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Sri Lanka faces up to wartime past after damning UN verdict

Sep 20 (AFP) Six years after the end of its bloody civil war, Sri Lanka this week took historic steps to confront its traumatic past -- but in the conflict-torn Tamil heartland of Jaffna, people are still searching for justice. A long-awaited report from the United Nations human rights office on Wednesday laid bare horrific wartime atrocities committed by both the army and the separatist Tamil Tiger rebels in the bitter 37-year war. more..

WAN urges need to tackle sexual violence

Sep 20 (SO) Women’s Action Network (WAN) has endorsed in full the OISL report presented to the UNHRC by the High Commissioner for Human Rights which has highlgithed the need to tackle sexual violence and contains a forceful call to end impunity. Statement read: “For years, WAN and other women’s groups from the north and the east have asked successive SL govts and the international community to investigate and address sexual violence against Tamil women during more..

Sri Lanka identifies childhood injury as fourth leading cause of child deaths

Sep 20 (GDI) In Sri Lanka, childhood injury has been identified as the fourth leading cause of death among children less than five years of age, Consultant Community Physician and National Programme Manager of the Maternal and Child Morbidity and Mortality Surveillance of Family Health Bureau Dr. Kapila Jayaratne said. "One in five hospital admissions (of children) are due to accidents. In 2012 around 23, 762 children in SL had been hospitalized due to dog bites. more..

Lanka fishermen reject talk offer by Indian counterparts

Sep 20 (PTI) Sri Lankan fishing community representatives here rejected a request by their Indian counterparts to visit them to discuss their issues, including poaching. V Sahadevan, a Sri Lankan fishing organisation official in Vavuniya, said they rejected the proposal since it will be a futile attempt. "When the PMs of the two countries could not sort out the problem, how can we fishing community representatives resolve," more..

Lanka Hospitals states its caseover non-release of patient’s body

Sep 20 (Island) Lanka Hospitals PLC issued a media release explaining its position over a case publicized last week where the body of a patient who had died following cardiac surgery had not been released to his family pending settlement of hospital charges. The CEO of the hospital said yesterday that the body was released on Thursday in the presence of the police following a court order for its release. The patent’s family had complained to the police about the non-release and more..

Dengue cases could soar with new breeding sites

Sep 20 (SO) Dengue Fever (DF) cases which up to Sept 2015 tumbled by ten-thousand compared to figures last year, could soar, resulting in another dengue epidemic, more severe than previous years under the prevailing weather conditions ideal for proliferating mosquito breeding sites, Chief Public Health Medical Officer CMC Dr Ruwan Wijemuni said. Noting that in the Colombo Municipal area the number of DF cases had reduced by 25% and deaths due to DF by 85%, compared to 2014, more..

Drug deal within court premises

Sep 20 (ST) A prisons officer and two guards were interdicted yesterday as a full probe was launched on how an international drug dealer in prison custody was allowed to meet an associate inside a detention cell in the Colombo Chief Magistrate’s court, Prisons Commissioner General said. The big drug dealer, Mohamed Siddique, a resident of Maradana, had been given a life sentence by an Indian court in 2001 for more..

Dates set for visit by UN group on missing

Sep 20 (CG) The UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances will visit Sri Lanka from 9 to 18 Nov. The Working Group made the announcement at the UNHRC which is meeting for its 30th session in Geneva. “We are very happy to announce the confirmation of our visit to Sri Lanka from 9 to 18 Nov” the UN Working Group said. The Working Group had made several requests to visit Sri Lanka but the former Govt did not agree on any dates. more..

Police probe laptop of suspect in child’s murder

Sep 20 (CG) The police are investigating the laptop used by one of the suspects involved in the murder of the 4 1/2 year old child in Kotadeniyawa. The police media unit said that pornographic materiel had been recovered from the laptop and it has been sent to the Colombo University in an attempt to gather more information on the data stored in the laptop. The DNA samples have been taken from the remains of the child, Seya Sadewmini and the suspects for further investigations. more..

With Tamil talisman, Jayalalithaa takes on DMK

Sep 20 (ENS) Cementing the Tamil political plank she occupied in 2009, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa continues to deny any breathing space to her bête noire and DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi. For too long, the old man of Gopalapuram was basking in the glory of his courtiers hailing him as the leader of the Tamils. And, it required a Jayalalithaa to demystify this with pro-Tamil groups acting as the perfect foil. more..

CID prepares reports on Lasantha, Prageeth

Sep 20 (SL) The police Criminal Investigations Department (CID) says it is preparing reports to hand over to President Maithripala Sirisena based on the investigations conducted into the murder of founding editor of The Sunday Leader Lasantha Wickremetunga and the disappearance of journalist Prageeth Eknaligoda. CID sources said that the reports are being compiled following instructions issued by President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. more..

Help Sri Lanka face the truth

Sep 20 (DC) Sri Lanka is facing the onerous task of not only ferreting out the truth behind the war against the LTTE but also ensuring all sections of its society are reconciled with it, however unpalatable the truth despite the passage of six years during which there has also been a major shift in the political firmament. Barbaric acts by both sides — SL in bombing its own citizens and hospitals and the LTTE in indiscriminate killing of leaders, including Tamils, Indian PM, cannot be wished away. more..

HRCSL going against capital punishment

Sep 20 (SL) Human Rights Commission of Sri Lankaa (HRCSL) has recommended to the govt not to implement capital punishment. President Maithripala Sirisena had on Friday publicly announced his expectation to implement capital punishment from next year if parliament gives the consent. Legal Secretary and Media Spokesman of the HRCSL Nimal Punchihewa said that implementation of capital punishment is not more..

Seya’s Grade 1 interview letter received

Sep 20 (DM) Seya Sadewmini, who had been sexually abused and murdered recently, had a letter addressed to her parents from the Minuwangoda Roman Catholic School inviting her for an interview for Grade one school admission. Parents of the victim had applied for school admission from the particular school before she was killed. In that letter the School principal had asked Seya and her parents to be present on Sept 28 at 10.30 am for 2016 new schools entrants. more..

DIG arrested over treasure hunting charges

Sep 20 (DM) DIG of Vavuniya Police U.K. Dissanayake had been remanded till September 23 after he surrendered to the Police last night, the Police said. DIG Dissanayake was allegedly involved in illegal treasure hunting in Vavuniya. He was remanded after being produced before the Colombo Fort Acting Magistrate. A Police investigation has been launched to arrest the DIG on charges of aiding and abetting a treasure hunt in Vavuniya three months ago. more..

Wimal wants a debate on UNHRC proposal

Sep 20 (DM) NFF Leader Wimal Weerawansa today handed over a proposal to the Speaker asking an urgent Parliamentary debate within next week on the UNHRC proposal to establish a Hybrid Court for proceedings on alleged war crimes. He said that he requested the Speaker to hold a debate in Parliament when it is assembled after Sept 22 regarding the issue. In the letter, he had alleged that govt had already agreed with more..

Delivering economic democracy will lead to controversy unless it is defined properly

Sep 21 (CT) The manifesto of the UNP has promised to deliver economic democracy to the people by widening the frontiers of the open economy policy being in place in Sri Lanka since the late 1970s. Political democracy has been enjoyed by Sri Lankans since independence in 1948 with the power to elect or oust govts at periodic elections. Many draw on Abraham Lincoln, the 16th US President, to describe what it is. Lincoln, battling a civil war, stressed to his fellow Americans more..

A jumbo chase, advice on advisers, and a rugby damsel

Sep 21 (SO) The Hoover province politico of appachchi mala fame, who recently entered the House on the Oya through its rear entrance, went to Kebiliththa last week to hold a special pooja, probably to thank his Gods for the backdoor ministerial appointment. In an interesting turn of events, he was prevented from entering the sacred area of Kebiliththa by none other than a wild elephant who kept blocking the path of the ministerial entourage. more..

Fishing in troubled waters

Sep 21 (SO) With nothing positive achieved over their decades-long poaching issue while India and Sri Lanka continue to engage over the issue of fishermen, the disconsolate northern fishermen hope to stage a massive protest and demonstration next Wednesday, in Jaffna. With repeated talks over the years having failed, agreements reached not honoured by the Indian side, SL fishermen had pinned much hope on more..

Goodbye Colombo or is it Hello?

Sep 21 (CT) The media informs us that the port city agreement has been extended for another six months. What does this mean? What will happen during this time period? Will it be to correct the shortcomings and produce a credible Impact Report or will it entail the restarting of physical work? If it is the former we can have some hope of justice, if it is latter it will be an act of great betrayal. In a sense the so-called Port City project serves as a litmus test of the new govt. more..

Another UN General Assembly talk fest begins

Sep 21 (SO) UNGA 70 formally commenced on Sept 15. In accordance with custom, it elected a new President, Denmark's Mogens Lykketoft, who has picked as the theme for his tenure as the President: The UN at 70 - A New Commitment to Action. An appropriate theme as this year's highlight, the Summit for the Adoption of the Post 2015 Development Agenda, will take place from Sept 25-27 just before the General Debate. The high levels segment of General Debate will commence more..

New head of Employers’ Federation looks to the future

Sep 21 (Island) Employers’ Federation of Ceylon (EFC) is the country’s premier employer organization with a history of 86 years and the mandate to decide on employment and labour law related policies on behalf of employers. Presently the EFC serves 600 direct members and 29 affiliated business chambers and associations through a team of experienced professionals who have specialized in Labour Law, Human Resources as well as more..

Hypocrisy or backing Indian deals: Will Pathfinder find the correct path?

Sep 21 (Island) The Pathfinder Foundation (PF) generally issues very useful analytical pieces on Sri Lanka's much needed economic reforms and promotes economic and other co-operations with countries with diametrically opposing political systems and foreign policies. Its latest opinion piece, Indo-Lanka Relations: Building Confidence and Boosting Bilateral Cooperation, which has been published in almost all English dailies, is however instigating the readers to wonder whether more..

Human Rights Chief’s compromise: Crossbred court probe for war sins

Sep 21 (ST) If the Lankan Govt had expected the worst from the UNHRC report this week then what it got was the best it could have hoped for in the circumstances: A crossbred court to probe Lanka’s alleged war crimes. Even though Minister Mangala Samaraweera pledged on Monday at the UNHRC sessions in Geneva that Lanka will tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the redeeming truth to a local Truth Commission and seek through truth and tears to achieve national reconciliation, more..

'Domestic mechanism requires Constitutional amendments'

Sep 21 (CT) When questioned by Ceylon Today, Minister of Justice Wijedasa Rajapakshe who was at the UNHRC meetings last week, whether the Govt will amend the Constitution to allow the proposed Hybrid Court to function in the country, said the govt would discuss the issue with political party leaders in Parliament. It is a matter to be taken up in Parliament, he opined. Q: How will Special Hybrid Court proposed by more..

An international probe hidden behind hybrid mechanism

Sep 21 (NS) If the newly elected govt headed by President Maithripala Sirisena and PM Ranil Wickremesinghe expected the on-going sessions of the UNHRC to be a resounding diplomatic victory for Sri Lanka, they must be disappointed. Initially, it appeared as if the stage was set for a reasonable compromise, with the new regime in Colombo re-establishing good relations with the United States which sponsored the resolutions against Sri Lanka at the UNHRC during previous years. more..

TRC, Hybrid Courts and Transparency

Sep 21 (NS) Processes are rarely perfect. They have their champions. They have their critics. Very rarely do mechanisms and structures created to address reconciliation achieve everything and anything they want to achieve. Those who commend one mechanism over another, then, are either myopic or silent to this truth. This is the case whatever the context is and whatever the aims of such structures are. Govt of Sri Lanka has over the years expressed its opinion of reconciliation. more..

Opinion expressed on UNHRC report

Sep 21 (SL) During recent times the topics of war crimes tribunals and electric chairs were widely discussed among the general public. It was all focused on the alleged human rights violations that are said to have been committed during the final phase of the war. Sri Lankan govt, the international community and the Tamil Diaspora each had their own separate opinions on the matter. more..

Rise of East Agro exhibition draw large crowds

Sep 21 (CT) An Agricultural exhibition under the theme of Rise of East organized by the Department of Agriculture drew a large crowd from all walks of life from various villages and towns in the Batticaloa District. The exhibition which was held at the Vantharumoolai Maha Vidyalaya, concluded on Saturday. The exhibition was aimed at encouraging the farmers, cultivators, dairy farmers, fishermen, and other small industrialists who are involved in handicrafts was opened by the Chief Minister more..

Geneva report: Role of UN and international community in Sri Lanka

Sep 21 (Island) To its credit, it was the US that initiated the international accountability process in Sri Lanka through the 2014 UNHRC resolution which called for an international investigation by the Office of the UN High Commissioner (OISL Report). That resolution was preceded by five years of failure of domestic accountability and deteriorating human rights and governance with impunity in violation of repeated commitments by the Sri Lankan govt, beginning with Joint Communique between more..

UNHRC Report: Consequence & challenges

Sep 21 (Island) The long awaited Report by the UNHRC on Sri Lanka has now been released. Its contents have grave implications for the destiny of our country, and it is therefore of the utmost importance that the public of Sri Lanka should be fully aware, at an early stage, of the nature and effect of the findings contained in this crucial document. Since informed public discussion transcending partisan political approaches is more..

Editorial: To be or knot to be

Sep 21 (Island) The crime rate continues to rise with no all-out effort being made to curb it. There are public protests against the recent murder of a 5-year-old girl. Whenever a savage crime is perpetrated against a child or a woman, all hell breaks loose in this manner but the public outcry fizzles out with the passage of time and nothing is done to address the root causes of the problem thereafter. All govts react to street protests against heinous crimes in a predictable manner. more..

On that hybrid court & other misconceptions

Sep 21 (ST) Even as Sri Lanka gradually recovers from the shock of Wednesday’s release of harsh (albeit fairly predictable) findings on systemic war time atrocities by a UN mandated panel, soothing murmurs indulged in by this Govt need to be taken with that proverbial pinch of salt. Indeed, some claims are more than a little ridiculous. President Maithripala Sirisena’s assertion that the report was not as bad as expected and that specific names of individuals were omitted because of more..

Sugar importers meet Ravi K

Sep 21 (FT) The Essential Food Commodities Association met Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake on 17 September to discuss the issues they might have to face due to the recent tax hike that was imposed on sugar imports. “The discussion with the Minister went on very well and he directed us to have a meeting with the Department of Trade, Tariff and Investment Policy Director General next week,” more..

Potato Chip Showdown: Darryl Francispillai finalist in national contest

Sep 21 (LR) Will Lay’s Butter Chicken flavour become a permanent fixture in Canadian supermarket shelves? Mississauga’s Darryl Francispillai hopes he will win-over Canadian taste buds with his Butter Chicken flavour, the Ontario finalist in a national Lay’s contest. He is one of four finalists selected from some 950,000 flavour submissions. The 33 year-old, who is getting married in November, says his fiancée is excited about the contest, he tells Lanka Reporter. more..

Colombo University to host Tourism Leaders’ Summit

Sep 21 (DN) Students of first batch the Executive Diploma In Tourism, Event and Hospitality Management (EDTEHM) of the University of Colombo, will host the Tourism Leaders Summit on Sept 25, concurrent to the World Tourism Day Celebrations, which falls on Sept 27. Themed Billion Tourists and Billion Opportunities in MICE Tourism and Sustainable Tourism in Sri Lanka, the Summit, will be held from 8.30am to 6pm at the BMICH. It will culminate with a cultural show, more..

Revenue central to Budget 2016: IMF

Sep 21 (FT) As the Govt puts together the nuts and bolts of Budget 2016 the IMF put the onus squarely on increasing revenue to create fiscal room for investment, growth and debt repayment, especially since Sri Lanka is likely to miss its 2015 deficit target. Winding up a staff mission to Sri Lanka on post-program monitoring, Todd Schneider insisted the new National Govt had a good opportunity to evaluate public revenue more..

Healing wounds in Sri Lanka

Sep 21 (SG) An impartial inquiry into the human rights abuses in the war against the LTTE in Sri Lanka in 2009, as demanded by the UN, will only be the first step toward accountability and reconciliation without which there will be neither peace nor stability in the island nation. In a long-awaited, nearly 300-page, report submitted, OHCHR accused both the govt and LTTE of atrocities, especially during the final stages of the war. UN estimates the number of Tamils killed in final army offensive at 40,000. more..

Britisher injured in scuffle with local man

Sep 21 (DM) A British national who got into a heated argument with a local was stabbed and had to be hospitalised. The Britisher, was thought to have been under the influence of alcohol at the time of the incident which occurred in a restaurant in Weligama. The British national had been drinking with his partner, a British woman, when the argument took place. The injured foreigner, whose condition was not thought to be serious, was receiving treatment at the Matara Hospital. more..

Stir over shuffle of Directors at Central Bank

Sep 21 (CT) Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) has had a sweeping mini- reshuffle effective from today, and has transferred its fifteen most senior Staff Class officers including Public Debt Superintendent C.M.D.N.K. Seneviratne and her Acting Deputy Dr. M.Z.M. Aazim, officers who supervised the recent controversial 30-year bond issue. CBSL also appointed S.H. Gunawardena (former Additional Superintendent/CRD) - as more..