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Sri Lankan docs in US urge President to ban glyphosate

Apr 4 (Island) A group of SL scientists and doctors living in the US has written to President Rajapaksa to implement his decision to ban weedicides containing glyphosate. Praising the President for his bold action to solve the problem of Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) which snuffs out 13 lives in Sri Lanka per day, they have urged him not to give in to pressure. Ban must be maintained until special interest groups prove beyond doubt that such agro-chemicals are not injurious to human health, more..

SLN’s first ever biggest naval exercise TRINEX concludes

Apr 4 (SLN) The first ever biggest naval exercise of the Sri Lanka Navy code-named TRINEX concluded successfully today. Commander of the Navy, Vice Admiral Jayanath Colombage took the salute during the steam past held on the final phase of the exercise held in the seas of Trincomalee, while onboard the Navy’s Offshore Patrol Vessel Samudura. During the debriefing held at the Eastern Naval Command Headquarters, more..

Elderly care giver uni launched to give Lankans jobs overseas

Apr 4 (Island) MoU was signed between KAATSU International and Active Global Caregivers of Singapore which would eventually lead to providing employment opportunities in Singapore to Sri Lankans who graduate from the KAATSU International University (KIU), Malabe Elderly Care Giver Programme. Yorelle Kalika, Founder CEO of Active Global Specialised Caregivers said that there would be around 200 job opportunities for Sri Lankan Care Givers as there was a growing more..

Lankan issue will not affect Congress in polls, says Vasan

Apr 4 (PTI) Union Minister and senior Congress leader G K Vasan on Friday said the Centre's stand in abstaining from voting on a US resolution on alleged war crimes by Sri Lanka at UNHRC would not affect the party in the Lok Sabha elections. "No way the Sri Lankan issue will affect the Congress in this election," he told reporters responding to criticism of the UPA Govt's stand by most parties in TN. He said it was the Congress-led UPA Govt that had allocated crores of rupees more..

Ambassador Sison’s Remarks to the Foreign Correspondents Association

Apr 4 (USE) Thank you for inviting me to speak tonight. Last year, you also invited me to speak in early April, and I described the long relationship between the United States and the people of Sri Lanka, as well as the broad spectrum of activities and engagements that characterize our relationship. None of that has changed. I also spoke to you last April about U.S. concerns regarding the lack of reconciliation and accountability in SL, more..

Muzammil fires broadside at Ravi

Apr 4 (Island) Colombo Mayor A.J.M. Muzammil alleged that UNP MP Ravi Karunanayake’s nominees in Colombo North electorate had been defeated at the WPC elections. Muzammil said that Karunanayake had offered to quit Colombo North if his nominees failed and he had to honour that promise, Mayor said. National Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe’s nominee S.M. Marikkar had proved his worth. He said that when Marikkar’s name was proposed by Wickremesinghe, more..

Sison and monks exchange views

Apr 4 (CG) The US Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Michele J Sison today met the chief prelates in Kandy (Mahanayake) and discussed various issues including the recent resolution adopted on Sri Lanka in Geneva. Sison said that she had a very pleasant conversation with the chief prelates and exchanged views. Sison said that she also wished the monks for the upcoming Sinhala and Tamil new year. Chief prelates in Kandy had just recently raised strong objections to the US sponsored resolution on more..

Khuram Sheikh murder trial put off as witness reports sick

Apr 4 (Island) Colombo High Court hearing the murder trial of British National Khuram Sheikh and the gang rape of his girlfriend, Russian national Victoria Aleksandrovna, was yesterday put off for April 23. The witness Tharanga Pieris, the Manager of the Nature’s Hotel, Tangalle, had not turned up to give evidence, yesterday. Senior State Counsel, Thusith Mudalige who appeared for the Attorney General, told the Court that the CID more..

Saudi Arabia gifts 200 Tonnes of Dates to Sri Lanka

Apr 4 (MEA) The Govt of Sri Lanka is deeply appreciative of the recent generous donation of 200 metric tonnes of dates by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the people of Sri Lanka. As desired by the donor, the dates would be distributed in all 25 districts of Sri Lanka. This magnanimous gesture is yet another demonstration of the warm friendship and close relations between Sri Lanka and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

India beat South Africa, face SL in final

Apr 4 (CI) It has been 14 years, five Champions Trophies, five World Cups and four World T20s since South Africa last won a knockout match at an ICC event and that has not changed. Neither has the fact that India have not lost a semi-final under MS Dhoni's captaincy. They marched into an all sub-continent final with a clinically cold-blooded chase against a South African team that put in one of their better performances in a crunch match but were still not good enough. more..

India presses SL to share power with Tamils

Apr 4 (AFP) India has asked Sri Lanka to grant limited autonomy to its ethnic Tamil minority and ensure “genuine reconciliation” five years after crushing Tamil guerrillas, New Delhi’s top envoy said on Friday. Indian high commissioner Y.K. Sinha said New Delhi had also urged Colombo to probe allegations that its troops killed thousands of Tamil civilians in the final months of fighting in 2009. “Our emphasis has been to encourage more..

Indian abstention highlights need for internal process

Apr 5 (SL) For the third year in succession the Sri Lankan govt’s confrontational posture in dealing with the issue of a resolution at the UNHRC failed to deliver results. Its inability to defeat the US-backed resolution despite its strong diplomatic campaign would highlight the need for a change of direction. Resolution passed on this occasion constitutes a sharp escalation of the international pressure on the govt as it authorizes the UN High Commissioner for HR to set up an international mechanism more..

India needs nuanced approach post-UNHRC Vote on Sri Lanka

Apr 5 (IDSA) Sri Lankan Govt recently extended the period of investigation for its Presidential Commission (PC) that is probing the cases of alleged disappearances in its northern and eastern provinces. The extended period is from 1983 to 2009; earlier, the investigations were limited to the period between 1990 and 2009. The extension was granted via amendment through a Presidential Warrant on March 25, 2014. The PC was appointed by the govt as follow-up to its LLRC, more..

The changing face of Colombo

Apr 5 (SO) City of Colombo being the Commercial Capital of Sri Lanka has enormous potential to take off the development much greater than that of other capital cities in the South Asian region. Due to political upheavals that prevailed after Independence in 1948, the successive govts have confronted with numerous hurdles in adopting appropriate policies in every sector in the economy. If not for such drawbacks, the strategic more..

Post-war opposition: A strategic perspective

Apr 5 (CT) Isn’t it amazing just how many people don’t connect up the dots? Take this chap Gobi for instance. What if he (or a clone) were to pop up from under a bed and pop a cop just before the presidential or parliamentary election? Would it not warrant the imposition of a massive security blanket? Would that not generate the ‘Dec 2005 effect’ of an enforced boycott of the electoral process by the contented citizenry of that region? Now this is where the lack of foresight of more..

The logic of the ban

Apr 5 (CT) The government this week banned the LTTE and 15 other Tamil Diaspora organizations under the UNHRC Resolution 1373, which sets out strategies to combat terrorism and terrorist financing. Sixteen groups were designated as terrorist groups and front organizations in an order signed by the Minister G.L. Peiris and a gazette notification is expected to be issued to that effect in the near future. Customarily, it is the President who is also the Minister of Defence who more..

The vicious grip of terrorism

Apr 5 (LMD) On a cold January night in Manhattan, my attention was drawn to a TV commercial for dog food. What caught my eye was the plot of the advertisement: a US servicewoman returns home from what is apparently a long overseas posting, and as she alights from the vehicle, her large dog runs to her and they play together. The idea is that best things are never forgotten, like the dog food in question. more..

Observations on Geneva 2014

Apr 5 (Island) OHCHR Mandate – Operative paragraphs 10 and 10(b) of the US-led Resolution reads "requests the Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights (OHCHR): (b) To undertake a comprehensive investigations into alleged serious violations and abuses of human rights and related crimes by both parties in Sri Lanka during the period covered by the LLRC and to establish facts and circumstances of such alleged violations and of the crimes perpetrated with a view to avoiding more..

Editorial: Accuser as judge and jury

Apr 5 (Island) US Ambassador Michele J. Sison is doing everything in her power to justify her country’s resolution against Sri Lanka at the UNHRC. She cannot be faulted for doing her job. But, some of the arguments she has put forth in support of the US action are not convincing, to say the least. Ambassador Sison has told foreign correspondents in Colombo that the US should not be blamed for long-standing divisions in Sri Lanka. Here, one sees the so-called straw man fallacy. more..

'We need a Common Candidate to abolish executive presidency'

Apr 5 (DM) In an interview with, Ven. Maduluwawe Sobitha Thera spoke about the implications of the recent PC elections. He also reiterated the need to abolish the Executive Presidency, adding that a Common Candidate was the only option left to do so. Q: How do you view the elections that were held recently? A: To answer this question, the context in which the recent election was held need to be considered. more..

Notes on Wigneswaran’s speech on the national question

Apr 5 (CT) Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran’s speech delivered at the Bernard Soysa Centenary Commemoration Meeting last Monday carries special significance for a number of reasons. It is a speech that we need to read closely, carefully and critically. As a speech that has the national question at its heart and as a speech delivered by none other than the Chief Minister of the NPC, many of us may want to read the ways in which the speech frames the (Tamil) nation or the (Tamil) national. more..

UNHRC resolution: To be reviewed with objectivity

Apr 5 (GV) The D day in March has passed us by having placed a heavy hand as expected. The intensely canvassed process for a yes or no to the resolution has ended with a yes to the resolution with 23 voting for it, 12 nays and 12 abstentions. Various permutations can be made to make the voting appear weighted for the ‘yes’’ camp or in favour of the ‘No’s’. Regardless of how it is viewed, the onus is placed on the Sri Lankan govt to get out of this ‘situation’ that is dissipating so much of more..

Four formidable foes from the global Tamil diaspora viewed by govt

Apr 5 (DBS) LTTE organization and 15 other entities suspected of being tiger fronts were proscribed by the Sri Lankan Govt last week. The ministry of External Affairs issued a terse press release announcing the proscription. It stated as follows – “An order, designating persons and entities in terms of the UNSC Resolution 1373 which sets out strategies to combat terrorism and to control terrorist financing has been signed by more..

Lankan team does country proud at int’l mediation tournament

Apr 5 (ST) A young Sri Lankan team did the country proud at the International Academy of Dispute Resolution’s Law School Mediation Tournament held in Chicago USA in March, being ranked seventh of 156 advocate/client pairs and gaining the added laurel of being identified as the ‘Outstanding New Mediation Programme’ by the judges. This is the second year that Sri Lanka has participated in this tournament since Dubai last year and the first time the Sri Lankan team has achieved such more..

Are the last five overs more productive in this World T20?

Apr 5 (CI) This is the fifth edition of the World Twenty20, and over the years teams have evolved strategies with both bat and ball to optimise their resources in a crunched 20-over format. Batsmen have tried to use the Powerplay overs differently, and have realised the value of keeping wickets in hand even in this format where only 120 balls are available; bowling teams have increasingly realised the value of slow bowlers - even with the new ball - and of taking pace off the ball. more..

SL fast ‘developing’ into TB hub of Asia

Apr 5 (ST) Inbound migrant populations from high TB prevalent countries have increased the risk of the spread of Tuberculosis (TB) within local communities in the country, in addition to the indigenous TB patients. SL is fast becoming a labour-receiving country, especially from India and China, due to country’s ongoing development projects. Consequently, risk of spread of disease through migration has also increased. more..

The age of scarecrow politics

Apr 5 (Island) Commissioner General of Elections has come out with an interesting response to being called a scarecrow by Sarath Fonseka, the former Commander of the Sri Lanka Army and current leader of the DP. Polls Commissioner says he would rather be a scarecrow than a corpse, because it helps protect crops from birds. I do not get his comparison to a corpse, other than to say that when talking of crops, one can also say that a corpse could provide good manure for cultivation. more..

UNP rebels decry depriving Harshana WPC Opposition leadership

Apr 4 (Island) Harshana Rajakaruna, who had polled the highest number of preferential votes in the Gampaha District at the recently concluded PC polls, should have been given the post of Opposition Leader in the WPC. But, the post had gone to Manju Sri Arangala, a well-known ‘yes man’ of UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, prominent party rebel and former WPC member Shiral Lakthilaka said. He said that Rajakaruna should have been considered for the post by the National Leader more..

'State banks profits have plunged'

Apr 5 (FT) In response to the story on Bank of Ceylon (BOC) profits published in Daily FT based on a statement released by the bank, UNP MP Dr. Harsha de Silva said: “Your story that BOC has made Rs. 15.7 billion profit before tax which is the highest among its peers for last year. While that may be true, what was conspicuously absent in your story is the significant decline in profits and alarming rise in non-performing loans. more..

The wisdom of abstaining

Apr 5 (IE) Never in India’s history have relations with any neighbouring country been so dramatically influenced by the politics of a single state as our relations with Sri Lanka. Unfortunately, public opinion in TN has not been adequately sensitised about the diplomatic complexities of developments in our neighbourhood, or of precisely what New Delhi is doing to address the needs and welfare of Tamils in Sri Lanka. SL civil war ended when separatist leader was killed in 2009. more..

SL: A not so small fish in the Indian Ocean

Apr 5 (BPR) Sri Lanka has long been a matter of contention in Indian domestic and foreign policy, a topic relevant to India’s upcoming general election. Tension in Sri Lankan-Indian relations reached new heights when Indian PM Manmohan Singh decided to boycott the 2014 CHOGM hosted by Sri lanka. Decision to send India’s FM instead sparked heated debate about India’s future foreign policy and its commitment to “global responsibilities” such as democracy and international human rights. more..

SL's prayers were answered, says Sammy

Apr 5 (Reuters) Divine intervention may have been partially responsible for Sri Lanka's World Twenty20 semi-final victory on Thursday, according to West Indies captain Darren Sammy. Chasing 161 for victory, holders West Indies were 80 for four in the 14th over when a hailstorm lashed the Sher-e-Bangla Stadium. Rain eventually relented but no further play was possible with the outfield saturated, leaving Sri Lanka the winners by more..

Unemployment rate dips to 4.1%

Apr 5 (FT) The unemployment rate in Sri Lanka fell to 4.1% in the fourth quarter of 2013, according to the latest data released by the Department of Census & Statistics. The overall unemployment rate reported for females was 6.4% and it was 2.8% for males. The highest unemployment rate was reported from the G.C.E (A/L) and above group, which was about 8.1%. The survey results also revealed that unemployment among females is higher than that among males in all age groups. more..

Navy conducts Disaster Management & Life Saving programme

Apr 5 (MoD) Responding to a request made by Kegalle Divisional Secretary, Navy conducted a special training programme on Disaster Management and Life Saving for a segment of Kegalle city dwellers in collaboration with the District DMC officials at the Ceylon Adventure Centre, Kithulgala recently. Navy's Rapid Action Boat Squadron and Rapid Response Rescue and Relief Squadron conducted the programme. During the session, training was provided on more..

Pakistan’s highest ranking military officer here on Monday

Apr 5 (Island) Highest-ranking military officer in the Pakistan Defense Forces, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC) of Pakistan, General Rashad Mahmood, would visit Sri Lanka on Monday, Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasooriya said. He said that his arrival here was a testimony to the close military to military relations between Pakistan and Sri Lanka. General Mahmood is the 16th and current Chairman more..

BOI promotes Sri Lanka in Bangkok

Apr 5 (CT) Chairman of BOI Dr. Lakshman Jayaweera briefed leading Thai businessmen of the Federation of Thai Industries at the Investment Promotion Seminar held at Sirikit Convention Hall in Bangkok. This event was organized by HE Nopporn Adchariyavanich, Ambassador of Thailand to Sri Lanka who was supported by HE General Shantha Kottegoda, Ambassador of Sri Lanka to Thailand. The Chairman was assisted by Manoj Casseer, Assistant Director (Investment) of the BOI. more..

MSD officer interdicted for cheating

Apr 5 (CT) A police officer attached to the Ministerial Security Division (MSD) was interdicted on Thursday, over cheating a woman of her money, Police Spokesman, SSP Ajith Rohana, said. According to reports, the suspect, who was deployed to provide security to a deputy minister, had cheated the woman of millions of rupees. The woman said the officer obtained the money saying that he wanted to start a business and would return it with interest, after which he asked for more. more..

'Reservoir drying up-Use electricity carefully'

Apr 5 (CT) CEB is asking the general public to use electricity carefully as almost all the reservoirs in the country are drying up. Deputy General Manager CEB, K.K.S. Dissanayake, said the major reservoirs in the country had reached almost bottom levels and the hydro power generation to the main grid is on an average of 15% of the national requirement per day. Castlereigh and Maussakale Reservoirs have reached almost more..

President to open new Manmunai bridge

Apr 5 (DN) President Rajapaksa will declare open the newly constructed Manmunai bridge in Batticaloa on April 19. The new bridge across Batticaloa lagoon on Thalankuda-Manmunai-Mavadimunmari road has been constructed at a cost of Rs.1,870 million, fulfilling a long felt need of the people in the Eastern Province, Minister Nirmala Kothalawala said. "The new bridge plays an important role in connecting the Batticaloa district with the Ampara district. more..

ADB approves $100 mn loan for technical and vocational training

Apr 5 (Island) Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) Board of Directors has approved a $100 million loan to help the govt of Sri Lanka revamp its technical and vocational education and training (TVET) which will equip youth with the required skills for the job market. Program will support the govt’s Skills Sector Development Program which aims to improve the employability of youth. "This program will help reduce the significant mismatch that exists between the competencies of graduates and more..