. President Mahinda Rajapaksa told visiting Indian National Security Adviser Shiv Shankar Menon today that most of the points in the 13th Amendment will be implemented. However he noted that there were issues in the clause dealing with land and police powers to the provinces and that needs more..

Bus strike from Thursday

July 9 (CG) Private bus operators will go on strike on Thursday, the Lanka Private Bus Owners Association (LPBOA) said today. LPBOA President Gemunu Wijeyratna said that the strike will be in effect from midnight tomorrow. He said that the strike was over the government failure to increase bus fares as demanded by the LPBOA. The LPBOA boycotted a meeting some private bus operators had with President Rajapaksa yesterday. President met private bus operators in an attempt to more..

'Ageing politicos cannot fool new generation'

July 9 (CT) The new generation is more intelligent than ageing politicians and cannot be duped easily with diabolic lies, quipped Deputy Speaker, Chandima Weerakkodi, at a ceremony to declare open a water supply scheme in Ahangama. "The best example I can give is of the Leader of the Opposition, Ranil Wickremesinghe, who has so far lost 21 elections," he said. Weerakkodi further said the President had not postponed any elections. "The main allegation against the govt is that more..

UNP demands ownership of housing be transferred to estate workers

July 9 (Island) The UNP demanded the transfer of full ownership of houses and lands provided to estate workers by the govt since 1995. Addressing a media conference in Colombo, UNP MP R. Yogarajan said that the then People’s Alliance govt had provided loans to build houses through the National Housing Development Authority (NHDA) on seven-perch plots in the hill country. Estate workers had obtained Rs. 100,000 more..

Drought resistant coconut trees an urgent need: Coconut growers

July 9 (DM) Climate change has invariably taken its toll on the country’s coconut cultivation considerably and thus, the growers are calling for drought and temperature resistant coconut plants as an urgent need. Despite erratic weather condition, the coconut had the expected crop last year. However, the subject ministry predicts this year’s production to fall at least by 20 percent due to dry weather prevailing in the Chilaw, Puttalam and Kurunegala areas. “We have already had a taste of the changing more..