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Two Colombo Uni faculties to be closed

Mar 23 (NF) The Arts and Education Faculties of the Colombo University are to be closed until further notice. A chaotic situation arose earlier on Sunday when a group of senior students entered the Nawinna and Thelwala dorms and misbehaved calling for the reduction of hostel fees, and now administrators of the University of Colombo have decided to admit new students to its hostel facilities without charge until the situation is resolved. The Vice Chancellor of the Colombo University, more..

MOD says no one is above the law

Mar 23 (CG) The Ministry of Defence (MOD) says no one is above the law and if a person has violated the law the law enforcement authorities have every right to arrest them and carry out investigations. A statement by the MOD says the arrests and detention of Ruki Fernando and Father Praveen had recently generated wide coverage demanding their immediate release on the premise that they were human rights activists. more..

Percentage game is not Cricket

Mar 24 (SL) The controversy over the manner in which two of the game’s icons announced their retirement last week should not have snowballed into the public row it was. Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayewardene declared, a day of each other, they will end their Twenty-20international careers at the close of the ongoing World Cup in Bangladesh. Sangakkara, though, mentioned he’ll continue to engage in cricket’s shortest version representing franchise teams; Jayewardene, too, more..

Air of permissiveness is back here?

Mar 24 (SL) Human Rights NGOs across the world may have cause to condemn the SL Govt for the detention of three civilians, including a woman and a Christian priest, under the draconian anti-terror laws. They now also have cause to celebrate, because two of the three arrested persons, have since been released. The celebrations pertain more to the power of ‘collective voice’, as they have unilaterally concluded, than possibly for the freedom of those thus detained. more..

Elections Commissioner: A puppet to some, a dictator to others

Mar 24 (SO) Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya said that he has been castigated by the UPFA candidates and the Opposition for carrying out his duty to ensure free and fair elections. “For some, I am a puppet, and for others a dictator. The very reason I receive flak from the Opposition and the Govt shows that I have been impartial and that is what I want to be.” Sunday Observer met the Elections Commissioner more..

Time to establish a self-governed Tamil state in Canada

Mar 24 (SL) Issue regarding a separate homeland for the Tamils of the world has been a matter that has evoked considerable interest over the past half a century. From 1950s to about early 1980s, a strong campaign took place in India for the carving out of a separate state of Dravidastan in southern part of India. That campaign reached a level where it nearly threatened the break-up of India, but with some strong arm tactics and quiet diplomacy, India was able to manage the issue. more..

Detention of HR defenders and its possible causes

Mar 24 (SL) Govt’s decision to release two prominent Human Rights Defenders, Ruki Fernando and Fr Praveen Mahesan, was a prudent one. It was also unexpected as the initial reports coming from the legal team and civil society activists who sought to intervene on their behalf was pessimistic. They got the impression that the govt was planning for long term detention. The charges leveled against the two Human Rights Defenders were serious. They included the accusation that the two of them more..

'We are more patriotic than Sinhala hardliners'

Mar 24 (SL) Muslim community has been sidelined by the govt due to the pressures brought on it by certain hard-line Sinhala nationalists, charges the General Secretary of SLMC Hasen Ali. He said that the reason that the SLMC had presented their report to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay was because their grievances were not taken up by either the govt or the TNA. more..

A govt ludicrously at odds with itself

Mar 24 (ST) This week, we saw the strange and astonishing saga of two Sri Lankan human rights activists who were peremptorily arrested and detained under the Prevention of Terrorism Act and then released without charges with various branches of the Govt differing on almost every circumstance relating to this incident. The sequence of events thereto illustrates a regime which appears not to know what it is doing. It seems as if there is fundamentally contradictory tug and pull more..

World T20: 'Hope to do Associates proud'

Mar 24 (CI) "Having nothing to lose in Twenty20 can make you very dangerous." Peter Borren said it after the incredible victory over Ireland that took Netherlands into the main group stage of the World T20 and the captain said it again ahead of their first Super 10 match against Sri Lanka. Unfortunately, this Netherlands side really doesn't have a lot to lose. Alongside being the only Associate side left in the competition, they face an uncertain future due to a failure to qualify more..

Video: Ruki Fernando’s interview with BBC

Mar 24 (GV) The recent arrest of human rights activists Ruki Fernando and Father Praveen Mahesan under Sri Lanka’s draconian PTA law resulted in widespread condemnation within Sri Lanka and from the international community. As we noted in a previous article, “this is happening when deliberations at the UNHRC on Sri Lanka are taking place, demonstrating the regime’s scant regard for international opinion and scrutiny.” more..

Letter to a Liberal Sinhalese

Mar 24 (CT) Dear Sinhalese ‘ally’, Often have I stumbled upon articles written by you published in liberal Sri Lankan online outlets such as Groundviews, Sri Lanka Guardian or Colombo Telegraph, where you attempt to investigate the conflict in all its complexities, nuances and potential contradictions. You want to find immediate solutions to complex issues on the ‘ground’. You are a well-meaning liberal, I know. You are impatient and wish to heal what’s been left unhealed, I know. more..

Sri Lanka’s Abu Ghraib moment

Mar 24 (CT) For once, the military has done something sensible. It has admitted the authenticity of the footage depicting several army personnel inflicting cruel and degrading punishments on a group of female recruits. Crimes of every sort, from rape downwards, happen in any army. But these crimes are often conducted in secret, behind at least a semi-closed door. The scenes depicted in the latest Lankan footage happen out in the open. The perpetrators seem totally at ease, more..

'Netherlands are playing good cricket'

Mar 24 (CI) Sri Lanka and Netherlands have played each other only three times in all formats in history, but among these matches has been a result that outlines Sri Lanka's glee at demolishing weaker teams. In 2006, Sri Lanka plundered a record 443 for 9 in an ODI in Amstelveen, in which Sanath Jayasuriya struck a 104-ball 157 and Dilshan also hit a rapid hundred. In other Sri Lanka minnow-bashing adventures, more..

UK trying to open up a can of worms?

Mar 24 (Island) The US is reported to be busy giving final touches to a resolution against Sri Lanka and campaigning to ensure its passage with a higher number of votes than last time. India pretends to be still undecided but it will definitely vote for the resolution to curry favour with the US and appease TN politicians. Meanwhile, the British govt has called for a UN-backed tribunal like the one which tried former Liberian President Charles Taylor for his involvement in war crimes in Sierra Leone, more..

Solving Sri Lanka’s Tamil problem

Mar 24 (SG) The UNHRC meeting in Geneva on Friday may shine international spotlight once again on human rights violations in Sri Lanka, particularly in the context of the still unresolved Tamil issue in that country. The meeting will debate a draft resolution presented by the US, with Britain, Montenegro, Macedonia and Mauritius as co-signatories. Though the resolution does not call for an immediate international probe into Sri Lanka’s war crimes in connection with more..

Galle, SSC to host South Africa Tests

Mar 24 (CI) South Africa will play a Test series in Sri Lanka for the first time since 2006, following the confirmation of the venues and dates for a short tour comprising two Tests and three ODIs. South African team will arrive on June 30 and begin the tour with the ODIs, followed by the Tests. The three ODIs will be played at different venues across the country, with Colombo's Premadasa Stadium hosting the first game on July 6. more..

Put more pressure on SL over rights record

Mar 24 (JG) In December 2004, my son and I visited Colombo, staying in a beautiful hotel and spending some time in Sri Lanka’s tourism spots. Indian pop star Shahrukh Khan and his large entourage also stayed there, occupying two or three floors of the hotel. A bomb blasted Khan’s concert, killing two men and injuring 19 others. It was my first exposure to the civil war in Sri Lanka in which the LTTE was fighting Sri Lankan military. Then, on Dec. 26, Indian Ocean Tsunami hit the southern parts more..

Sustaining economic growth difficult but possible

Mar 24 (ST) Can the economic growth momentum of the post-war years be maintained? Paradoxically, it is the manner in which the high growth was achieved that is detrimental to longer term economic growth. Much of the growth was due to reconstruction, infrastructure development and post-war resuscitation of the economy. These activities do not have a self-sustaining momentum. The pattern and productivity of investment, the foreign debt-driven growth, the high debt-servicing more..

'Pakistan’s brotherly relationship with Sri Lanka is of choice not compulsion'

Mar 24 (AT) High Commissioner of Pakistan Maj Gen (R) Qasim Qureshi said that the brotherly and time tested relationship between Pakistan and SL is one of choice, not compulsion, as it is based on trust and mutual respect, and its strength lies in multifaceted engagement in many fields such as trade, defense, science, culture and education. He said this in his message on the occasion of the National Day of more..

World T20: India beat West Indies

Mar 24 (CI) West Indies have been in Bangladesh for a week, but they still looked jetlagged in a bizarre innings of 129 for 7, which set up another comprehensive win for India, who were excellent with the ball. From the moment Bhuvneshwar Kumar surprised Dwayne Smith with a first over full of outswingers, West Indies sleepwalked through most of their innings, failing to make India pay for some sloppy fielding. India will be only mildly annoyed with that because of the stupendous work more..

World T20 Preview: Sri Lanka v Netherlands

Mar 24 (CI) If the adage "the bigger they are, the harder they fall" has any merit, Netherlands will know no.1-ranked Sri Lanka is the Mohammad Irfan of their group. Having wangled an electric surprise to barge into the Super 10s, Netherlands now take aim at the shins of giants. If they can strike a forceful enough blow over the next nine days, they might create the sort of upset that energises the tournament by placing relevance on every result. The first phase of the tournament more..

CIMA President Malcom Fuber in Sri Lanka

Mar 24 (FT) CIMA’s Global President for 2014, Malcom Fuber FCMA, CGMA, has arrived in Sri Lanka as part of his official tour to the organisation’s markets. As part of a packed itinerary, he will visit the British Ambassador in Sri Lanka and the Central Bank Governor, attend the bi-annual convocation and host a dinner for CIMA members. Fuber trained with ICI in the UK, qualifying as a CIMA member in 1978. more..

Extracts of land title deeds in 30 minutes

Mar 24 (Island) People visiting the Nugegoda Delkanda Land Registry for land title deed extracts can now obtain them in 30 minutes, says Delkanda Land Registrar Diluka P. Vithanachchi. "Earlier the public had to spend about two days for this. They had to visit the Land Registry twice to obtain an extract. But now they obtain the extract within about half an hour on the very first day they visit the Land Registry for this. This is because of the financial and technical support the ICT Agency more..

Sri Lanka to sign revised agreement with Singapore to avoid double taxation

Mar 24 (FT) Sri Lanka will sign a revised agreement with Singapore for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with respect to taxes on income. Cabinet of Ministers has granted approval for the President, in his capacity as the Minister of Finance and Planning to sign the revised agreement at govt level and to present it in Parliament for approval in terms of the provisions of the Inland Revenue Act of 2006. The negotiation to revise the existing agreement more..

Harsha wants National Procurement Agency back

Mar 24 (FT) Warning that unsolicited proposals and corruption are becoming epidemic, UNP MP Dr. Harsha de Silva called for the reactivation of the National Procurement Agency (NPA) which Rajapaksa regime shut down in 2007. “An unprecedented number of unsolicited projects, most of it under Ministries coming under President Rajapaksa and resultant corruption, are now an epidemic killing people,” more..

Nedumaran wants new resolution

Mar 24 (Hindu) P. Nedumaran, president, UTP, has appealed to the political parties in TN to pressurise the Centre to bring a new resolution in the United Nations on Sri Lanka. The resolution brought by the United States of America had been diluted. Although the first draft said the Sri Lankan Army should withdraw from Northern and Eastern provinces in Sri Lanka, it was removed later. Only when the army was withdrawn, could people in the area come out in the open to narrate their sufferings. more..

CIFL depositors fear ‘anti-govt’ labels

Mar 24 (ST) Geneva resolution on Sri Lanka over human rights violations and the govt’s firm resolve to defeat is haunting a new group – desperate depositors of the failed Central Investment and Finance (CIFL). These depositors, who have moved court for relief and also seeking other avenues to get their money back, have postponed plans to visit the Munneswaram Kovil in Chilaw to ‘implore the intervention of deities’ fearing this would be construed as a Geneva-related issue more..

Karunanidhi wants Centre to support US-backed resolution at UNHRC

Mar 24 (PTI) As a debate on the US-sponsored resolution against Sri Lanka at the UNHRC is expected later this week, DMK chief M Karunanidhi appealed to the Centre to support it and insist on an international, independent and just probe into the alleged war crimes. "To bring about an end to the destruction of cultural symbols of the Tamils by the Sinhalese, for peaceful living of Tamils, an international and independent more..

Health Minister appreciates role played by artistes to combat disease

Mar 24 (Island) Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena said that songs and poems written by some Sri Lakan artistes could be a solace to the patients as they contained effective preventive and counter measures put into music. He pointed out that many songs and poems had been written on national heroes, kings and queens, religions, and great personalities. But in fairly recent times songs and poems written on disease prevention and control had come into the musical field. more..

Politically explosive week amidst favourable economic conditions

Mar 24 (FT) Sri Lanka braces for what is likely to be a politically explosive week with a crucial vote coming up in Geneva and elections to two provincial councils amidst favourable economic conditions. The twin facets of political developments and economic fundamentals weren’t lost in the research and analysis of at least one stock broking firm. First Capital Equities dedicated its commentary on its weekly review on these pressing issues. Here are excerpts: Adding to increasing pressure on more..

Coast Guard wants to be a marine police, not an armed force

Mar 24 (CT) The proposed amendments to the Coast Guard Act will allow it to be a marine Police and not an armed force, Director General of the Sri Lanka Coast Guard, Rear Admiral Ravindra Wijegunaratne said. Currently, Sri Lanka Coast Guard operates under the Department of Coast Guard Act, of 2009 and comes under the purview of the Ministry of Defence. "There are certain anomalies in the Act. more..

Mystery disease grips Northern fishers

Mar 24 (CT) A new mysterious disease has been detected recently among Northern fishermen, who fish in lagoon areas and are exposed to toxic waters. Jaffna Teaching Hospital Consultant Physician Dr. Sivan Suthan said when the fishermen are exposed to some kind of jelly fish in the lagoon waters, they experience breathing difficulties, skin irritation and body pain. "Doctors have not yet given a name for the disease but the Northern fishermen call it the 'Poisonous Water Disease'. more..

Dispute on Sri Lanka War Crimes escalates

Mar 24 (NYT) About 100 govt supporters marched to the American Embassy in Colombo, Sri Lanka, last week and smashed coconuts on the embassy’s doorstep in a Hindu ritual meant to curse an enemy. “We will not let them take our president to the electric chair!” the protesters shouted. The next day, thousands of miles away, Jen Psaki, a spokeswoman for the State Department, performed a ritual of her own by releasing a statement that condemned Sri Lanka’s recent arrests of more..

Nurses refuse to take doctors’ instructions

Mar 24 (Island) Public Service United Nurses’ Union (PSUNU) Vice President D. Boralessa warned the govt that around 26,000 nurses, matrons and sisters attached to the PSUNU throughout the country would neither work in wards nor take orders from doctors with effect from today in protest of the cancellation of midwifery training for nurses. Special Grade and Grade 1 nurses would keep away from administrative duties and more..

Teachers Union condemns transfers

Mar 24 (CT) The Ceylon Teachers Union (CTU) condemned the transfer of five teachers from the Sir John Kotelawala Maha Vidyala, Kururnegala, claiming that the teachers were transferred due to giving statements at an inquiry into the suicide of a female student of the same school. CTU President Joseph Stalin said that all five teachers of Sir John Kotelawala Maha Vidyala were transferred to other schools on 17 March, for giving 'impartial' statements on the student's suicide case. more..

Army says girls in video not Tamil

Mar 24 (CG) The army says the female recruits seen in a video being harassed by male soldiers in 2002 are not Tamils as claimed by some media today. A statement by the army issued yesterday had said that investigations found the video circulating on YouTube was authentic and those guilty will be punished. In a new statement today, the army refuted reports which indicated that army investigations had found the soldiers guilty of harassing “Tamil” female recruits. more..

Find an alternative: Sangaree tells Pillay

Mar 24 (DM) In separate letters to President Rajapaksa and UN Human Rights Chief Navaneetham Pillay, TULF leader V. Anandasangaree has called on Pillay to look for alternative ways to deal with the problem than calling for an international probe. Instead, a committee comprised of nations should be appointed with an Indian Representative to head the team, to attend to the residual matters of the war, such as more..

Cricket: One controversy after another

Mar 24 (DM) Just as the ICC World T20 tournament was to take off in Bangladesh, the Sri Lanka team was once again involved in their annual contract controversy battle with Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC), their employer. It was most unfortunate as Sri Lanka were favourites in many ways to have a shot at the world title. They were number one in the format of the game, many players were in great form, had been prepared perfectly to the host country’s conditions after completing a successful tour more..

Geneva resolution and faux pas zeal in Tamil separatism

Mar 24 (DM) UNHRC resolution to see the light shortly in Geneva has been discussed and dissected by analysts who keep missing the forest. All things considered, what is being subtly promoted as the ‘final solution to the (so-called) Tamil problem’ is an autonomous Tamil state in Sri Lanka. It is not the will of Tamil people nor of other Sri Lankans, but of Tamil politicians with an agenda in separatism. But can the Sinhalese be expected to offer a portion of their homeland on a platter to hoist the more..