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Robberies: Retreat on full-face helmets causes mayhem

Mar 1 (ST) It was a busy day at a popular foreign currency exchange centre cum jewellery shop on Main Street, Negombo last Monday. About 15 employees were attending to a similar number of customers changing currency and buying jewellery. Shortly after 1.30pm, two men wearing full-face helmets walked up; the security guard welcomed them in, opening the door. One of the men, held what appeared to be a pistol and forced more..

Hunt is on for job agent who planned kidnapping

Mar 1 (TS) Police are on the hunt for the agent allegedly involved in the abduction of a Sri Lankan woman. Selangor police chief said they believe the agent is the one who planned the abduction. “Reports in the media got part of the story wrong. The woman was not a student, but a maid who came from Sri Lanka two years ago,” he said. It was reported that police rescued a Sri Lankan woman who had been kidnapped and more..

Ministry yet to rescind Gazette notification, despite Presidential order

Mar 1 (ST) Despite a Presidential order, the Higher Education Ministry is yet to rescind the gazette notification amending university regulation under Universities Act, making it optional for institutions awarding degrees such as Medicine, Engineering and Architecture, to obtain compliance certification from the relevant professional bodies. The Sri Lanka Medical Council, which strongly protested against the amendment, more..

Wanathamulla abduction: 'Red Pajero has replaced white van syndrome'

Mar 1 (Island) UNP expressed concern that the abduction syndrome had gripped Colombo once again with Sunil from Wanathamulla being the latest victim, but no suspects had been arrested even two weeks later. UNP MP Eran Wickremeratne said that Colombo DIG Anura Senanayake who had assured the Wanathmulla residents on Feb 15, that Sunil’s abductors would be found had failed to deliver on his pledge. more..

TNA passes resolution against Commission on Disappearances

Mar 1 (CT) TNA has passed a resolution denouncing the Presidential Commission to Probe Disappearances, while confirming its support to the US-sponsored resolution to be brought at the UNHRC sessions in Geneva. A special gathering of the top brass of the TNA, including its MPs and Provincial Councillors representing the North and East, took place at the Jaffna Public Library auditorium on Thursday. more..

'Preferential vote has robbed society of good politicians'

Mar 1 (Island) Preferential voting system has destroyed the political culture of the country and deprived the society of good politicians, Minister Dullas Alahapperuma said, addressing an election rally at Palatuwa, early this week. He said that preferential system had proved to be a curse. With the introduction of the system respectable politicians had left politics, he added. The result, he said, was that the rich thugs entered politics as more..

Irate President takes on SLMC

Mar 1 (DM) In what appears to be a major rift within the UPFA Govt, President Mahinda Rajapaksa is reported to have asked Minister Rauf Hakeem to decide whether he and his party was remaining in the Govt. A reliable govt said that this had transpired at yesterday’s Cabinet meeting after several ministers including Minister Champika Ranawaka raised questions about a document given by SLMC to UN Rights Commissioner more..

Sri Lanka family finds mass grave in garden

Mar 1 (AFP) A Sri Lankan family has stumbled upon the remains of at least nine bodies buried in the garden of their home, police said Saturday, the latest mass grave to be discovered in the country's former war zone. The family made the grisly find on Friday while clearing out their garden in the town of Puthukkudiririppu in the northern district of Mullaittivu, SSP Ajith Rohana said. "Remains of nine people had been found so far more..

Cleaning up the prison system

Mar 1 (CT) This newspaper reported in its lead story on Thursday that 200 prison officials were being investigated by the Department of Prisons, for allegedly aiding and abetting the inmates to flout the law. The officers have been accused of smuggling illegal substance, including heroin and other banned items into prisons. On some other instances, they have allegedly assisted inmates to smuggle illegal substance and banned items into prisons. The inquiry against the suspected officials will more..

Hybrid constitution comes home to roost

Mar 1 (CT) The Supreme Court in a judgment delivered last week (21/02/2014) said that the Court of Appeal possessed no jurisdiction in terms of Article 140 of the constitution to review a report of a Select Committee of Parliament constituted in terms of Article 107(3) of the Constitution read with order 87A (2) of the Standing Order of Parliament or to grant and issue an order in the nature of a Writ of Certiorari purporting to quash the report and findings of a Parliamentary Select Committee more..

Punished for violating sanctity of marriage

Mar 1 (CT) The civil law of this country is formulated strictly to safeguard the family life and the wellbeing of the children. Proving this fact, recently, the judiciary ordered an accused found guilty of upsetting a family through adultery to pay a record damage of Rs 1.5 million to the aggrieved party. The plaintiff was a wealthy businessman, educated at a leading popular school of Sri Lanka. He found his bride through more..

Fonterra denies claims on stock

Mar 1 (CG) Fonterra Brands Lanka today denied reports it had sought to destroy a stock of milk powder over delays in testing the stock for DCD. Managing Director Fonterra Brands Lanka, Leon Clement said the request to destroy the stock was made as the stock was manufactured before 1 June 2013 and is nearing its expiration date. “We are therefore working to dispose of this product in a responsible way.” Clement said that Fonterra acts in accordance with the provisions in more..

Gota’s visit to Brazil a success

Mar 1 (FT) Sri Lanka Embassy in Brazil arranged a visit of a special defence delegation to Brazil to improve relations between the Defence Ministries and Armed Forces of both countries. The Secretary to the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development Gotabaya Rajapaksa headed the delegation. The Commander of the Sri Lanka Army Lieutenant General RMD Ratnayake, the Ambassador of Sri Lanka in Brazil Raja Edirisuriya and Deputy Head of Mission Major General GDHK Gunaratne more..

Negombo robbery rider spills beans

Mar 1 (Island) One of the suspects, Tharindu Shayamajith, detained for eight days by the Negombo police in connection with a Rs. 10.14 million robbery on February 17 at a jewellery cum money exchange shop and later released on two sureties standing bail on February 25 after he gave a confession to the Negombo magistrate, has in his statement to the police revealed that the bag containing the loot was given to more..

Air Force to increase monitoring

Mar 1 (CG) The Air Force is to increase monitoring activities of the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) which is often breached by Indian fishermen. Newly appointed Air Force Commander, Air Marshal Kolitha Gunatillake said that the Air Force will provide information to the relevant authorities on Indian fishermen poaching in Sri Lankan waters. “We need to increase our monitoring activities. We will use our planes and equipment to monitor and provide information to the relevant more..

National Volunteer Secretariat launched

Mar 1 (FT) National Volunteer Secretariat (NVS) was launched this week by Minister Felix Perera and UNDP Country Director Razina Bilgrami at an event held at the Taj Samudra Hotel, Colombo. The NVS is a joint venture between the Ministry of Social Services and the United Nations Volunteers program (UNV). The NVS is launched as part of the overarching Volunteer Information Coordination Centre (VOICE) project initiated as a result of the International Year of Volunteers in 2001. more..

Recovery of skeletons in Mullaitivu: Army denies allegations

Mar 1 (DM) Army today rejected allegations in connection with the discovery of skeletons from a land in Puthukuirippu in Mullaitivu. “Some interested parties are attempting to portrait this as evidence of an incident for which the govt and security forces should be held responsible. There is no factual basis for such conclusions and we reject these false and misleading allegations,” Military Spokesman more..

73-year-old German sent to immigration detention centre

Mar 1 (Island) Kandy Magistrate sent a 73-year-old German national to Immigration and Emigration detention Centre at Mirihana for two weeks after he had been produced before Courts on Wednesday for staying in Sri Lanka for 15 years without a visa. Police said that the suspect, Augustine Owen, was an engineer by profession and the Alawathugoda police had arrested him at a house in the area. According to the police the engineer’s visa had expired on January 13, 1999. more..

Case registered against Lankan fishermen, navy: TN police

Mar 1 (PTI) In what is considered to be the first such action by Tamil Nadu Police, a case has been registered against Sri lankan fishermen for allegedly robbing fishing nets worth Rs.2.80 lakh from an Indian boat last month. Pamban police today registered cases under IPC sections including 341 (punishment for wrongful restraint) and 352 (punishment for assault or criminal force otherwise than on grave provocation). A fisherman, John Britto, complained that Lankan fishermen more..

Kottawa-Kaduwela Expressway to be declared open on 8th March

Mar 1 (CT) The first segment of the Outer Circular Expressway from Kottawa to Kaduwela will be declared open on 8th March. Upon opening this Expressway it will become possible to travel on the expressway from Kaduwela to Galle bypassing the congested city traffic in Colombo. The 11-kilometer long Kottawa-Kaduwela segment of the OCH is located in the Colombo Metropolitan Region and passes through Colombo and more..

Is the Health Ministry half asleep?

Mar 1 (Island) The Professions Supplementary to Medicine (PSM) yesterday warned that tutors serving in training schools for PSM would recommence trade union action if the Health Ministry failed to grant their demands including the recruitment of more teaching staff to PSM diploma training schools. General Secretary of the Joint Council of Professions Supplementary to Medicine (JCPSM), Saman Jayasekara, said that there were seven PSM training schools in the country more..

'Not associated with cultural show in Lanka'

Mar 1 (PTI) Popular Tamil TV channel 'Star Vijay' today denied reports that it was associated with a cultural show in Sri Lanka, saying they were "contrary to facts." "There is no connection to the cultural event being held in Sri Lanka on March 1 and 2 and Vijay TV. Further, Vijay TV has not held any shows in Sri Lanka," it said in a statement. The entertainment channel's statement came in response to opposition from a Tamil filmmaker Gauthaman, who had alleged that the event more..

Red Cross to conduct Lanka disappearance survey

Mar 1 (PTI) A needs assessment survey in Sri Lanka for families of individuals who disappeared during the nearly three-decade long civil war in the country will be carried out by the International Committee of the Red Cross. Survey would begin in April and is scheduled to get completed by the end of the year, said Sarasi Wijeratne. ICRC has received 16,000 complaints of disappearances since 1990. more..

Six arrested over Padduka pawn centre robbery

Mar 1 (CT) The Mirihana Special Crime Investigation Unit yesterday arrested six suspects, including two disabled soldiers, in connection with the 12 February robbery of gold jewellery, valued at Rs 10 million, from a pawning centre in Padduka. According to a high ranking police officer, in charge of the investigation, the revolver used to carry out the heist as well as 1,870 gms of stolen gold jewellery has been recovered from the possession of one suspect. Suspects, who had arrived on two more..

4 Lankan Tamils shifted to Puzhal jail

Mar 1 (Hindu) The four Sri Lankan Tamils who were arrested on Wednesday after they abused and threatened State government officials at the Tiruchi special camp were shifted to the Central Prison at Puzhal in Chennai from here on Thursday. The four accused – Uthayas, Bageerathan, Gangadharan and Nehru alias ‘Eezha’ Nehru – were taken from the Central Prison to Puzhal amid police escort, police sources said. K.K. Nagar police arrested the four who were housed in the special camp more..

UN unaware of censorship in Sri Lanka

Mar 1 (CG) UN is unaware of reports that some media institutions or websites reporting on Sri Lanka have been censored or have access restricted in Sri Lanka. When asked to comment about reports that the Colombo Telegraph website has been banned in Sri Lanka, a UN spokesman told reporters that the UN has not been informed of such an incident. UN spokesman Martin Nesirky said that the UN country team in more..

Karzai in Colombo on March 5

Mar 1 (DM) Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who postponed his planned visit to Sri Lanka last week, has re-scheduled his visit and will be here on March 5. “The Afghanistani President will arrive on March 5 and leave on March 7,” a spokesman for the External Affairs Ministry said. Earlier President Karzai scheduled his visit to Sri Lanka from February 23 to 25, but it was postponed due to an unforeseen security situation that had arisen in the Kunar province in Afghanistan, more..

Health sector brain drain worries Minister

Mar 1 (Island) Minister Maithripala Sirisena lamented that even though as much as Rs. 157 billion had been allocated to his ministry for 2014 it found it difficult to retain doctors, paramedics and nurses. Each year when annual transfer lists were about to be filled, the ministry found that many medical and nursing personnel had already left the country for greener pastures, the minister said. From the allocated funds Rs.18 billion had been set aside for the construction of modern hospital more..

Hakeem admits to verbal lashing by Rajapaksa

Mar 1 (PTI) SLMC leader Rauff Hakeem today admitted he received a verbal lashing from President Mahinda Rajapaksa at a cabinet meeting but dismissed it as no more than an "expression of ideas". Hakeem, the Minister of Justice, noted there was speculation in the media that an irate Rajapakasa had spoken ill of him and his party at the cabinet meeting yesterday. But he told a gathering near here: more..

NWP CM’s defamation plaint: 3 UNP MPs given time till June 17 to file answers

Mar 1 (Island) District Judge of Colombo fixed the trial in respect of the Defamation plaint filed by Chief Minister for Northwestern Province Dayasiri Jayasekera, claiming Rs. 500 million damages from Daya Gamage, the National Organiser of the UNP. Plaintiff has alleged that Gamage defamed him by commenting on his cross over to the govt. Dayasiri has filed three other similar plaints of defamation against UNP MPs, Akila Viraj Kariyawasam, Hareen Fernando and Ranjan Ramanayake. more..

Asia Cup: Spirited Afghanistan shock Bangladesh

Mar 1 (CI) The indomitable spirit that has characterised Afghanistan's sharp rise in world cricket hadn't glowed brighter than it did in Fatullah. Playing in the Asia Cup for the first time, Afghanistan not only defeated Bangladesh, the Test-playing hosts, they almost managed to sneak out a bonus point too. Bangladesh, who took 28 matches to register their first-win against a major country, were left embarrassed by a younger nation playing only its fourth match against a major team. more..

Rameswaram fishermen resumed fishing ‘violating agreement’

Mar 1 (Hindu) Rameswaram Mechanised boat fishermen, who had been staying away from the sea since Feb 13 as decided at the bilateral talks held between representatives of State fishermen with their Sri Lankan counterparts on Jan 27 in Chennai, resumed fishing on Saturday, two weeks ahead of the stipulated period, ‘violating’ the pact. After staying away from the sea for a fortnight, the mechanised boat fishermen have more..

International forces can't sway Sri Lanka

Mar 2 (SO) UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navaneetham Pillay has again shown her true colours by playing into the hands of the West. She has called for an international inquiry into alleged war crimes committed by both sides during the battle against terrorism, saying that the govt had failed to do its own credible investigation. This does not come as a surprise, going by Pillay's questionable conduct and the manner in which she had conducted herself all along. more..

Pillai, Geneva and after

Mar 2 (SL) An indisputable reason for the rejection of the UN Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillai’s call for an ‘International Mechanism’ to investigate alleged violations of international human rights and human rights laws during 30 years of terrorism in her report to the UNHRC, is Navi Pillai herself. A Commissioner of Human Rights of the UN is supposed to be a towering intellectual with an open mind who would view the travails of humanity round the globe and act in accordance with more..

'UNHRC should work constructively, as many countries back Sri Lanka'

Mar 2 (SO) Minister and President's Special Envoy for Human Rights has led the Sri Lankan delegation to Geneva many a time in the past, in his capacity as Human Rights Minister. Geneva team comprising Sri Lanka's Ambassador in Geneva, Ravinath Ariyasingha and other like-minded officials strategically outwitted international forces a number of times under his leadership to safeguard Sri Lanka's interests. more..

Barack’s spin on Ukraine

Mar 2 (NS) Barack Obama is livid. He is angry about unconfirmed reports (‘unconfirmed’ is the word used by the US-friendly British press) of Russian military movements inside Ukraine. Now, for the record, the area in the Ukraine that Obama is suddenly worried about, Crimea, happens to be the only Russian-majority region in that country and is the home of Russian’s Black Sea fleet. So ‘movement,’ confirmed or not, could not have been something that happened yesterday. more..

Transparency and unsolicited proposals

Mar 2 (Island) We reported that China Harbor Engineering Corporation (CHEC), the company that offered and won through an unsolicited proposal a gigantic project valued at USD 1.4 billion, has floated a company here to undertake this mega Port City project. This company, CHEC Port City Colombo (Private) Ltd., hired a well known public relations firm to publicize a detailed statement it made regarding the project in the context of their being at the receiving end of a great deal of more..

'Some get nominated for lineage, popularity, money'

Mar 2 (SL) The female population in Sri Lanka is 52%. However, their representation is only 5.8% in Parliament, 4.1% in Provincial Councils and a mere 1.9% in local govt bodies. UNP MP Rosy Senanayake highlighted the pressing need to increase the quantity and quality of women involved in all three levels of politics – local, provincial and national level. While many have shown their concern over some women more..

Geneva: Be substantive, not combative

Mar 2 (ST) Slowly but surely, the dreaded UNHRC sessions have stealthily crept up. A resolution against Sri Lanka — sponsored by the US and promoted by Britain and India — is on the cards this month. With the solitary backing of China from among the big and powerful nations, it would be a Herculean task to defeat the resolution in the 47-member Council. The reaction from Colombo continues to be one of bewilderment followed by incoherent chest-beating pronouncements. more..

Polemical play of Navi Pillay

Mar 2 (ST) My Dear Navi Pillay, I am writing to you because you had announced this week that you would like to conduct an international inquiry into what happened during the final stages of the war against terrorism we won five years ago. I am slightly confused about all this, Navi, so I thought it is best that I ask you to clarify these matters. Now, don’t get me wrong, Navi, I am sure you are a very fair minded, unbiased person. So, when you ask our country to have all these inquiries more..