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Graduates say no to military training

Mar 20 (Island) Graduates recently recruited to the public sector, are opposed to the proposed skills development programme, of the Defence Ministry, claiming that graduates do not need a ‘military training’. General Secretary of the Graduate Employees’ Union Chandana Suriyarachchi said that graduates attached to the Economic Development Ministry, working countrywide, had already received letters more..

Oral revisions to resolution on the cards

Mar 20 (CT) The final draft of the United States-sponsored resolution against Sri Lanka, submitted to the UNHRC on 18 March, will be taken up for voting on Thursday, still with possible minor oral revisions. Highly placed diplomatic sources from Geneva said, some minor oral adjustments will be allowed, if necessary. “Some countries still feel the draft needs some work. There are some concerns,” a Sri Lankan more..

Fonseka says govt should not fear probe

Mar 20 (AP) The ex-army chief who led the military campaign to defeat Tamil Tiger rebels says Sri Lanka should not fear an inquiry into its conduct during the civil war after a U.N. report alleged the govt may be to blame for thousands of civilian deaths. Fonseka spoke as international pressure has been growing for an independent investigation into possible war crimes. The UNHRC is discussing a draft resolution, more..

India to move amendments to UN resolution

Mar 20 (NDTV) India will move amendments to the UN resolution against Sri Lanka at Geneva later this week, the govt said today. Senior ministers also confirmed that they are working on support for a parliamentary resolution that will ask for an independent inquiry into alleged atrocities against Sri Lankan Tamils. "India's position has always been that UN should adopt a strong resolution to goad Sri Lanka to accept more..

Editorial: For want of a national drug policy

Mar 20 (CT) Shortages of essential drugs are a serious problem in govt-run hospitals across Sri Lanka. Most of the thousands of patients, who avail themselves of our so-called free healthcare system on a daily basis, are invariably directed to pharmacies and drug stores run by the private sector to purchase the prescribed medicines and injections as those very drugs and medicines are simply not available in the pharmacies of govt hospitals. Cabinet Ministers and officials, more..

The need to answer allegations intelligently

Mar 20 (CT) As pressures mount in Geneva, my bemusement increases at our failure to answer systematically the many charges made against us. I had long pointed out that the criticisms made were by and large untenable, but there were certain incidents which required to be investigated further. This view, based on close observation from the vantage point of the Peace Secretariat where I had set in place mechanisms to monitor allegations and check on them, was confirmed by the LLRC more..

WikiLeaks: Disappearances, Nishantha Gajanayake and exclusive photographs

Mar 20 (CT) “Opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe accused Inspector General, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, and former Air Force squadron leader Nishantha Gajanayake of direct responsibility for numerous disappearances in Colombo” the US Embassy Colombo informed Washington. We publish below a few extracts from US embassy cables related to alleged abductor Nishantha Gajanayake and some more..

Rs. 5 lakhs recovered from IP’s home

Mar 20 (Island) Police investigating the February 12, Rs. 10 million robbery, which was carried out opposite the Nawaloka Hospital car park, have recovered Rs. 500,000 hidden in the Maradana residence of an Inspector of Police, who had been the Officer-in-Charge of the Fort Traffic police. The Inspector led the investigators to the loot. The suspect was among five police officers, in custody in connection with the robbery. The suspects, included two constables attached to the CID, more..

Fishing ban on Pulmoddai Muslims

Mar 20 (CT) Minister and leader of SLMC, Rauff Hakeem, expressed concern over the alleged attempt by the Navy to prevent Muslim fishermen from engaging in fishing activities in the Pulmoddai seas, as the area has been designated for a new Navy camp. “Initially, 25 acres of land was allocated for the setting up of a Navy camp in Pulmoddai. However, later, the extent of the land was increased to 50 acres. The Navy is now trying to acquire more land belonging to the fishermen more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 20.03.2013

Sri Lanka cricket officials raise concerns over players' safety in India

Mar 20 (Xinhua) Sri Lanka's cricket officials raised concerns over the safety of its national players who are to take part in the Indian Premier League (IPL) tournament next month following the recent spate of attacks against Sri Lankans in Tamil Nadu, officials said. The Sri Lanka Cricket Players' Association (SLCPA) has written to its parent organisation, the Federation of International Cricketers' Association (FICA) to assess the safety of its players during the IPL tournament, starting on April 3 and more..

Health Ministry accused of hoodwinking public on national drug policy

Mar 20 (Island) The Health Ministry was yesterday accused of cheating the people by periodically promising, since 2006, to implement the Bibile National Drug Policy. The accusation was leveled by Dr. Jayantha Bandara, the organizer of the Prof. Senaka Bibile commemorative Association. He said the Ministry had resorted to numerous tactics to take the people for a ride on this issue. The Ministry had also announced that the draft bill was being prepared by the Legal draftsman and more..

Peer pressure: Will another U.N. resolution change Sri Lanka?

Mar 20 (Time) It was an easy decision. When Bangladesh and Vietnam offered cheaper labor, the foreign investors behind Crystal Sweater Lanka, a garment factory, closed shop and moved out. Company officials in its silent factory in Nittabuwa, about 40 km from Colombo, told TIME they could not compete after the E.U. suspended a concessionary tariff agreement, the GSP+ in August 2010. more..

'LTTE fighters were dressed in Indian army uniforms'

Mar 20 (PTI) The LTTE fighters were dressed in Indian army uniforms during the final battles of the nearly three-decade long civil war, former Sri Lankan army chief Sarath Fonseka has said. Fonseka in an address to the Foreign Correspondents' Association in Colombo on Tuesday also denied that his troops killed Balachandran, the 12-year-old son of slain LTTE chief V Prabhakaran. Britain's Channel 4 television network last month released new more..

DMK MP faints in RS while raising Sri Lankan Tamil issue

Mar 20 (PTI) DMK member Vasanthi Stanley today fainted in the Rajya Sabha while strongly raising the Sri Lankan Tamil issue, leading to a chaotic situation in the House. Stanley was shouting full-throated slogans in the Well during Zero Hour seeking justice to Tamils in Sri Lanka as her colleagues as well members from arch rival AIADMK waved photographs of slain LTTE chief Prabhakaran's son killed by Sri Lankan forces. Renuka Chowdhary, who was in the Chair, immediately adjourned more..

Visiting Canadian envoy holds talks in Sri Lanka

Mar 20 (Xinhua) Visiting Canadian envoy Hugh Segal who is currently on an official visit in Sri Lanka ahead of the CHOGM in November held talks with several officials in Colombo, officials said here on Wednesday. Canadian Senator Segal, is in the island as an envoy to the Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird. "I have had a day and a half of meetings with various civil society groups, some parliamentarians, international more..

Speaker ready to crack the whip if given power

Mar 20 (Island) Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa yesterday told Parliament that he would not have hesitated to take punitive action against ministry officials, responsible for the delay in presenting complete copies of 21 financial bills to Parliament, had he been vested with powers to do so. The Speaker said this while announcing his ruling, over the displeasure expressed by Opposition MPs, on the delay to submit bills on time to Parliament, when the House met the previous week. more..

No mercy for unregistered pharmacies

Mar 20 (Island) Severe action would be taken against all pharmacies which had not registered with the Cosmetic Devices and Drug Regulatory Authority (CDDRA), the Health Ministry said yesterday. The Ministry spokesman said the CDDRA would take legal action against all such medicinal drug dealers. He said the CDDRA had carried out a raid on a wholesale medicinal drug outlet in the Battaramulla area, which had failed to register with the CDDRA for the last two years. more..

We deal only with sovereign govts - Keheliya

Mar 20 (GDI) The Govt of Sri Lanka does not deal with provincial govts. It deals only with sovereign govts, minister Keheliya Rambukwella said. He categorically stated that as a sovereign state, Sri Lanka will deal with the sovereign govt of India, about the recent incidents that had taken place in Tamil Nadu where Tamil political activists attacked Lankan Buddhist monks in Chennai. “We do not want to interfere with internal matters of India more..

Sri Lanka to start residency scheme for foreign nationals

Mar 20 (LBO) Sri Lanka will introduce a residency scheme for foreign nationals who want to work or start businesses in the island as part of a revamp of a dual citizenship scheme, defence secretary Gothabya Rajapaksa said. He said the draft laws to change Sri Lanka's dual citizenship process are with the legal draftsman's office, but applications of those who had applied earlier were being processed. Rajapaksa told a forum of Sri Lanka's software and business process outsourcing chamber more..

Resolution diluted coz of India's accepting Colombo report:DMK

Mar 20 (PTI) Raising its pitch on the Lankan Tamils issue, DMK today charged that the US-sponsored resolution against Sri Lanka at UNHRC was diluted on the basis of India's "wholehearted acceptance and appreciation" of a report tabled by Colombo at the UN body. DMK president M Karunanidhi said Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa and reports in a section of media had implied he had confined his demand to just passing a resolution in Parliament incorporating amendments suggested to more..

Indian fishermen injured in attack near Vedaranyam

Mar 20 (Hindu) In a suspected retaliatory response to the protests against Sri Lanka in Tamil Nadu, four fishermen from the State were brutally assaulted allegedly by Sri Lankan Naval personnel off Kodiakkarai in Vedaranyam in the early hours of Wednesday. One of the fishermen is faced with loss of three fingers, while all four men suffered grievous injuries, and blood loss in the grievous attack using sickles. more..

Interest on JICA loans to Sri Lanka assessed annually

Mar 20 (Island) The outstanding repayment on Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) loans to Sri Lanka stood at Yen 337 billion, with the interest being determined on new agreements on an yearly basis, it was revealed. The JICA Chief Representative in Sri Lanka, Harumi Ao, when asked, at a news conference, as to what component of the Yen 889 billion provided by his organization was still outstanding, replied that Yen 337 billion was yet to be repaid. more..

Tamil film industry fumes against Sri Lanka

Mar 20 (IANS) The Indian Tamil film industry will put a stop to exports of Tamil movies to Sri Lanka if the UN doesn’t charge Colombo with genocide of Tamils, a known filmmaker said Wednesday. “If the union government does not take a favourable decision on this issue, then we don’t mind breaking all ties with Sri Lanka,” the president of the Film Employees Federation of South India told IANS. “We will ensure no Tamil films are screened there,” he added. India has said it will bring in more..

Pillay’s report calls for international probe

Mar 20 (CG) The report of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) submitted to the UNHRC today, calls for an international investigation in Sri Lanka. Making a statement after submitting the report on behalf of the High Commissioner Navi Pillay, Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights Kyung-wha Kang said that the High Commissioner feels the govt has not built upon the vision of the LLRC. more..

UK raises questions about Sri Lanka’s respect for rule of law

Mar 20 (AD) Human rights issues concerning journalists and human rights defenders, the climate of impunity and the impeachment of the former Chief Justice has raised serious questions about Sri Lanka’s respect for the rule of law, the UK stated during the UNHRC sessions. The UK delegation pointed out that it is vital that Sri Lanka take further steps to demonstrate its commitment to the democratic values it has pledges voluntarily to uphold given its scheduled hosting of more..

‘Garments without Guilt’ deliver less than desired sales

Mar 20 (F2F) The ‘Garments without Guilt’ initiative from the Sri Lankan apparel sector has certainly improved the credibility of Sri Lankan clothing in the global marketplace. However, the campaign, has not translated into as much as hoped sales. The Sri Lankan apparel export industry caught onto the concept of running a responsible business, at a time, when the world had just started talking about it. The sector initiated ‘Garments without Guilt’ campaign, of which adopting fair environmental practices more..

Sri Lanka slams Pillay’s report

Mar 20 (DM) Sri Lanka’s special envoy Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe speaking in Geneva on the report of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights said the report appears to be “the outcome of no more than an information gathering exercise that has served as launching pad for a fresh resolution.” Calling the report a ‘flawed and misconceived’ one, Mr. Samarasinghe requested the more..

German national hotel owner speaks

Mar 20 (DM) Ditmar Doering the owner of the Hotel located in Marawila, which was raided by the Walana Anti Vice squad for allegedly supplying females to foreign guests, denied any involvement of himself and his management in the running of the illegal operation. Earlier, the Walana Anti Vice squad arrested an employee of the hotel, three females aged 19,21, and 26 and a person alleged to have transported the females to the hotel for alleged prostitution. Doering denied involvement more..

Sri Lankan govt distances itself from minister’s 'deportation' comments

Mar 20 (MN) The govt of Sri Lanka has distanced itself from the comments of a minister who called for the deportation of Maldivian asylum seekers. On Friday, Minister Champika Ranawaka called on the Sri Lankan govt to take action against Maldivians who are converging in areas in the country. Presidential Spokesperson Mohan Samaranayake said that Minister’s comments had been made in the minister’s own personal capacity, and did not reflect the views of the govt. more..

All-party meet to discuss Parliament resolution on Sri Lanka

Mar 20 (PTI) The UPA Govt has convened an all- party meeting this evening to discuss a resolution it plans to move in Parliament on violation of human rights of Tamils in Sri Lanka, a demand which the DMK had placed as a condition to stay in the ruling coalition. Though the DMK withdrew support to the UPA on Tuesday and its Ministers in the Manmohan Singh Cabinet resigned today, the Govt has decided to go ahead more..

View from Ritigala

Mar 21 (NS) President Rajapaksa during his official visit to that country recently, gifted two baby elephants to Japan. He also secured project-targeted loans amounting to US $ 500 million. Therefore, economists argue, that one baby elephant is worth US $ 250 million (in loans). Now considering the fact that many baby jumbos crossed over to Govt controlled areas of the Parliament (some say they were goaded in that direction), economists point out that the President more..

Women vs. Water

Mar 21 (NS) Coincidentally, both World Women’s Day and Water Day fall in March. One past and the latter yet to come, women and water are equally important – thus have been referred to as ‘life givers’ by poets and writers from time immemorial. Beneath all glitter and concrete in Negombo, however, certain segments suffered of ‘scarcity’ which remained unaddressed, let alone unnoticed by authorities until 2008. A city bounded by the coast on one side and the lagoon on the other – in the context of more..

An age-old service on its last legs

Mar 21 (SO) The Postal Department has no intention to scrap the telegram service until an efficient service in place of the telegram is introduced. The Postal Department provides this service as usual, said Minister Jeevan Kumaranatunga. He said the telegram is the most reliable source to send messages to relatives and friends in case of a death or an untoward incident in the family. The Minister said he read in more..

Haunted by Mahawamsa

Mar 21 (CT) In Sri Lanka the boundary line between myth and history is dangerously amorphous. And this twilight world often plays a decisive role in Lankan politics. Sinhala school children are taught that they belong to a race which began when an Indian-Aryan princess eloped with a lion. They learn this tale not in the story-hour but during the history lesson. The lion myth is from the Mahawamsa, venerated by most Sinhala-Buddhists as a history book cum sacred text. more..

Sons and daughters missing, missed, forgotten: LLRC’s failure in Sri Lanka

Mar 21 (GV) Tamil mothers, sisters, wives and daughters have not yet given up their hopes to find their disappeared sons, brothers, husbands and fathers. The tragedy of endless search continues for them. Some Tamil women have more than one tragedy to digest. Vasanthathevi Kathirkamanathan is still searching for her missing daughter. And, her husband has been missing since May 2009. “I don’t know whether he is alive or dead. My relatives want me to believe that he was hit by more..

Goni Billa hate speeches of BBS cause rise in attacks on Muslim women in abaya attire

Mar 21 (DBS) There is much concern among members of the Muslim community in Sri Lanka over the increasing number of unprovoked attacks on Muslim women wearing the “Abaya”, the robe like overgarment that covers the whole body. The issue is being viewed with concern at discussions of the Muslim community in different places in Sri Lanka and also features prominently in exchanges of views conducted via various more..

How to Deal with Racism

Mar 21 (GV) The Lord Buddha once said “When someone fires an arrow into you, you don’t try and find out who fired the arrow and what they are all about. You concentrate on getting that arrow out.” What do we do to combat against racism and stereotyping we see so much of in our society? We think that those who spew such hate are a minority and that their opinions and actions are not representative of the majority that wants to co-exist and live in peace. So do we let things be more..

I am Buddhist; and I reject tribalism

Mar 21 (CT) Pride, arrogance and blindness is natural, indeed to be expected, from politicians, generals and most others who feel powerful. But it has no place within Buddhist practice. As Buddhists we are taught to reflect on the impurities and foul nature of this body and the greater defilements of the mind that bind and deceive us. Whether we cover this body in white or black, and whether or not we cover it at all is a cultural preference. It does not change the fundamental character of more..

I know they will come for me

Mar 21 (WAT) After some reluctance, Megaraj Suresh agrees to meet outside a Hindu temple that is being renovated. We sit under a banyan tree in a corner of the sandy grounds, backs against the trunk, facing out so we can see anyone coming. He is wary and doesn't remove his motorbike helmet 'so from a distance they cannot see it is me'. 'They' are Suresh's great worry at present, even if he's not precisely sure who more..