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The inconvenient truth about torture

June 26 (CT) Today, 26 June, is UN International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, a day that reminds us in no uncertain terms though mankind has made great strides in various fields, torture, especially by the police and armed forces, continue to be an issue the world has not been able to tackle with any degree of honesty. This is despite laws and treaties being devised and put in place, making torture a criminal offence. Torture seeks to annihilate the victim's personality and denies the more..

Story of a challenging exam question

June 26 (CT) Last Thursday, I went to a seminar at the London School of Economics and Political Sciences on the subject of “Sri Lanka and the culture of impunity: human rights challenges in a post-war and post-conflict environment,” at which the speakers were Paikiasothy Saravanamuthu, Asanga Welikala and Uvindu Kurukulasuriya. The topic is of great interest to me — so it should be to any Sri Lankan who wishes a better life for our fellow countrymen. Since I have not met more..

SLFP wants to retain 13A with amendments

June 26 (DM) The SLFP making its stance on the 13th Amendment to the Constitution for the first time, today said that it sought amendments to key provisions of the 13th Amendment and would await a decision regarding it through the Parliament Select Committee. At a SLFP group meeting today presided over by President Rajapaksa, the govt’s main constituent party had agreed that the legislation more..

Sri Lanka stocks close down 0.2%

June 26 (LBO) Stocks closed down 0.22% on Wednesday, due to index heavy stocks extending losses, brokers said. The benchmark Colombo All Share Index closed 13.54 points lower at 6,072.68 and the S&P SL 20 Index closed 07.60 points lower at 3,422.83 down 0.22%. Turnover was 2.2 million rupees up from 455 million a day earlier. Foreigners brought 298 million rupees worth shares while selling 934 million rupees in a day that 103 stocks advanced and 79 stocks declined. more..

Van collides with train, Six killed

June 26 (Island) At least five persons were killed and six others injured when the van, in which they were traveling last night, collided with a train on an unprotected railway crossing, close to the Alutgama station, the police said. The van, said to be carrying a group of eleven, from Dodangoda, on a poson sight seeing tour, had collided with a south bound train from Colombo at about 7:30 p.m. According to the police all the dead were women. Five of the injured had been admitted to the hospital. more..

Audio: Wimal accuses Chandrika

June 26 (CG) NFF leader and Minister Wimal Weerawansa today accused former President Chandrika Kumaratunga of attempting to split the SLFP and topple the govt. He said that Kumaratunga is looking at bringing her son Vimukthi into politics and is using some members of the govt to fulfill her goal. Weerawansa said that some political parties and groups, who had completely opposed the 13th Amendment to the constitution, more..

Deonarine stars as West Indies A level series

June 26 (CI) Narsingh Deonarine's best figures of 3-25 helped suffocate Sri Lanka A's middle order, after a promising start by the openers, in the second unofficial one-day match in Grenada to help West Indies A level the series at 1-1. Set a modest target of 240 after West Indies A captain Kirk Edwards won the toss, Sri Lanka A captain Dimuth Karunaratne and wicketkeeper Niroshan Dickwella knocked over one-third of the target themselves with a 94-run opening partnership. more..

TNA and DPF hold talks

June 26 (CG) The TNA had talks last evening with the DPF on the upcoming northern elections. A TNA delegation led by R. Sampanthan and a DPF delegation led by Mano Ganeshan took part in the discussion. Both sides had also discussed moves by the government to repeal the 13th Amendment to the constitution, the DPF said. “This urgently arranged discussion centered on the need for the common strategy between Tamil, Muslim and Sinhala progressive and democratic parties more..

'Only 2% non-schooling children in Sri Lanka'

June 26 (Island) A study done by the UNICEF, in collaboration with the Education Ministry and the Australian AID, has revealed that there are only 2% of non-schooling children in Sri Lanka. UNICEF’s Deputy Country Representative Ms Antonia De Meo said that it was the first such study in South Asia, which was started in 2010. She was addressing the launching of the country study report on ‘Out–of–School Children more..

Sri Lanka stock exchange gets new director

June 26 (LBO) Asanga Seneviratne, chairman of Nation Lanka Equities, has been elected as a director of the CSE. The CSE said Saman Kelegama, had not sought re-election as he was too busy with his additional duties as Chairman of Singer Finance and his existing Commitments towards the Institute of Policy Studies. The other boards of directors of the CSE are Krishan Balendra, Vajira Kulatilaka, M.R. Prelis, Dakshitha Thalgodapitiya, Hiran de Alwis, Jeewa Niriella more..

Imprisoned LTTErs had satellite phones

June 26 (Island) An attempt by LTTE inmates, of the New Magazine prison, to arrange a meeting with UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navanetham Pillay, during her scheduled visit to Sri Lanka had been foiled, prison sources said. The secret plot was foiled as some vital information of the plan to arrange the meeting had been leaked to prison authorities by some elements within the group. Following that information, prison authorities conducted a sudden search operation more..

Bleak future for female-headed households

June 26 (IRIN) Four years after the end of a 26-year civil war and with donor assistance dwindling, tens of thousands of female-headed households in northern Sri Lanka face a difficult future, though many are developing innovative coping strategies. “There is little evidence that the unique vulnerabilities faced by female-headed households are being considered in the govt's policies,” said Raksha Vasudevan more..

Crucial SLMC meeting on Saturday night

June 26 (Island) Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) general secretary and MP M. T. Hassen Ali said that a crucial meeting of the party high command was scheduled to take place on Saturday night. Amongst the many crucial issues to be taken up for discussion would be "whether the govt by excluding the SLMC from the PSC had given a hidden message to the Muslim community that they would not be considered equal stakeholders to make constitutional changes," Ali said. more..

Sri Lanka hosts ISAF coaching course

June 26 (ISAF) The Ceylon Mator Yacht Club on Bolgoda Lake, Sri Lanka successful hosted an ISAF Level 1 Technical Course for Participation oriented Coaches on behalf of the Yachting Association of Sri Lanka from 5 - 11 June. The training was delivered by ISAF Nominated Expert Philippa Woods specifically targeting the skills required to take existing experienced sailors and helping them develop the techniques required to coach sailing within their club, region or country. more..

'Public Convenience Complexes' vested on public

June 26 (MoD) Seven Public Convenience Complexes constructed within the Colombo city limits were vested on the public by Minister Susil Premajayantha, together in the presence of Senior Minister AHM Fowzie, at the invitation of the Secretary, Ministry of Defence and Urban Development Gotabaya Rajapaksa at a function held at Saunders place in Pettah Colombo on 25th June. more..

Minister Mahinda Yapa elected Vice Chairman of FAO

June 26 (GDI) Minister of Agriculture Mahinda Yapa Abeywardane has been elected Vice Chairman at the 38th session of the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) held in Rome, Italy recently. The 38th session of the FAO was held with the participation of 196 member countries and Minister Mahinda Yapa Abeywardane is the first Sri Lankan who has been elected as the Vice Chairman of the FAO Conference. Speaking at the function, Minister has said more..

South Africa offers to mediate

June 26 (CG) South Africa has offered to mediate between the govt and the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) to resume direct talks, the TNA said. The TNA said that the offer was made when visiting South African Deputy Foreign Minister Ebrahim Ebrahim met a TNA delegation led by R. Sampanthan yesterday. Ebrahim had said that his govt is willing to work with Sri Lanka to address Tamil concerns and also facilitate the resumption of direct talks between the TNA and the govt. more..

Video: Govt has only won KP & Daya master

June 26 (DM) The JVP said today that the govt had only won over Kumaran Pathmanathan (KP) and Daya Master, but had failed to win over the hearts and minds of the Tamil citizens residing in the North. The JVP also confirmed it would not name a representative to the Parliament Select Committee (PSC) which would end up as a pointless exercise. It highlighted the fact that apart from winning Kumaran Pathmanathan (KP) more..

'Central Bank to maintain flexible rupee exchange rate'

June 26 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's central bank will maintain flexibility in the rupee exchange rate despite the currency's weakening trend this month that was mainly due to dollar demand by importers, Central Bank Deputy Governor Nandalal Weerasinghe said on Wednesday. The rupee fell 0.6% on Wednesday to hit a near seven-month low, extending its losses to 2.5% this month alone. Dealers have said that foreign investors have been selling treasury bonds, adding to the pressure more..

Additional funds will be obtained to develop Palmyra Industry - Devananda

June 26 (GDI) A cabinet paper would be presented to gain additional allocations to expand and uplift the quality of products by developing Palmyra resources said the Minister Douglas Devananda. He was participating as the chief guest on the occasion of granting appointments to 49 Palmyra Development officers at the Palmyra Research Institute at Kaithadi on Monday. Minister further said that newly appointed staff must work with dedication and commitment to develop the Palmyra more..

'J'pura University a torture camp'

June 26 (CT) The University of Sri Jayewardenepura has fast become a torture camp and is unsuitable for academic purposes as the Vice Chancellor continues to work against undergraduates, student unions alleged yesterday. In an ever-rising crackdown against student activists, the university has suspended 15 more students this week, for having participated in a protest on 19 June. more..

A meeting between South Africa & JVP

June 26 (LT) A special meeting between visiting Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation of South Africa and Member of the African National Congress Executive Committee Ebrahim Ebrahim and the Leader of the JVP Somawansa Amarasinghe was held yesterday (24). In its announcement the JVP states the Leader of the JVP Somawansa Amarasinghe met the Deputy Minister of South African on an invitation from the Ambassador for South Africa in SL more..

AI calls for witness protection

June 26 (LT) Amnesty International (AI) today urged the government to enact an effective Witness Protection Bill. The human rights group noted that four years have passed since the end of the armed conflict in Sri Lanka. However it said Sri Lankan authorities continue to deny mounting evidence of crimes under international law committed by its forces during the protracted armed conflict. “They also attempt to stop their own citizens from communicating with the UN and other more..

PSC on 13A a delaying mechanism - UNP

June 26 (AD) The govt does not have the backbone to even publicize its stand on the 13th Amendment to the constitution, UNP MP Lakshman Kiriella said today. He added that there were two contradictory views within the govt MPs themselves regarding the amendment and that they were going back-and-forth unsure of what to go ahead with. The Parliamentary Select Committee was not established to solve the issue but rather as a more..

Ethnicity and religion and their Ideological and political influences

June 27 (DBS) Ethnicity and Religion are perhaps the most obvious elements through which people distinguish themselves from each other. They are not the only ones, and sometimes elements such as caste and class become even more important in the emergence of reasons to limit association with others. Fortunately we in Sri Lanka do not have too much experience of this, though we should constantly be aware that the phenomenon exists, and needs to be guarded against. more..

Lessons Mahinda can learn from Ahmadinejad

June 27 (CT) In recent times Mahinda Rajapaksa has been continuously assailed by bad news about his erstwhile friends in the international arena; the latest casualty being Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Due to the two-term restriction imposed by the Iranian Constitution, Ahmadinejad was prevented from seeking another turn at the Presidency. Making things worse for him is the candidate who secured a resounding victory, is an American and Western friendly reformist. more..

Jaffna, a model district soon

June 27 (SO) A multitude of development-oriented mega projects are under implementation in the Jaffna district to wipe off the scars of terrorism and to make it a model district, thriving once again in economy and education. The major focus at present is on completing the renovation/rehabilitation of the main highways and the railway line from Palai to Kankesanthurai. Work on the A9 Jaffna - Kandy Road has been more..

Nine lives of Sri Lanka’s 13th amendment

June 27 (DBS) Indian Ministry of External Affairs took the unusual step of issuing a strong press statement cautioning Sri Lanka not to dilute the 13th Amendment (13A) at the end of a TNA delegation’s meetings with Indian leadership including the Prime Minister on June 19, 2013. It was in response in to Colombo’s hectic moves to dismantle the constitutional provision of 13A that confers a level of autonomy to Tamil minority. If 13A is abolished it would not only be negation of the promises more..

'Ethics are to adhere, not to rewrite'

June 27 (NS) CEO, Press Complaints Commission of Sri Lanka (PCCSL) Sukumar Rockwood said there was no need for an additional code of ethics when the Editors’ Guild of Sri Lanka had already set out guidelines. Rockwood pointed out that the proposed code of ethics incorporated several points already incorporated in the code by the Editors’ Guild of Sri Lanka. “But, we already have something here. Why do we have to duplicate it and rewrite them in a different form?” he queried. more..

When DROs were looked upon as demigods

June 27 (NS) ‘Man for all seasons’ is the title of a collection of essays on the DRO Service by members of that service. It contains a valuable history of the service as well as its equivalents in different historical epochs. The memoirs give an insight to both the work of the DRO as well as the social milieu where the work was done. Tissa Devendra, in his Foreword claims, ‘This is a book that should have been written long ago, more..

British Tamil Forum whistling in the dark

June 27 (CT) Although Tamils in Lanka pretty clearly know what they want, and more important, what they don’t want (Colombo hegemony and the military jackboot), many but not all in the diaspora still live in the BP-era (before Prabaharan, or pre-May 2009). Some call for secession (Thamil Eelam); they ask that Tamils be allowed to exercise the right to self-determination and explicitly call on the people to opt for secession. Of course this is theoretical because I cannot see in-country Tamils demanding a more..

Birth anniversary of President Premadasa

June 27 (CT) Values are not constants. Different historical-times have different political, developmental and socio-cultural values. For centuries, beheading a murderer was an accepted practice across civilisational-divides. So was child labour. In those Western nations caught in the ferment of the first Industrial Revolution, children as young as six-years worked for 18-20 hours in mills and mines. Politicians and prelates, kings and society ladies accepted this brutal more..

Cricket wine in a new wrapper

June 27 (ST) Much of what is said and done about cricket in Sri Lanka is debatable. For instance when one group of cricket visionaries is entrusted with the task of shaping the country’s cricketing future, they sit together and moot a plan and preach to the rest of the country that it’s gospel and that’s that. Yet, when the pros and the cons of that train of thought are being debated, the cricket administration falls out of favour and more..

Education: Meeds and needs

June 27 (Island) Sri Lanka has been able to reduce the number of out-of-school children to 2%, according to a UNICEF study. There were 57 million children out of school worldwide in 2011. Sub-Saharan Africa accounts for more than one half of them. About 27% of those unfortunate children are said to be living in South and West Asia. For a developing country like Sri Lanka, keeping the number of out-of-school children at that level is no mean achievement, which has rightly been more..

A strategy to counter threat from Global Tamil Forum (GTF)

June 27 (SL) Whilst addressing MPhil/PhD students at Kotelawala Defence Academy on ‘Sri Lanka’s National Security Concerns’, the Secretary of Defence commented on the Global Tamil Forum (GTF), an international Tamil organization which aims at furthering Tamil causes in Sri Lanka. The Secretary of Defence stated, “All of the LTTE-linked groups are coordinated by the GTF and united by one overarching objective. Their unwavering intent is the division of Sri Lanka and more..

The height of hypocrisy: The Code of Media Ethics

June 27 (ST) I had the doubtful ‘pleasure’ of reading the document entitled “The Code of Media Ethics” circulated among various media institutions by the Ministry of Mass Media and Information which left me with two choices – to laugh or to cry. As it happened, I did neither. So furious was I that this Govt in which I once had so much faith could resort to this kind of tomfoolery and actually believe that the people were such more..

Marathon winners to receive monthly nutritional allowance

June 27 (Island) The winners of this weekends’ National Marathon will receive a monthly nutritional allowance, in a year-long programme monitored by the Department of Sports Development and funded by Nestle Lanka, who will also be the sponsors of the annual marathon. The men’s and women’s marathon of the 39th National Sports Festival will be held at Kataragama, on Sunday. Officials said that the winners will receive a monthly allowance varying from Rs. 10,000 to 5,000 according to the more..

PEOI: Looks like people overshot negativity in April; May is better

June 27 (FT) Having dipped significantly in April, the Perceived Economic Opportunity Index (PEOI) has improved in May, its compiler the Foundation for Economic Freedom in Sri Lanka (FEFSL) said. “This (improvement) was surprising given the electricity tariff increase. It is very likely that the relief offered to low users could have reversed somewhat the negative feeling encompassed in the previous month’s fall,” FEFSL said. “In fact in our comments last month we said: more..

Central Bank going for growth

June 27 (FT) The Central Bank yesterday yet again reinforced its stance that lending rates must reduce further and faster to bolster appetite for private sector credit, thereby boosting economic growth in line with Govt projections. The monetary authority used the less-applied tool, a cut in Statutory Reserve Requirement, on all rupee deposit liabilities of commercial banks by 2 points to 6% with effect from July 1. more..

Woman found asleep inside parked vehicle

June 27 (CT) Police interrogated a woman who is said to have spent Tuesday night, with eight dogs, inside her luxury vehicle parked near Walgama Junction, Matara. A police team was deployed to inquire into the incident when hundreds of residents of Walgama mobilized around the vehicle due to the suspicious behaviour of the woman. However, the residents of the area had dared not venture close to the vehicle to speak to the woman, in fear of being bitten by the dogs. more..