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Ceramic goes Nano-tech

Sep 19 (NS) Sri Lanka’s ceramic industry is to introduce Nano technology for the first time and has commenced initiatives to develop Nano-engineered material into its production process, which is expected to cut down production cost drastically, industry officials said. The initial discussions pertaining to the shift towards Nano engineered materials has commenced between Sri Lanka’s leading ceramic manufacturer, more..

'Govt lacks political will to hold an inquiry'

Sep 19 (CT) Civil Society Organisations yesterday issuing a statement said the absence of credible domestic investigations into allegations against the security forces and the recent promotions of military officials implicated in serious violations of international law are troubling indicators of the present govt's lack of political will to hold security forces accountable for alleged war crimes. The communiqué said, "The Sri Lankan civil society activists and organisations welcome more..

Marija returns from injury to lead Sri Lanka in Thailand

Sep 19 (NS) Fazil Marija will lead the Sri Lankan national men’s Seven’s rugby team for the upcoming Asian Seven’s series second leg in Thailand on Sept 26 and 27. Regular captain Marija could not participate in the first leg in China due to an injury, where his absence was felt both as captain and player. Some new talented players of the calibre of CR & FC’s speedy three quarters Rochana Hettiarachchi, Kavindu Perera along with dashing forward Jason Dissanayake has more..

Verite Research detects potential slush fund in SL Treasury

Sep 19 (ST) In a startling revelation on Sri Lanka’s budgetary process, Verite Research, an independent think-tank based in Colombo, has detected a special allocation in the budget maintained under the National Budget of the Treasury that can be transferred to any other ministry. Executive Director of Verite Research (VR7), Nishan de Mel said what he called a potential slush fund can be transferred to cover more..

Govt to utilize Mattala airport to uplift the tourism industry

Sep 19 (GDI) Govt has taken steps to implement a programme to uplift the tourism industry which has been ranked as the second foreign income earning avenue to the country. Minister of Tourism Development and Christian Affairs John Amaratunga said that the industry will be improved using the Mattala Airport. Amaratunga pointed out that the Foreign Employment Division takes the foremost place among the foreign exchange earning avenues in the country. more..

International Conference on Hazardous materials begins in Colombo

Sep 19 (GDI) A two-day International Conference on Safe and Secure Management of Hazardous Materials (Hazmat) in Sri Lanka opened at the Hilton Hotel in Colombo on Thursday. Conference themed “A country sans the use of hazardous material, sustainable development and a virtuous country” was aimed at creating awareness for the top managements of private sector organizations about Safe and Secure Management of Hazardous materials. more..

Statement on the UNHRC report: ICG

Sep 19 (ICG) The release on 16 Sept of the long-awaited report by the OHCHR on its Sri Lanka investigation (OISL) is a dramatic advance that can help the country respond to its painful legacy of war. The report is a compelling examination of the abuses committed by all sides during the lengthy civil conflict and the steps required to pursue justice, accountability and reconciliation as part of democratic recovery. more..

SL’s laid-back and friendly southern coast

Sep 19 (SCMP) It is proving difficult to concentrate. A cocktail of adrenalin, astonishment and apprehension is leaving me intoxicated by my surroundings. Watching the road, however, should be the priority; I’m riding a motorbike in unpredictable traffic yet the sights flanking tarmac are demanding my attention – and often receive it. Waves are rolling in off the Indian Ocean, sending foam sliding across golden sand to the feet of tilted palm trees, where fishermen are resting. more..

Majority of judges in Hybrid Court should be non-Lankan: Tamil Civil Society

Sep 19 (ENS) Nine Civil Society organizations from Sri Lanka’s Tamil-speaking Northern and Eastern Provinces, have demanded that the hybrid Special Court recommended by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to go into war crimes charges, should have a majority of non-Sri Lankan judges and that it should be led by the UN. “The international component should be given pride of place and control over the domestic component in a hybrid mechanism for it to be deemed credible. more..

Duties & functions of ministers not yet gazetted

Sep 19 (NS) Gazette allocating Cabinet, State and Deputy Ministers their respective subjects, ministries and institutes is yet to be issued, despite it being over two weeks since the majority of Cabinet Ministers were sworn in. When contacted on Friday, an official at Department of Govt Printing confirmed they were yet to receive the gazette notification. Official said the department was unaware of when it would receive the gazette for printing. more..

SL under the microscope on Capitol Hill

Sep 19 (TD) The U.S. Congressional Caucus on Ethnic and Religious Freedom in Sri Lanka convened on Capitol Hill on Sept 17. This is a big month for the island nation and with the 30th session of the UNHRC underway, the timing of this event could hardly be more auspicious. The event featured a portion of a documentary film titled Sri Lanka: The Search for Justice and two panelists: Miriam Young (executive director at U.S. Counsel on SL) and John Sifton (Asia Advocacy Director at HRW). more..

The fine balance of hybrid courts

Sep 19 (Hindu) The report of the OHCHR Investigation on Sri Lanka (OISL) provides substantial confirmation that grave and horrific crimes were perpetrated in the course of the protracted civil war which ended in 2009. However, its authors take the precaution of calling it a human rights investigation rather than a criminal investigation, setting a boundary for its legal consequences: it requires a regular judicial process to fix criminal liability and more..

Families of the disappeared plead for justice in Geneva

Sep 19 (FT) Sri Lankan disappearances activists Sandhya Ekneligoda and Varthana Sunthararajah pleaded with the international community to support their struggle to find missing husbands on the sidelines of the 30th Session of the UNHRC yesterday. Both women, who spoke at a panel discussion organised by the International Movement Against all forms of Discrimination and Racism, said more..

Colombo HC issues notice on Lalith Weeratunge, Anusha Palpita

Sep 19 (DN) Colombo High Court Judge Kusala Weerawardene issued notice on former Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunge and former TRC Director General Anusha Palpita to appear before Court on Oct 7, with regard to the case of alleged misappropriation of TRC funds to the tune of Rs.600 million for a Sil Redi distribution programme. The officer-in-charge handling the case on behalf of the FCID has been instructed to be present in Courts on the same day. more..

NCC help to fight drug war

Sep 19 (DN) National Cadet Corps (NCC) will assist the National Anti-Narcotics Programme launched at schools, NCC Director Chandana Rajaguru said. He said cadets will make students aware about the dangers of drug. This decision was taken on a request by National Dangerous Drugs Control Board (NDDCB) Chairman Dr. Nilanga Samarasinghe. "We have no exact statistics about the number of students addicted to drugs. We fear that there is a rise in students addicted to drugs. more..

SL is not in an immediate BOP crisis: IMF

Sep 19 (EN) The International Monetary Fund is concerned over the deterioration of Sri Lanka's balance of payments over the past year, but the country is not an immediate BOP crisis, IMF mission chief to Sri Lanka, Tod Schneider said. "Objectively they are sitting on three months or more of foreign exchange reserves so right now, I would not say there is an immediate balance of payments crisis going on," Schneider said in Colombo. more..

TNA calls for reasonable, durable political solution

Sep 19 (Hindu) The Leader of Opposition in Parliament and the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) chief, R. Sampanthan, has said the Tamil question should be resolved “on the basis of what is happening in Geneva”. In his reaction to the publication of a report by the U.N. on human rights violations in Sri Lanka, Mr. Sampanthan told The Hindu: “On the basis of genuine reconciliation, there must be a just, reasonable, durable and workable political solution.” more..

Tortured Toronto man says he feels vindicated by UN report on Sri Lanka

Sep 19 (OC) Roy Samathanam was beaten with pipes and kicked in the groin after he was arrested by Sri Lanka’s Terrorism Investigation Division, but it was when they threatened to rape his wife that he broke and agreed to sign a false confession. On Wednesday, the Toronto resident said he felt a sense of vindication over a chilling report by the UN Human Rights Commissioner’s office into the torture and other abuses committed during the final stage of Sri Lanka’s long civil war. more..

Video: Gotabhaya hits out at UNHRC report

Sep 19 (DM) Defence Secretary Karunasena Hettiarachchi giving evidence before the Presidential Commission of Inquiry appointed to investigate serious acts of fraud, corruption and abuse of power, state resources, and privileges said today that the proper system had not been adopted with regard to the issuing of weapons to the Rakna Arakshaka Lanka Limited. Commission Secretary Lacille De Silva said more..

No clue yet on Seya's killer

Sep 19 (CT) CID has found no clue so far to identify suspects behind the gruesome rape and murder of 5-year-old Seya Sadewmi. SSP Jayakody said that even though police together with the CID had interrogated 20 to 25 individuals and had recorded statements regarding the crime, the authorities are no closer to identifying any possible leads into solving the case. Meanwhile, it was also reported that a 17-year-old schoolboy was taken in for questioning by the CID in this connection. more..

Two women cut ribbon meant for expressway opening

Sep 19 (DM) Two Mahara SLFP women’s association members were arrested after they were alleged to have forcibly cut the ribbon tied across the Kadawatha- Kaduwela expressway minutes before the official opening. The association’s president Sumana Jayasuriya and another woman who was with her were arrested by the Kadawatha police. They said while one of the women cut the ribbon the other woman was praising former president Mahinda Rajapaksa and displaying his poster. more..

President, PM set record straight on UNHRC move

Sep 19 (FT) The UNF Govt set the record straight over the final report of the UNHRC, released earlier this week, saying the heavily toned down document and recommended measures were a major victory for Sri Lanka though challenges remain to be addressed. In a bid to set the record straight and emphasise the positives of the Geneva report following some opposition politicians and biased analysts trying to mislead the country more..

Let speech promote harmony

Sep 19 (DM) With the new national unity govt headed by President Maithripala Sirisena and PM Ranil Wickremesinghe committed to building harmony and peaceful co-existence among communities in Sri Lanka it should be ensured that hate speech is not accommodated. After the general elections on Aug 17, and in a TV interview on state television on Thursday it was revealed that the govt was planning to first introduce mechanisms to prevent hate speech in parliament if speaker more..

Geneva report: A way out for Sri Lanka

Sep 19 (DM) The much feared report is now out and it says little in terms of any new allegations. Many an allegation found in the report prepared by a panel appointed by the Office of the Human Rights High Commissioner has, by and large, been already thrown at Sri Lanka by human rights groups such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. Even Sri Lanka’s very own LLRC has dealt with some of them, though not to the satisfaction of the international community, which is, more..

Daylight robbery of Barnes Place land?

Sep 19 (SL) Astonishing revelations have now come to light on the alleged involvement of the present top brass in the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) and some council members in what could be termed as a daylight land robbery. Land in question is said to belong to the CMC. CMC had seized an extent of 154.43 perches at No. 43, Barnes Place, Colombo 7 on Aug 20, 1973 under Section 261 and 262 of Municipal Councils more..

Ragging makes mockery of free education

Sep 19 (ST) It has been more than a week since Sajith was discharged from hospital after being severely beaten up by fellow students from his intake and senior batches but he still dreads the thought of returning to campus. Attack by at least 150 Student Union members of Institute of Indigenous Medicine (IIM) at Colombo University last week left six students, including two females, in National Hospital with severe injuries. more..

SL plays prominent role with war on tobacco

Sep 19 (ST) Sri Lanka played a prominent role when high-level health policy-makers of the South-East Asian Region (SEAR) met over five days of intensive consultations in Timor-Leste this week. The major outcomes of the deliberations spearheaded by World Health Organisation (WHO) are the adoption of six resolutions on priority areas and the Dili Declaration pledging to continue the war against tobacco epidemic gripping the region. more..

The comedy of errors

Sep 19 (SL) After the humiliating defeat of Mahinda Rajapaksa on Jan 8 this year, not only the Sri Lankans, but the international community also has had much expectation of President Sirisena and the govt appointed by him, that he and his govt would take tangible measures to take the country on a proper path and change the present status quo of the country. Both the country and the international community have been placed on the same more..

SL war crimes film shown at UN in Geneva

Sep 19 (CG) The new war crimes film on Sri Lanka from the makers of the No Fire Zone was screened at the UN building in Geneva today. The film Sri Lanka: The Search for Justice was hosted by Human Rights Watch. In his remarks to the audience Callum Macrae, director of the film, said that the report of the UN’s war crimes investigation on Sri Lanka is devastating and marks a turning point. more..

Hybrid Special Court to also investigate frauds under the cover of war: Govt

Sep 19 (Island) The proposed Hybrid Special Court to investigate allegations of human rights violations in Sri Lanka during the period between Feb 21, 2002 to May 19, 2009 against the then govt and the LTTE would also investigate frauds and corruption that had taken place under the cover of a raging war, govt said. Minister Rajitha Senaratne said that the Report on the probe conducted by the OHCHR had also called for more..

President participates Coastal Clean-up Day celebrations

Sep 19 (PSL) The national ceremony to mark International Coastal Clean-up Day which falls on the 3rd Saturday of September, was held under the patronage of President Sirisena today at the Galle Face Beach. Coastal Cleanup Day is dedicated to the improvement of beaches, coastal regions and surrounding areas throughout the world. It purports to be the largest volunteer event in the world, and has operated for over 26 years. more..

Opposition to hold seminars on UN war crimes probe

Sep 19 (Island) The National Freedom Front (NFF) plans to launch a special project next week to rally the masses against the UN led move to haul former President Rajapaksa as well as those who had commanded war winning troops before a hybrid court. NFF leader Wimal Weerawansa said that the party would hold a series of seminars commencing Sept 27. He said that a people’s movement was necessary to thwart more..

Premajayantha assures full facilities to scientists to plug brain drain

Sep 19 (Island) New Technology, Technical Education and Employment Minister Susil Premajayantha assured full facilities for Sri Lankan scientists to stop the brain-drain and obtain their services for the nation’s development. He revealed that around 262 Sri Lankan scientists were currently employed at the NASA and therefore it was an important task to stop the brain-drain and to improve the local facilities for scientists in the country. more..

Draft resolution notes PTA will be replaced

Sep 19 (CG) The draft text of the consensual resolution on Sri Lanka at the UNHRC notes that the Govt will repeal the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) and replace it with anti-terrorism legislation in line with contemporary international best practices. The draft text of the resolution, which will be tabled next week in Geneva, also urges the Govt of Sri Lanka to investigate all alleged attacks by individuals more..

M.H.M. Ashraff: The renaissance man

Sep 19 (CT) My late colleague -the renaissance man M.H.M. Ashraff – was a talented lawyer, articulate legislator and effective minister. He was also an accomplished poet, reciting poetry or quoting from literature at the drop of a hat. But more importantly he was a deeply humane man, who genuinely shed tears for the poor, the oppressed and the downtrodden. I first met Ashraff in 1993, just prior to the General Election, for a feast to mark a religious celebration. more..

OHCHR report a pathfinder to greater reconciliation

Sep 19 (CT) The much anticipated report of the Human Rights High Commissioner Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein has emphasized on the need of setting up a hybrid special Court to investigate into the alleged war crimes and human rights violations, which were believed to have been committed during the final phase of the civil strife between the years of 2002 and 2009 in the Island. The allegations with regard to war crimes and human rights violations in Sri Lanka surfaced when the OHCHR Chief more..

Face the Nation

International jurists spell instability

Sep 19 (CT) Minister Mangala Samaraweera said,Sri Lanka's relations with the UNHRC is not a pupil-teacher relationship, but a relationship between equal partners. He was speaking in the context of the UNHRC report released earlier this week which recommended an international legal panel to investigate alleged war crimes committed by the Govt of Sri Lanka (GoSL) and the LTTE during the eight year period from 2002 to 2009, during the war between these 2 protagonists, more..

Where from here, Mr. President?

Sep 19 (SL) It is heartening to note that President Maithripala Sirisena is talking confidently about my Govt completing its five-year full-term in office. At the swearing-in ceremony for State Ministers and Deputy Ministers, which put the size of his govt to levels closer to that of the historic high under predecessor Mahinda Rajapaksa, Maithri rightly and rightfully referred to his SLFP party founder S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike asking his adversaries of 1956 not to expect more..

Sri Lanka should not cut rates, but look at tightening ahead: IMF

Sep 19 (EN) Sri Lanka should not cut rate policy rate as core inflation is rising steadily and credit is expanding a high rates and authorities should look ahead at tightening policy, IMF mission chief to the country Todd Schneider said. Sri Lanka's low rates may have been justified by low inflation and slow credit in the past and was not necessarily inappropriate he said. "You are still in a very low inflation environment. more..