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Human Rights Commission summons senior police officers to probe violence

June 18 (AM) The Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) which was set up to promote and protect human rights in the country has launched a separate investigation into the clash which occurred in Aluthgama, Beruwala and Dharga Town. A group of investigative officers attached to the HRCSL has already visited the area to commence its investigations. Meanwhile, the HRCSL is to summon state officials including the senior police officers to Kalutara district secretariat office tomorrow. more..

SL war was not against Tamils: Rajapaksa

June 18 (IANS) President Mahinda Rajapaksa said the war in Sri Lanka was never against the Tamil community but against terrorism. The president said this when he met ADB president. Rajapaksa briefed Nakao on Sri Lanka's development after it militarily crushed the Tamil Tigers in 2009. President explained how the govt immediately attended to the resettlement of the thousands of Tamils displaced from their homes because of the war between the govt and the Tamil Tigers. more..

Ban’s top official in Lanka this week

June 18 (CG) A top UN official will be in Sri Lanka this week for talks with the Govt, weeks after the UNHRC passed a resolution calling for a UN-led investigation into the war in Sri Lanka. Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Oscar Fernandez-Taranco will begin a four-day mission to Sri Lanka tomorrow, where he will meet with key interlocutors including senior officials of the Govt, representatives of political parties and more..

Familiocracy is reaching a Crescendo in SL

June 19 (CT) A couple of weeks ago this columnist wrote about the socio-political disaster that is looming on the horizon. Although much hackneyed phrases and clichés have described what has been happening in Sri Lanka, especially in the last ten years, the dramatically accelerated tide of affairs of politics has lent itself for scrupulous probe by all those who think rationally and reasonably about politics and matters of governance. It is rather redundant to hanker over the harsh more..

Getting high and low in the ‘Mal’ capital

June 19 (CT) Let’s face it. A certain section of the Sri Lankan population cutting across the class divide smokes weed. The same holds true for the tourists in Sri Lanka. Together they actually sustain a steady, perhaps even growing demand for weed, which is better known as cannabis, marijuana or kansaa/ganja. Now in Sri Lanka, cannabis is illegal to grow, sell and possess and can be punishable under under the Poisons, Opium and Dangerous Drugs Act No.13 of 1984 with an exception more..

Captives of ruthless Somali pirates escape

June 19 (SO) The two Sri Lankans Niroshan Perera (40) and the second Engineer of 'MV Albedo' Bisthamy, innocent captives of ruthless Somali pirates, arrived at the BIA on Friday, into the arms of their loved ones who had been anxiously waiting for this day for nearly four years. Soon after getting home, Niroshan said he could not believe that he had come home. "I never thought this day would ever come. more..

Leadership Council doubts Ranil's future

June 19 (CT) In the latest development among the confidantes of UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, in the Leadership Council headed by Karu Jayasuriya, a media survey is being done to ascertain the popularity of Wickremesinghe in order to decide to back him at a future Presidential Election. Members of the Leadership Council set by Wickremesinghe to win elections are personally conducting a survey on an individual basis inquiring from trusted media personnel about the more..

Editorial: Resolutions and conspiracies

June 18 (Island) The much-publicised govt resolution against a UNHRC war crimes probe has been adopted by Parliament. Its passage was never in doubt. Interesting views and counterviews were expressed amidst slanging matches during the two-day debate. All speakers fared reasonably well either defending the govt or tearing into it. Minister Wimal Weerawansa was at his oratorical best. Weerawansa demanded that the allegations of human rights violations against the govt more..

Are traffic police officers trigger-happy?

June 19 (NS) Incidents involving the Police took a different twist last week when officers in charge of traffic turned their guns towards motorists who had allegedly disobeyed police orders. The incidents have triggered concerns of the safety of passengers and also pointed several fingers at the Police once again. Both incidents, which were reported within the course of two days claimed the life of one and injured another. more..

Aluthgama violence: Where was Sri Lanka’s President?

June 19 (GV) The horrible killings and destruction in Aluthgama on Sunday was blacked out by almost all mainstream media in Sri Lanka at the height of the violence and the morning after. However, the violence was in detail and close to real time covered extensively over social media, leading to a documentation many times greater and more detailed than what the Govt of Sri Lanka would have liked. This documentation generated an unprecedented response from the more..

‘Yes’ to private industry role in pension fund boosting

June 19 (Island) ‘Private industry participation in the growth of pension funds and exploring ways to properly diversify these funds to boost the overall national economy’ was the main theme at the Sri Lanka Pension Services Forum organized by the Citi Group at Cinnamon Lake Side Hotel. "Analyzing trends conducive to the development of a pensions industry covering both govt and private sector employees, to develop a sustainable pension system is a prime need at present," more..

Who is behind Sri Lanka's religious violence?

Will people sacrifice Mahinda to avoid sanctions?

June 19 (CT) Govt sources say that Basil Rajapaksa has proposed to debate the UNHRC resolution to probe Sri Lanka's human rights violations in Parliament. He has proposed this after thoroughly studying the impact of the probe on internal politics of the country. However, JHU's stand on the probe is different. They say that it is not easy now to rouse pro-govt patriotism through the UNHRC proposal because people pay more attention to the cost of living and corruption today. more..

From peace to violence

June 19 (OT) A religion that professes piety, peace, amity, goodwill and understanding among all human beings has been turned upside down. In some parts of the world, Buddhism is professing murder and mayhem instead of harmony and kindness. Indicative of this truth is Sri Lanka. The threat of a prominent Buddhist leader to raze Muslim towns has resulted in the current violence. Many Muslims have been killed or injured. Property worth millions has been destroyed. more..

'The rich are going berserk on junk food'

June 19 (ST) In many Asian countries, unhealthy lifestyles have led to both the rich and the poor eating loads of junk food resulting in an explosion of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), a top regional health official said. “People are eating mindlessly, without thinking. It’s not only the poor who tend to eat whatever they get due to poverty and affordability but also the rich who are going berserk on junk food,” Dr. Poonam more..

Confidential: ICC over rate memo

June 19 (CI) The ICC has been made aware of unjustified criticisms in the public prints concerning the average rates of over delivery during the first Test match between England and Sri Lanka at Lord's cricket ground. The ICC wishes to reacquaint stakeholders with policy regarding over rate delivery. On the basis of 90 overs in six hours of playing time, plus an additional half hour when necessary, the media made negative comments about the fact that 17 overs remained unbowled in the first Test more..

SLC mourns death of Jack of all Trade

June 19 (Island) Last year as Kumar Sangakkara unleashed a new array of strokes, that were never seen from him before, during the first ODI against Proteas at the Premadasa Stadium, it came to light that the star batsman had been working with coach Graham Ford on paddle sweeping and reverse sweeping off medium pacemen. That day Sanga hammered a career best 169. Sanga and Ford got all the accolades for pulling off some sensational results, but the man who spent many hours more..

Silva's granite toughness aids Sri Lanka

June 19 (CI) For much of his Sri Lanka career, Kumar Sangakkara has had no equal at pre-match training. He is almost always the last to leave the nets, sometimes by a matter of hours. Those hoping to meet or interview him must first watch him leave ball after ball, then watch him defend plenty more. He is accommodating enough to make their wait worthwhile. But in the last few months, a new challenger has arisen for more..

Court appoints liquidator for Touchwood

June 19 (FT) The Colombo Commercial High Court has appointed a liquidator for the troubled investment firm Touchwood Investments PLC. G.K.S. Kumar, the Court appointed liquidator for the Touchwood Investments, in a disclosure to the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) announced yesterday that he will take into his custody all the property and things in action to which the company is or appears to be entitled. The official address of the liquidator was announced as more..

Reserves reach new high

June 19 (CT) Central Bank on Wednesday said the country's reserves reached a new high at nearly US$ 9 billion as at end April 2014. "Data for April 2014 indicates that external trade continued to remain buoyant during the month despite a modest decline in expenditure on imports, which resulted in a further contraction in the trade deficit. Inflows from workers' remittances remained robust alongside a significant increase in earnings from tourism reflecting the continued influx of tourists," more..

Ceylon Motor Traders Association cries ‘foul’

June 19 (FT) Ceylon Motor Traders Association (CMTA) cried foul over the Customs decision to disregard the declared transaction price and adopt a new valuation process of their own, which is based on the retail prices applicable in a foreign country. It warned that the move results in significant damage to the motor industry. CMTA Chairman Tilak Gunasekera said: “Sri Lanka is a signatory to the GAT agreement, which requires all more..

Backpacker presence in large numbers here

June 18 (Island) Sri Lanka is turning out to be a backpackers heaven with large numbers from this genre of tourists visiting the different tourist resorts in the country and finding cheap accommodation which is freely available. Siri de Silva, Immediate Past President of Association of Small and Medium Enterprises in Tourism said "In the last few weeks a large number of backpackers were seen in Ella, Bandarawela, Nuwara Eliya, Kandy and to a lesser extent in other parts of the country. more..

Fire at chemical factory doused

June 19 (Island) Firefighters had risked their lives to contain a major fire that broke out at a hazardous chemical warehouse at Nawala Road, Rajagiriya from spreading to adjoining factories yesterday morning. After the fire broke out around 9 am, the Fire Brigade of Sri Jayewardenepura-Kotte called for assistance from the Colombo Fire Brigade around 9.40 am. Finally the combined efforts of Colombo, Kotte and Dehiwala-Mt Lavinia fire brigades helped douse the flames before noon. more..

ADB calls for reform of state-owned enterprises

June 19 (Island) Sri Lanka’s success story in terms of its economy is not a metaphor, it’s a reality. However, in order to sustain growth of the Sri Lankan economy, it is important to maintain a sound macro-economic policy including the reform of state-owned enterprises, ADB President Takehiko Nakao said. "There’s still work to be done to raise revenue. There is also a need to reform state owned enterprises. Indeed, fiscal consolidation and more..

Sabaragmuwa University students protest against the student counselor

June 19 (CT) Sabaragamuwa University students had staged a protest today (18) afternoon demanding immediate action against the student Counselor of the university, Ayagama Vijitha Thera. The student Counselor had assaulted a second year student while he was talking with first year students, a student representative said. Reportedly the assaulted second year student has been admitted to Pambahinna hospital due to injuries and later ransferred to Balangoda hospital. more..

19 Canadian Sri Lankan groups condemn Aluthgama violence

June 19 (LR) In an unprecedented move 19 Canadian Sri Lankan groups representing a cross section of ethnic backgrounds have condemned recent ethnic violence in Southern SL towns. “While international and local journalists continue to report on the situation, Govt of SL is yet to make any official statement,” said the joint statement from the groups representing various Lankan communities in Canada. “As concerned organizations in various Lankan communities in Canada. more..

Ranil questions Defence Ministry power to cancel Transparency Intl. media workshop

June 19 (FT) The cancellation of training programs organised by Transparency International on investigative journalism for journalists working for Tamil publications in Sri Lanka, forcing them to discontinue the programs, shook the House when Leader of the Opposition Ranil Wickremesinghe questioned Govt’s “authority over legitimate public events and forceful cancellations”. Highlighting “phony media freedom prevailing more..

ADB warns against rent seeking

June 19 (CT) President of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) yesterday warned against the prevailing rent seeking environment and stressed on the need to improve governance and rule of law to boost investment and development. While commending the country’s economic performance, visiting ADB President, Takehiko Nakao said the Govt of Sri Lanka should not create any room for rent-seeking. Rent seeking is where powerful people lobby or influence government for economic gain, more..

Hartal in Ampara

June 19 (CT) Ampata District came to a standstill yesterday as the people observed a full scale hartal in condemnation of the violence unleashed on Muslims in the Aluthgama, Beruwala, Dhargaha Town and Welippenna areas in the South. Hartal, observed in Kalmunai, Sammanthurai, Sainthamaruthu, Maruthamunai and Nintavur in the Ampara District was called by Ampara District All Mosques Federation & Jammiyathul Ulama. Normal day to day activities came to a standstill more..

'Tough action against Uni. troublemakers'

June 19 (Island) Undergraduates including bhikkus violating university rules and regulations causing unrest would be severely dealt with according to the law, Minister S.B. Dissanayake said. He said that a section of undergraduates sponsored by some bankrupt political parties like the JVP had created scenes at Sri J'pura, Ruhuna, Colombo universities and the Wickcramarachchi Ayurvedic Institute in Gampaha. more..

Rishad’s ACMC skips Parliament vote

June 19 (FT) ACMC led by Minister Rishad Bathiudeen boycotted the Parliamentary vote taken on a resolution to not allow the UNHRC team into the country to investigate alleged human rights abuses during the last phase of the civil war against the LTTE. “We have seen the biggest communal riots in Sri Lanka after 1983 in this Aluthgama violence against Muslims. Since the time the BBS started, they have been provoking the Muslims, but the Muslims have been patient. more..

Bangladeshi Cricket tribunal ban Kaushal for 18 months

June 19 (DS) Sri Lankan cricketer Kaushal Lokuarachchi and NZ player Lou Vincent were banned for 18 months and three years respectively from all cricketing activities by a Bangladeshi tribunal that dealt with the allegations on match fixing. Former Bangladesh captain Mohammad Ashraful and owner of Dhaka Gladiators team Shihab Chowdhury have also been banned from all cricketing activities for eight and 10 years respectively for match-fixing during more..

Mathews could face suspension over umpiring remarks

June 19 (DM) Sri Lanka team is in the danger of losing skipper Angelo Mathews for the second Test starting tomorrow if the ICC finds him guilty of criticising umpires and match officials and slams him with a suspension. ECB had lodged an official complaint with the ICC over the remarks Mathews had made to media questioning the umpires and match officials for reporting Sachitra Senanayake for a suspect action. more..

'Do not hold night races in Kandy'

June 19 (DM) Chief Incumbent of the Asgiri Chapter most Ven. Udugama Sri Buddharakkitha Thera said today he was against night races being held in Kandy. Thero expressed these views when members of the Kandy Heritage Protection Foundation met him today. He said it was not suitable to hold car races in a small city like Kandy. “We expressed our displeasure at holding night races in Kandy for several years. We requested the authorities not to do this. more..

Resolution against UNHRC probe adopted

June 19 (Island) Parliament yesterday passed a motion that the investigation to be conducted against Sri Lanka by the office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights should not be carried out on the ground that such a course of action was detrimental to the process of reconciliation and peace and that it eroded the sovereignty, dignity and stature of Sri Lanka. It was passed with a majority of 134 votes. Motion received 144 votes for and 10 TNA votes against, more..

Alutgama mayhem: DEW questions failure to take pre-emptive action

June 19 (Island) The govt's failure to adopt pre-emptive security measures at Alutgama and Beruwala should be thoroughly investigated, Minister Dew Gunasekera said. Expressing shock and anger over the govt's inaction, the senior minister stressed the need to establish the circumstances leading to Sunday's mayhem. Violence claimed the lives of two Muslims and caused injuries to over 80 persons, more..

Thawheed Jamath 'bribes' journalists in public

June 19 (AM) Sri Lanka's Thawheed Jamath group, a hard-line Muslim organization who held a press conference in Colombo, had given Rs. 500 each to every jounalist who covered the event. Although there is a tradition of giving tokens of appreciation to journalists who cover press events, no one gives 'cash-prizes' to journalists for it could also be construed as a bribe! On the other hand, it is a disgrace on professional values and standards of journalism. Giving and accepting bribe more..

Daring robbery foiled, three armed suspects arrested

June 19 (Island) Acting on a tip-off, unsolved Crime Investigations unit under the supervision of SSP, Chilaw Division, on Tuesday morning arrested three suspects with a T-56 assault rifle, a magazine, a pistol manufactured in China, a grenade and 22 bullets in the Madampe police area, when they were proceeding in a luxury car to stage a robbery close to a bank in Chilaw. Police spokesman SSP Ajith Rohana said that the suspects were residents of Angoda, Nittambuwa and Ratnapura. more..

Parliament approves move to reject UNHRC probe; Opposition cries foul

June 19 (FT) Resolution opposing the much-debated investigation to be conducted against Sri Lanka by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights was passed in Parliament with a majority. With the 33 members of the UNP abstaining, the Govt received 144 votes in favour, while the 10 members representing the TNA voted against. JVP members left the House before the vote began. Notable absentees at the time of more..

People’s welfare going with the wind

June 19 (DM) The supply of electricity is one of the most highly charged fields in Sri Lanka and an area with powerful cross–currents of corruption and malpractices. According to reports, the latest storm is in the relatively new field of wind energy. The newspaper reports said that a proposal to distribute lucrative wind power contracts to local and foreign investors without calling for open tenders has been strongly criticised by energy experts who fear the contracts will be given to political stooges more..