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British minister talks to NGOs on SL situ

Jan 11 (DM) Britain Foreign Office Minister Hugo Swire met several NGOs including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International on Thursday and held discussions on the human rights situation in Sri Lanka. In a twitter post, Swire stated “Met NGOs @HRW @AmnestyUK @freedomfromtorture @SLcampaign this morning to discuss human rights in #SriLanka & impact of our attendance @CHOGM” . “I made clear the importance the Britain attaches importance to continued more..

'US asked Sri Lanka to use cluster bombs against Tigers'

Jan 11 (Island) Even though the US recommended that the Sri Lankan govt swiftly acquire cluster bombs to target the LTTE, the country never felt the need to do so, an authoritative official said. The US made the recommendation in the wake of the Oslo arranged Ceasefire Agreement (CFA) between the then Premier Ranil Wickremesinghe and LTTE leader V Prabhakaran. It was among a series of recommendations made to the more..

Prisoner poses off as officer of PIU and extorts Rs. 500,000

Jan 11 (Island) The wife of a prisoner in the Negombo jail and another suspect were arrested by the Colombo Crimes Division for allegedly cheating a land owner in Chilaw out of Rs. 500,000. The prisoner posing off as an officer of the President’s Investigations Unit (PIU) had demanded from the land owner Rs. 500,000 over the telephone to hush up what he called investigations against his land which he had bought, claiming that the land belonged to the state. more..

Khuram Shaikh death: Missing Sri Lanka politician sought

Jan 11 (BBC) Sri Lankan police are looking for a politician who failed to appear in court accused of the alleged murder of a British aid worker. Police have vowed to carry out the arrest of Sampath Vidanapathirana "today or tomorrow" - but his exact whereabouts are not clear. Khuram Shaikh was shot and stabbed to death at a hotel in southern Sri Lanka on Christmas Day 2011. Six men are accused of the murder of the Red Cross worker from Rochdale. The men also face charges more..

Lawyers’ Collective marks impeachment, blasts govt

Jan 11 (CT) The Lawyers’ Collective held a media conference, at the Nippon Hotel in Colombo yesterday, to mark the first anniversary of the impeachment of the 43rd Chief Justice of Sri Lanka, Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake. They named the day as ‘Black Friday’. One year ago today the Parliamentary Select Committee report, on the charges set out in impeachment motion against Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake, was accepted. more..

Religion and Politics; the inner journey

Jan 11 (DM) Religion and politics formed the theme of a seminar held in Colombo this week by the South Asian Policy Research Institute (SAPRI) and the speakers from academic or intellectual circles in different countries gave deep reflections and perceptions on different dimensions of this important but often controversial topic. The speakers referred to the concept of a secular state, especially the Jawaharlal Neru concept of secularism where the state had the right and the responsibility to more..

Is Dimu between The devil and The deep blue sea?

Jan 11 (DM) It is a controversy that just doesn’t go away. Prime Minister D.M. Jayaratne is now in the spotlight since the revelation that one of his coordinating secretaries had written a letter to the Customs Department regarding a container which was later found to contain heroin. The incident caused a furor in both the media and other political partial parties lashing out at the Premier, some demanding that he should resign. Curiously, the harshest criticism came from a partner more..

Incorrect data leads to distorted policy-making

Jan 11 (DM) Sri Lanka’s position in the budget transparency index deteriorated from 13 - 53 from 2010 - 2012. It was a steep decline in the transparency process. The index is based on pre-budget information, mid-cycle reviews, and post-budget information and reporting. Data integrity and the availability of data are both important. The GDP growth figure has been discredited as it has been revised upward more..

Fishing, they end up in prisons

Jan 11 (TOI) There is a saying in the fishing hamlets, which goes like this: 'The fishermen will go after the fish'. But, unfortunately fishermen from India and Sri Lanka land up in prisons in both the countries while looking for fish. Even before the maritime boundaries were drawn between them, Tamilians from both the countries used to fish in their traditional fishing grounds in the Palk Straits, said elderly fishermen in Rameswaram. more..

Lovers free to enter Botanical Gardens

Jan 11 (DM) Botanical Gardens and Public Recreation Minister Jayaratne Herath said there was no ban on lovers entering botanical gardens and parks but that they were expected to behave in a decent manner when visiting such places. The minister said it was the fundamental right of lovers to enter these areas but they should be mindful of the presence of other visitors and should not be found misbehaving there. more..

Grade 5 exam: Is it on or off?

Jan 11 (ST) Confusion reigned after the announcement of the Education Minister’s proposal to change the existing Grade Five scholarship exam system. Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said govt has decided not to cancel the exam, but that there were proposals to make certain changes to it. He said the subject was discussed at length by the Cabinet and several ministers presented their ideas before they came to a conclusion. more..

TNA: Colluding ideologies, colliding personalities

Jan 11 (SL) Starting with the TNA, critics have often charged Sri Lanka’s Centre with lacking the political will and sincerity to resolve the ‘ethnic issue’ to the satisfaction of the affected Sri Lankan Tamil community. In context, the reference is to the Govt insisting on the PSC route for a political solution, and the TNA wanting bilateral talks en route to the PSC – or to Parliament, directly — with an agreed package more..

Video: 'Sri Lanka should conduct independent national probe on allegations'

Jan 11 (AD) Sri Lanka should conduct an independent national inquiry, but with international credibility, into allegations of human right violation during final stages of the war against the Tamil Tigers, says former senior diplomat Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka. Colombo’s former Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the UN Office in Geneva stated that the international community led by the United States is preparing to more..

'Better to be ordinary UNP MP than join UPFA Govt'

Jan 11 (Island) Gayantha Karunathillaka MP said that it was better to be an ordinary MP in the UNP than the UPFA’s Chief Ministerial candidate at the next Southern Provincial Council election. He was responding to a recent statement by UPFA MP Nishantha Muttuhettigama that Karunathillake would join the UPFA govt if nominated as the UPFA’s Chief Ministerial candidate at the next SPC poll expected to be held more..

'US Embassy war crimes allegations: Take down that Tweet'

Jan 11 (DN) US Ambassador for Global Criminal Justice Stephen Rapp should tender an unconditional apology for the blunder he had made, WPC Minister and JHU Deputy Secretary General Udaya Gammanpila said. Commenting on a tweet carrying a baseless allegation on war crimes in Sri Lanka posted on the official Twitter account of the US Embassy, accompanied by an image of US Ambassador to SL Michele Sison and more..

Ranil summons John

Jan 11 (CG) Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe has summoned UNP MP John Amaratunga for a meeting over his recent trip to the Middle East with President Mahinda Rajapaksa, reports said. Wickremesinghe is expected to seek a clarification from Amaratunga over media reports that he had sat with the Government delegation for bilateral talks in Jordan when he was allowed to go only to visit religious sites. more..

Lankan woman in UK kills kids and herself

Jan 11 (MO) A father arrived home to find his wife had killed their two young sons before apparently killing herself, police revealed yesterday. Sakthivel Vageswaran, 36, found the bodies of five-year-old Anopan and eight-month-old Nathiban in black bin bags when he returned from work. Wife Jeyavani was also dead. Mr Sakthivel is said to be still ‘screaming for his babies’ and will not return to the family home in Harrow, North London. more..

Let ‘independent’ institutions operate independently

Jan 11 (CT) The credibility of statistics furnished by the national authority on statistics, the Department of Census and Statistics has severely been compromised by the latest allegations that the department had manipulated economic data in order to present inflated economic growth figures. JVP MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake, earlier alleged in Parliament that the senior officials of the Department of Census and Statistics had tampered with data relating to economic growth and inflation. more..

The human rights question in the South

Jan 11 (CT) A particular context in which these accusations came up was the murder in police custody of the lawyer Wijedasa Liyannarachchi whose corpse was found to have more than 100 injuries. The SLFP was quick to play a leading role in protests highlighting for the first time in its 36 year history, gross violations by the state forces, which had though been long common in Tamil areas. For the elite, the Liyannarachchi affair gave them an occasion to give public expression to more..

Ray of hope for hapless animals

Jan 11 (CT) On 31 January 2013, a street dog in need of immediate medical attention was rushed from Kataragama to Nawala, Colombo. Accompanying the dog on its way were Iraki Kodithuwakku and Nirmali Fernando, the soon to be founder and co-founder of Sri Lanka's latest non-profit animal rescue mission with over 20,000 Facebook fans up to date. Shortly after the demise of Hope, the street dog they were anxiously more..

The murder of an editor

Jan 11 (CT) I have a particular problem with the murder of journalists, especially editors of newspapers. The Editor’s Guild and Publishers Society of Sri Lanka annually host an awards ceremony at which the final presentation of the evening, the pinnacle prize (distinguished by a different hue from the others), is for Journalist of the Year. That award is named after my father, Mervyn de Silva. It was not donated by me or any member of his family. more..

Geneva Again

Jan 11 (CT) Once again Geneva looms on the horizon. But this time, in a more apposite metaphor, Geneva March 2014 takes the form of a huge bristly grisly monster moving towards Sri Lanka while wielding a lethal spiked club in its hand. That is to say that what happens in March in Geneva over accountability for alleged war crimes could eventually lead to UN sanctions against Sri Lanka. Those sanctions could prove lethal to the present Govt of Sri Lanka. more..

Day 4: Pakistan take fight into final day

Jan 11 (CI) Pakistan's leader Misbah-ul-Haq batted with limitless patience and rookie Sarfraz Ahmed punched his way to a maiden half-century to give their side a glimmer of hope of saving a Test that once seemed lost. Pakistan painstakingly accumulated 198 runs on the fourth day but lost only four wickets, and with some rain forecast in Dubai on Sunday, Sri Lanka could get nervous if Sarfraz and the tail extend the more..

CAA rakes in Rs. 82 mn as fines

Jan 11 (Island) The Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) collected a sum of Rs. 82 million in fines from raids conducted last year. Nipun Ekanayake, Media Secretary to the Minister of Cooperatives and Internal Trade Johnston Fernando told The Island that over 50,000 raids had been carried out last year and 25,117 traders prosecuted for violating the Consumer Protection Act (CPA). Colombo District topped the raids (3,024) with over 3,000 violators prosecuted. more..

SLTB unions oppose joint time table

Jan 11 (AD) Sri Lanka Transport Board (SLTB) trade unions have expressed their objection to a joint time table for private buses and SLTB buses, the Ministry of Private Transport Services said. The ministry had previously pointed out the necessity for SLTB and private buses to operate on a joint time table in order to establish a better passenger transport service in the country. The Cabinet last month granted permission for the joint time table to be implemented from 15th January 2014. more..

Politicians involved in ethanol racket exposed

Jan 11 (LT) A very reliable source has revealed that ethanol containers were smuggled into the country by a Vietnam and Malaysia centered organized network jointly directed by the Minister Johnston Fernando, Puttalam District UPFA MP Arundika Fernando and Deputy Minister Lakshman Wasantha Perera. The source stated that the information has been revealed when customs investigated the incident. more..

Parents of Grade Five exam high flyers issue ultimatum

Jan 11 (Island) An organisation of parents of students who scored high marks at the Grade 5 scholarship Exam but have been left without schools staged a protest in front of the Education Ministry yesterday. They demanded that their children be admitted to popular schools without further delay. Later, several parents and representatives of teachers’ unions were allowed to have talks with Secretary to the Education Ministry and director of education in charge of schools. more..

Alarming spike in divorce statistics

Jan 11 (CT) The govt will soon take steps to conduct an island-wide survey to find out the reasons behind the recent increase in divorce. A senior official of the Social Services Department said that his department would, in collaboration with the Registrar General’s Department and the Ministry of Justice, conduct an island-wide survey. He added that preliminary discussions, with the relevant parties, have already begun and the action programme will be implemented soon after their conclusion. more..

Massive crowds at Galle textile exhibition

Jan 11 (GDI) An exhibition and sales outlet displaying Sri Lankan, Indian and European handicraft designs were held in the Galle Town Hall on Friday. Among those present were Minister Tissa Karaliyadda, Southern Province Chief Minister Shan Wijelal de Silva and Galle District secretary Ravindra Kariyawasam. Available at the exhibition and sales outlet were high quality, traditionally designed garments including sarees, shirts and kurthas more..

Human trafficking racket at MPs housing complex

Jan 11 (LT) A large scale fraud has been carried out by Indika Kumara alias Sumith Ranjana, the secretary of Digamadulla District UPFA Parliamentarian Podiappuhamy Piyasena alias P.H. Piyasena, while staying in MPs Housing Complex at Madiwela in Sri Jaywardenepura Kotte. Indika Kumara has defrauded a large number of youths promising foreign employment. The secretary of the MP had stayed in unit 7D of the complex of official residences for Parliamentarians at Madiwela. more..

Ministry wants to shift zoo top management to solve its woes!

Jan 11 (Island) In response to numerous complaints against the management of the National Zoological Gardens at Dehiwala, the Ministry of Botanical Gardens and Public Recreation is planning to shift the high ranking officials of the zoo to some other location. When contacted, Botanical Gardens and Public Recreation Ministry, Additional Secretary (Technical) Ananda Wijesooriya said that the ministry had planned to shift the top management of the zoo to Sethsiripaya in Battaramulla, more..

Court summons Minister Yapa

Jan 11 (CT) Homagama Magistrate issued notice on Thursday to Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena requesting his appearance in Court on Sunday to inquire about a statement the minister had made to the Lanka newspaper in 2012 about the still missing journalist Prageeth Ekneligoda. Abeywardena is alleged to have said that Ekneligoda was in fact in the country and the only reason he could not be produced more..

Moves to attract more Chinese tourists

Jan 11 (DN) Beijing NGO Association for International Exchanges is willing to support Sri Lanka to enhance it as a tourist destination for Chinese tourists, its Secretary General Zhao Deliang said. He said more than one billion Chinese people go abroad as tourists. Zhao Deliang said when he arrived in Sri Lanka, he felt the island was one of the best tourist destinations for the Chinese people. He made these observation at a seminar held on the theme 'NGO Qualification and Enhancement' more..

Uproar over GMOA trying to taboo midwifery subject for nurses

Jan 11 (Island) Nurses are up in arms following GMOA Media Spokesman Dr. Naveen de Soysa stressing that nurses should not be trained or get involved in the midwifery services of the labour room. Chairman of the Govt Nursing Officers Association (GNOA), Saman Ratnapriya yesterday accused the Government Medical Officers’ Association of attempting to create a rift between nurses and midwives. Ratnapriya claimed that the powerful doctors’ union had also more..

Governors requested to dissolve Southern, Western PCs

Jan 11 (AD) The Chief Minister of Southern Province, Shan Wijayalal de Silva says he has written to the Governor of the province, Kumari Balasooriya requesting to dissolve the Southern Provincial Council. The Southern and Western provincial councils are expected to be dissolved tomorrow for fresh polls before April. PCs will be dissolved by their respective Governors following official requests by its Chief Ministers. more..

SLC to make security assessment ahead of Bangladesh tour

Jan 11 (IANS) Two senior Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) officials are all set to visit Bangladesh to make a security assessment there ahead of their national cricket team's tour to the country. A SLC spokesman said that vice-president Mohan de Silva and Ajith Jayasekera, a former CEO of SLC and national team manager, will visit Bangladesh. Dhaka has been gripped in a wave of political unrest around the general election held there last week. In December, the West Indies Under-19 team more..

Environmentalists protest destruction of Bellanwila sanctuary

Jan 11 (Island) Environmentalists yesterday lambasted the Central Environmental Authority (CEA) and the Department of Wildlife Conservation (DWC) for allegedly turning a blind eye to mass scale destruction of the Bellanwila-Attidiya Sanctuary through ongoing land reclamation there. They criticized the DWC for permitting the Land Reclamation and Development Authority (LRDA) to fill the Bellanwila-Attidiya sanctuary under the ‘Weras Ganga’ development project. more..

Logos Hope heads to Trinco

Jan 11 (ST) Last year, MV Logos Hope, the world’s largest floating book fair visited the port of Colombo and welcomed over 128,000 up the gangways. Now the vessel is making her first-ever visit to Trincomalee. Recently Logos Hope celebrated Christmas and New Year in Galle. The ship’s international crewmembers are excited to visit the north side of Sri Lanka. The vessel carrying an international crew of 400 people is part of more..

Peacocks damage plane in Mattala

Jan 11 (CG) Peacocks damaged a Flydubai flight at the Mattala airport today forcing the plane to be temporarily grounded, sources told the Colombo Gazette. At least two peacocks had damaged one engine of the Dubai airline when it was about to takeoff with passengers on board. The passengers in the plane were later taken off the flight and transferred to a hotel till alternative arrangements were made, officials said. Incidents where birds damage planes at the Mattala airport had more..

Relatives of 1998 Lanka air crash victims identify belongings

Jan 11 (PTI) Relatives of the victims of an air crash in Sri Lanka attended a public display today to identify their belongings, over 15 years after the tragedy. Sri Lankan police put on display items salvaged from the Russian-built Antonov 24 passenger plane, owned by the local company Lion Air. The aircraft had taken off from Palaly airport in northern Jaffna town on September 29, 1998 bound for Colombo's Ratmalana airport. It disappeared off the radar 30 minutes after take-off. more..