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Education under attack?

Mar 31 (Island) An interview with Dr. Rohan Fernando, General Secretary, FUTA. When I entered the premises of the Open university, I entered a different world - one that was expansive, and in some ways one of solitude. Finding the right building was no easy task, but disabled and on crutches, albeit temporarily, I found getting on to the second floor of the natural sciences building daunting. more..

Rajapaksas have lost their glitter

Mar 31 (CT) True there were not much progress in terms of votes received for the US sponsored Resolution adopted at the 25 Sessions of the UN Human Rights Council just 03 days ago. The most striking and surprising move was India backtracking on the Resolution this time. President Rajapaksa immediately thanked the Congress led government in New Delhi, by ordering the release of all South Indian fishermen, who were detained in Colombo for trespassing on Sri Lankan waters. more..

Two verdicts on Rajapaksa rule

Mar 31 (CT) The Rajapaksas were defeated in Geneva, by the Rajapaksas. The Geneva resolutions would not have happened if the Rajapaksas did not depart from democratic norms so blatantly and consistently, post-war. The call for an international investigation would not have gained traction if the Rajapaksas did not undermine, debase and subjugate every Lankan institution, from the judiciary and the elections commission to the military and the human rights commission. more..

Universities: A potential that is not tapped

Mar 31 (Island) I have never had any political clout in my life. Only politician known to me as a child was one "Girigoris" who always contested from SLFP ticket for Village Council (Gam Sabhawa) and he was always the loser. When I was in public service I was always identified as a sympathizer of the opposition party whatever the opposition was. Who I am today is completely due to the free education provided by the state. more..

World T20: India beat Australia

Mar 31 (CI) We've been expecting you, Mr Singh. Many an India fan wanted Yuvraj Singh out because he had been plodding and prodding around this tournament even though he took most wickets and scored most runs for India between the two World Twenty20s. India, though, persisted with him, even giving him an extra chance at the expense of Shikhar Dhawan who made way for Ajinkya Rahane who simply had to be tried. Yuvraj struggled here again, reaching 13 off 21 before he exploded more..

UNPers gave clear signal to change party leadership – leading reformist

Mar 31 (Island) The election result had proved that the Opposition had no formidable challenge to offer to the UPFA govt, UNP reformist Shiral Lakthilaka said. He said that except for the Kalutara District the govt’s vote base had been decreased in every other district, but the UNP had not been able to win those govt votes which had gone to the JVP and DP. Lakthilaka said that UNPers had asked for a leadership change. He said that in the Hambantota District the UNP vote base had increased more..

If panel of experts are banned from visiting Sri Lanka ...

Mar 31 (CT) Q: What is your present role in the United Nations? A: I am not an employee of the UN; however, I have been part of several missions for the UN including Sierra Leone where I served as the International Commissioner for the Truth Commission there. I have also been part of missions to Liberia, Ivory Coast, Libya as well as serving on the Panel of Experts advising Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, on Sri Lanka. more..

Editorial: Winners and losers

Mar 31 (Island) Ruling UPFA has emerged the winner at Saturday’s PC polls. The UNP has come second with the DP and the JVP securing the third place in the Western and Southern Provinces respectively. In the wake of the passage of a UNHRC resolution against Sri Lanka in  Geneva, President Rajapaksa has been able to prove that the vast majority of people in the two provinces are with his govt. However, the latest PC polls have come as a wake-up call for the govt more..

View from Ritigala - by mahasona

Mar 31 (NS) V. Anandasangaree, leader of the TULF and probably the only true moderate in Tamil politics today, has some words of advice for UN human rights chief Navi Pillay. He says ‘look for an alternative’. An alternative to the course of action chartered for her by the US, that is. The wise words is open to other interpretation of course. How about an alternative to Sri Lanka bashing? Wouldn’t the USA itself be the ideal alternative given its horrendous HR track record more..

'US targeted Sri Lanka'

Mar 31 (CT) Minister G.L. Peiris claims that Sri Lanka was targeted by the US, UK and their allies to make an example out of a small country, alleging the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights was complicit in this campaign against a UN Member-State. He said, Sri Lanka would not comply with an international investigation to be funded by countries with self interest which are concerned about serving their own domestic more..

'NZ targeting complete performance'

Mar 31 (CI) Kane Williamson has said that New Zealand would target a "complete performance" for the first time in the tournament as they attempt to secure a World T20 semi-final spot by beating Sri Lanka on Monday. Brendon McCullum's side have won two of their three games but could have made their position even stronger if they had managed to put away South Africa when they needed seven runs off the final over with five wickets in hand. Williamson was far from bullish about NZ's more..

SL v NZ: Dew may define the match

Mar 31 (CI) Widely tipped to be the sides to progress from the 'easy' group, Sri Lanka and New Zealand find they must win their final group match or be eliminated. Things have not so far panned out as either had hoped. England are the top-eight team Sri Lanka might have been most comfortable of beating, but they were undone by the best innings of the tournament so far, while New Zealand were victims of one of Twenty20 cricket's most aggressive final overs, from Dale Steyn. more..

No excuses for Sri Lanka - Malinga

Mar 31 (CI) A spot in the semi-finals of the World T20 could well be heavily weighted on the toss of a coin when Sri Lanka take on New Zealand for one remaining spot in Group 1, but stand-in captain Lasith Malinga will refuse to use a wet ball and damp outfield as an excuse and believes his side are better prepared after coming unstuck against England. Sri Lanka could not defend 189 as Alex Hales clubbed an unbeaten 116 more..

Supermarkets giving consumers better deal on veggies, fruits

Mar 31 (Island) The Island conducted a survey of vegetable prices at several locations over the last few days, and found that many consumers choose to buy fresh vegetables and fruit at leading chain supermarkets as they are given a better deal at these places in price terms. The price fetched by a bag of vegetables, comprising tomato, potato, B-onion, beans, cabbage carrot, pumpkin and leeks, weighing 500g, was compared among retail stalls in Nattandiya, Kottawa, a supermarket at more..

Japanese investors to take 16% Asia Cap stake

Mar 31 (FT) Two Japanese investors are to take a 16% stake in Asia Capital for Rs. 383 million via a private placement. Asia Capital’s Board last week resolved to issue 21.329 million shares at Rs. 18 each. Shares amount to 16.3% stake post-private placement. Two Japanese investors are Y. Watanabe (11.54 million shares) and E. Watanabe (9.79 million shares). Asia Capital will use the funds raised via private placement to settle outstanding liabilities and for working capital purpose. more..

'Don’t ask for a presidential election till 2016'

Mar 31 (DM) President Rajapaksa told journalists that no presidential election would be held till 2016 at a meeting at D. A. Rajapaksa Maha Vidyalaya, Medamulana on March29. He said so after he and Mrs. Shiranthi Rajapaksa, and MP Namal Rajapaksa had cast their votes at the SPC election. He said that the people were taking intelligent decisions and, as a result, UPFA would gain landslide victories at PC elections. more..

Ensuring migrant workers’ security

Mar 31 (Island) Sri Lanka Economic Association (SLEA) has given serious attention to a recent report presented in Parliament revealing that the remains of a large number of housemaids were returned to Sri Lanka from Gulf States between January and October 2012. Minister for Foreign Employment Promotions has commented on the report but had not contradicted the figures presented. According to information, about 75% of the bodies were were of women below thirty years of age; more..

ICTA-initiated ‘e-land register’ bears fruit

Mar 31 (Island) People visiting the Nugegoda-Delkanda Land Registry for land title deed extracts can now obtain them in 30 minutes, says its Registrar, Mrs. Diluka Vithanachchi. "Earlier the public had to spend about two days for this purpose. They had to visit the Land Registry twice to obtain an extract. But, now they can obtain the extract within about half an hour on the very first day of their visit itself", she noted. This is because of the financial and technical support more..

'Unfair to compare with previous results'

Mar 31 (DM) UPFA said it was not fair to compare Saturday’s PC polls’ results with the 2009 results, to indicate that the UPFA had suffered a setback this time, Minister Dullas Alahapperuma said. He added that the 2009 PC polls in the two provinces were held under the euphoria of the war victory and the opposition was then in tatters and extremely weak. He said the govt was fully satisfied with the results of Saturday’s PC polls more..

No celebrations for one week

Mar 31 (Island) Police Elections Bureau Chief Senior DIG Gamini Navaratne yesterday said that political rallies, meetings, gatherings and celebration in the post election period would not be allowed for one week. Anyone contravening the election laws would be arrested irrespective of his social status or standing, he warned. "The elections were held in a very peaceful manner in most area and such an environment has to be continued during the post election period as well," more..

Gold smuggling: Hard task for Customs

Mar 31 (Hindu) The seizure of 34 kg of gold by the marine police of the Coastal Security Group (CSG) in February at Mandapam and 15 kg of gold by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) at Kannirajapuram, a coastal hamlet, near here on Saturday is a pointer to the ‘thriving smuggling activities’ in the coast line. But the Customs Preventive Units (CPUs) in the district are hardly equipped to meet the challenge. In both the cases, the gold biscuits were smuggled from SL more..

SF voting on Saturday: Polls Chief says nobody raised objections

Mar 31 (Island) Elections Chief Mahinda Deshapriya maintained that whether General Sarath Fonseka has his civic rights or not did not concern him. If the SLFP had had any objections to his voting its area politicians should have objected when the voter register in that area was put on public display, Deshapriya said. "Only if some one raises objections I can inquire and see whether he had registered in terms of Voter Registration more..

Dept. of Railways extends validity period of season tickets

Mar 31 (CT) The validity period of railway season tickets issued for public employees has been extended. Accordingly the validity period of the season tickets issued for public workers for the month of March 2014 has been extended for four days from the month of April. Normally season tickets issued were valid only for two days after the expiry date. But the Department of Railways said that this period has now been extended to four days. Accordingly, all public employees more..

Abstention louder than any vote

Mar 31 (Hindu) Sometimes, the loudest sound can emanate from the sidelines. At the UNHRC last week, India’s abstention vote — in a US sponsored resolution in the UNHRC against Sri Lanka for an international probe into alleged rights violations in the last leg of the civil war — was perhaps its boldest expression of external policy in recent years, signalling several shifts in decision-making in South Block. To begin with, the Indian decision corrects the aberrations of the past few years. more..

Govt.’s lackluster victory at PC polls

Mar 31 (CT) Reeling from the recent UNHRC defeat, the UPFA achieved a lackluster victory in the Western and Southern PC elections, and while the UNP managed to stick with its usual voter base, the leftist JVP under the new leadership, forged ahead. Main opposition, UNP yesterday said that the Western and Southern Provincial Council election results had indicated that the public are ready to make a regime change. more..

Rishad’s ACMC clinches surprise victory in WP elections

Mar 31 (FT) Political newcomer All Ceylon Makkal Congress (ACMC) bagged an immediate election victory in its first ever election tussle outside the North and East. “My party and I thank the people of the Colombo District for placing their confidence in us. This victory tells us that there is a need for change. The ACMC and I stress that we will do our best to fulfil this mandate given to us,” said Minister of Industry and Commerce and Leader of the ACMC Rishad Bathiudeen on 30 March. more..

Newark family avoids deportation to Sri Lanka for now

Mar 31 (NJ) Jennifer Anandarajah has made the most of her time in Newark. She was valedictorian in elementary school and continued to do well at Science Park High School, finishing in the top 20th percentile of her class. Last year she graduated with honors in English literature from Essex County College, and she’s been accepted at Rutgers-New Brunswick, where she wants to study literature. “They have such an amazing English department,” she said. more..

Countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America express their support

Mar 31 (IL) Sri Lanka’s efforts at achieving national reconciliation and significant progress in many spheres received support from countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America during the adoption of the resolution on 27 March and consideration of the High Commissioner's Report on Sri Lanka on 26 March at the UNHRC. China said “the international community must respect the right to choose one’s own path of development.” more..

Sri Lanka exploits India’s inefficiency to anchor subsea cable ambulance fleet

Mar 31 (LA) Asian countries, despite being located in the world’s largest landmass, are interconnected through submarine optical fiber cable networks. Ciena Corp. has found that a terrestrial cable gets cut in every 30 minutes and a submarine cable is damaged in every three days somewhere in the world. And the IT downtime costs more than $25 billion a year to the customers. Ability to rush maintenance crew ensures terrestrial cables’ lower downtime than its underwater counterpart. more..

Sri Lankan Tamil organisations regret India’s abstention

Mar 31 (Hindu) Several organisations of Sri Lankan Tamils living outside the country have expressed disappointment over India’s abstention at the UNHRC, where a U.S.-backed resolution was adopted on March 27. “India’s history of moral leadership and courage, coupled with its unique cultural and intellectual affinity with Eelam Tamils, makes its abstention and vote against the operative paragraph establishing an investigation deeply disappointing,” said a joint statement more..

Shan, Pasanda, Upul top preferential votes lists in Galle, Matara and H’tota

Mar 31 (Island) Son of Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena, Pasanda, who contested PC polls on the UPFA list secured the highest number of preferential votes the Matara District, while former Minister of the SPC topped the Hambantota District UPFA preferential vote count. Former UNP MP Justin Galappaththi’s son, Chathura, topped the Matara District UNP list and former councilor Tennakoon Nilame more..

Red Light for Govt

Mar 31 (DM) Shunned by the middle class and feted by the celebrity zealots the provincial polls on Saturday no doubt have gone to spoil the euphoric victory that the UPFA was planning to observe. Given the zest and zeal with which the urban and suburban voters have triggered a surge for the opposition- UNP, DP and the JVP despite their consecutive poll setbacks, is only indicative of a part of the frustration. The other is the absenteeism. If one is to go by the govt argument for Geneva more..

End of ideology and present political crisis

Mar 31 (DM) Sri Lanka, like many other ex-colonial countries in the developing world, was a hotbed of ideological debate around the time of decolonisation. Newly-formed political parties thrived on the sharpness of their ideological contestation against each other. In this country, political parties around the time of political independence followed three broad ideological positions, namely, liberal, socialist and ethno-nationalist. While the UNP displayed a broadly pro-market, more..

Post Geneva war begins

Mar 31 (SL) It was a session marred by allegations and counter allegations on Sri Lanka, but, in the end, resolution on SL submitted before the UNHRC was adopted, not before there was a bit of drama. The draft resolution submitted by the US and co-sponsored by 41 countries, including those who do not have voting rights in the Council, was adopted with 23 countries of the 47 member council voting for and 12 against while 12 abstained. more..

Tea production drops 10% in February

Mar 31 (LBO) Sri Lanka's tea production has dropped 10% to 22.4 million kilograms in Feb 2014 from a year earlier, and the March crop is also expected to be fall amid a drought, a tea brokerage has said. In February the high grown harvest was down 16%, the medium grown harvest by 9% and the low grown harvest by 8%. Most planting districts have seen drier weather in March 2014 coupled with intermittent showers and more..

Monks break up US-sponsored seminar for journalists

Mar 31 (ST) A journalist training programme — funded by an international NGO based in US – was abandoned on Friday after Buddhist monks disrupted it in the wake of the US-sponsored resolution against Sri Lanka in Geneva. The two-day in-house programme for 30 journalists was being held in Polonnaruwa on the theme of ‘search for peace’ when it was disrupted by the monks four hours after it began. more..

Some PC candidates spent nearly Rs. One hundred million each

Mar 31 (AD) It has been revealed that several candidates at the just concluded PC elections had spent over Rs. 50 million for their election campaigns. While this was disclosed during analytical discussions had with several prominent candidates who had contested and won the election, they also stated that there could be situations where some candidates could be believed to have spent nearly Rs. 100 million on more..

'No need to re-examine Khuram’s GF'

Mar 31 (DM) Highly placed sources at the Attorney General's Department said the decision not to re-examine the main witness in the Khuram Shaikh murder trial, Victoria Alexandrona was because there was no necessity to do so, as the witness faced cross examination competently. "We know how to prosecute and that's our job. The only need for re-examination comes if there is an uncertainty that arises in cross examination more..

UPFA plays down reduction in votes

Mar 31 (CG) UPFA today played down the loss of votes it suffered at the just concluded PC elections despite coming out victorious. SLFP General Secretary Maithripala Sirisena said that it is not practical to compare the votes the Govt received at the 2009 provincial council elections and the elections held on Saturday. He says in 2009 the conditions were different as it was at a time the Govt had defeated the LTTE more..

Video: People have opposed anti-peoples moves of the govt – JVP

Mar 31 (LT) The people in the country have attacked the anti-peoples agenda of the govt says the Leader of the JVP Anura Dissanayaka. He said, “We asked the people to make this election a turning point in politics of this country. They have given this signal. We asked the masses to contribute to move us to a higher position to raise a strong voice against atrocities carried out by the govt against the people. more..