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Peaceful protest against anti-Muslim campaign next week

Mar 22 (FT) In the first major reaction to recent events, an organisation aiming to protect Muslim rights yesterday announced a peaceful protest against anti-Muslim sentiment spreading across the island and perpetuated by Sinhala hard-line groups, next Monday. The protest will shut down parts of Colombo’s major trading hub in Pettah, organisers said. The Muslim Rights Organisation (MRO) said the protest was more..

Sampath Bank raises $ 100 m to boost capital, biz

Mar 22 (FT) Sampath Bank will take receipt of $ 100 million later this week to boost its capital via a syndicated loan drawing strength from its Balance Sheet as well as encouragement from the Govt for private sector to tap foreign sources of funding. Freshr offshore funding boost was revealed at Sampath Bank’s Investor Forum on Tuesday. Managing Director Aravinda Perera said the fresh financing wasn’t being sourced to settle the $ 62.5 million loan taken last year. more..

Keells Super absorbs VAT together with suppliers

Mar 22 (ST) The Keells Super supermarket chain says it hasn’t passed on any cost increase to consumers as they have come to an agreement with their suppliers to jointly absorb the extra cost as a result of the new Value Added Tax (VAT) of 12% slapped on the supermarkets by last year’s budget. “We discussed with our suppliers and we’re jointly sharing the extra cost with them; therefore the price to the consumer is the same as the pre-VAT price,” Krishan Balendra President, John Keells more..

Civic organisations take up fight against power tariff hike

Mar 22 (Island) The tug of war between the Power and Energy Ministry and consumers on the proposed electricity tariff hike, reached new heights when more than 100 civic organisations joined hands in Colombo yesterday to defeat the recommended revision. The Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL) would not be in a position to raise electricity tariffs if civic organisations, concerned parties or more..

Herath continues to shine, Mendis struggles

Mar 22 (CI) After making 142, 105 and 139 in his first three innings, a 55 in his final trip to the crease brought his average plummeting into the low 100s. The tons in Galle came on one of the flattest wickets he is likely to ever have played on, but the 139 in the first innings at the Premadasa led the rescue efforts for his side. He was under a little more pressure in this series, given the inexperience of the men batting around him, but by the end of the second Test, Bangladesh's bowlers might have his image more..

Met Dept upgraded

Mar 22 (DN) The Meteorological Department possesses modern, state of the art facilities for accurate weather forecasts when compared to the past, Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said. He was addressing World Meteorological Day at the Meteorological Department yesterday. Each year, this day falls on March 23. This year’s theme is ‘Attention towards weather for the protection of property and lives’. The Meteorological Department will present weather reports as a joint project more..

'Sri Lanka vote highlights increasing divide within UNHRC'

Mar 22 (IL) With 13 countries opposing the resolution, 8 countries abstaining, and 1 country absenting itself, 22 out of a total of 47 members of the UNHRC, refused to support the U.S. sponsored resolution on Sri Lanka which was taken up for debate and vote at the 22nd Session of the UNHRC in Geneva on Thursday. This cross regional group included Congo, Ecuador, Indonesia, Kuwait, Maldives, Mauritania, Pakistan, Philippines, more..

Stiff competition, dearth of professionals loom over private healthcare firms

Mar 22 (Island) Limitations in public healthcare, among other reasons, has seen a rise in demand for private healthcare services, but a shortage of professionals, rise in healthcare costs and intense competition could impact on profitability, while further increases in room capacity could result in oversupply over the longer term and price competition, an industry report released yesterday showed. As a multitude of factors point towards increasing demand for private healthcare, more..

Fishers stage midsea protest over Eelam

Mar 22 (TOI) Fishermen from Tranquebartaluk staged a midsea protest on Thursday over the ongoing pro-Eelam protest and to condemn the attacks against them by the Sri Lankan navy. However, the protest was called off in the evening after the US-sponsored resolution against Sri Lanka was passed at the UNHRC. The objective of the fishermen was to insist the Central govt to support the resolution against Sri Lanka in UNHRC and also to raise the pitch to retrieve Katchatheevu more..

For Sri Lanka, more empty words

Mar 22 (NYT) A year ago, when I was living in Colombo, Sri Lanka, I arranged to meet a friend for lunch, to talk about a Sri Lankan journalist who had gone missing and was presumed dead. By the time we met, my friend had a new mission: to keep another Sri Lankan safe. The previous day, the UNHRC had passed a resolution “noting with concern” the Sri Lankan govt’s refusal to address serious allegations of human rights abuses more..

Upper Kothmale reservoir emptied

Mar 22 (DM) The action of the engineers in charge of the Upper Kothmale reservoir in emptying the reservoir as from Wednesday has resulted in a complete shutdown of the hydro electricity supply from this power plant. At present, 150 megawatts of electricity is added to the national power grid from this plant. The engineers said this step had been taken to attend to an urgent inspection of the reservoir bund and the reservoir. Filling of this Kothmale reservoir began in April last year more..

Military muscling

Mar 22 (Economist) Joseph Stalin is unhappy. The boss of a Sri Lankan teachers’ union claims that the country’s schools are losing their independence. Last month, unions say, nearly 4,000 headteachers were invited to interviews at the National Cadet Corps. Successful applicants will get 45 days of training, and then full military titles. The idea, supposedly, is to improve discipline in schools. The army’s grip is spreading across Sri Lankan society. Activists talk of a general effort to promote more..

'China will continue to support Sri Lanka'

Mar 22 (PRIU) Vice Chairman of the 12th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) Mr. Luo Fuhe assured President Rajapaksa of China’s continued support for Sri Lanka’s sovereignty and his country’s commitment to support Sri Lanka against groundless accusations at international fora when he called on President Rajapaksa at Temple Trees yesterday (20). more..

Anti-Sri Lanka stir takes violent turn

Mar 22 (Hindu) An anti-Sri Lanka protest by students of Pachaiyappa’s College turned violent on Thursday, when police officers allegedly resorted to lathi charge. Around 10 students sustained minor injuries. According to the students, at 11 a.m., nearly 150 of them led a road roko near the college, blocking traffic for about 30 minutes. “Then a policeman grabbed the collar of one of the student leaders, Elumalai, and told us to disperse. He also threatened and abused us,” a student said. more..

India’s vote disproves charge: Vasan

Mar 22 (Hindu) India’s vote against Sri Lanka on the United States-sponsored resolution for the second successive year in the interests of Sri Lankan Tamils at the UNHRC has disproved the charge that Delhi had watered down the contents of the draft, said Union Shipping Minister G.K. Vasan here on Thursday. Without naming any party, the Rajya Sabha member from Tamil Nadu told journalists here that India’s stand had boosted the image of the country among the Tamil diaspora. more..

US rejected Indian amendments

Mar 22 (CG) The United States had rejected seven amendments to the resolution on Sri Lanka which was submitted to the UNHRC. The US had told India that it wanted the resolution to have broader support and so could not accommodate the Indian proposals. India voted in favor of the resolution at the UNHRC despite the failed attempt to have it amended at the last minute. Meanwhile, expressing ‘surprise’ over India supporting a more..

Engaging Sri Lanka is the best way forward

Mar 22 (Hindu) Buddhist monks getting attacked in Chennai; film personalities and college students going on strike; Sri Lankan airlines reducing its flights to Chennai by half; uncertainty over IPL matches in Chennai between teams that will have Sri Lankan cricketers — Tamil Nadu is in ferment over Sri Lanka’s treatment of the island’s Tamil minority. Some, including the ruling AIADMK, even speak of economic sanctions against Sri Lanka. But before even thinking about that, more..

Semini sues Damitha for Rs. 500 mn

Mar 22 (DM) Film and tele drama actress Semini Iddamalgoda filed legal action claiming Rs. 500 million as damages from popular actress Damitha Abeyratne for allegedly defaming her. Ms. Iddamalgoda filed action before the Colombo District Court against Ms. Abeyratne for allegedly insulting the petitioner during an FM radio interview. The petitioner alleged that during the interview aired on January 13 this year, Ms. Abeyratne used offensive remarks concerning the reputation and more..

Ambassador Donahoe press statement after adoption of HRC resolution on Sri Lanka

Mar 22 (USM) I’d like to open with a few general remarks about the current session and then turn to the important resolution on Sri Lanka that just passed. This session, which draws to a close tomorrow, has been one of the most significant in the Council’s short history. The packed agenda and vast portfolio of country situations and human rights issues that we have dealt with in this session serve as clear evidence of more..

Why didn’t govt, DMK intervene when Lankan army was fighting LTTE, BJP says

Mar 22 (TOI) With India voting against Sri Lanka at the UNHRC on Thursday, opposition BJP demanded that the govt and DMK spell out the steps they had taken to prevent attacks on ethnic Tamils during the war against LTTE. "When the Sri Lankan army was violent, you (govt) were silent. Now, they are silent but why are you violent," BJP leader Venkaiah Naidu told reporters here. The senior BJP leader said the Centre and DMK, which was part of the govt when the war against LTTE was fought, more..

Govt. prepared to face any threat from US and allies

Mar 22 (Island) The govt said that the basis of the US Resolution, on accountability and reconciliation in Sri Lanka, which was adopted by the UNHRC in Geneva, was wrong and it was prepared to face any threat from the US and its allies. Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said that the govt had a comprehensive plan to deal with the current situation and would not succumb to the pressure being applied by the US and its friends, both in the West and in certain other parts of the world, more..

Gotabhaya deeply disappointed with India’s stand

Mar 22 (Island) Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa expressed his deep disappointment with the Indian govt’s position articulated by its envoy to the UNHRC, Dilip Sinha. Responding to a statement attributed to Sinha that Sri Lanka should address accountability issues to the satisfaction of the international community, the Defence Secretary said that those wanting Sri Lanka to satisfy the global community should more..

Editorial: Corruption here, there, almost everywhere

Mar 22 (DM) The worst ever corruption scandals by politicians, public officials and private business magnates from top to bottom and other reasons including waste, abuse and mismanagement of public funds have plunged the Rajapaksa regime into an economic crisis. It is now borrowing money at commercial interest rates to repay earlier loans amounting to billions of dollars. The latest racket exposed -- while many more go unexposed – is the import of two containers with about 62,000 more..

Multilateral Legitimacy For Unilateral Intervention

Mar 22 (DM) These past few weeks, the Sri Lankan media and Indian officials have echoed US claims that its latest draft resolution is only procedural and, hence, will not harm Sri Lanka’s national interests and sovereignty. According to other media reports, “there is no call for an international investigation.” A closer examination of the latest draft text will show, however, that such claims are incorrect and misleading. Despite certain changes made to earlier drafts, some of which reflect concessions to more..

I hope my future will be brighter: Sirisena

Mar 22 (DM) General Secretary of the SLFP Maithripala Sirisena speaks to the Daily Mirror on the issues pertaining to the National Drug Policy and his political aspirations. He also addresses the incident that took place in Pasikuda and the threats to his life. Q: You have been in politics for over three decades now, so what are your political aspirations? A: Personally I am always glad about the distance that I have come. more..

When The World Stopped

Mar 22 (SL) Her face is lined with worry as she speaks, reliving a mother’s worst nightmare. Manuvel’s 24-year-old son was suddenly taken away by an armed group- escorted off using his own bicycle. That happened on September 11, 2008. Manuvel never saw him again. She searched for him from Welikada to Boossa and even went to the police, with no result. She is convinced that the Navy has some information as her family live in more..

Cops do a stickup, come unstuck over the spoils

Mar 22 (ST) Colombo’s biggest heist of Rs 10 million from a forex dealer, was the brainchild of a communications agency owner and a Sub Inspector (SI) of the Ministerial Security Division (MSD). They also roped in the OIC and SI of Colombo Fort Traffic Police, and a PC attached to the CID. Their plan to rob leading forex dealer N. Devendra, as he drove out from Sampath Bank at Nawam Mawatha, situated in a high security zone more..

Lok Sabha again disrupted over Sri Lankan Tamils issue

Mar 22 (PTI) Lok Sabha was adjourned for the day on Friday after it failed to transact any business for the third consecutive day following uproar over the Sri Lankan Tamils issue. The adjournment marks the end of the first part of the Budget Session. The remaining part of the session would start from April 22, after a four-week recess. As soon as the House assembled for the day, members of DMK, AIADMK, CPI and more..

Iranian naval ships arrive in Colombo

Mar 22 (SLN) Iranian naval ships, “I.R.I.S Kharg” and “I.R.I.S Sabalan”, arrived at the Port of Colombo on 21st March 2013 as part of the Overseas Maritime Study Tour of the Naval University Cadets attached to the Imam Khomeini Naval University. The ships were welcomed by the Sri Lanka Navy in accordance with naval traditions on arrival. Head of the Training Mission, Captain Omid Golestanch and Ships’ Commanding more..

Sugar imports second only to fuel

Mar 22 (CT) The govt revealed the 65,000 million rupees it spends on importing sugar is second only to the expenses incurred when importing fuel. Minister Lakshman Seneviratne, said this in response to an oral question posed by UNP MP Dayasiri Jayasekara, on the commencement of sugar production at the Hingurana Sugar Factory. Jayasekara expressed displeasure over the decision to take legal more..

Sri Lankan police arrest Chinese, Thai girls

Mar 22 (Xinhua) The police and immigration officers in Sri Lanka arrested 12 girls from China and Thailand following a raid in the capital for violating visa regulations, a police said on Friday. The police said that the girls were arrested overnight from a hotel in Colpetty in the capital and another location in close proximity. Among the girls arrested were 6 Chinese and 6 Thai citizens, the police said. The girls were arrested for being more..

Ranil calls for early northern PC polls

Mar 22 (ST) Opposition Leader Ranil Wickemasinghe today called for early elections to the Northern Provincial Council (NPC) saying that the only way to bring about real reconciliation is by allowing the people to elect their own representatives for the area. “The Govt has given an undertaking that the elections will be held soon. We welcome it,” Mr. Wickremesinghe said while speaking during the debate on the more..

U.S welcomes passage of UNHRC resolution on Sri Lanka

Mar 22 (PTI) The U.S. has welcomed the passage of a resolution on Sri Lanka sponsored by it at the UNHRC, saying the vote sent a clear signal to Colombo that the international community is committed to promote peace and stability in the country. “Today’s vote sends a clear message that the international community is committed to working with the Govt of Sri Lanka to promote greater peace, stability, and more..

Sri Lanka state media slams UN panel after rights vote

Mar 22 (AFP) Sri Lankan state media on Friday called for the dismantling of the UN human rights chief’s office after Colombo was angered by a resolution calling for a probe into alleged war crimes in the island. A ruling coalition partner also urged Colombo to reconsider ties with nations that supported Thursday’s censure move at the UNHRC in Geneva. The US-initiated move was passed with the support of 25 nations, more..

Editorial : An opportunity for a new beginning

Mar 22 (CT) It was déjŕ vu all over for Sri Lanka yesterday. In an eerie replay of events that took place last year, the US-sponsored resolution against the govt was adopted with a 12-vote majority at the 22nd session of the UNHRC in Geneva, lobbing the ball straight back at the govt for meaningful action on accountability and the deteriorating human rights situation. Clearly the govt is unhappy with the resolution and has deemed it 'completely unacceptable to Sri Lanka,' terming more..

The collapse of academic autonomy in Sri Lankan universities

Mar 22 (CT) I was emboldened to write and put forward below a few views on the above subject having read the excellent and illuminating account in the Sunday press from Professor Savitri Goonesekere, with whom I worked together as academic colleagues and as Fellow Deans in the Open University of Sri Lanka during the eighties and the nineties. Having had the long experience of been a University academic in Sri Lanka continuously for over 43 years since graduation more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 22.03.2013

Customs to auction un-cleared goods

Mar 22 (CG) The customs department announced that it has decided to sell, through a public auction and tender procedure, all goods confiscate by the customs department and goods that have not been cleared by importers. In a public notice, the customs department said that the tender and sales will be held independently and in a transparent manner where the general public will be provided with all the facilities for their participation. Any person interested in submitting quotations and making bids. more..

GL explains evil side of US resolution

Mar 22 (Island) The US sponsored anti-Sri Lanka resolution, at the UNHRC sessions in Geneva, could not achieve anything positive except for spreading hatred, distrust and violence among South Asian nations, Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris told Parliament yesterday. Participating in the debate on Resettlement Authority (Amendment) Bill Prof. Peiris said that of the 32 nations co-sponsoring the resolutions, 29 were European, and two were American with one African nation. more..

Ethanol issue flares up

Mar 22 (CT) As the controversy centring the two containers of ethanol seized last week continues to make headlines, the departments that took the decision to open the containers in the absence of the importer, seem to be in trouble. On Saturday 16 March 2013, the Department of Excise and the Department of Customs decided to open the two containers of ethanol, seized by the Excise Department and detained at the more..