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'North Korea, Sri Lanka reports show a UN that’s still relevant'

Mar 6 (G&M) The value of the UN is often a topic of debate. This intergovernmental organization established almost 70 years ago comprises 193 countries, but has reached a stage where some question its usefulness in the 21st century. While its primary goal is to maintain international peace and security, promote human rights and provide humanitarian aid, the veto power of the Security Council has sometimes paralyzed the UN’s effectiveness relating to its first core more..

Sri Lanka questions independence of U.N. human rights boss

Mar 6 (Reuters) Sri Lanka questioned the independence of the human rights office of the UN on Wednesday, a day after the U.S. asked the U.N. to investigate human rights violations by the Sri Lankan govt. U.S. resolution calls for the UNHRC to investigate "past abuses and to examine more recent attacks on journalists, human rights defenders, and religious minorities." The past violations relate to SL's 26-year civil war more..

Proposals to enhance the benefits of road sector development

Mar 6 (DM) As all are aware, huge investments have been made and further investments have already been planned to improve the highways of Sri Lanka. In the past, travelling from my home in Kandy to Matara, to see my parents, took more than eight hours. But after the completion of the Galle – Matara highway section in February 2014, I would be able to visit my sister’s home in Matara in 4.5 hours (Kandy, Pasyala, Hanwella, Kottawa, Galle, Matara through the Southern Highway). more..

Health Minister vows war against drug mafia

Mar 6 (DM) Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena charged on Tuesday that a drug mafia including some trans-national pharmaceutical corporations, pharmacy owners, even some medical specialists and officials of the Health Ministry were thwarting the efforts by the Health Ministry to make it mandatory to prescribe and sell quality medicinal drugs under the generic names. Minister said that with the approval of the President and the Cabinet, the Ministry had prepared legislation more..

Internationalized Sri Lankan crisis

Mar 6 (SL) In the past there had been the likes of the Ceasefire Agreement, Rajiv-JRJ Accord, etc. All these have created demands from Sri Lanka –then and now- for good governance, political solutions, adherence to humanitarian and human rights laws. Govt spokespersons however react that Sri Lanka has not erred and need no international lessons for governance and rule of law. Concurrently, the govt successfully and more..

Katchatheevu: SL Navy tightens norms

Mar 6 (Hindu) The Sri Lankan Navy has restricted the entry of journalists, visiting Katchatheevu island to cover this year’s annual St.Antony’s Church festival, to only those who obtained ‘temporary visa’ from the Sri Lankan Deputy High Commission in Chennai. Unlike last year, when more than 30 journalists from the print and television media were taken along with other pilgrims, Lankan navy made it clear this time more..

Mystery kidney disease spreads in Sri Lanka

Mar 6 (IRIN) Increasing incidence of a chronic kidney disease of unknown aetiology (CKDu) is quickly turning into Sri Lanka’s latest health crisis, with hospitals in the country’s most affected province linking 80 percent of patients’ deaths to renal failure. The disease some refer to as an “unknown plague” has triggered internal migration, particularly among youths living in disease-prone areas. Scientists have failed to identify a cause, more..

Sri Lanka’s growing links with China

Mar 6 (TD) “We love this country,” declared a Chinese Foreign Minister on a state visit to Sri Lanka in 1971, China “was ready to give its fullest co-operation to speed up the socialist march of Ceylon.” Sri Lanka’s socialist “march” didn’t ever quite catch up with China’s, but since the first Rubber-Rice pact was signed in 1952 China-Sri Lankan relations have been a source of unity and continue on an upward trajectory today. more..

'I will never back down in challenging this regime'

Mar 6 (DM) In a recent interview, Former Army Commander General Sarath Fonseka who heads the Democratic Party spoke about the present political situation in the country, his party’s plan to win the upcoming PC elections and expressed his views about the UNHRC session taking place in Geneva. He said that the main aim of his party was to save the citizens of Sri Lanka from the present rulers of the country. more..

Govt. meat ban to prevent ‘foot and mouth’ spread lacks cohesion

Mar 6 (ST) The Govt’s decision to ban meat, except for poultry, in five selected districts, to prevent the spread of the ‘Foot and Mouth’ disease, has met with confusion among officials in different districts, who have adopted varying strategies in implementing the decision. The gazette notification regarding the measures to be taken to prevent the spread of the disease, was issued by the Director General of Animal Health and more..

'UNP protest against H’tota port, airport a case of sour grapes'

Mar 6 (Island) Although the UNP vehemently criticised the Hambantota Port and the international Airport there, an earlier UNP govt, too, had planned those projects, the govt said. Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne said that the then UNF govt, headed by PM Ranil Wickremesinghe, too, had conducted a feasibility study for those two projects in Hambantota. "Then UNF govt conducted a feasibility study more..

Sri Lanka detains 41 Indian fishermen ahead of bilateral talks

Mar 6 (Xinhua) Sri Lanka's navy detained 9 Indian fishermen on Thursday bringing the number arrested in two days to 41, a spokesman said, ahead of talks next week between the two nations on fishing rights. Second round of talks on fishing rights in the Palk Strait will be held in Colombo on March 13. "We have handed over the fishermen and trawlers to the police. They were illegally fishing in the northern waters of SL," more..

Excavation at grave suspended

Mar 6 (CG) Excavation at the Mannar mass grave has been suspended following discussions held between the police, CID and the Mannar Magistrate SSP Ajith Rohana said. He said that tight security will however be maintained at the location and investigations into the skeletal remains and human bones recovered from the site will continue. He said the Judicial Medical Officer (JMO) is also investigating the skeletal remains more..

TNA meets Aussie FM on UN vote

Mar 6 (CG) The TNA has had talks with Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and sought Australia’s support for the US resolution on Sri Lanka at the UNHRC. TNA MP M.A Sumanthiran met Bishop and also briefed interested MPs from both major parties in Australia. “There is wide consensus that Sri Lanka hasn’t delivered and hasn’t made headway in accountability,” Sumanthiran said after his meetings at Parliament House. more..

A toothless Police Commission

Mar 6 (CT) The Chairman of the National Police Commission (NPC), has lamented that the NPC does not have powers to take legal action against offending officers. The NPC, which was set up under the 17th Amendment to the Constitution had its powers eroded when the 18th Amendment was incorporated to the Constitution, dismantling the 17th Amendment. The 18th Amendment resulted in the further erosion of the independent institutions, which were meant to function as a bulwark more..

Political monotheism, institutional erosion and moral decay

Mar 6 (CT) ‘Strong Women of Sri Lanka’ is the title of a booklet published by Child Development and Women’s Affairs Ministry and given free to students visiting the recent Dayata Kirula exhibition. The book reportedly contains 144 names, the crème de la crème of Lankan womanhood, in Rajapaksa reckoning. According to UNP MP Ajith Perera, this list has two notable absentees – Sri Lanka’s only woman head-of-state and sole female CJ. Imagine a list of outstanding Indian women which more..

Prabhakaran's elephant found abandoned in K'nochchi jungles

Mar 6 (CT) Visiting the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage recently, we happened to see the elephant that had been kept by the late leader of the LTTE, V. Prabhakaran. Reportedly, Prabakaran had loved animals. He had a tiger, a bear and an elephant under his care. Sources said the tiger had been with him until almost the time he had met with his death, while no one knows what had happened to the bear. Cow-elephant he had is cute more..

Sri Lanka stocks close up 0.4%

Mar 6 (LBO) Sri Lanka's stocks close 0.43% higher Thursday with index heavy John Keells Holdings extending gains. All Share Price Index closed 25.50 points higher at 5,961.93 up 0.43%. The S&P SL20 closed 17.08 points higher at 3,234.05, up 0.53%. Turnover was 716.06 million rupees, up from 281.18 million rupees a day earlier with 112 stocks close positive against 63 negative. Foreign investors bought 461.70 million rupees worth shares while selling 458.61 million rupees of shares. more..

Rupee firmer on remittances, bank dlr sales

Mar 6 (Reuters) The Sri Lankan rupee ended firmer on Thursday due to inward remittances and dollar sales by banks in the absence of central bank intervention, but dealers expect the local currency to edge down in the latter part of March on seasonal demand for imports. The spot rupee ended at 130.55/58 per dollar, firmer from Wednesday's close of 130.60/65. The currency has risen 0.37 percent in the last six sessions through Thursday, Thomson Reuters data showed. more..

Karzai vows to bring peace, prosperity during visit to Sri Lanka

Mar 6 (Xinhua) Afghanistan will welcome the world and engage with everyone to bring peace and economic prosperity, President Hamid Karzai said during an official visit to SL. He will be in Sri Lanka till 7 March, at the invitation of President Rajapaksa. President Karzai praised the post-war development in Sri Lanka and insisted he would present it as an "example" of what can be achieved through peace to his successor. more..

Salt in Norochcholai condenser: Sabotage not ruled out

Mar 6 (Island) Some senior officials of the CEB yesterday refused to rule out the possibility of sabotage at the first coal-fired power plant at Norochcholai. Attempts being made to shelve the findings of a recent investigation into how salt had been found in a condenser indicated that the CEB top management was trying to hide something, they said. Following the initial inquiries, a high level investigation had been conducted by the CEB besides a probe by the CID, more..

‘TESS to breakdown ethnic and other differences and unify the nation'

Mar 6 (Island) The English Speaking Schools, TESS, will be the ‘no – discrimination’ medium for equality among us, said Chief Justice Mohan Peiris as the Chief Guest at the launch TESS, The Teaching and Testing of English with the help of Information Communication Technologies (ICT) on Monday. In a scholarly dissertation he alluded to the constitution of Sri Lanka specifically Article 18 which he said inscribed English to be the link language; simultaneously with the official languages more..

'Govt. using Geneva resolution to divert attention'

Mar 6 (DM) UNP MP Mangala Samaraweera said today the Govt was using the Geneva resolution to divert the people’s attention from the burning issues like the soaring cost of living, inefficiency and corruption. “The Geneva resolution is not against the country, the people, the Rajapaksa regime or the army but against a few high profile individuals of the Rajapaksa Regime. If the Govt refuses to act wisely at this moment of crisis, more..

CaFFE receives 562 Election Complaints

Mar 6 (DM) CaFFE said today it has received 562 complaints of election law violations and incidents of election related violence as of Thursday. The CaFFE Executive Director Keerthi Tennakoon said these include 538 reports of election law violations and 24 incidents of election related violence, According to CaFFE the highest number of complaints of election law violations (298) was regarding illegal election propaganda campaigns while there were 216 complaints on the misuse of public property, more..

One nurses union threatens trade union action demanding midwifery training

Mar 6 (Island) A section of nurses warned that they would resort to trade union action if the health authorities failed to resolve the issue of midwifery training for nurses. President of the GNOA, Saman Ratnapriya claimed that further delay on the part of the Health Ministry to allow nurses to undergo midwifery training would only lead to unnecessary problems. Ratnapriya said that doctors in the Kandy, De Soysa Maternity Hospital, Castle Street Hospital for Women and Mahamodara had staged more..

'Sumanthiran didn’t let me speak in Geneva'

Mar 6 (AD) TNA’s NPC member Anandi Saseedaran today strongly criticized TNA MP M.A. Sumanthiran for not allowing her to address the international community as part of the Tamil party’s delegation to Geneva. She stated that Tamil people had placed their trust on the resolution moved at the UNHRC, calling for an investigation into alleged war crimes in Sri Lanka. However, that trust has been now been broken and more..

Kuwait sees split on Lankan issue

Mar 6 (CG) Kuwait feels draft resolutions put forward on Sri Lanka and two other countries at the UNHRC, will see a division in the Council. Kuwait’s permanent delegate to the United Nations and international organizations Ambassador Jamal Al-Ghunaim reiterated here on Thursday that the 25th session of the UNHRC, which began its deliberations March 3 for a whole month is of special importance as it addressed a number of highly sensitive files. more..

Rs 850mn Alumex IPO oversubscribed

Mar 6 (LBO) An 853 million rupees initial public offer by Alumex Limited, an aluminium extrusions maker has been oversubscribed within hours of opening Thursday, managers to the issue said. The offer will be kept open till 4.30 pm today, NDB Investment Bank said. The firm offered 17.85 million shares to raise 250 million rupees for factory expansion. Existing shareholders were selling down another 42 million shares. The sale will allow the firm to qualify for lower corporate income taxes more..

SLC divided on player contract issue

Mar 6 (DM) The player contract issue is likely to divide the Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) Executive committee as some officials have taken an unprecedented stance of supporting the players, sources told “Daily Mirror”. On Tuesday, local media reported that the national players have refused to sign their annual contracts when SLC had sent the papers to Bangladesh where the players are currently taking part in the Asia Cup. more..

Sri Lanka upset with Mauritius over rights resolution

Mar 6 (IANS) Sri Lanka expressed concern that Mauritius, set to join a trilateral maritime security group also involving India and the Maldives, is co-sponsoring a UN resolution alleging human rights abuses during the war against the Tamil Tigers. "Sri Lanka expressed concern that Mauritius had co-sponsored the resolution" at the UNHRC, National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon told the media. "Sri Lanka mentioned that we need to build trust (among neighbours)," Menon said more..

Sri Lanka fans to hold British classic car parade on March 16

Mar 6 (LBO) A British car day will be held on March 16, with classic cars and motorbikes dating back from the 1930s to be on parade in Sri Lanka's capital Colombo. The Classic Car Club of Ceylon backed by Land Rover agents SML Frontier Automotive said Aston Martin, Lotus, MG, Triumph, Rolls Royce, Austin, Morris and Ford will be on display. "Our sponsorship of the British car day is an opportunity for us to continue our support of classic cars, and at the same time showcase our vehicles more..

Audio: Houses of Excise officials fired at

Mar 6 (DM) Houses of two top Excise Department officials came under fire early today morning. The Commissioner General of Excise and Special Excise Investigation Unit OIC D.G.M.V. Hapuarachchi said that gun fire was directed at his house in the morning by an unidentified group. He said the gun fire had damaged several window panes, a room, the verandah and one of his vehicles at his house in Pamunugama, Negombo. more..

X-Files actress case referred to AG

Mar 6 (DM) CID which conducted investigations into a case where a Sri Lankan caretaker had allegedly misappropriated Rs.17.8 million from the Sri Lankan properties owned by popular X-Files actress Gillian Anderson, was referred to the Attorney General for his advice. CID informed Colombo Fort Magistrate that extracts of the investigation in connection with the incident had been forwarded to the AG under reference No. CR 1/265/12 and they were yet to receive his advice. more..

UNHRC Resolution: Pro-Tamil outfits step up pressure on Congress

Mar 6 (PTI) Pro-Tamil outfits in the state are stepping up pressure on Congress to take steps to ensure India moves a separate resolution in UNHRC for an independent international probe into alleged war crimes in Sri Lanka. The Tamil Nadu Congress Committee has responded by saying it will do 'whatever is necessary' to protect Tamils' interests there. UNHRC Commissioner Navi Pillay had called for setting up an international inquiry mechanism to probe charges of rights abuses more..

Trilateral Indian Ocean security grouping set to expand

Mar 6 (IANS) A trilateral Indian Ocean Region (IOR) security grouping has "achieved a great deal" in practical cooperation and is set to expand with the addition of two more island nations, it was announced here Thursday. "We have achieved a great deal in terms of practical cooperation between our navies and coast guards. We have formulated concrete responses to situations," National Security Advisor more..

Limp resolution on Lanka surprises India

Mar 6 (ENS) The text of the US-sponsored draft resolution to be tabled at the UNHRC is a much watered-down version than expected, with supporters wanting to gather more favourable votes from an international community nervous about setting a precedent of an international probe. Even Indian officials were a little taken aback at the toned-down text of the resolution, which has attracted ire and disappointment from Tamil diaspora groups, Sri Lanka’s TNA and TN politicians. more..

'Country heading for economic disaster'

Mar 6 (Island) UNP MP Sujeewa Senasinghe campaigning in Hambantota for the SPC polls said that Sri Lanka’s economy was heading for disaster and would be similar to that of North Korea very soon. He said the poor in Hambantota had revealed their difficulties in having a proper meal a day. He said most of them ate roti for lunch and papaw for dinner and eating a plate of rice for the day was a luxury for them. People had borne the brunt of the economic mess that the UPFA govt had more..

Tamil Nadu flayed over Rajiv Gandhi case

Mar 6 (IANS) The centre Thursday told the Supreme Court that TN govt's decision to grant remission of sentence to the convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case was selective and in derogation of the rights of the victims. The centre told the apex court bench that "the decision of the state of TN to grant remission selectively is, apart from being excess of jurisdiction, also violative of Article 14 of Constitution". more..

UK maintains pressure on probe

Mar 6 (CG) The British Govt says it still wants an international investigation in Sri Lanka and will convey this message to the UNHRC at it’s ongoing session. Some Tamil groups had expressed disappointment at the US draft resolution on Sri Lanka which was submitted to the Council in Geneva, saying it did not push for an international probe. However British Minister of State Hugo Swire told the Colombo Gazette, that his Govt backs calls for an international investigation. more..

Jayalalithaa flays PM on TN fishermen issue

Mar 6 (PTI) Stepping up attack against Congress-led UPA Govt, Chief Minister Jayalalithaa today slammed PM Manmohan Singh for his hand shake with President Rajapakse in Myanmar instead of a 'stern' message to stop the continuing arrests of Indian fishermen. Raising the twin issues of arrest of TN fishermen and the Sri Lankan Tamils' plight at an election rally in this coastal town and calling the UPA Govt "anti-Tamils", the AIADMK supremo said the PM had not responded to her letters more..