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Congress MP to request Cameron to press for enquiry into Eelam war

Nov 13 (PTI) Congress MP from TN Manicka Tagore would request British PM David Cameron to impress upon the Sri Lankan leadership for ordering an independent inquiry into the alleged military excesses during the final phase of Eelam War IV. Tagore is part of a five-member MP-group scheduled to meet the British Prime Minister here tomorrow. "The Sri Lankan govt has failed to act on the requests of India and several other countries to set for an independent investigation into more..

C'wealth Heads to plant 53 saplings at Mirijjawila Gardens

Nov 13 (DN) Arrangements are in place for the tree planting ceremony tomorrow evening to be attended by Commonwealth Heads of State and Youth Forum participants at the newly opened Mirijjawila Botanical Gardens in Hambantota, National Botanical Gardens Director General Dr. Cyril Wijesundara said. The tree planting campaign has been organised on the sidelines of the CHOGM 2013. 53 saplings will be planted on this occasion to represent all Commonwealth countries. more..

CHOGM 2013: A move to raise sexual violence in conflict

Nov 13 (Island) The responsibility of states to address the issue of sexual violence in conflict is expected to be discussed among member states in the run-up to the three-day CHOGM scheduled to begin on Friday. A top govt official alleged that the move was meant to give credence to lies propagated by the LTTE that Sri Lankan troops, during the conflict, engaged in systematic rape of female LTTE combatants and civilians. more..

UK says end culture of impunity

Nov 13 (CG) Britain today urged Sri Lanka to end the culture of impunity and the culture of sexual violence in the country. UK Foreign Secretary William Hague said sexual violence must be stopped globally and members of the Commonwealth, including Sri Lanka, have a responsibility to take action. International human rights organisations have said that there are credible allegations of sexual violence by Sri Lankan security forces both during and after the war, including as a means of torturing more..

Sri Lanka opens mega trade exhibition

Nov 13 (Xinhua) Sri Lanka's president opened a trade and investment exhibition here on Wednesday on the sidelines of the Commonwealth leaders' summit that also showcases strong presence from Chinese companies. As many as 42 Chinese companies are represented at the exhibition, which hopes to improve trade between different countries. A total of 81 countries and regions are showcased at the venue. Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa opened the exhibition. more..

C'wealth ministerial action group meets

Nov 13 (GDI) Commonwealth ministerial Action Group meeting was inaugurated this morning at the BHICH, Colombo. The Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) deals with serious or persistent violation of the Harare Declaration, which contains Commonwealth’s fundamental political values. It was established by Commonwealth Heads of Govt in Auckland, New Zealand in 1995. more..

Aleas, Kuruwe Vidanes and the Vanniyalettho

Nov 14 (NS) The Vanni was the source of elephants to the Kingdom of Jaffna and elephants were Crown Property. By issuing a proclamation dated Lisbon, 3rd Jan., 1612, the King of Portugal had let the natives know that he had cottoned on to that and no one therefore should mess with Crown Property, which right now meant his property. “ Whereas I have learnt that the elephants in the Island of Ceilao are and always have been from ancient times the property of the Crown,…” more..

Friends and Enemies: Within and without the Commonwealth

Nov 14 (NS) Recently some media reports from Kenya claimed that the African nation was planning to canvass support for a boycott of the CHOGM 2013 in Colombo. The Nairobi govt denied this and the story faded away. The story is interesting. It had nothing to do with the venue and the kinds of objections raised by Canadian PM Stephen Harper. It was about chiding the Commonwealth for its silence with respect to Kenya’s battle against the International Criminal Court (ICC). more..

Cricket - Veddah style

Nov 14 (SO) Velanpollen bola pojjata pata arima' (playing ball with a velan pole) in Veddah villages is a common sight and is nothing new. This is game akin to cricket.Their lean but strongly built dark tanned skinned bodies are visibly adjusted to a rough jungle life or to engage in chena cultivation in the jungles, a lifestyle typical to the Veddah community. The stamina they need on hunting trails are visible in their bodies as more..

After the Jaffna ballot

Nov 14 (CT) Expectedly, the TNA has triumphed in September's NPC elections, and the UNP has been routed in the Central and North-western Provinces, which went to polls simultaneously. Also expectedly, the Tamil party has put the long-standing demand for provincial autonomy on the table. India has reasons to be satisfied with the results but then it must play its cards carefully. First, it must remain true to its stated objective of ensuring Sri Lanka's territorial integrity, more..

B'day gift to Prabhakaran's ghost from TN

Nov 14 (CT) Prabhakaran delivered his final birthday speech on 27 November 2008, just one day after his birthday that year. In that speech, he exhorted the people of Tamil Nadu and the politicians, to extend their fullest co-operation for his struggle to win Eelam for the Tamils in the North. His appeal is recorded as follows. "Notwithstanding the dividing sea, Tamil Nadu, with its perfect understanding of our plight, has taken heart to rise on behalf of our people at this hour of need. more..

Mathews' weather gamble backfires

Nov 14 (CI) Angelo Mathews has admitted Sri Lanka did not consider the likelihood of rain when they chose their XI for the second ODI against New Zealand, nor did they vouch on weather hampering the team bowling second, at the toss. New Zealand have hoped to bowl first in both matches in Hambantota, reasoning that Duckworth-Lewis recalculations favour chasing sides, but despite the potency of Sri Lanka's ongoing monsoon more..

Identity politics, nation-building and Commonwealth values

Nov 14 (Island) A gut issue in the conundrum which is the Middle East conflict is the demand coming from some influential sections within Israel that the Palestinian Authority recognizes Israel as a Jewish state. This is a highly worrying demand for the Palestinians and democratic opinion the world over because the identification of the Israeli state with exclusively the Jewish community could render the Arabs within Israel illegal persons or aliens. If only those seen to be of Jewish origin could more..

India evading rationale as Gotabaya seems to call for an international inquiry

Nov 14 (CT) After weeks of speculation over whether India’s Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh would attend the Commonwealth Summit in Colombo, in the late hours of Friday 8 Nov. 2013, Gulf News announced that “PM Manmohan Singh may skip the upcoming CHOGM due to domestic political compulsions.” But the report kept the tension high, attributing the news to sources and saying there was nothing official. It was in the early hours of Sunday 10 November however, that more..

‘Step into my parlour’

Nov 14 (FT) Days ahead of being crowned king of the Commonwealth of Nations, President Rajapaksa is a jubilant mood. The Sri Lankan Head of State is often pictured beaming with pride at various precursor events leading up to the CHOGM that will get underway at his namesake theatre tomorrow morning. His good spirits are such that not even the spontaneous meeting with the controversial Channel 4 news team that obtained more..

Editorial: Big Brother in Britain

Nov 14 (Island) Thomas Jefferson famously said if it were left to him to decide whether to have a govt without newspapers or newspapers without a govt, he would not hesitate for a moment to prefer the latter. But, today’s world is without such statesmen; it is full of run-of-the-mill politicians who would rather have govts without newspapers! Time was when many in the developing world used to look up to the West, where, they thought, democratic freedoms were safeguarded. more..

CHOGM: A carnival is coming to town!

Nov 14 (CT) There is a tangible feeling of an impending carnival-coming-to-town in the air these days in Colombo. The city is being virtually turned up-side-down and inside-out, dusted and vacuumed by the Surgeon General of Lanka’s cosmetic surgery-Urban Development cum Defence - in order to make it look pretty to impress the visiting revelers. Vibrant coloured banners and gadgets decorate the streets and roundabouts, competing with larger-than-life cut-outs of our very own more..

'CHOGM fireworks bill hits Rs 24 M'

Nov 14 (CT) A certified price for paddy is not given to the farmers to date Rs 1,174 million of Samurdhi Savings Fund requisitioned for Presidential inauguration ceremonies UNP MP, Sajith Premadasa, accused the govt of closing down the Sapugaskanda Refinery for the second successive occasion in the recent past, thereby allowing govt cronies a golden opportunity to collect hefty commissions by importing diesel, petrol and more..

HNB Group PAT up 15%, to Rs. 5.34 Mn

Nov 14 (Island) HNB recorded a 15% growth in post-tax profits to Rs. 5.34 billion during the 9 months ended Sept 2013, compared to Rs4.63 billion during the corresponding period in 2012, while the Group post-tax profits improved by 17% to Rs5.84 billion over the corresponding period in 2012. During the period under review, Interest income of the Bank grew by 24% to Rs42.05billion compared to the 9 months ended Sept 2012 due to a 14% yoy expansion in its loan book while more..

Army dismisses Jaffna protest as a 'circus'

Nov 14 (CT) Military Media Spokesman, Brig. Ruwan Wanigasuriya, alleged that organized groups are trying to draw international attention to their claim that the military should be moved out of the North, under the guise of blowing out of proportion, a non-existent or minuscule land issue through purported demonstrations. He was responding to a query by Ceylon Today about the tense situation that prevails in the North, in the wake of a series of protests that had followed. more..

Sri Lanka: Rebuilding, Reconciling and Rebranding

Nov 14 (Forbes) This week, Sri Lanka is hosting the biennial CHOGM. That occasion provides Sri Lanka the opportunity to showcase its progress, 4 years after the devastating conflict that caused untold suffering across the country. Sri Lanka could also use the opportunity to dispel some of the myths that have been propagated over the past four years by a determined and well-funded Tamil diaspora who, since of late, have been more..

SC orders seizure of luxury jeep used by Kotelawala

Nov 14 (ST) The Supreme Court this week ordered the seizure of a Land Cruiser Jeep owned by failed Ceylinco Shriram and used by former Ceylinco Chief Lalith Kotelawala to raise cash to repay depositors. The decision was made by a Court bench headed by Justice Shiranee Tilakawardane when the hearing of the fundamental rights petition of Ceylinco Shriram came up. An order was made by the Court regarding the determination of compensation claims payable by the Compensation Tribunal to more..

Working masses rally to win 21 demands

Nov 14 (LT) A massive agitation was held at Anuradhapura yesterday (12th) organized by the Coordinating Committee of the Joint Trade Union Alliance in a bid to win the 21 demands put forward by it demanding the government to increase salaries in the state and private sectors and pensions paid for pensioners and other demands. Employees of 765 state and private institutions led by the President of Inter Company Employees Union Wasantha Samarasinghe participated. more..

Nimal Siripala revs up C'wealth Biz Forum

Nov 14 (FT) For locals present there was a sense of anxiety whether Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva would convert the Commonwealth Business Forum yesterday into a session in Parliament but forceful and at times witty remarks kept a packed audience focused and also entertained. Speaking at the first session titled ‘Sri Lanka: 21st Century Business Destination’ on Day 2 of the CBF at the Cinnamon Grand, Minister de Silva more..

PM Douglas leads delegation to CHOGM 2013 in Sri Lanka

Nov 14 (ZZ) St. Kitts and Nevis’ Prime Minister Dr. Denzil L. Douglas is leading a three-man delegation to this week’s CHOGM in Sri Lanka. Other members of the delegation are Minister of Foreign Affairs, Patrice Nisbett and St. Kitts and Nevis High Commissioner in London, His Excellency Dr. Kevin Isaac. Commonwealth leaders meet at CHOGM every two years to discuss global and Commonwealth issues, and to agree on collective policies and initiatives. more..

Principal demoted because of political blunder

Nov 14 (CT) Principal of Dudley Senanayake Maha Vidyalaya, Narahenpita, T.A.W. Samarasinghe, was transferred to Rathnawali Balika Maha Vidyala as Vice Principal for inviting a politician from the UNP as the Chief Guest for a school function. The Ceylon Teachers Union (CTU), General Secretary, Joseph Stalin alleged, "The transfer was done by the Secretary of the Western Province Education Ministry as they were against this UNP politician. It had nothing to do with any misgivings more..

Ministers make contradictory statements

Nov 14 (CT) None of the casinos operating in Sri Lanka have the licence to conduct business, and the govt is ready to introduce rules to regularize them, Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardane said, and thereby contradicting his Cabinet colleague, Minister Keheliya Rambukwella, who stated to the media on Monday that all casinos operating in Sri Lanka are legal entities. He noted casinos, however, pay taxes to the IRD, more..

PM seeks to assuage feelings of Tamils

Nov 14 (Hindu) Seeking to assuage the feelings of the people of Tamil Nadu opposed to India’s participation in the CHOGM in Sri Lanka, the Centre on Wednesday detailed its relief and rehabilitation efforts for minority Tamils in the war-torn island nation. Print advertisements issued by Ministry of External Affairs listed out implementation of “Indian Assisted Projects for Tamil people in Sri Lanka since 2009” and recalled that even before the “30-year armed conflict” came to an end, more..

Cannot vouch foreign journalists' safety

Nov 14 (CT) Minister Keheliya Rambukwella, said that he cannot vouch for the safety of foreign media personnel who travel outside the Colombo city. He said that the govt can guarantee security for foreign media personnel within the city but not when they go outstation on their own volition. He said, "There is 'huge dissent' among the public regarding Callum Macrae, the Channel 4 Director who exposed alleged war crimes in SL, and the people appear to have taken steps on their own to agitate." more..

Ranil comes under attack

Nov 14 (FT) Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe was attacked by demonstrators outside the Sirikotha, who were opposing the hosting of a Human Rights Festival inside the premises. Hundreds of pro-govt protestors thronged the Sirikotha and attacked the Opposition Leader’s vehicle when it neared the gates. Wickremesinghe said the attack on him was simply one illustration of what was taking place in the country. more..

JVP commemorates ‘November Heroes’

Nov 14 (LT) The 24th commemoration of ‘November Heroes is being held by the JVP at Matara today with the participation of leaders of the JVP and a large crowd. The Leader of the JVP Somawansa Amarasinghe, General Secretary Tilvin Silva and many members of the JVP paid their respects to the heroes who sacrificed their lives for the Motherland. The Leader of the JVP Somawansa Amarasinghe and its General Secretary addressed the gathering. Commemorations of ‘November Heroes’ are more..

Video: Govt. caught pants down

Nov 14 (LT) An incident is reported from Anuradhapura that indicates the President, despite giving visas to Callum Macrae and his group to enter the country and saying ‘come and see’, has instructed his followers not to allow them access for information. A group instructed by the Deputy Minister S.M. Chandrasena and the Chief Minister of NCPC S.M. Ranjith engaged in an agitation at Anuradhapura Railway Station today (13) blocking the train to Vavuniya travelled by more..

'In Colombo, we will stand up for our beliefs'

Nov 14 (TOI) CHOGM this week is a unique gathering — representing 53 sovereign countries, a third of the world's population and 20% of the global economy. It is a purely voluntary club, bound together by shared history, deep and diverse links between our peoples and — at our best — strong common instincts about the importance of open societies and open economies. But as we meet in Colombo, some are questioning whether we more..

Two Liberians arrested over counterfeit dollar scam

Nov 14 (Island) The Vavuniya Divisional Crimes Detection Bureau (DCDB), acting on a complaint, on Tuesday, arrested two Liberians for attempting to circulate dud foreign currency notes at a hotel in the town. The duo had arrived in the country on tourist visa. OIC of Vavuniya DCDB, Inspector Nalin Indika said that the two suspects had tried to strike a deal with a businessman in the area, claiming that he would be given thrice the amount in dollars in exchange for Lankan money. more..

Harsha: 'Didn’t ask for arrest of Packer'

Nov 14 (FT) Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardane is denouncing the Opposition as traitors to the motherland for attempting to prevent a crime being committed by Australian casino king James Packer, UNP MP Dr. Harsha De Silva said. Minister was attempting to claim that the UNP was demanding Packer’s arrest, scaring away investors and betraying the motherland, he explained addressing a media briefing yesterday. “This is another lie that the Minister is now famous for. more..

Sri Lankan 'war crimes' warning for UK PM

Nov 14 (BBC) David Cameron has been warned by the Sri Lankan govt not to quiz them over alleged war crimes in 2009. The prime minister has rejected calls to boycott the CHOGM in the country, saying he would use his visit to raise its human rights record. But the Sri Lankans said he had no right to bring it up as he had not been invited on that basis. Mr Cameron is also holding trade talks with his Indian counterpart, who is more..

It is double standard, says Karunanidhi

Nov 14 (Hindu) DMK president M. Karunanidhi described the authorities’ action to demolish a portion of the Mullivaikal memorial as a mark of “double standard” of the govt. He said in the affirmative whether the State govt, which had got a resolution adopted in the Assembly on the Union govt’s decision to participate in CHOGM in Sri Lanka, could be said to be adopting “double standard.” He also accused the State govt of neglecting many ancient Tamil memorials more..

CPC gets another load of low quality fuel

Nov 14 (Island) Another ship carrying substandard fuel had docked at the Colombo Port, CPC sources said. They said out of a total shipment of 40,000 MT of refined fuel, 20,000 MT of 92-Octane petrol was found to be substandard, when samples were tested at the CPC labs. The tanker which arrived at the harbour on Nov. 11 also carried 5,000 MT of Super Diesel and 15,000 MT of diesel. Sapugaskanda refinery remained closed since last Friday night owing to delay in a crude oil shipment. more..

Canada categorically rejects false reporting by The Island

Nov 14 (NP) Canada and Sri Lanka traded shots Wednesday in the build-up to the CHOGM, which PM Stephen Harper is boycotting over the human rights record. After MP Deepak Obhrai laid a wreath in northern SL “in memory of all innocent Sri Lankan victims of violence,” Colombo responded by accusing him of paying tribute to the LTTE rebels. “PM Harper’s rep lays flowers for Tigers,” read the headline in the nationalist more..

'Commonwealth stronger and more cohesive under Rajapaksa’s leadership'

Nov 14 (FT) PM of Pakistan Muhammad Nawaz Sharif has congratulated the Govt and people of Sri Lanka for hosting the important Commonwealth Summit in their beautiful country. In his special message on the occasion of CHOGM, he expressed his confidence in the astute leadership of President Rajapaksa, and said that Commonwealth will become a stronger and more cohesive organisation under his leadership. Sharif will be arriving in Colombo tomorrow to represent Pakistan more..