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Gamage Somapala, Sri Lankan ingenuity and the 2013 US resolution

Mar 27 (CT) One of my friends, resident overseas sent me this story- which I found useful reading especially in the context of the 2013 US Resolution adopted by the UNHRC in Geneva yesterday. The story goes that Bill Gates wanted to recruit a new CEO for his Microsoft subsidiary in Europe. He called for applications and invited all aspiring candidates to present themselves at his headquarters in the US. On the appointed day, no less than 5,000 hopefuls assembled in a more..

Magistrate advises Hirunika on dress code

Mar 27 (CG) Colombo Additional Magistrate Praharsha Ranasinghe today advised Hirunika Premachandra to wear appropriate clothes in court. The Additional Magistrate gave the advice after noting the dress Hirunika Premachandra wore to court today. Hirunika appeared in court today over an incident a couple of weeks ago where she was arrested by the police and then freed on police bail. She was arrested together with two others over allegations they assaulted a man more..

Five uncapped players in T20 squad

Mar 27 (CI) Five uncapped players have been named in Sri Lanka's squad for the one-off Twenty20 that will complete the Bangladesh tour in Pallekele. Kumar Sangakkara, Tillakaratne Dilshan and Nuwan Kulasekara have been rested for the match. Mahela Jayawardene has recovered sufficiently from a finger fracture to be available for selection, but was not picked either. Allrounders Shehan Jayasuriya, Chaturanga de Silva, more..

OUSL students to protest against revision of fees

Mar 27 (Island) Students of the Open University (OUSL) are planning a protest against the Higher Education Ministry’s proposal to cut down on funds for the institution. Representative of the OUSL Students’ Council Kosala Nuwan Jayaweera said that cutting down of state funds would pave the way to increasing students’ fees. Jayaweera alleged that the OUSL administration was planning to increase the fees by 40 per cent and it would cost around Rs. 500,000 per student to complete the degree. more..

Ranatunga urges Sri Lanka players to boycott IPL

Mar 27 (CI) Former Sri Lanka captain Arjuna Ranatunga has asked Sri Lankan cricketers to put their pride before money and boycott this season's IPL unless they are allowed to play at all venues. "If you are not welcome in one part of the country then why play in other venues just because of the money," Ranatunga asked. He was speaking to the Indian Express in response to the IPL governing council's decision to bar Sri Lankan players from playing in Chennai, because of growing more..

Tamil Nadu seeks Tamil Eelam in Sri Lanka

Mar 27 (IANS) The Tamil Nadu assembly on Wednesday urged India to introduce a resolution in the UN seeking a referendum in Sri Lanka to carve out a Tamil Eelam state. A resolution moved by the house said that Tamils living in Sri Lanka as well as Tamils of Sri Lankan origin in other countries should take part in the referendum. The resolution also urged India to stop describing Sri Lanka as a friendly nation and sought an international more..

‘Basil political’ project underway – Dallas

Mar 27 (Island) The SLFP was now in the process of implementing a countrywide party reorganization plan, proposed by newly appointed National Organizer Basil Rajapaksa, SLFP Treasurer Dallas Alahapepruma said. Minister Rajapaksa’s initiative got underway close on the heels of a membership drive by the UNP in selected districts. UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe spearheaded that campaign. Alahapperuma said that according to the new plan the SLFP intended to address one million more..

Suspicious over closure of Upper Kotmale reservoir

Mar 27 (CT) The closing down of the Upper Kotmale Hydropower Reservoir last week, which the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) claims was to 'dredge sediments,' is a 'mystery,' the Lanka Electricity Workers Union (LEWU), said yesterday. LEWU Secretary, Ranjan Jayalal, alleged that there was an undisclosed agenda behind the shutting down of the reservoir. He said: "There have been no previous instances when the reservoir was closed down to dredge the mud. more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 27.03.2013

Sri Lanka and the UNHRC resolution: A paper Tiger?

Mar 27 (EAR) The 22nd regular session of the UNHRC has successfully adopted a US-sponsored Resolution on “Promoting Reconciliation and Accountability in Sri Lanka” by a vote of 25 in favour, 13 against and 8 abstentions. India voted in favour of the resolution for the second consecutive time. However, India’s vote either in favour or against will hardly make any difference to the plight of Sri Lankan Tamils as the resolution will neither bind nor bite the Govt of Sri Lanka on accountability to more..

'Enhancing co-operation to better utilize marine resources'

Mar 27 (CT) The importance attached by the Seychelles to its relationship with Sri Lanka is demonstrated by the fact that President James Alix Michel of the Seychelles has appointed a Special Task Force, to develop modalities to enhance co-operation with Sri Lanka – the only country in respect of which this step has been taken, Jean-Paul Adam, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Seychelles, said. He made this comment at his bilateral meeting with minister G.L Peiris, more..

CEB in a power supply jam in Kotte

Mar 27 (Island) Nearly 100,000 electricity consumers in several suburbs of Colombo including Nawala, Rajagiriya, Battarmulla and Kotte, were without electricity from Monday evening due to a transformer fault at CEB’s Sri Jayewardenepura Grid Substation. Senior officials of the Board said the substation was the main electricity distribution centre for those highly populated areas. It was constructed in 2005 more..

Political instability and its side effects

Mar 27 (BS) If a week is a long time in politics, a year must be equivalent to near-eternity and the next year may not be a good time for Indian investors. The Lanka resolution at the UN provoked the exit of the DMK from the UPA govt. This signals the likelihood of recurring bouts of political uncertainty until the next general elections at the very least. Every sign of disagreement between the UPA's coalition partners will now be seen as a possible trigger for a no-confidence motion. more..

David Miliband resigns as MP

Mar 27 (CG) Former British Foreign Secretary David Miliband, who had a sour relationship with Sri Lanka during and after the war, has decided to resign from British politics. The British media said that his departure closes a rift at the top of the Labour Party but raises questions about its direction under his brother Ed Miliband. Miliband, 47, is said to be leaving the UK to run the International Rescue Committee (IRC), a charity based in New York. His move comes more than two years after more..

Deyata Kirula showcases military might

Mar 27 (CT) TNA MP, P. Ariyanenthiran, while condemning the govt for not giving due importance to the Tamil language at the Deyata Kirula exhibition in Ampara, said even if resolutions are brought a thousand times against the Sri Lankan Govt, it would not change its attitudes towards the minorities. The MP made these comments when he addressed the media on the Deyata Kirula (Crowning the Nation) more..

Lanka targets sanitation shortcomings in slums, plantations and schools

Mar 27 (Island) Despite Sri Lanka being ahead, in the region, in the race to achieve Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), there were three key areas where it was lagging behind. Those areas vulnerable areas were the slums, plantations and schools, which needed to be attended to within the next two years. Badulla District MP Dr. Rohana Pushpakumara, one of the Sri Lankan parliamentary delegates on Water and Sanitation, told The Island on Monday that the govt, on the more..

Jayalalithaa accuses Karunanidhi of doublespeak on Tamils issue

Mar 27 (PTI) Taking a potshot at arch rival DMK chief M Karunanidhi on the Sri Lankan Tamils issue, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa today said while he had demanded that India should not take part in the CHOGM, he kept mum on Lankan cricketers playing in an IPL team owned by his family. Replying to a special mention on Sri Lankan Tamils in the assembly, she said an IPL team participating in the event was the Sunrisers IPL team which was owned by the Sun Group of more..

Sri Lanka allows players to join IPL

Mar 27 (AFP) Sri Lanka's cricket board said Wednesday it would allow its players to take part in the IPL Twenty20 tournament in India next month after receiving assurances about their safety. The government in Colombo had threatened to prevent any of the 13 Sri Lankan players contracted to play in the Indian Premier League from taking part after they were all effectively barred from playing in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu. more..

'SL not distracted by IPL developments'

Mar 27 (CI) While the political storm over Sri Lankan players' involvement in the IPL rages in India, Angelo Mathews has insisted his side is focussed solely on the series at hand, against Bangladesh. Sri Lanka have an ODI and Twenty20 to play before the tour is completed, and must win the final game to take the series, after rain forced the abandonment of the second match. Ten of Sri Lanka's playing XI for the first two ODIs have been contracted to IPL teams for the 2013 season, and most more..

Court orders release of Lankan fishermen

Mar 27 (PTI) A special court in Ramanathapuram today ordered the release of five Sri Lankan fishermen who were arrested off Tuticorin coast by the Indian Coastguard on March 17. A consultative committee meeting of the Tuticorin District collector, Superintendent of Police, Indian Coastguard officials and Intelligence officials, came to the conclusion that the fishermen from Kalpatti fishing harbour had drifted into the Indian coast by accident due to sea current and wind, officials said. more..

School for prisoners in the offing

Mar 27 (Island) Steps have been taken to open a school for prisoners, Minister Chandrasiri Gajadheera disclosed, at the opening of the new Kandy Prison Building Complex at Pallekelle, on Monday. The Prisons School will be opened at Watareka at a cost of Rs. 19 million. He said that there were 4,000 prison inmates who had passed the GCE O/L exam and 2,000 GCE A/L exam certificate holders. more..

Karunanidhi joins issue with Jayalalithaa on Katchatheevu

Mar 27 (ENS) Joining issue with his arch rival and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, DMK president M Karunanidhi today said the tiny islet of Katchatheevu was ceded to Sri Lanka by the Indira Gandhi govt in 1974 despite strong protest from the then ruling DMK. "The DMK govt had expressed strong opposition to the govt's decision to cede Katchatheevu to Sri Lanka. Despite that, it was ceded and upon our insistence various provisions on traditional rights of fishing, drying nets and more..

Vaiko seeks criminal prosecution of Lankan envoy

Mar 27 (PTI) MDMK chief Vaiko today sought criminal prosecution of a Sri Lankan envoy under sedition charges for allegedly trying to instigate north Indians against the people of Tamil Nadu. Sri Lankan High Commissioner Prasad Kariyawasam has blatantly violated "diplomatic immunity" by reportedly sending email to media houses recently in which he claimed Sinhalese have their origin in Odisha and West Bengal, he said in a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. more..

Police warn against inciting hatred via sms

Mar 27 (CG) The police today warned that action will be taken against anyone attempting to incite racial or religious hatred via sms. A statement by the police headquarters said that the CID has already launched investigations in this regard. The police said that a Buddhist man and a Muslim man have already been arrested for sending out sms messages which could incite racial or religious hatred. A special technology is more..

'BCCI must reassure security'

Mar 27 (DM) Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage while asking for a further guarantee on the security of Sri Lankan players from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) today said the players would only be permitted to play in the IPL consequent to a written declaration from them. The Minister said players who wished to participate in the IPL would have to submit a written declaration to the Sports Ministry stating they were agreeable to play under the prevailing conditions. more..

JVP questions Indian govt stand

Mar 27 (CG) The opposition JVP today questioned the stand of the Indian central govt on the agitation campaign taking place in Tamil Nadu against Sri Lanka. JVP MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake said the Indian government must state clearly if it can assure the safety of Sri Lankans visiting India. He said that it is the responsibility of the Indian government and not Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa Jeyaram to ensure the security of foreigners visiting that country. more..

BBS warns against unethical conversions

Mar 27 (CG) The Bodu Bala Sena has now warned it will take action against Christian pastors who work with NGO to unethically convert Buddhists into Christianity. Venerable Kirama Wimalajothi urged the public and monks to provide information they have on such activities to the Bodu Bala Sena. “Like an army there are several people operating in this country with NGO assistance trying to convert innocent Buddhists,” more..

An open letter to TN: Stop shedding crocodile tears for our Tamil cousins

Mar 28 (NS) Every night you send thousands and thousands of boats into our northern waters illegally for poaching and steal all the fish, prawns and crabs from our seas, which you export from Chennai, depriving our Tamil fishermen in the north of their livelihood and food. You are so blinded by your greed, you steal the fish from our waters and insist that it is your right to do that, and have the audacity to have your diplomats in Colombo intervene on behalf of your thieving fishermen and more..

Ill-advised activities of Tamil Nadu politicians, a threat to SAARC Region

Mar 28 (DBS) Organized, merciless attacks carried out by gangs in Tamil Nadu on innocent civilians who travel to India on pilgrimages in search of spiritual serenity/happiness, have caused much distress amongst all and they have displayed horror whilst sympathizing with those who have been subjected to violent attacks. It is understandable if protests have been targeted at the Sri Lankan Govt or politicians. Although the Tamil Nadu State Govt has initiated rearguard action to more..

Hardy Institute makes headway

Mar 28 (SO) A large number of infrastructure and livelihood development projects have been implemented in the Ampara, Batticaloa, Trincomalee and Polonnaruwa districts at a cost of nearly Rs. 60,000 million parallel to the Deyata Kirula national development exhibition in Ampara. Several special projects have also been implemented in each district at a cost of Rs. 2,700 million. These projects include the more..

The ogre that is INDIA

Mar 28 (NS) Some sixty years ago Prof. A L Basham published ‘The Wonder that was India’. ‘India’ was then a notion in the minds of Europeans and what Basham referred to had to do with another time, another world. Today, bhikkus and pilgrims are assaulted by goons in Tamil Nadu. Short of accepting Tamil Nadu as a separate state, the Indian govt cannot absolve itself from total responsibility for what is done by them. If you wondered whether my present heading would more..

War or Peace: Our choice

Mar 28 (CT) Almost four years after winning the Eelam War, Sri Lankahas no discernible enemy and a very discernible military. This gross disproportion would not have mattered overmuch had the economy fared better and the people were burdened less. But with a distorted economy and a weighted-down populace, even Rajapaksa supporters might question the logic of maintaining a gargantuan military sans an enemy. There are two ways out of this Rajapaksa-made conundrum. more..

Sri Lanka’s first TV newsstand

Mar 28 (CT) “At six o’clock in the morning, my father switches on the radio and tunes in to listen to the early morning news, while the seven of us run helter-skelter getting ready for school as our mother prepares our breakfast,” reminisced Bandula Padmakumara, on his earliest memories of morning news broadcasts. Now, instead of sitting by the radio like his father did decades ago, he presents Mul Pituwa at 6.30 a.m. daily, more..

Towards international isolation, old Myanmar style

Mar 28 (CT) When the world loses respect for Sri Lanka, certain consequences follow. Some may be minute and some graver but all are relatively unprecedented when assessed against the manner in which this country was once viewed in the community of nations. This week, a visiting Canadian MP’s insouciant remark during a guest lecture in Colombo that Canada’s courts have often rapped the Canadian govt over its knuckles but that the CJ of that country has not been more..

'The most important country that had to be managed during War was India'

Mar 28 (DBS) Full Text of Keynote Address delivered on March 25th by Gotabhaya Rajapaksa at the Serendip coast Festival 2013 at the Light house hotel in Galle. Good Morning. I would like to thank Mr. Geoffrey Dobbs, Mr. Herman Guneratne and the others involved in the Serendip Coast Festival for inviting me to speak here today. I am aware that many of the organisers were also responsible for the Galle Literary Festivalthat was heldon an annual basis over the last few years, more..

Economic fallout from Geneva could worsen this year

Mar 28 (ST) Sri Lanka’s loss at this week’s UN vote in Geneva and religious intrusion into the market place was the main focus of a discussion on Monday organized by the Sunday Times Business Club (STBC). In all the crises building up in Sri Lanka, the Govt appeared to be ‘sleeping’ and weak in its responses, panellists said. Opening the discussion on Sri Lanka’s short-term future in “Politics, Economics and more..

Geneva and Bodu Bala Sena: Two dimensions of a crisis

Mar 28 (GV) There are tensions and schisms erupting, there is a crisis in the making. One dimension of this crisis is the unfolding diplomatic debacle: the Geneva-crisis. The group Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) represents, and gives expression to, another dimension. The emergence of both was to be expected; both, however, were avoidable. After Sri Lanka’s sui generis performance in 2009, the Geneva-story has been a depressing one to a lot of people. Sri Lanka’s support-base has more..

Required: A Sri Lanka policy – An expat Sri Lankan Tamil’s view

Mar 28 (EAR) In December 2004, I wrote a paper titled “India’s Sri Lanka Policy: Need for A Review” arguing that that there was a need for New Delhi to review its Sri Lanka Policy. My argument was based on the premise that a country’s national interests are served only when policies are based on ground realities. I pointed out that India’s Sri Lanka policy did not reflect ground realities, which, at that time meant acknowledging the existence of two distinct power centres in Sri Lanka-Colombo in more..

SriLankan Cargo carries first shipment from MRIA to Chennai

Mar 28 (Island) Commencing cargo operations from the Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport (MRIA), SriLankan Airlines’ cargo operations’ took over the first shipment to Chennai from its agent ExpoLanka Freight. SriLankan Cargo’s  Senior Manager (Worldwide Sales and Marketing) Ali Kamil (6th from left) officially accepts the shipment from Director Air Freight, ExpoLanka Freight, Gazzali Arifeen (2nd from left) on March 21, 2013. more..

Online petition to halt harassment of minorities gathers steam

Mar 28 (FT) Over 1,500 persons have signed a petition circulating online via Facebook a day after it was introduced, calling on President Rajapaksa to take action to stop incidents of harassment against minorities. The petition calls on people to join the movement to make Sri Lanka a safer place for all its citizens and to prevent hate speech and hate acts from taking away civil liberties and national peace, emphasising that “no matter what race or religion, we are all Sri Lankan”. more..