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Geneva Resolution: A divided vote and even more divided responses

Mar 30 (Island) The UNHCR vote on the Sri Lankan resolution divided along continental boundaries. Europe (Western and Eastern) and America (North and South) were the overwhelming supporters of the resolution. No country from these continents abstained on the vote; only three (Russia, Cuba and Venezuela) voted against, and the remaining 18 accounted for nearly 80% of the 23 ‘yes’ votes for the resolution. Asia and Africa voted in stark contrast: almost half the countries from more..

Talk at the Cafe Spectator

Mar 30 (ST) The request came despite the standoff between Washington and Colombo over the US moving a resolution last Thursday at the UNHRC in Geneva over Sri Lanka’s alleged war crimes. US diplomats were at the External Affairs Ministry this week meeting officials. They were seeking Sri Lanka’s support for a proposed US resolution at the UN General Assembly. Needless to say the resolution was to take Russia to task, more..

Heavy lobbying for plum positions in 2 PCs

Mar 30 (Island) Even before the results of the Western and Southern PC elections have been officially announced, there is a visible prestige battle with heavy lobbying for plum positions on offer in each district of the two provinces, political sources said. The lobbying is taking place behind closed doors within the SLFP as well as within the UPFA govt, the sources said. While the public, as usual, continued their guessing game on more..

'India’s abstention only to neutralise Chinese influence'

Mar 30 (Hindu) Union Minister Sudarsana Natchiappan defended India’s abstention on the U.S.-sponsored resolution against Sri Lanka in the UNHRC, arguing that it was aimed at neutralising the influence of China, which, he said, was looking for a toehold in this part of the world. “Today, only India is involved in the resettlement and rehabilitation of Tamils in the war-torn North and Eastern provinces of Sri Lanka. more..

Major outflow at stock market, but Geneva connection ruled out

Mar 30 (ST) The Colombo Stock Exchange on Friday recorded an outflow of 2.7 billion rupees with a foreign fund selling its shares in John Keells, a blue chip company. The fund divested of its 12.5 million shares in JKH. The outflow led to speculation that foreign investors were exiting the market due to the passing of a resolution on Sri Lanka at the UNHRC in Geneva on Thursday. Some analysts were quoted as saying that more..

'Sri Lanka will do the right thing despite the arm twisting'

Mar 30 (Island) Of the 13 Asian countries in the UNHRC, only the Republic of Korea voted in support of the US-sponsored resolution calling for an investigation by the office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on accountability issues during Sri Lanka’s war, Minister G.L. Peiris noted on Friday. Peiris stressed that what had happened was not at all helpful, making a difficult situation more difficult. more..

Khuram murder trial: ‘No re-examination of witness was slap on the defence’

Mar 30 (NS) Sources at the Attorney-General’s Department said yesterday that the decision of the Special Prosecutor against re-examining the main witness of the Prosecution in the Khuram Shaikh murder trial was a ‘slap on the face of the defence’. The evidence of the girlfriend of the murdered British aid worker concluded on Thursday (27) after she faced cross-examination from a band of lawyers appearing for the accused. more..

UNP hopeful of a ‘coalition’ govt

Mar 30 (NS) UNP’s Leadership Council Chairman Karu Jayasuriya said Saturday that they are ready to co-operate with any opposition party if a single party fails to get a majority at the PC elections. “Though it is too early to talk about whether the UNP would join another opposition party”, he said, “Yes, I would say that there is a high probability of UNP joining hands with other opposition parties if the need arises.” more..

Govt. slow in resuming dual citizenship

Mar 30 (ST) Sri Lankan authorities continue to receive a spate of inquiries about the status of dual citizenship, the granting of which was suspended by the Government more than two years ago. A notice on the official website of the Department of Immigration and Emigration has remained unchanged for many months: “Acceptance of Dual Citizenship applications are temporary [sic] discontinued until further notice”. more..

US embassy denies threat claims

Mar 30 (CG) The United States denied claims that it had “threatened” some countries to vote in favour of the resolution on Sri Lanka which was adopted at the UNHRC last week. Minister G.L Peiris said that the US exerted pressure on some countries to back the resolution, including by warning that failure to do so may hurt US ties with those countries. “Some countries had no choice but to back the resolution. more..

UPFA triumphs in PC polls

Mar 30 (NS) The ruling UPFA emerged victorious in both the Western and Southern Provinces by a thumping majority. UPFA emerged victorious by beating the Opposition by a healthy 388,977 votes in the Southern Province and by 683,993 votes in the Western Province, with an overall lead of 932,292. Accordingly, the UPFA secured 1,363,675 votes in the Western province with 56 seats while the UNP received only more..

Lanka needs an Anti-Corruption Movement

Mar 30 (Island) Lanka needs to take inspiration from India’s Anti-Corruption Movement (ACM). Although corruption in India is horrendous, an inspiring movement to combat it has grown up. We in Lanka are quite far behind in our ACM mobilisation. The JVP, groups like transparency and individuals are active, but an organised effort to cull crooks is still absent. A start has to be made and the first step is to build public consciousness and encourage awareness of the need for a more..

What’s there for India after UNHRC-3

Mar 30 (SL) In the past two years, the Indian vote against Sri Lanka may have done the trick for the passage of the US-led western resolution at the UNHRC – more than in numerical terms, that is. This time round, the Indian ‘abstention’ may have done even more. In a way, it has tilted the scales in real terms. With India abstaining, those not in favour of the Anglo-American resolution totalled 24 against 23 for the motion. In super-power terms, the Anglo-American ‘victory’ is more..

OHCHR to seek engagement

Mar 30 (SL) The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) is to seek cooperation and engagement with the Govt to carry out the investigations into the war as proposed in the resolution adopted by the UNHRC last week, Geneva sources said. However, if the Govt refuses to corporate, then the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay will conduct the investigations from outside SL, more..

Lankan Navy offers soft drinks, sweets to Indian fishermen

Mar 30 (PTI) Indian fishermen trawling near Katchatheevu were in for a big surprise today when Sri Lankan navalmen not only allowed them to fish but also offered them soft drinks and sweets. Local fishermen Association leader Emerit said the Lankan navalmen treated Indian fishermen with kindness and chatted with hundreds of them from various places including Ramanathapuram and Jagadapattinam, fishing in the Palk Strait. The navalmen's friendly gesture has come close more..

A national wages policy: How desirable or practical?

Mar 30 (Island) A news report says that the President Rajapaksa had directed the new National Pay Commission Secretary to establish a National Wage Policy. The Terms of Reference according to the report are as follows: The services of the professionals in management, medicine and science in the public sector should be retained by removing the discrepancies and anomalies faced by them. To obtain optimum productivity and efficiency from the govt sector professionals, more..

Multinational milk food giant organizes big bash for doctors

Mar 30 (Island) A leading multinational company importing spray-dried milk powder, which hit the headlines over alleged contamination fears in recent times, hosted 100 medical practitioners and their families to a grand party in five-star comfort in Colombo last week. "There was Johnny Walker Black Label whisky and red wine flowing at this lavish celebration, attended mostly by Paediatricians and Obstetricians more..

Geocycle Recognizes Green Industries

Mar 30 (Island) The 3rd Geo Responsibility Awards was held in Colombo recently with First Lady, Shiranthi Rajapaksa as chief guest. The event was hosted, in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment which observed the entire process of evaluation and selection for Geo Responsibility Awards. Winners were recognized with gold, silver and bronze awards whilst others were awarded merit certificates for their commitment towards professional waste management. more..

Prelates to decide on political involvements

Mar 30 (SO) Venerable General Secretaries of all chapters, Malwatta, Asgiriya, Amarapura, Siyam, have decided to discuss the controversial issues on the involvement of some bhikkhus in politics, public rallies, demonstrations and anti-government work. These erudite bhikkhus gathered to the Ministry of Buddhasasana and Religious Affairs recently and came to the conclusion that an extensive discussion on the aforesaid issues has to be held as early as possible, said Venerable K. Dhammadassi more..

Vasan expresses reservation on India not voting at UNHRC

Mar 30 (PTI) Shipping Minister G K Vasan today joined his cabinet colleague P Chidambaram in expressing reservations over India not voting in favour of a resolution at UNHRC against Sri Lanka for alleged human rights violations, saying it has resulted in "agony and shock for majority of Congress leaders" and workers in Tamil Nadu. Senior leader said though India had defended its decision to abstain from voting in favour of more..

Royal College wins finale of Tokyo Cement multi-million rupee brain game

Mar 30 (ST) The Tokyo Cement All Island Schools Quiz 2013, a multi-million rupee brain game amongst schools across Sri Lanka, came to an exciting end on March 23 in an “epic battle between the blue-and-golds (Royal), and red-and-golds (Ananda)”. Two of Colombo’s top boy’s schools that survived intense mental melees for months, met in a final showdown that ended with the blues taking home one million rupees in prize money, the company said. more..

Re-load racket

Mar 30 (ST) Two prisoners on death row were caught operating a racket in re-loading money for mobile phones from their cells, using relatives as their agents. Police have arrested the sister of one prisoner and another described as the mistress of the other. Unsuspecting mobile phone users were given calls by friends and relatives of the two criminals, informing them that they have been selected as winners of a large sum of money, but needed to transfer the ‘tax’ more..

Govt to ban LTTE fronts?

Mar 30 (SO) Sri Lanka lately has gained more attention than the Gaza strip at successive UNHRC sessions after May 2009, surprisingly it is after the elimination of LTTE terrorism in the country. The Govt and a number of other member states in the Council have termed the attention on Sri Lanka as highly selective, intrusive and unwarranted. It is claimed that international politics is partly responsible for the spotlight more..

UN overreach on Sri Lanka

Mar 30 (TA) Legitimate concerns exist about alleged human rights abuses in Sri Lanka. But they are unlikely to be helped by the UNHRC’s decision to launch an investigation into war crimes. Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has been wise to keep Australia at arm’s length from the process. Even India, which wields enormous influence throughout the region, has abstained on the UNHRC’s resolution, declaring the move to be not in keeping with the council’s core principles more..

SL experts for HACCP-based approach

Mar 30 (BR) Pakistan can earn billions of dollars by exporting food items under food security certification as safety of food is a worldwide concern, said Sampath Wanniarchchi, a food expert from Sri Lanka. He said food security is necessary not just for the protection of consumer health, but also for the continuous effect food safety has on international trade. Effective food safety management systems must result in safe and sound food materials. more..

Mixed reactions to election results

Mar 30 (CG) Govt and opposition expressed mixed views on the outcome of the just concluded PC elections which was won by the ruling UPFA. Deputy Speaker Chandima Weerakody said that attempts to defeat the Govt at the Western and Southern Provincial Council elections even with international assistance had failed. He was of the view that despite losing the vote in Geneva the public in Sri Lanka still more..

Lanka allows Indians to catch fish

Mar 30 (CG) Indian fishermen trawling near Katchatheevu were in for a big surprise on Sunday when Sri Lankan navalmen not only allowed them to fish but also offered them soft drinks and sweets, the Press Trust of India reported. Local fishermen Association leader Emerit said that the Sri Lankan navalmen treated Indian fishermen with kindness and chatted with hundreds of them from various places including Ramanathapuram and Jagadapattinam, fishing in the Palk Strait. more..

World T20: Pakistan beat Bangladesh

Mar 30 (CI) Ahmed Shehzad pummeled Pakistan's first ever T20 century, propelling his side to a 50-run win over Bangladesh and setting up a virtual quarterfinal against West Indies on Tuesday. Shehzad punished some ordinary bowling from Bangladesh's seamers - he scored 87 off 39 balls against them - to ensure Pakistan didn't suffer any long-term effects from a mid-innings dip, when they lost three wickets for 28 runs in 29 balls. With Shahid Afridi tonking 22 off 9 balls late in more..

Video: President’s downfall imminent: JVP

Mar 30 (DM) While being overjoyed at the results recorded at the two PC elections, after suffering setbacks for several years, JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake said the election results had dismantled the President’s power map planned for the next six years. He said election results in Hambantota District clearly reflected the downfall of President Rajapaksa, since UPFA vote percentage in the district dropped from 67% to 57%, more..

Principal of Trinity College noticed to appear before Court

Mar 30 (ST) District Judge of Colombo issued notices on Colonel Gamini Ariyaratne, Principal of Trinity College, Kandy and other members of the Board of Governors to appear in Court on Friday over an action filed by a parent. The parent had come before Court alleging that the present Principal of the College does not have the required qualification to hold such a position and that he has distorted the facts regarding his educational and professional qualifications. more..

Man who allegedly killed father for want of a light, gets six years RI

Mar 30 (ST) A man who had allegedly killed his 73- year old father because he could not find a box of matches to light a lamp was sentenced to six years rigorous imprisonment by Kandy High Court Judge. On an earlier date, the accused was sent to a psychiatrist for medical examination. In this case the family comprising the accused and his parents had gone to bed on the night of the incident when the flame in the lamp had been accidentally snuffed out. Accused had wanted to relight the lamp more..

Sri Lanka confident of tackling New Zealand

Mar 30 (AFP) SL's stand-in captain Lasith Malinga insisted his team will handle the pressure of their do-or-die match against NZ on Monday to reach the World Twenty20 semi-finals. Paceman will lead Sri Lanka in the absence of Dinesh Chandimal who was suspended for one match over his team's slow over-rate, Sri Lanka's second such penalty in 12 months. "We have always won the crucial match and came into the finals. more..

Anarkali and Nadeesha fail to garner votes

Mar 30 (AD) Actresses Anarkali Akarsha and Nadeesha Hemamali, who contested for the SPC from the Matara District, have been unable to secure a seat at the council due to receiving insufficient preference votes at the PC polls. Former Southern Provincial Councillor Anarkali Akarsha, who contested from the ruling UPFA, obtained only 8,842 votes at the election. Meanwhile Nadeesha Hemamali, who contested from the UNP, has received only 11,006 preference votes. more..

CB Governor reveals details of PayPal arriving in Sri Lanka

Mar 30 (AD) The discussions with a local bank to represent the US based PayPal money transferring services in Sri Lanka is progressing, Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivaard Cabral revealed. The Governor that he believes these services would be introduced to Sri Lanka before the end of this year. According to the existing regulations in Sri Lanka, outward cash remittances could be made to other countries through PayPal but inward remittances are not permitted. more..

Hashim adopts GL’s voter theory: 75% of the people had rejected the govt

Mar 30 (DM) Interpreting the results of PC Elections as a message given by the people for all opposition parties to form an alliance, the UNP said it was ready to talk with any political party that was ready to topple this regime. UNP MP Kabir Hashim who came out with this reading on the PC election said that the people had given a green light for a regime change said more than 40% had voted for the opposition while 35% had abstained more..

A bouquet to benign bureaucrats

Mar 31 (SL) It was the era of LTTE terror in which we had constant nightmares that the following day would be the last of us or one or more of our beloved as the suicide bomber was lurking about everywhere in the country. One day in this durations, my only daughter ‘Nevi’, the apple of my eye, was on her way home in her vehicle after a hard day’s work at the Sampath Bank, Fort. That day, she was extremely lucky to escape the bomb that devastated Rajagiriya as she was a little bit late more..

End of absent Rajeev?

Mar 31 (SL) AS Sri Lanka’s Davis Cup squad boards a Vietnam-bound flight from Bangkok tonight, it is excusable if the management and senior players, in a fit of momentary absentmindedness, think they’ve left behind one of their players. Rajeev Rajapakse has been a fixture of our Davis Cup squad since 1996; so, the difficulty to reconcile with the fact that he’s not going to be around this time is to be expected. “He’s been a part of the squad for such a long time that his absence feels more..

Monorail: The answer to Colombo's traffic congestion

Mar 31 (SO) The opening of the southern, Katunayake, and the outer circular expressway has given an opportunity for the people living outside Colombo city to seriously think about their future when planning on their future residencies. They may have to decide between investing their money to build a house in their home town or to purchase a land close to Colombo. There were times when people thought living close to more..

Women's World T20: Sri Lanka no match for England

Mar 31 (ICC) It was hard not to feel sorry for a desolate Shashikala Siriwardene as she quietly trudged off the park after play, with England Women burying the ghosts of its shock loss to Sri Lanka Women at the Women's World Cup in emphatic fashion in their ICC Women’s World Twenty20 game in Sylhet on Sunday. The build up to the clash wasn't without its fair share of references to that game, and on the field, Sri Lanka looked unnerved at the prospect of playing an England side more..

Colombo defiant to Geneva diktat

Mar 31 (NS) After much international deliberation and local consternation, the UNHRC has adopted a United States led resolution that demands an international inquiry into alleged war crimes and human rights abuses in Sri Lanka during the last phases of the Eelam war. In a sense, this outcome is hardly newsworthy: this was always expected and unlike in the past two years when Sri Lanka was hopeful of ‘victory’ in Geneva, this year the govt in Colombo had resigned itself to more..