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Sri Lanka hails resolution by Senators

Mar 8 (CG) The Govt says a resolution supportive of Sri Lanka introduced to the US Congress by a group of Senators recently is as moral encouragement for Sri Lanka to continue the process of healing and reconciliation. Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to the US, Jaliya Wickramasuriya thanked the U.S. Senators who introduced Senate Resolution 364 recognizing Sri Lanka’s success in restoration of democracy, rebuilding and more..

Health Ministry owes Rs. 257,820,440 for drugs purchased last year

Mar 8 (Island) The Health Ministry owed Rs 257,820,444 to pharmaceutical companies for the drugs purchased during 2013 over and above the allocations, a document tabled by the govt in parliament said. The document tabled by Deputy Minister Lalith Dissanayake said that the Treasury had allocated a sum of Rs 25,000,000,000 for the importation of drugs and Rs 280,000,000 to import surgical equipment for the year 2013. more..

Another major drug haul, but only sprats caught

Mar 8 (Island) Four Sri Lankans were arrested by the Customs Revenue Task Force yesterday over an attempt to smuggle in 36 kilos of heroin with a street value of Rs. 360 million hidden inside two unaccompanied boxes declared as hardware items, at Rank Container Terminal, Orugodawatte. The detection had been made on information provided by the National Crime Agency in the UK though the drugs came here from more..

National Anthem and national cohesion

Mar 8 (CT) There appears to be a difference of opinion on whether the National Anthem should be sung in Sinhala and Tamil, both being official languages. At present, it is already being sung in Tamil in schools and at official functions in the predominantly Tamil estate areas. That is in fact a pleasant contrast to the myopic opposition to the National Anthem in the NPC, where Chairman of the Council and Education Minister, have refused to hoist National Flag in public functions. more..

Boats released by Sri Lanka arrive in Karaikal

Mar 8 (Hindu) 8 boats, earlier apprehended by Sri Lanka and whose release was stalled by legalities, finally waded into Indian waters, escorted by the Indian Coast Guard Ship Rajshri on Saturday at Karaikal port. Boats, 6 from Karaikal and 2 from Nagapattinam were apprehended for poaching in Sri Lankan waters off Triconamallee coast in August and Oct 2013. Boats were finally released on Feb 18, by a Triconamalle court and were secured back to the country by the boat owners. more..

‘JVP is the only alternate political force the people have’

Mar 8 (DM) As the rage of the battle for the upcoming Provincial elections is increasing, the burden is particularly heavy on team leaders of the political parties. Dailymirror interviewed Galle District JVP Team Leader Nalin Hewage to find out his winning strategy for the party. Q: In a recent TV debate you referred to the Southern Provincial Council as a “Wild Elephant and not a White Elephant”. Why did you say that? more..

Court orders eviction of families living in Haggala Forest Reserve

Mar 8 (ST) Court has ordered over 400 families living in the Gorahendigala, Meepilimana, Ambewela and Jayawaradanapura Grama Sevaka divisions to vacate their residences which are located in the in the sensitive zone of the Haggala Forest Reserve. The families have been resident in these areas for between 30 – 40 years. 43 families in the Gorahendigala area claim to have land permits, others say they have letters issued by the Provincial Land Commissioner granting them more..

Speaker suggests Mahapola scholarships be increased with Deyata Kirula funds

Mar 8 (Island) Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa told Parliament yesterday that if the govt was without funds to increase Mahapola Scholarship grants to university students it could utilise proceeds from the Deyata Kirula exhibition for that purpose. He made the suggestion following a question raised by UNP MP Dunesh Gankanda, who demanded to know why the govt had not increased the Mahapola grants for the last eight years. Currently a student was paid only Rs. 2,500 per month, he said. more..

Sri Lankans call the Rajapaksa regime’s bluff on Human Rights - UNP

Mar 8 (Island) UNP said that despite its repeated appeals to the govt and truly patriotic elements of Sri Lanka to desist from taking petty political mileage out of the Geneva human rights crisis it was abundantly clear that the Rajapaksa administration was only interested in furthering its own narrow political agendas even at a colossal cost to the country. UNP statement: "As we predicted, the PC elections have concided with a vote on a resolution more..

Rajagiriya school bans head scarf

Mar 8 (CG) A school in Rajagiriya has banned Muslim students from wearing the hijab (head scarf) to school. Principal had reportedly forced two students to remove the hijab yesterday if they wanted to attend classes. Parents of the two students had then voiced objections over the move and this had resulted in a tense situation. Kotte Mayor Janaka Ranawaka said that he intervened over the matter and urged both the school authorities and the parents to resolve more..

'US promoting twitter against MR'

Mar 8 (CG) Minister Wimal Weerawansa claims the US Embassy in Colombo is attempting to promote Facebook and Twitter to overthrow the Govt of President Rajapaksa. He claimed that the US Embassy in holding awareness programs on the use of Facebook and Twitter to make a change in a country. Social media was the main tool used to remove oppressive Governments in the Middle East and the Govt fears similar attempts are being made in Sri Lanka. more..

Slippery principals use devious means to extract bribes

Mar 8 (ST) School principals are using new methods to collect bribes in order to avoid detection as complaints continue to flow in about corrupt practices over admission of children. This week officials of the Bribery Police in civilian clothes arrested the principal of a Matara school in the act of receiving a hefty bribe to admit a child to Grade One. In Matale another principal was placed on remand after she and an accomplice more..

Hospital worker in hot water over indecent proposal

Mar 8 (Island) A minor employee attached to the Castle Street Maternity hospital was interdicted yesterday by Health Secretary Dr. Nihal Jayathilaka for allegedly asking a female intern to have sex with him on Thursday. Interdiction took place following a complaint to the Castle Street hospital Director Dr. K.W. Kumarasiri. The hospital Director had brought the incident to the notice of Health Secretary Dr. Jayathilaka, who interdicted the minor employee immediately until the conclusion of the probe. more..

Rally to defeat govt’s heroin-liquor-casino economy – Women for Rights

Mar 8 (LT) An event to get signatures for a banner prepared by ‘Women for Rights’ organization to mark the ‘International Women’s Day’ was held opposite Fort Railway Station today. Ms. Sumana Benaragama, the President of ‘Women for Rights’ addressing the gathering said, “The ‘International Women’s Day’ was declared about 100 years ago in Germany due to pressure on women during that time and to win women’s rights However, we still commemorate the day demanding for rights more..

UNP slams govt, service providers over internet censorship

Mar 8 (AD) UNP expressed deep concern over reports that state owned and private internet service providers are now “colluding with the repressive Rajapaksa regime” to curtail the freedom of information even further in Sri Lanka. “After years of using violence, intimidation and coercion to silence Sri Lanka’s mainstream media, the regime has turned its eyes completely on the web-based media, the last refuge of the country’s more..

Japan provides Rs. 100 million to promote Trilingual Language Policy in Sri Lanka

Mar 8 (GDI) Govt of Japan has granted Rs. 100 million under its Non-Project Counterpart Fund for implementing two projects identified by the Govt of Sri Lanka, aimed at facilitating the implementation of the Trilingual Language Policy of Sri Lanka. Under this programme japan provides Rs. 80.24 million for teacher development and capacity building by improving the quality of learning and teaching of Sinhala, Tamil, and English to promote trilingual Sri Lanka. more..

JHU demands-President to take immediate action on SLMC

Mar 8 (CT) Coalition partner of UPFA Govt, JHU, is insisting that President Rajapaksa should take immediate action regarding the 'racist' conduct of the SLMC. JHU National Organizer, Nishantha Sri Warnasinghe, said although it is believed that having the SLMC in the govt can ensure the support of the Muslim countries for Sri Lanka, even if the SLMC were to leave the govt, Muslim countries would continue to support the Sri Lankan Govt, when it comes to any international issue. more..

New outer circular highway opens

Mar 8 (CG) The first phase of the Outer Circular Highway (OCH) from Kottawa to Kaduwela was declared open by President Rajapaksa today. 11 km Kottawa – Kaduwela section of the OCH has been constructed at a cost of Rs. 27 billion with financial assistance from Japan. This highway provides an orbital beltway to bypass the city of Colombo and reduce traffic congestion in the Western Province, and encourage the more..

RMOs win SC case to follow MBBS degree

Mar 8 (Island) AG informed the Supreme Court that the MBBS course for the petitioner Registered Medical Officers, would commence on March 10, 2014 and would go on till Sept 2016. Repeat exams and repeat lectures would be held. The persons who qualify would not have to sit the Act 16 exam, held for medical graduates who qualified overseas. The venue would be the Institute of Graduate Studies, Colombo. Deputy Solicitor General, Indika Demuni de Silva appeared for the AG. more..

Another win for a struggle in Health services

Mar 8 (LT) The struggle that began demanding the payment of travelling allowance of Public Health Midwives and Public Health Inspectors in Hambantota District ended victoriously states the President of All Ceylon Health Service Officers Union Ms. Deepthi Jayatunga. Ms. Jayatunga says the traveling allowances for the years 2012 and 2013 were obtained due to the struggle carried out by employees and added that the Deputy Director of Health Services in Hambantota more..

Beef, mutton and pork banned in Gampaha

Mar 8 (DM) Slaughtering of cattle, goats and pigs, selling and transporting of beef, mutton and pork will be banned in the Gampaha District from today as several head of cattle with foot and mouth were detected in the area. Animal Production and Health Department Director General Dr. W.K. de Silva said the gazette notification in this regard had been sent to the Govt printer. Earlier stalls of beef, mutton and pork were closed more..

UNP accuses govt of chickening out of No Confidence debate

Mar 8 (Island) UNP yesterday said that the govt was scared of letting the no confidence motion against it be taken up during sittings scheduled for next week from March 18 to 21. "We, therefore, did not agree with the govt’s agenda for next week’s sittings of Parliament and the reasons it has given for not taking up the no confidence motion for debate next week are absurd and unacceptable," UNP MP Ravi Karunanayake told a press conference at the Parliamentary Complex yesterday. more..

Arjuna slams SLC for capitulating to ICC's 'reforms' for 'Big Three'

Mar 8 (ANI) Former captain Arjuna Ranatunga has slammed Sri Lanka Cricket's (SLC) stance on the Big Three- India, Australia and England, and said that it could have an adverse impact in the longer run. SLC had originally refrained from voting on the revised proposal at the ICC meeting in Singapore but later their executive committee decided to support the governance, finance and Future Tours Programme (FTP) changes in the ICC proposed by the Big Three. more..

More women sought in Parliament

Mar 8 (CG) Young Political Leaders Forum of SL (YPLFSL) have called for more representation of Females in Parliament. In a statement to mark the International Women’s Day, the young politicians have stressed the importance of looking into matters that disheartens women from joining politics, and the need to ensure that affirmative actions are taken to encourage them to become political leaders. Stressing on 2014 theme “Inspiring Change” more..

'212 fishermen released from Indian custody'

Mar 8 (DN) The govt has released 212 Sri Lankan fishermen and 40 fishing trawlers belonging to them, from Indian custody as a result of the bilateral talks held between myself and Indian Fisheries Minister Sharad Pawer, Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne said. "212 Sri Lankan fishermen and their 40 fishing vessels were in Tamil Nadu custody for crossing the IMBL. As a result of discussions held in January between Sri Lankan and Indian govts, both parties released all fishermen and more..

No Lankans on Malaysian flight

Mar 8 (CG) There were no Sri Lankans on the Malaysian Airlines flight which went missing after leaving Kuala Lumpur last night (early morning Malaysia time). Malaysia Airlines confirmed that flight MH370 had lost contact with the Subang Air Traffic Control a couple of hours after leaving the airport. Flight MH370 was operated on a Boeing 777-200 aircraft. It departed Kuala Lumpur at 12.41 am earlier this morning bound for Beijing. The aircraft was scheduled to land at more..

Sri Lanka win Asia Cup in Dhaka

Mar 8 (CI) Somewhere between absolute relaxation and intense focus, Lahiru Thirimanne drew strength from a place of zen in the Asia Cup final, stroking 101 from 108 to complete a victory that snapped Sri Lanka's finals jinx. He had help from Mahela Jayawardene, who embellished his reputation as a big-match performer, but it had been a fearsome lone hand from Lasith Malinga that had given most shape to the triumph. more..

Self-appointed role of preachers

Mar 9 (SO) The UNHRC seems to be hell-bent on concentrating on Sri Lanka at each and every session. While acting as a toothless tiger against serious and grave human rights violations in several parts of the world, especially those committed by the US-led NATO forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, the UNHRC is like a ferocious lion when it comes to the wild allegations against Sri Lanka on human rights violations. As anticipated, the US has presented its third successive resolution against Sri Lanka. more..

If the American resolution is adopted…

Mar 9 (SL) While many of Sri Lanka’s political leaders, intellectuals, lawyers and academics have exhausted themselves in lambasting the so-called international community led by America to have Sri Lanka probed and condemned at the ongoing sessions of the UNHCR, there has been little or no discussion at all on what Sri Lanka’s strategy should be in the event of the trumped up resolution being adopted. Resolution, in the main, calls for an international body to probe alleged more..

'PC polls victory will convey strong message to international community'

Mar 9 (SO) Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said he is confident that the Govt delegation which represented the UNHRC sessions in Geneva is a strong team which can present our case before the UNHRC successfully. But the problem is with the "judges who are judging us". They may give a political judgement rather than a rational judgement based on the issues and facts. He said more than the Opposition, it is the Govt that more..

Whose narrative would you purchase?

Mar 9 (NS) Are there wars without witnesses? Technically, no. Some witnesses die with the knowledge. Some, i.e. those who for whatever reason escape ‘liberation’ from bomb and bullet, napalm and whatnot, live on. Some tell their stories, so do not. Some told-stories are dismissed and some are heard, half-believed or believed but swept over by the overwhelming nature of narratives privileged by victor. This is the 21st Century, although people like US Secretary of State more..

Geneva and PC elections

Mar 9 (Island) President J.R. Jayewardene, whatever his faults, was not without wisdom. At a time when non-alignment was a buzzword, he remarked that there were only two non-aligned nations in the world and they were the United States and the Soviet Union. Once the Soviet Union disintegrated, only the US which was the sole remaining superpower, remains unaligned to any other country. It is aligned solely to its own interests as the world knows very well. more..

'National parties should have inclusive approach to reconciliation'

Mar 9 (SO) "Problems may arise in the country, taking them to the international arena won't find the solution. The answer can be found only through discussions between ourselves". Deputy Minister Faizer Mustapha said. Q: What is your opinion about the Geneva resolution on Sri Lanka? A: The Geneva resolution is to be tabled against Sri Lanka with a sinister purpose. I was in Europe. British PM David Cameron who visited SL more..

Geneva: Like trains heading for collision

Mar 9 (ST) President Rajapaksa thinks an adverse Resolution at the UNHRC in Geneva is only a “black mark” against Sri Lanka, but he knows he must put on a brave face and downplay the otherwise bleak scenario. In Geneva, Sri Lanka’s Foreign Minister maintained what has long been the Rajapaksa Govt’s official stance. He “categorically rejected” the report submitted by the UN’s Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) on Sri Lanka – on which the US sponsored more..

Geneva casino: Winners and losers

Mar 9 (ST) My Dear Mahinda maama, I thought I should be writing to you because these days, everybody is talking about Geneva and blaming it on you while you are busy talking to Indian PM, entertaining Afghan Presidents and trying to win PC elections for your party! I know you tried to chat up Manmohan in Myanmar but he was non-committal about supporting you because he needs to do what Jayalalithaa wants him to do, if he wants to have any chance at the next elections. more..

'Are other parties accused of carrying arms?'

Mar 9 (SL) EPDP leader and Minister Douglas Devananda accused the TNA led NPC of failing the people badly. He also added that, while rejecting UN Human Rights Chief Navi Pillay’s allegations against him and the EPDP, he has also written to Pillay in protest of baseless allegations made against him and his party. He accused Pillay and the US of targeting him in retaliation for having opposed the LTTE. more..

The politics and humbuggery of the USA

Mar 9 (NS) UNHRC. That’s United Nations Human Rights Commission. Key term, ‘Human Rights’. UN system has all kinds of organizations mandated to deal with fairly well defined spheres of concern. ‘Human Rights’ does seem all-encompassing and that’s both good and bad. Good because it provides comprehensive cover. Bad because it makes for selectivity. Current moves in UNHRC against SL, by a well-known incompetent to boot, shows up the negative rather than affirm the positive. more..

Due diligence underway for all Sri Lankan finance firms

Mar 9 (ST) The Central Bank (CB) has employed nine audit firms to carry out due diligence and valuations of the 58 finance companies, CB officials said. “Once this is done, any firm who wishes to purchase a company/companies can sign a Non Disclosure Agreement (NDA) with CB to obtain a due diligence document of a company which interests them,” one official told the Business Times. He said this exercise is expected to be concluded within this month. more..

'Extremists in Govt. determined to destroy country’s credibility'

Mar 9 (CT) Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha, a National List MP of the ruling Party, who along with a group of govt parliamentarians wrote to President Mahinda Rajapaksa warning about possible economic sanctions, said in an interview with Ceylon Today, extremists within the govt ranks are 'determined to destroy country's credibility.'He also said the External Affairs Ministry has been forced into the 'mute submission of more..

Sri Lanka fiasco in the UNHRC

Mar 9 (Island) For months Geneva was the main topic of conversation in this country. But last week, the bottom seemed to fall out of the whole issue. One reason was that when the first draft of the resolution against Sri Lanka was tabled, it did not have the institution of a commission of inquiry against Sri Lanka or any such thing. All it did was to request the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to ‘assess progress towards accountability and reconciliation’ more..