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Sri Lanka to brief UNHRC on war probe

Feb 20 (Xinhua) Sri Lanka's Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera will leave for Geneva next month to attend a high level segment of the UNHRC during which he will also have talks with UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Friday. Over 65 foreign ministers from around the world will participate in the High-Level Segment which is expected to be held on March 2, the statement added. more..

Over 100 kg of Kerala ganja found

Feb 20 (CT) Police Media Unit stated that a total of 102 kg of Kerala cannabis was found yesterday. A bulk of 101 kg Kerala cannabis was taken into police custody following a raid carried out in Ilavalai police division. Four suspects along with two trishaws and a Dimo Batta lorry used for the transportation of cannabis was taken into police custody. Suspects are residents of Galaha, Jaffana and Nochchiyagama. These suspects will be produced to Mallakam Magistrate more..

'Arrest MR's Ampara coordinator' - Protesters demand

Feb 20 (CT) A mass protest in the Ampara District yesterday demanded the arrest of former President Rajapaksa's Ampara District coordinator, Iniyaparathy alias K. Pushpakumar. The protesters accused Iniyaparathy of being responsible for the many disappearances of people in the district. They shouted slogans and carried banners. The protesters handed over a petition to the police officer in charge of the district, to arrest Iniyaparathy and launch an impartial investigation more..

Sri Lankan declines Indian offer of borderless fishing

Feb 20 (Island) Sri Lanka had declined an offer by India for borderless fishing between the two countries, it was revealed. Minister Rajitha Senaratne said that the proposal had been made during last week’s talks between Indian PM Narendra Modi and President Maithripala Sirisena. He said that when they complained about the disadvantage faced by the northern fisherman due to the frequent intrusions of South Indian fishing trawlers more..

JVP accuses Minister of protecting interests of previous regime

Feb 20 (Island) JVP MP Sunil Handunetti in Parliament accused the Media and Parliamentary Affairs Minister of the present govt of protecting interests and members of the previous govt when giving answers to queries on the journalists who had come under attack and faced harassment during the previous regime. MP said Minister Gayantha Karunathilake had answered in the negative when he was asked whether he was aware of a fundamental rights petition by owners of a website more..

'MR should speak to President if he wants to be next PM'

Feb 20 (AM) Minister Rajitha Senarathne said if Mahinda Rajapaksa wants to be the next Prime Minister, he should discuss the matter with President Maithripala Sirisena. Minister Senarathne said that Rajapaksa is still engaging in active politics as a Senior Advisory to the SLFP. “If he wants the post of Prime Minister he can discuss the matter with the President and compete in the general Election as the Prime Ministerial Candidate of the SLFP” the minister added. more..

Fasibility study on a FTA between Sri Lanka and B'desh completed

Feb 20 (GDI) Sri Lanka says a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Sri Lanka and Bangladesh could boost current levels of bilateral trade by seven-fold and such a FTA is in the works. Minister Rishad Bathiudeen revealed that feasibility studies on a FTA to identify ways and means of enhancing Sri Lanka and Bangladesh bilateral trade have been completed. Addressing an International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) workshop, he said the feasibility study on establishing more..

World Bank Vice President for SA region calls on President

Feb 20 (GDI) World Bank Vice President for South Asia Region, Ms Annette Dixon called on President Maithripala Sirisena today at the Presidential Secretariat. World Bank Vice President for South Asia Region, Ms Annette Dixon called on President Maithripala Sirisena Friday afternoon. She was accompanied by International Finance Corporation Director for Asia pacific, Mr Vivek Pathak, World Bank Country Director for Sri Lanka, Ms Francoise Clottes and Country Manager Adam Sack. more..

Opposition Leader queries what Mangala wrote to UNHRC

Feb 20 (Island) Opposition Leader Nimal Siripala de Silva demanded to know from the govt in Parliament whether the Minister of Foreign Affairs had, in a letter to the Head of the UNHRC, promised that the Govt of Sri Lanka would bring those accused of alleged war crimes before justice. Making a special statement, the Opposition Leader said that there were media reports, both national and international, in the recent past that Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera had requested more..

Sri Lanka enacts witness protection law before war crimes probe

Feb 20 (Reuters) Sri Lanka has adopted a witness protection law ahead of an investigation into suspected human rights abuses in a 26-year civil war which foreign governments have said is necessary for a reconciliation with ethnic minority Tamils. The UNHRC has separately investigated war crimes in the final stages of the war against Tamil separatists but this week it deferred its report, saying Colombo had shown a new willingness to open up to scrutiny. more..

Restoring balance

Feb 20 (Economist) For many Sri Lankans the most remarkable feature of Maithripala Sirisena’s four-day trip to India this week, his first as president after a stunningly unexpected election victory in January, was that he took a commercial flight. His predecessor, Mahinda Rajapaksa—who, with his family, had given the impression of intending to rule for the long run—usually poached an aircraft from the national fleet. The trip was intended to change perceptions in other ways, too. more..

Azath Salley rouses BBS anger

Feb 20 (CT) The Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) requested Islamic leaders to restrain Azath Salley before his 'barking' leads to a Sinhala Buddhist backlash. General Secretary of the BBS Galagodaaththe Gnanasara Thera made this request in response to National Executive Council member, Azath Salley's comments, regarding the Nugegoda rally last Wednesday, which was held to demand the return of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa to politics. Gnanasara Thera stated that his organization more..

Indian magazine's release: Police complaint against Lankan PM

Feb 20 (PTI) A Sinhala majority national group has lodged a police complaint against new Sri Lankan PM Ranil Wickremesinghe over his order to release the stock of the 30th anniversary issue of an Indian magazine that was seized for alleged breach of national security. Madille Pannaloka, General Secretary of the Sinhala majority nationalist group, said the complaint against Wickremesinghe has been lodged to police's terrorist investigation unit. more..

Understanding patriotism, nationalism & Sri Lankan Identity: A Reply to my critics

Feb 21 (CT) The thing about being 58 years old and having been to at least thirty countries, is that one becomes bemused at the attempts to lecture SL and Sri Lankans on patriotism and nationalism. From the ubiquitous US flag on porches to the carved names in the mairies (municipal headquarters, town halls really) of Paris of every soldier from the locality who died in every war fought by France (including inter-imperialist and colonial wars), you see patriotism and nationalism around you. more..

A tale of two Chief Justices: From process to principles – Part I

Feb 21 (GV) The declaration that Mohan Peiris’s appointment as Chief Justice was void ab initio (invalid from the beginning), and the subsequent reinstatement of Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake, raises many questions. What was the legal basis for these acts? Was the proper procedure followed in deciding that a legal basis existed? Or was this a case of the new govt mirroring the old, using force to remove an inconvenient judicial officer? Now that the tumult surrounding these events has died down, more..

'I warned MR against trusting astrologers'

Feb 21 (CT) Professor Carlo Fonseka says he did not have time to meet Mahinda Rajapaksa, but he sent a message via D.E.W. Gunasekara, urging him not to go for a presidential election on 8 January and not to trust Sumanadasa Abegunawardhana's auspicious times. "I said I don't mind the other reasons, but not astrology." Man is so developed now. But still myth has an impact on his life. Apart from the two major candidates more..

What was rising Mr. Jayatilleka?

Feb 21 (CT) I am still wondering what exactly was rising for Dayan Jayatilleka (DJ) to write about on Colombo Telegraph. DJ begins by citing lyrics from a song sung by the Catholic American singer Bruce Springstream. Song, ‘The Rising,’ is well-known but Bruce sang it in the context of the September 11 attacks by Islamic fundamentalists. It sent the message that the civilized world should not surrender at such horrible assaults. What on earth has this got to do in the current SL context? more..

Kuwait marks SL’s Independence Day

Feb 21 (FT) On the occasion of the 67th Anniversary of Independence, the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Kuwait organised a ceremony on 4 Feb at the Embassy premises in Jabriya. In the presence of a large gathering of Sri Lankans and other well wishers, the ceremony began with the hoisting of the national flag by the Charge d’ Affaires N.M.M. Anas followed by the singing of the national anthem. Two minutes silence was observed for the armed forces as a mark of respect for their sacrifices. more..

'JVP leaders betrayed the struggle'

Feb 21 (CT) DNA MP Ajith Kumara says the Frontline Socialist Party (FSP) is moving forward as a true left party that fulfils the aspirations of the people of Sri Lanka. Q: What is your party? A: I am actually a member of the JVP. In 2011, when the party split, my membership was suspended. But, the Court issued an injunction against it. The judgment is still pending. Officially, I am a member of JVP, but I am an active more..

Editorial: Striped vanity

Feb 21 (Island) Indian PM Narendra Modi’s luck seems to be running out fast. His slogans have ceased to impress the ordinary people and his party’s winning streak has apparently come to an end. As if the BJP’s ignominious loss at the recent Delhi state assembly polls were not enough, he has drawn heavy flak for a monogrammed pinstripe suit he wore during US President Barack Obama’s recent India tour. Modi’s suit intricately embroidered with his name in gold colour along the stripes more..

SL Tamils and the International Community

Feb 21 (Island) I wonder whether the Sri Lankan Tamils are in a unique position compared to other ethnic groups all over the world. They can be assured of the sympathy and support of their fellow Tamils in Tamil Nadu, though the extent of that sympathy and support can vary greatly over a period of time. That fact could mean that although the SL Tamils are a minority in the national context they are in a majority over the Sinhalese in the regional context. This is said to be one of the reasons more..

Colombo Fashion Forecast: Episode 4

Vijaya dispensed humanity to everyone he met

Feb 21 (CT) The day was exactly 16 February 1988. It was a time the UNP and the youth power of the JVP were in a bitter clash. The unexpected, shocking assassination was a matter for joy for some who were in sympathy with the youth revolt. The victim was Vijaya Kumarathunga who was enjoying the love of the entire country. The dream star of Sinhala cinema fell dead; his beautiful face shattered while the entire universe was silenced for a moment. more..

Pranab Mukherjee's mantra for internal as well as external reconciliation

Feb 21 (CT) What so hard for men to gain as friendship true? What so sure defence 'gainst all that foe can do? The above excerpt from Dr. Rev G.U. Pope's English translation of Thirukkural, a Tamil script which dates back to 200-800 AD by Saint Thiruvalluvar, highlights the true meaning of friendship and Indian President Pranab Mukherjee uttered the verses and explained its meaning in detail to Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena at the reception hosted at Rashtrapathi Bawan more..

'Alliance must get serious, work quickly and meet deadlines'

Feb 21 (FT) The incident he faced as State Minister of Higher Education regarding the removal of the UGC Head and Faizer Mustapha’s resignation as State Minister of Aviation will not negatively impact the 100-day program but is a wakeup call for the whole alliance to realise that it needs to be more serious, says Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha. He also noted that the alliance gave a specific deadline to people & there were very important pledges more..

Political principles and their practice in SL

Feb 21 (CT) Separation of Powers is a much misunderstood doctrine, and I fear that ignorance of the principle will lead to reform of the current Constitution in a disastrous manner. When there was a pledge to abolish the Executive Presidency, the more unsavoury elements in the UNP immediately declared that it would be replaced by an Executive Prime Ministership. That is an absurd idea, but I found even Jayampathy Wickremaratne dogmatically declaring that an Act was being more..

Melbourne marks SL’s Independence Day

Feb 21 (FT) Consulate General of Sri Lanka in Melbourne celebrated the 67th anniversary of Sri Lanka’s independence on 4 Feb, at an official ceremony held at St. Kilda Towers where the Sri Lankan Consulate General is located. This was followed by an event held at the Grand Reception Hall which was attended by over 650 guests drawn from the expatriate Sri Lankan community in Victoria, Commonwealth and State Govt MPs, senior govt officials, members of the Consular Corps more..

Colombo Design Market: A platform for creativity

Feb 21 (FT) Colombo Design Market has grown into a vibrant space where people from varying disciplines come together to be inspired, to get creative and to have a good time. The idea is simple: to provide a platform for local designers, artists, craftsmen and musicians to get out there and get noticed. Initially started with the aim of bringing the Sri Lankan online creative market to a physical place, the Colombo Design Market grew into more..

Right to Information to become a fundamental right in Sri Lanka

Feb 21 (FT) The Right to Information Bill, which will be presented in Parliament soon, will have constitutional status, Media Ministry Secretary Karu Paranawithana said on Thursday. He said the Bill is being drafted to enable the public to have access to information from public institutions and it is not about media freedom alone. “There are reservations with regard to national security concerns and aspects of privacy,” he pointed out. “Steps will be taken to introduce constitutional changes for this, more..

Japan-Sri Lanka Embassy in Tokyo celebrates 67th Independence Day

Feb 21 (FT) The 67th Anniversary of the Independence of Sri Lanka was held on Wednesday, 4 February at the Reiyukai Hall in Tokyo. The event which was organised by the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Tokyo was held with a large gathering of Sri Lankan expatriates in Japan. The official ceremony of the Independence Day celebrations was commenced with the hoisting of the National Flag accompanied by Magul Bera followed by the National Anthem. Religious observances were conducted by more..

Distressed Golden Key depositors look to Maithri

Feb 21 (FT) Golden Key Depositors called on the President to expedite the enforcement of existing court orders against former Chairman of the Ceylinco Group, Lalith Kotelawala and his wife Sicille Kotelawala. Subsequent to the Golden Key collapse, Kotelawala had been placed in remand having only been granted bail on the condition that he would commence immediate repayment of depositors upon his release. “We are not asking for a single rupee from the Govt. more..

Moles plans to extract more from his team

Feb 21 (CI) While more established cricket sides speak of fending away complacency against Associates, Afghanistan take nothing for granted. So rapid has been their advance up the cricketing defile, they might almost be expected to take a breather and enjoy the view at their first World Cup. Yet on their second day in New Zealand, there was palpable urgency. As next opponents Sri Lanka took a rest day on Friday, Afghanistan were focused and intense in the nets. more..

SL tourism urged to go for new branding

Feb 21 (Island) A veteran and one of the most successful hoteliers, tour operators and travel agents from the Maldives with a considerable stake in the hospitality industry in Sri Lanka and elsewhere said that there was a dire need for Sri Lanka's tourism product to re-position itself and go for new branding if the country was to become one of the top destinations in Asia. Sri Lanka had been stagnating as a destination for sometime though there had been much rhetoric and bragging more..

Sri Lanka reviews land transfer to China as port deal draws scrutiny

Feb 21 (Reuters) Sri Lanka is reconsidering the outright transfer of a parcel of land to China under a $1.5 billion port city deal signed by a previous govt, the energy minister said, amid concerns it could be used for Chinese naval activity. China's port and other infrastructure investments in Sri Lanka are under the scanner ever since former president Mahinda Rajapaksa lost power in an election last month. more..

Union Bank receives capital infusion of Rs 11.4 bn from Culture Financial Holdings

Feb 21 (Island) Union Bank of Colombo PLC (UBC) stated that 2014 marked a year of change in its 20 year history having received a significant capital infusion of Rs. 11.4 bn from Culture Financial Holdings, an affiliate of TPG, one of the largest private global investment firms. This investment is one of the largest FDIs to Sri Lanka in the recent times. UBC is well positioned for its next phase of growth with the highest Capital Adequacy Ratio of 41.47% in the industry. more..

Mankulam Police Division removed

Feb 21 (AM) Police Media Spokesperson SSP Ajith Rohana said that Mankulam police division which was opened in 2010 after the war, was removed. “Mankulam police station has been assigned to other divisions”, he said. Accordingly, the six police stations of Mankulam Police division has been assigned to Mullaitivu and Vavuniya Police divisions. With the removal of Mankulam Police Division the number of police divisions in the North - which earlier stood at 43 - now stands at 42. more..

JVP warns govt against delay in taking action

Feb 21 (LT) “43 days have gone by since this govt has been brought to power. No procedures have been taken within the 50 days of the 100 day programme of the govt regarding serious frauds and corruption committed during the previous regime. The JVP would take to the streets with the people if such procedures are intentionally delayed. We have already arranged an agitation opposite fort Railway Station on the 26th.” more..

‘SL refugees should not be forced to leave’

Feb 21 (Hindu) The Samam Kudimakkal Iyakkam, a Madurai-based human rights organisation, has appealed to the Union govt to sign the 1951 UN Convention Related to the Status of Refugees. In a resolution passed here on Friday, it said the govt should come out with a law on refugee rights. Thyagu, Editor, Tamil Desam, felt that discussions on refugees centred around only the facilities made available to them and not their rights. He wondered how the refugees could be sent back when more..

KP travel ban to stay

Feb 21 (DN) The Court of Appeal yesterday extended the Interim Order restraining LTTE arms procurer Kumaran Pathmanantha alias KP from leaving the country until Feb 26, 2015. At the outset, Solicitor General Suhadha Gamlath who appeared for the Attorney General moved court to extend the ban on KP for another week from yesterday as investigations were not being conducted. The Court of Appeal Bench accordingly extended the ban until February 26. more..

A Rs 10M CHOGM dinner

Feb 21 (CT) Rs 1,177,434,333 was spent, by the Ministry of Mass Media and Information, on publicity and media coverage, in relation to the CHOGM in 2013. This was revealed in Parliament. It was also revealed that a colossal sum of Rs 10 million was spent on a dinner for journalists. Accordingly, the funds, allocated through Treasury grants, were spent under nine categories, which were; for construction and maintenance of more..