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SL security forces detain protesters to stifle all dissent during CHOGM

Nov 14 (CT) Sri Lankan security forces have moved to stifle all dissent during the CHOGM, detaining protesters, restricting journalists from travelling outside Colombo, and shutting down huge swathes of the capital city. On Wednesday, buses carrying the members of the organisation Families of the Disappeared, mainly mothers of men who vanished during the war or who have been abducted by security forces since, were stopped by a police roadblock as they tried to travel to more..

Gotabhaya tells C’wealth nations: Don’t prop up LTTE rump

Nov 14 (Island) Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa urged delegations attending the CHOGM not to strengthen the hands of those promoting separatist sentiments. He was commenting on Canadian MP Deepak Obhrai laying flowers at Elephant Pass on his way back from Jaffna. "The LTTE rump remains active in Canada as well as many other countries in the Commonwealth. As we are fully aware of the circumstances more..

Climate change; stop this madness now

Nov 14 (DM) In the aftermath of the apocalyptic super typhoon in the Philippines—described as one of the worst in the country’s history with at least 2,500 people killed and more than 600,000 displaced - the people and Govt of Sri Lanka need to reflect deeply on the root causes of such catastrophes. Global warming, climate change, environmental pollution and related vices of a selfishly arrogant world are known to be the main causes of the unprecedented devastation in nine regions of more..

‘Not only opportunity vulnerability too has been globalised’

Nov 14 (DM) Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen Ayubowan, Vanakum, Assalamalaikum! On this most auspicious day of remembrance, it is an honour and privilege to be invited as keynote speaker of the 2013 Commonwealth People’s Forum. As I share my thoughts from the podium, I hope you will all remember the fallen victims of disasters and conflicts, from the painful losses of Typhoon Haiyan in Philippines and the many conflicts around the world. more..

Old enmities, pig farming and Harin’s ‘one young man’ show

Nov 14 (DM) A proposal made to the Cabinet on Monday by Transport Minister Kumara Welgama to set up a National Railway Museum, brought to the surface the silent enmity between Higher Education Minister S.B. Dissanayake and Sports Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage. And in a more or less similar vein, another spat of views on a different matter occurred between Minister Bandula Gunawardene more..

Burdened by the skyrocketing cost of living public look for relief in Budget 2014

Nov 14 (ST) With the 2014 Budget round the corner, the public are hoping for relief from the high cost of living, by way of a salary increase or a reduction in the cost of essential goods. Some 35 Trade unions in a coalition representing all sectors, have submitted a petition of 18 demands to President Rajapaksa, who is also the Finance Minister. One of the demands is a salary increase of Rs 10,000 for the State sector, and a further Rs 5,000 in more..

The ‘missing voters’ of the North

Nov 14 (SL) Much has been said and written about the historic victory of the TNA in the even more historic NPC elections last month. It is often said that it was the first PC polls for the North since the creation of the Provincial Council more than 25 years back, in 1987. True, and not true. The 1987 arrangement created the merged North-East Provincial Council, for which elections were held long ago. The elections first, and the North-East more..

Transferred docs face dilemma

Nov 14 (Island) Many of the nearly 1,000 doctors transferred recently under the annual transfer scheme of the Health Ministry find it difficult to admit their children to schools. Most of the doctors have moved out with their families as their spouses, too, got transferred, but the Education Ministry has not helped them with school admission, according to a doctors’ union. The Govt Medical Officers’ Forum (GMOF) handed over a letter to more..

Shadows over Commonwealth summit in SL

Nov 14 (BBC) The streets of Colombo are glistening for the CHOGM. But controversy still rages over war crimes allegations, press freedom, judicial independence and the safety of minorities. The BBC's Charles Haviland reports on the rights issues that refuse to go away. New fountains are flowing, there are new pavements and new street lamps have been constructed. A motorway has just opened linking the airport more..

Britain uses Hikkaduwa confab to flay SL

Nov 14 (Island) The govt accused the UK of pursuing an anti-Sri Lanka agenda at the CHOGM. Authoritative govt sources said that State Minister for Foreign Affairs Hugo Swire lambasted Sri Lanka at the final session of the Commonwealth People’s Forum (CPF) held at Chaaya Tranz, Hikkaduwa. The Commonwealth Foundation had invited MP Swire to address the gathering at the closing ceremony after Sri Lanka opposed more..

Safe houses for stranded SL workers in Saudi

Nov 14 (CT) The SL Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE) is organizing temporary shelters for thousands of migrant workers who could not meet the amnesty deadline of the Saudi Arabia to return home to Sri Lanka. The SLBFE is organizing safe houses for these migrant workers who are now assembled in camps. Sources have said that the KSA Police did not arrest the workers as they are only a few in number. more..

FMM demands Govt. lift restrictions on foreign media

Nov 14 (CT) The Free Media Movement (FMM) urged the govt to revoke the restrictions imposed on visiting media personnel and allow them to travel and report freely. The FMM expressed its concern that on 11 November, a protest was organized at the entrance of the Katunayaka Airport against Channel 4 journalist, Callum Macrae, who was visiting Sri Lanka to cover CHOGM 2013. FMM clarified that it is not against peaceful protest more..

Video: Sirikotha tense again, BBS oppose HR summit

Nov 14 (AD) A tense situation has been reported near the UNP headquarters after a group had pelted stones at Sirikotha today. As the first session of the newly formed United Leadership Council commenced today a group calling themselves the ‘organization for building national unity’ had gathered in front of Sirikotha and engaged in a protest. Accusing the opposition party of conspiring to betray the country, more..

Sri Lanka has 'nothing to hide' over rights, president says

Nov 14 (AFP) Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse said on Thursday that he was ready to defend his country against allegations of war crimes at this week's Commonwealth summit, saying it had "nothing to hide". "We are very open, we have nothing to hide," Rajapakse told reporters on the eve of the 53-member group's summit, which is set to be dominated by allegations of abuses during more..

Commonwealth, in Nineteen Eighty-Four

Nov 14 (CT) The Commonwealth Summit will cause no traffic jams; the public will not be inconvenienced; there will be no disruption of normal life. So the govt has decreed. President Rajapaksa attends the Executive Session III at the CHOGM in Perth. The public are being advised to avoid many of the most-used roads. Schools are closed, at a time when teachers and students are busy preparing for GCE OL exams. Universities are closed – so that the students can study the Commonwealth, more..

Gambling with Casino-legality!

Nov 14 (CT) The Betting and Gaming Levy (Amendment) Act No. 14 of 2006 and the Casino Business (Regulation) Act, are the most recent pieces of legislation that deal with Gaming Centres in the country. But strangely enough, neither of these Acts state which ministry or authority would be in charge of casinos and regulating their activities. Minster Keheliya Rambukwella, intimated at the Cabinet media briefing earlier this week that, casinos are 'legal' although when pressed by more..

Sri Lanka Q3 GDP growth 7.8 pct yr/yr, up from 6.8 pct in Q2

Nov 14 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's economy grew 7.8% in the third quarter of 2013 from the same period a year earlier, picking up from 6.8% in the previous three months. The industrial sector grew 8.1% year-on-year and the service sector 7.9%. The agricultural sector jumped 7%. Central bank estimates the economy will expand over 7% this year, after growth cooled to a three-year low of 6.4% last year, more..

One fourth of Lanka are diabetics

Nov 14 (DM) Latest statistics reveal that 25% of the population in Sri Lanka is suffering from Diabetes and the figure is estimated to be doubled by 2050. Releasing a statement to coincide with World Diabetes Day which falls today on the theme of ‘Diabetes: protect our future’ the ministry said 10% of school children were suffering from diabetes while another 15% were at risk of being affected by the disease. Legs of about 500 to 600 people had to be amputated annually due to the disease. more..

Police complaint against Callum Macrae

Nov 14 (CT) The Driver of the van used by Channel 4 journalist Callum Macrae and his team to return from Anuradhapura to Colombo today has lodged a complaint at the Slave Island Police stating that the journalist had not made the relevant payment for the hire. Thousands of protesters shouted slogans and slept on the railway track in Anuradhapura, as a mark of protest against the controversial Channel 4 journalist, Callum Macrae, the producer of the alleged war crimes documentary more..

NZ, SA Ministers call on GL

Nov 14 (Island) NZ’s Foreign Minister Murray McCully called on Minister G.L. Peiris on Wedneday. He expressed his appreciation to President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Prof. Peiris for the warm welcome and hospitality extended to his delegation and stated that he was pleased to be in Colombo to attend the CHOGM 2013. McCully stated that he has been keenly following the proceedings at the Peoples Forum, more..

Prince Charles faces SL test on birthday

Nov 14 (SKY) When Prince Charles celebrates his 65th birthday by slicing into a specially baked cake at the British High Commission in Colombo later today, one wonders what he'll wish? That possibly his biggest stand-in role yet as heir in Sri Lanka goes well? Or that he wishes he'd never been asked to represent the Queen at a Commonwealth meeting fast being overshadowed by issues of human rights? Indeed, shortly after downing his slice of celebratory Victoria sponge, he will go on to more..

Big onion price hike due to external factors

Nov 14 (Island) A sudden increase in big onion prices was due to India stopping export of the commodity and a lorry drivers’ strike in Pakistan, a spokesman for the Internal Trade and Co-operatives Ministry said. The prices of a kilo of big onions rose from Rs. 160 to Rs. 240 last week and some parties claimed that it was due to a tax increase imposed by the govt, Ministry Spokesman Nipun Ekanayake said. He said that just after the ministry noticed the price increase, officials from the Consumer more..

India will stand by Lankan Tamils: Foreign Secretary tells TNA

Nov 14 (PTI) India today assured Sri Lankan Tamils that it will stand by them and do its best to ensure that they are able to live a life of respect and dignity. This assurance was given by Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh to a delegation of the ruling TNA that recently came to power in the Tamil-dominated Northern Province of Jaffna. The delegation, led by TNA leader and veteran Tamil politician R Sambanthan, included more..

15 mentally ill teachers in Galle ED

Nov 14 (CT) At a Galle District Coordination Committee Meeting, Susil Premanath, revealed there were 15 mentally ill teachers working in the Galle Education Division (ED). Deputy Speaker, Chandima Weerakkody, in turn pointed out that, apart from the fact that at present there is a shortage of teachers in the Habaraduwa Divisional Secretariat, teachers who are sent to certain areas are thereafter sent to other areas. He added that there was a mentally ill teacher teaching more..

Luxury hotels in Sri Lanka: reviews

Nov 14 (Telegraph) One of the country’s most refined properties, Amangalla is housed in an imposing colonial building within the ramparts of Galle Fort. The 28-room grand hotel retains many original features and looks out over 200-year-old gardens but comfort hasn’t been compromised. In terms of quality and treatments, the spa is on a par with other Aman properties and the pool is a welcome feature. Unusually for Aman resorts, the public can visit the property for dinner or drinks so more..

'Manmohan Singh's letter to me does not address Tamil issue'

Nov 14 (ANI) President Rajapaksa said Indian PM Manmohan Singh's letter to him has not addressed the issue of alleged human rights violations against Sri Lankan Tamils. Speaking a day before the start of the CHOGM here, he said: "The letter that PM (Manmohan Singh) had sent me, doesn't address the Tamil's issue." The Sri Lankan Govt has of late been criticised by several countries over its human rights record, and for more..

MDMK announces protest against demolition of memorial compound

Nov 14 (PTI) Opposing the demolition of the compound wall and removal of a park at the Mullivaaikal Memorial in Tanjavur, built in honour of Tamil 'martyrs' in the civil war in Sri Lanka, MDMK today announced state-wide protest on Nov 16. Party chief Vaiko charged the ruling AIADMK with having intentions of "removing" the entire memorial and therefore it had moved the court against its unveiling, he said. The Madurai Bench of Madras High Court had given the go ahead for more..

Who are Sri Lanka's disappeared?

Nov 14 (C4) After Iraq, Sri Lanka has the highest number of enforced disappearances in the world, the United Nations has said. The latest report from the UN's working group on enforced or involuntary disappearances, set up in 1980, says that there are 5,676 outstanding cases of enforced disappearances, though the actual number of disappeared could be much higher. The majority of cases date back to Sri Lanka's civil war between the govt and the LTTE, which ended in 2009. more..

Fighting to win the peace

Nov 14 (TA) James Packer had not long finished his defence of why a high-end casino resort would be a boon for Sri Lanka, a country recovering from 26 years of civil war, in Colombo this week when an audience member stood to complain about the country's persistently "bad press". "What would be your advice about how to change the perception of Sri Lanka in Western countries like Australia?" he asked the casino tycoon, more..

'Reconciliation cannot be imposed'

Nov 14 (CG) Singapore says political reconciliation cannot be imposed by external parties, and isolating Sri Lanka will not automatically result in improvements in the welfare of its citizens. Singapore Foreign Affairs and Law Minister, K Shanmugam, who is now in Sri Lanka, said the recent election in the country’s Northern Province was a positive step for its reconciliation and peace process. Speaking at the Commonwealth Foreign Ministers Meeting ahead of the CHOGM, more..

Prince Charles arrives in Sri Lanka

Nov 14 (Xinhua) British Prince Charles and his wife arrived in Sri Lanka on Thursday for the Commonwealth leaders' summit. The Prince of Wales, who turns 65, will attend the opening ceremony of the CHOGM on Friday. At a reception to be held to mark His Royal Highness' birthday he will meet a range of people from Sri Lankan society, a statement released by the British High Commission said. "The garden at Westminster House, the venue for the party, will host more..

Sri Lankan opposition boycotts Commonwealth summit after attack

Nov 14 (Xinhua) Sri Lanka's opposition is boycotting the Commonwealth leaders' summit after a pro-govt group attacked the party's headquarters here on Thursday, an official said. Sri Lanka's main opposition the United National Party (UNP)'s headquarters on the outskirts of capital Colombo was the venue for a human rights exhibition highlighting the many people who have disappeared during the country's protracted conflict. more..

China Engineering & Technology Expo starts in Colombo

Nov 14 (Xinhua) Chinese engineering equipment attracted much attention of local audience at the China Engineering & Technology Expo which kicked off here Thursday. More than 50 Chinese companies attended the expo, which is being held on the sidelines of the CHOGM, the highest decision making body of the 53-member Commonwealth comprising Britain and its former colonies. "Chinese companies have much experience in public works and infrastructure construction. more..

Harper panders to Tamils by boycotting Commonwealth summit

Nov 14 (TS) At first blush the decision by PM Stephen Harper not to attend this week’s CHOGM in Colombo, Sri Lanka, appears principled, even noble. Citing Sri Lanka’s past and present human rights abuses, Harper states: “We remain disturbed by ongoing reports of intimidation and incarceration of political leaders and journalists, harassment of minorities, reported disappearances and allegations of extra judicial killings. It is clear that the Sri Lankan govt has failed to uphold the more..

'Fishermen of India, Lanka to meet before JWG meeting'

Nov 14 (PTI) The Centre is working with the Tamil Nadu govt to get the associations of fishermen of India and Sri Lanka to meet before the Joint Working Group meeting of the two countries to consider further measures for resolving the problem of frequent arrests and attacks. "The Chief Minister of TN has written to us and we are following up on that. The cooperation of the state is essential and we are working with the TN govt on this," more..

Why Tony Abbott is right to attend CHOGM

Nov 14 (Age) Unquestionably, President Mahinda Rajapakse won his country's civil war, vanquishing the terrorist Tamil Tigers. But he has not won his country's peace, and history will judge him harshly for the repressive and violent regime he has put in place since the end of the conflict: for the dictatorial govt his family runs that is slowly squeezing the freedoms from this island. The guns have been silent for four years in Sri Lanka, but this is not a land at peace. Beyond the violence of the final more..

Sri Lanka’s climate of fear

Nov 14 (NYT) Since the end of Sri Lanka’s civil war in 2009, the govt of President Rajapaksa has had a record of serious human rights violations and failed to provide accountability for wartime abuses. In August, the United Nations high commissioner for human rights, Navi Pillay, issued scathing observations on the state of human rights in Sri Lanka after her visit there. Ms. Pillay denounced, in particular, attacks on freedom of expression and a climate of fear that is undermining democracy more..

'Our country has a leader waiting to adorn a pair of colonial horns'

Nov 14 (LT) “The present leader in the country is eagerly waiting to adorn the pair of horns of colonialism” says the Leader of the JVP Somawansa Amarasinghe. He made this observation speaking at the 24th commemoration of ‘November Heroes’ held at Matara yesterday to commemorate heroes and heroines of the JVP who sacrificed their lives during the 87 – 89 struggle. The JVP Leader Somawansa Amarasinghe, more..

Rajapaksa satisfied over Khurshid’s presence at CHOGM

Nov 14 (Hindu) President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Thursday said he was satisfied with the level of India's representation at the ongoing Commonwealth summit in Sri Lanka. Dr. Manmohan Singh, he said, did not participate in the Commonwealth summit held in Perth in 2011, addressing local and foreign media at a press conference in connection with the CHOGM. On whether Dr. Singh’s absence was because of his considerations of Tamil sentiments, President Rajapaksa said: more..

Sabaragamuwa education terrorized by political thugs

Nov 14 (LT) Teachers, principals and education officials serving in Kegalle District are being subjected to intense pressure due to political interventions carried out by PM Kanaka Herath on the education sector in the district say reports. Ven. Anomadassi Thera acting as the Mawanella Zonal Director has told ,at a meeting of principals held two weeks ago, not to hold any ceremony within the Mawanella education zone without the participation of MP Kanaka Herath, more..