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CHOGM – Acid test for Najib

Nov 12 (FMT) If our prime minister steps on the soil of Sri Lanka for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) later this week, he will be committing one costly political blunder. It will surely earn the displeasure of the Malaysian Tamils who had supported him in the last election. In a larger context Najib Tun Razak will be seen to have duped larger minorities within Malaysia for trading humanity and human dignity with hegemonic sovereignty that acted with impunity. more..

Old violations in the No Fire Zone

Nov 12 (TT) “Our guilt is killing us,” argued a middle-aged and self-described Tamil-British woman. She lost 17 members of her family to what she claimed were targeted disappearances, an all-too-familiar feature in Sri Lanka’s post-war landscape, at least according to the many Tamil, Sinhala, and Muslim journalists and activists both within and outside the Island state. The lady in question was the last to make her plea. She was one of 200-odd attendees at the London premier of No-Fire Zone: more..

'Renovation work in Colombo completed'

Nov 12 (DM) CMC said that renovation work carried out for the CHOGM had been successfully completed. CMC Commissioner Badrani Jayawardene said that around 99% of the work had been completed. “I can say that around 99% of the work is completed. We found out in certain areas there are few work to be done but apart from that everything has been completed,” she said. The work was yet to be completed in more..

Umariya case: DJ Jaynoor released

Nov 12 (DM) English radio station DJ Ramsey Jaynoor was ordered to be released from the case filed against him on charges of having harassed the Sri Lankan Pop, R&B and Jazz Singer Umariya Sinhawansa at the World Trade Centre car park. Colombo Fort Magistrate Thilina Gamage made this order on the advice of the Attorney General. The AG had informed the Court that he would not take further legal action against the suspect and as such he could be released from the case. more..

Two Bangladeshi trade teams to attend the Commonwealth Business Forum

Nov 12 (DT) Teams from two trade bodies- DCCI and ICCB on Monday left Dhaka for Colombo to attend the Commonwealth Business Forum (CBF) to be held in Colombo on Nov 12-14. The three-day forum is a premier business event in the Commonwealth, aimed at bringing together heads of govts, ministers and top business leaders from around the world. The delegations from the Bangladeshi trade bodies will have several meetings with local chambers in Sri Lanka on bilateral trade and investment, more..

Five-day protest to greet British PM’s Jaffna visit

Nov 12 (Island) A five-day protest campaign gets underway in Jaffna today ahead of UK Premier David Cameron’s visit to the peninsula. The British delegation is scheduled to visit Jaffna on Friday, on the first day of the three-day CHOGM. The delegation is scheduled to fly there and return on the same day. Some members of the newly elected NPC had been involved in the protest campaign, which was likely to be the biggest more..

Ghana President to attend CHOGM

Nov 12 (GBN) Ghana President Kwesi Bekoe Amissah-Arthur, will on, Nov 12, lead a high powered govt delegation to attend the CHOGM, in the Sri Lanka. From the CHOGM meeting, he will travel to Kuwait, to also participate in the 3rd Afro-Arab summit. The CHOGM meeting will be held from Nov 15 to 17, 2013 with “Growth with Equity-Inclusive Development,” as its theme. These were contained in a release issued by the Office of the Vice-President, on Monday that said the official more..

UNP laments Manmohan’s absence

Nov 12 (PTI) PM Manmohan Singh’s decision not to attend the Commonwealth Summit here was a loss for Sri Lanka as his absence reflected a breakdown of ties between the two countries, the main opposition said on Monday. “This is a big loss, because if our relationship with our neighbour appears to breakdown, no one can say it will be a good thing,” UNP general secretary Tissa Attanayake said. Sri Lanka must work towards improving its relations with India, he said. more..

Indian PM has not spoken to Rajapaksa

Nov 12 (Hindu) Contrary to reports that PM Manmohan Singh will call up President Rajapaksa to explain why he could not attend the CHOGM, the two leaders have not spoken on the phone since New Delhi firmed up its decision, it is reliably learnt. Sources in the Indian mission here said Dr. Singh’s letter, expressing his inability to attend the CHOGM, was handed over at the President’s Secretariat on Sunday. more..

'I will never run away'

Nov 12 (CT) UNP MP Sajith Premadasa, declared that he will never slink or run away from issues that come up, and said until measures taken to reform the Party are implemented, he is not in a position to answer questions posed by the media. Premadasa was addressing a media briefing he had convened on 10 Nov at the Bodhi Ranasinghe Foundation auditorium in Polhengoda, when he made the statement. "The CHOGM is not limited to the govt alone but concerns the Opposition as well. more..

SA President to lead delegation to CHOGM

Nov 12 (PR) President Jacob Zuma will lead a South African delegation to the CHOGM that will be held in Colombo, from 15-17 Nov. CHOGM 2013 is taking place against the prominent international focus on the 2015 target date for achieving the Millennium Development Goals and a number of initiatives examining the Post-2015 global development agenda. Due to a large number of small, developing and vulnerable states amongst its membership, the Commonwealth has a special interest in more..

Colombo to buzz Commonwealth Business

Nov 12 (FT) The bustling yet peaceful Colombo will buzz trade and investments within Commonwealth and especially Sri Lanka starting today, with an unprecedented participation at the three-day influential Business Forum. A record 1,500 delegates are expected to participate in the three-day Commonwealth Business Forum, which will be inaugurated by President today at the Cinnamon Grand more..

Civil society must unpack itself now

nov 12 (DM) Delivering the keynote address of the Commonwealth People’s Forum yesterday, medical professional and founder of MERCY Malaysia, Dr Jemilah Mahmood offered a comprehensive overview of the challenges ahead for civil society, admirably detailing a framework that could inform and empower the deliberations during the rest of the confab. Most importantly, she stressed the complexities of today’s world and processes therein and advised civil society actors to go beyond more..

Kadirgamar and Intellectual Property Law

nov 12 (DM) In 1977, Lakshman Kadirgamar, as the head of the Asia Pacific Bureau of the WIPO, had discussions with the President of the Bar Association -Dr. H.W. Jayewardene and Minister Lalith Athulathmudali, to assist Sri Lanka to revise the Intellectual Property Laws. Pursuant to these discussions, in September 1977 the Minister of Trade and Shipping appointed a committee to revise the laws on Intellectual Property in keeping with the commercial policies of the Govt. more..

Alarming increase of violence in crime

Nov 12 (SL) Three women and two men belonging to the same family were hacked to death in their house at Halmillakulama in Anuradhapura last Monday night, while another person was admitted to the Anuradhapura hospital in critical condition. A woman had been strangled and her house in Welikada had been burgled by two suspects – aged 26 and 27 years. According to investigations conducted DIG Colombo North more..

Ban notes failure in Lanka

Nov 12 (CG) UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has one again noted the failure by the UN to take action during the final stages of the war in Sri Lanka. Speaking at the UN General Assembly, Monday, the UN Chief said that in 2012 his Internal Review Panel assessed UN action in the final stages of armed conflict in Sri Lanka as a “systemic failure”. He said that led to a process being launched to follow-up on the Panel’s recommendations more..

Equitable development in focus at Commonwealth biz forum in Sri Lanka

Nov 12 (Xinhua) Inclusive development took center- stage at the Commonwealth Business Forum here on Tuesday where Sri Lanka's president highlighted the need for accessible growth to a record number of participants from 95 countries. Sri Lanka President Rajapaksa along with a host of other top officials highlighted the "impressive" progress made in the post-war nation while calling for the record number of participants to assist the island more..

Casino Act opponents set to educate public on evils of high stakes gambling

Nov 12 (ST) The alliance formed by the opponents of the casino act including politicians from both govt and opposition, clergy and leading civil activists will hold seminars in the coming weeks to educate the public about the ill effects of the casinos and to counter the arguments put forward by pro-casino groups, Provincial Council Minister Udaya Gammampila said. The group, which had its first public discussion on Wednesday, more..

Torture claims cast shadow over Sri Lanka's Commonwealth summit

Nov 12 (Reuters) Allegations that ethnic minority Tamils in Sri Lanka are being subjected to abuses four years after the army won a civil war against separatist rebels have put pressure on the govt as it prepares to host a Commonwealth summit. Canadian PM Stephen Harper said weeks ago he was skipping the meeting because of concern about a deterioration in human rights and his Indian counterpart, Manmohan Singh, more..

Moves to make CBK common candidate irk UNP rebels

Nov 12 (Island) Kurunegala District UNP MP Ashok Abeysinghe identified with the party reformists said that former SLFP strongman Mangala Samaraweera, now UNP Matara MP was attempting to persuade the party leadership to field former President Chandrika Kumaratunga as the common Opposition candidate at the next presidential election. Abeysinghe said nearly 80% of UNP voters did not want Party Leader more..

JVP commemorates fallen cadres in Matara

Nov 12 (Island) ‘Il Maha Viru Samaruwa’, the annual ceremony by the JVP, to commemorate its founder Rohana Wijeweera and other members, killed during the second uprising (1987 -89) will be held at the Matara Beach Garden on Nov 13 this year. JVP MP Vijitha Herath said his party had decided to hold the 24th ceremony in the Southern Province as the late leader Wijeweera’s home town was in the South. more..

British director criticizes India over Visa

Nov 12 (WSJ) The British director of a documentary chronicling the violent closing months of the Sri Lankan civil war has accused Indian authorities of siding with the island nation’s govt by preventing him from entering India for the premier of his film. Callum Macrae’s “No Fire Zone: The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka,” was shown in Delhi on Nov. 7 and Mumbai on Nov. 8. The film is a collection of footage recorded in the northeast region of more..

DMK to support resolution over boycott of CHOGM in TN Assembly

Nov 12 (PTI) Expressing displeasure that the Centre had ignored calls for India's total boycott of the Commonwealth summit in Sri Lanka, DMK today said it would support any resolution in the special Tamil Nadu Assembly session if it was beneficial for the welfare of Tamils. "If the resolution is brought for the welfare of Tamils, if the resolution is brought in a way to lend hands to Tamils, who are now orphans and suffering people, more..

Tamil Nadu bandh: Vaiko, MDMK activists arrested; Normal life unaffected

Nov 12 (PTI) Over 300 MDMK activists, including its General Secretary Vaiko were, arrested for blocking train traffic as the dawn-to-dusk Tamil Nadu bandh called by pro-Eelam outfits demanding that India completely boycott CHOGM meet in Colombo got underway. Normal life remained unaffected due to the bandh for which police have made elaborate security arrangements. However, people who preferred to commute through more..

Tuna to China & we’re from pan to the hearth

Nov 12 (LT) The govt is urging fishermen to use fishing gear that could catch only small fish and it would drag down the fisher folk from the pan to the hearth says the National Organizer of All Ceylon Fishermen’s Federation Ratna Gamage. The Ministry of Fisheries has sent letters to District Secretaries asking them to provide fishing gear relief only to fishermen who use nets to catch small fish states Mr. Ratna Gamage. The fishing industry would fall into deep crisis due to more..

The Hikkaduwa declaration on elimination of war

Nov 12 (CT) Activities related to CHOGM 2013 have begun in earnest. The focus of the Commonwealth Peoples Forum (CPF-2103) at Hikkaduwa (10 to 13th Nov) is on formulating proposals on how the Commonwealth could contribute to the United Nation’s Global Development Goals of 2015 (i.e. successor to the Millennium Development Goals of the UN that is scheduled to ‘expire’ in 2015). The CPF-2013 offers a unique opportunity for global civil society and citizens of Sri Lanka, more..

WikiLeaks: Sri Lanka desire to take care of its problems on its own

Nov 12 (CT) “Moreau reviewed the fairly positive experience two years ago when 200,000 people were displaced and then returned to the east. She said that the GSL had done a pretty good job in cleaning up the areas of conflict (including de-mining), putting local administration in place and getting some infrastructure and other recovery projects off the ground. This gave the GSL a good model to use, though Moreau expected that the challenges more..

Arson attack on Samurdhi bank branch

Nov 12 (Island) Gampola police, investigating the fire that broke out in the Samurdhi bank branch, at Delpitiya in Gampola, in the early hours of yesterday, ruled it as an act of arson. The police said it had been carried out by a lone arsonist, who had entered the office through the back door. Asked the extent of the damage caused and how it had been set on fire, police said some important document containing debt records which were inside a wooden cupboard had been burnt more..

Trade union leaders for WPC election

Nov 12 (LT) Several trade union leaders would be put forward by the JVP to contest the Western Provincial Council elections to be held soon says Vice-President of All Ceylon Trade Union Federation Mahinda Jayasingha. He said already the President of National Trade Union Center K.D. Lal Kantha has been named as the chief ministerial candidate of the JVP for the Western Provincial elections and added leaders of trade unions of the state sector as well as the private sector would be put forward for more..

Mauritius PM to boycott Sri Lanka CHOGM

Nov 12 (PTI) The prime minister of Mauritius announced today he will stay away from this week's Commonwealth summit in Sri Lanka because of the host's poor human rights record. Mauritius joins India by refusing to send a premier to Sri Lanka, which is accused of widespread human rights abuses and the killing of tens of thousands of civilians during its 2009 defeat of Tamil Tiger rebels. Canada is totally boycotting the summit. more..

Singh's absence: Nobody is happy

Nov 12 (CT) It is distressing that the Indian PM, Manmohan Singh, decided to stay away from the CHOGM. That feeling should be shared both by Colombo and New Delhi in particular and the Commonwealth in general. PM Singh's absence is, in no uncertain terms, a snub on the incumbent govt in Colombo, which has been testing India's patience, having reneged on many a previous promise it had given New Delhi to find a solution to the grievances of ethnic minorities. more..

International delegation to check attacks on press freedom in UK

Nov 12 (Island) The World Association of Newspaper and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) undertaking an unprecedented mission to the United Kingdom to halt attacks on press freedom there has said that it is rather difficult for Britain to lecture Sri Lanka and others about their press freedom record, when its own actions result in such widespread international condemnation. Following is the text of WAN-IFRA statement: An unprecedented top-level press freedom mission is being sent to more..

'India considers benefits for the country; SL sacrifices everything for chairmanship'

Nov 12 (LT) “What is on display is not only the defeat of the foreign policy of our govt; it also indicates that our country doesn’t have a policy or principles. India was given everything it asked for to get its participation at the CHOGM. This has shattered the political and economic sovereignty of our country and our people,” says JVP MP Sunil Handunneththi. “India’s PM Manmohan Singh has announced he would not participate at the more..

Obhrai in Jaffna ahead of CHOGM

Nov 12 (CG) Canadian Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and for International Human Rights Deepak Obhrai undertook a fact-finding mission to Jaffna today. Obhrai, who is in Sri Lanka for the CHOGM, met the Chief Minister of the North C.V. Wigneswaran and Jaffna bishop Thomas Saundaranayagam. He also visited the Uthayan newspaper office and discussed issues faced by the media in the North. He later said that he was concerned over what he heard during more..

Hunger strike against land grab

Nov 12 (CG) A hunger strike was launched by some residents in Vallikamam North today against the alleged forceful occupation of their land by the military. Northern Provincial Council member M.K. Sivajilingham said that the demonstration which began this morning will continue over the next few days. He said that the issue will also be raised with foreign delegates who are in the country to attend the Commonwealth summit and who are expected to visit Jaffna. more..

'Malefic effects of Sirikotha ruin UNP'

Nov 12 (Island) Several UNP leaders believe there are some astrological ill-effects on the piece of land where the party headquarters Siri Kotha is located. Former party Chairman Gamini Jayawickrema Perera said the foundation stone for the headquarters building had been laid on the birthday of the late J.R. Jayewardene. Even before that there had been some astrological problems associated with the land, he said. more..

UNICEF seeks Lanka’s help

Nov 12 (CG) The UNICEF in Sri Lanka has expressed its concern for children and families affected by Super Typhoon Haiyan (local name Yolanda) in the Philippines and calls on all Sri Lankans to show their solidarity with the children and families who have suffered from the disaster. The disaster has affected an estimated 9.8 million people. At least half of them are children. UNICEF is deeply concerned on the disaster’s impact on children’s health and well-being. more..

South Asian Junior Athletic Championship: Two golds for Sri Lanka

Nov 12 (CT) Sri Lanka finished the first day at the South Asian Junior Athletic Championship with two gold, seven silver and six bronze medals in Ranchi, India yesterday. Asian Junior Championships gold medallist Shivanthi Rathnayake clocked an impressive 56.88 seconds to win the gold medal in the 400m for women while Vidusha Lakshani won the second gold medal with a feat of 12.68 metres in the women's triple jump. The 19-year-old Rathnayake who had not taken part in more..

Indian CEOs to attend Commonwealth biz forum in Sri Lanka

Nov 12 (HIC) An eleven member high-level Business Mission from the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) is visiting Colombo from November 11-14, 2013 to participate in the Commonwealth Business Forum. This will be the fifth business delegation from CII to visit Sri Lanka in the recent years. The Business Mission is led by Mr. S. Gopalakrishnan, President of CII & Co-Founder & Executive Vice Chairman of Infosys Ltd. The delegation includes Mr. Rahul Bajaj, more..

The Rajapaksas: who are Sri Lanka's ruling dynasty?

Nov 12 (C4) Politically dominant, though some of them have been accused of war crimes, the Rajapaksas will mingle with the Commonwealth's elite as they host this week's summit in Colombo. But who are they? President Rajapaksa has been president of Sri Lanka since 2005, having been elected with just over half the country's votes. Since then his popularity has grown, largely due to the fact that, within four years of having come to power, he had ended the Sri Lankan civil war and more..