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Geneva and a developing axis

Apr 1 (CT) There are two events taking place in the first half of this year which are seen to have a major impact on the destiny of the Tamils of Sri Lanka. The UNHRC Resolution for an International Inquiry into happenings in Sri Lanka is one. A tectonic shift in the power equation in India is the other. The first envisages a probe of serious human rights violations. The second, why tectonic? For once since 1984, a single National Party; BJP is getting close to an absolute majority. more..

Noise pollution and religion

Apr 1 (NS) Dear respected scholars from different religions in Sri Lanka, I am writing this open letter to you seeking a religious verdict on an important issue that has grave ramification for a lot of people - use of loudspeakers in religious premises. I think you have a responsibility to publicly state your respective religion’s positions on this matter. I have a feeling that you may be acting against your religion’s injunction when you use loudspeakers. First of all, issuing a religious verdict on an issue more..

Colombo and suburbs: Transformation swift and awe-inspiring

Apr 1 (SO) All Governmental institutions work according to a Budget each fiscal year. From time immemorial departments of state institutions prepare relevant budgets for the ensuing year, allocating funds for different activities within their respective institutions. Some institutions earn revenue by providing services to the public and conversely some provide services, sans revenue! Governmental Institutions who serve and more..

UNHRC resolutions and the politics of discomfiture

Apr 1 (NS) For Sri Lanka, the only relevant resolution at this year’s UNHRC sessions is the one tabled by the USA. It is relevant because it was on (read ‘against’) Sri Lanka. If, however, the world is serious about the UNHRC and therefore whatever resolutions are tabled, voted on, adopted or rejected, then we would see decent coverage in the international media. Something seems to have happened in the world of media, or rather the big name media houses in the West, as well as more..

Mandates of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

Apr 1 (Island) Paragraph 10 and 10 (b) of the US-proposed UN Resolution A/HRC /25/L.I/Rev.1 that was passed in Geneva on March 27, 2014, "requests the Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights (OHCHR): (b) To undertake a comprehensive investigation into alleged serious violations and abuses of human rights and related crimes by both parties in Sri Lanka during the period covered by the LLRC and to establish the facts and circumstances of such alleged violations and more..

'Govt hoodwinking the masses on state of economy'

Apr 1 (CT) Govt says the economy is doing great and it has statistics to prove it, but JVP leader, Anura Kumara Dissanayake, says that all such declarations are false as the Govt is heavily in debt and all facts indicate that the economy is heading for a 'domino effect', where at one point all the tiles collapse in sequence leading to total collapse. Q: Central Bank says that the cost of living has decreased but you say that more..

Siri gets ambitious

Apr 1 (CT) It is now exposed that the President of the Editor's Guild, Lankadeepa Editor-in-Chief Siri Ranasinghe has directly engaged in the development work of the govt. He went to inspect the development progress in Deiyandara in the Hakmana electorate with Minister Dallus Alahapperuma amidst elections. At a meeting, Dallus publicly said that Siri Ranasinghe had met him at the Ministry demanding allocations for the development work in Southern Province. more..

‘No Action’ motion that failed in Geneva

Apr 1 (CT) President Rajapaksa received a telephone call on his hotline last Monday. The caller was the well known NGO activist Kumar Rupasinghe. Rupasinghe told the President that a situation very unfavourable for Sri Lanka was developing in Geneva adding that he wished to discuss the matter without delay. President immediately gave an appointment to Rupasinghe to see him at Temple Trees on the following Wednesday. more..

Boston Lanka: April 01, 2014

Election victory provides space to govt. to deal with Geneva resolution

Apr 1 (Island) Once again the govt swept to a comfortable victory at the PC elections far outstripping its main rival, UNP, by huge margins virtually everywhere except for Colombo city where the ethnic and religious minority vote predominates. Both provinces that the govt retained control over are important ones. Western Province, which includes Colombo, is the most populous and prosperous one by far, accounting for over a quarter of the country’s population and a half of its more..

Fishy politics in Palk Bay

Apr 1 (CT) Domestic politics in Lanka and imminent Parliamentary elections in India have brought into sharp focus the issue of fishing in Palk Bay. The Govt in Colombo seems unable to reconcile itself to conceding a role for the TNA controlled NPC in dealing with India on this issue; only Ministers from Delhi, Colombo and Chennai, Tamil Nadu State and not the NPC have met on this issue. Recently a group of Lankan fishers from the Jaffna Peninsula met with their counterparts from TN, more..

Money, money in a rich man's world...

Apr 1 (SO) Crisp 5000 rupee notes neatly packed in two parcels …a smile lights up her face. “This is the profit, I earned for my investment. Fortunately, I invested my money without busting it up” . These were the thoughts flitting through her mind. “I must deposit this money in a bank. It is not safe to keep this amount of money at home” she thought and made a beeline to her bank. She waited patiently at the Bank's counter after more..

Herath flummoxes Taylor

Apr 1 (CI) Having made a brisk start, Kusal Perera's shock at wrongly being given out caught down the leg side for the second time in as many matches was expressed with a bout of furious head-shaking that almost outstripped his rate of scoring. From the moment the umpire's finger was raised, until he exited the field, it almost seemed as if Kusal was watching two tennis players at the net. What's more, it was infectious. Incoming batsman Mahela Jayawardene approached the square in more..

New Zealand blindsided as spin takes hold

Apr 1 (CI) When Brendon McCullum skipped towards Rangana Herath and aimed a scything blow down the ground, it carried the intent of a team's star player embossing his mark on the game. What followed certainly set the tone. Unfortunately for New Zealand, it was Herath who turned out to be the match-winner. Herath had already executed a run-out off his own bowling when McCullum arrived at the crease. New Zealand's captain defended a couple before Herath's fifth delivery went on more..

More to Herath than meets the eye

Apr 1 (CI) Mystery has ruled spin bowling in the Twenty20 age. Short-format slow bowlers are no longer measured by how far they can spin the ball, but in how many directions. As the Sunil Narines and Saeed Ajmals of the world leave batsmen groping open-mouthed in their wake, the likes of Ravichandran Ashwin wonder if they are not being too square. Orthodoxy still works, but this new stuff is dynamite. more..

Editorial: Friends!

Apr 1 (Island) US Ambassador in Colombo Michele J. Sison has claimed that the recently adopted US-backed Geneva resolution is not against Sri Lanka. It was undertaken in recognition of the resilience shown by Sri Lankans following years of conflict and their yearning for democracy and prosperity, she has said. US maintains that it has done so as a friend of Sri Lanka! If that resolution is not against Sri Lanka as the US envoy claims how come LTTE sympathisers including some TN politicians more..

Tokyo Cement in unique coral conservation CSR at Passikudah

Apr 1 (DN) Tokyo Cement launched yet another striking Corporate Social Responsibly initiative in the Passikudah seas in a bid to regenerate the lost coral population in the country. The programme was spearheaded by Praveen Gnanam, Special Pojects Coordinator, Tokyo Cement with Supermix staff, from the readymix concrete batching plants, in Mahiyangana, Jaffna, Anuradhapura, Kandy, Kadawatha, Negombo, Biyagama, Trincomalee, Peliyagoda and Elpitya. more..

EU Mission to assist Sri Lanka in improving spices exports

Apr 1 (ST) The European Union (EU) Mission has expressed willingness to assist Sri Lanka in improving the export of spices to EU countries amidst increasing consumption of ethnic foods in those countries. Head of Mission, EU, David Daly said, “the usage of spices and herbs by consumers in the EU is increasing because these products are appreciated as completely natural ingredients, rather than artificial additives”. more..

NDB raises US$125mn with IFC backing

Apr 1 (LBO) International Finance Corporation, a World Bank unit has helped syndicated a 125 million US dollar loan for Sri Lanka's NDB Bank with a further 70 million US dollars to be provided by June 2014. IFC itself has provided 20 million US dollars. Union National Bank, UAE had provided 25 million; HSBC, 25 million, Standard Chartered 20 million; Axis Bank, India 15 million, Doha Bank, Qatar 10 million and Bank Muscat, Oman 10 million dollars, IFC and NDB said in a joint statement. more..

UN vote on Sri Lanka

Apr 1 (TS) Human rights issues have long been a thorn in Sri Lanka’s flesh. For some decades now relations between the majority Sinhala and the minority Tamil populations have been under strain. This eventually resulted in a full-blown insurgency, one of the most dangerous and ruthless of recent times, that took a vast toll of blood. That insurgency has been finally crushed only a few years ago but its aftermath is still to be assimilated. Sri Lanka Govt has been accused of strong-arm methods more..

Australia delivers first Bay Class patrol vessel to Sri Lanka

Apr 1 (SLN) At a ceremony attended by Commander of the Navy, Vice Admiral Jayanath Colombage, Sri Lanka Navy took delivery of the first Australian Bay Class patrol vessel in Cairns Australia on 29th March 2014. The flag transfer ceremony, which marked the passing of responsibility, authority and accountability of command of the vessel from one Flag state to another, took place in the presence of more..

Drought affects over 87,000 families in Anuradhapura

Apr 1 (DN) Over 87,000 families have been affected due to the drought in the Anuradhapura district, GA said. 43,320 families have been badly affected while 2,6671 families are facing medium scale cultivation damage. He said in consultation with the authorities, steps have been taken to provide relief to affected families. "It has been planned to use the man power of these families to attend to minor repairs to tanks, irrigation canals, anicuts and agriculture roads in the rural areas. more..

Colombo Uni Arts and Education faculties reopen after New Year

Apr 1 (CT) The Arts and Education Faculties of the Colombo University, which were closed following student clashes, nearly a week ago, will reopen after the Sinhala and Tamil New Year, the UGC said. UGC Chairperson Professor Kshanika Hirimburegama said that the faculties which were closed towards the latter end of March will be reopened 'very soon' for the fourth year undergraduates. Meanwhile, the new batch of students who have been enrolled for this year more..

Rising number of housemaid deaths alarms Sri Lanka

Apr 1 (AN) SL govt is showing grave concern about the large number of housemaid deaths in the Gulf countries where they come to work as domestic helps in households. The Sri Lanka Economic Association (SLEA) has given serious attention to a recent report presented in Parliament which revealed that a large number of dead bodies and remains were returned to Sri Lanka from the Gulf States between Jan and Oct 2012. more..

Dawoodi Bohra Community spiritual leader in town

Apr 1 (FT) Spiritual Head of the lnternational Dawoodi Bohra Community His Holiness Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin arrived in Colombo on Monday for a short visit in the island. This is the first visit by His Holiness after he became the 53rd Dai-ul-Mutlaq, after the sad demise of his father and previous Spiritual Leader Dr. Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin. Dr. Syedna Burhanuddin who visited Sri Lanka several times during his leadership and maintained strong ties with President more..

Anuradhapura water supply projects to benefit thousands

Apr 1 (DN) Plans are afoot to provide a permanent solution to the acute shortage of drinking water in the Anuradhapura district by accelerating the construction of water supply schemes such as Anuradhapura North, Anuradhapura South, Maha Wilachchiya, Galenbindunuwewa, Thambuttegama, Pallugaswewa and Eppawala. These will be carried out by the Water Supply and Drainage Board. Meanwhile, the construction work of the Medirigiriya water scheme costing Rs. 8,000 million more..

'I will set Kolonnawa on the right path'

Apr 1 (DM) Hirunika Premachandra polled the highest number of preferential votes of the UPFA in Colombo District, with more than 130,000 preferences. She vowed today that she would use her victory and her position to set Kolonnawa Electorate on the right path. She said she had many other plans lined up for the future in order to serve the public. “Everyone knows that Kolonnawa Electorate is the most corrupt in Colombo District, more..

Sri Lanka: Living in fear of the white vans

Apr 1 (M&G) The arrest on terrorism charges this week of two well-known human rights activists in Sri Lanka has sent ripples of fear through those who work for justice on the island, even though the two men were subsequently released. It was the timing, happening just days before the UNHRC votes on whether or not to hold Sri Lanka accountable for grave violations of international law during the final phase of the conflict in 2008-2009. An investigative mechanism under the office of more..

Interdicted DIG Vas indicted in High Court

Apr 1 (Island) A High Court Trial-at-Bar yesterday served indictment on interdicted DIG of Police Vas Gunawardena and five others charged with the conspiracy to murder abduction, murder and aiding and abetting in the murder of businessman Shyam of Colombo. Trial-at-Bar consists of High Court Judges Rohini Walgma, Lalith Jayasuriya and Leon Seneviratne. Order on the application for bail was fixed for May 6 and trial was fixed for June 6. Counsel Lal Gooneratne appeared for Vas more..

SF calls Polls Chief puppet made of hay

Apr 1 (Island) The Democratic Party (DP) said it was satisfied with its performance at Saturday’s PC polls as a one–year–old party. DP leader Gen. Sarath Fonseka said that his candidates had not been allowed to campaign freely in the Hambantota District, the home base of President Rajapaksa, but they had managed to secure nearly 10,000 votes. "The govt did not allow us to hold any rally in the Hambantota District, while more..

Malaysia’s Dialog Axiata rings fresh $ 115 m investment

Apr 1 (FT) Lanka’s largest foreign direct investor, Dialog Axiata, enhanced its commitment to the development of the nation’s ICT infrastructure, penning agreements with the BoI last week to invest a further Rs. 15 billion to expand its nationwide telecommunications networks and digital satellite television services. A member of the Axiata Group Berhad, Dialog Axiata and its fully-owned subsidiary, Dialog Television. will invest $ 115 million to facilitate expansion of multi-faceted ICT more..

Case of sexual abuse: German woman identifies suspect

Apr 1 (DM) The 25 year-old German woman, who was allegedly sexually abused by a young businessman recently, identified the suspect at an identification parade held at Colombo Magistrate’s Court today. The suspect was remanded until April 4 by Colombo Additional Magistrate Mohammed Shabdeen. The German woman, who was allegedly under the influence of liquor at a nightclub in a star class hotel in Colombo, had allegedly been taken to a house in Bambalapitiya and abused more..

Authorities ‘tinkering’ with healthcare degree programmes: student activists

Apr 1 (Island) Student activists of Allied Health Services faculties of six universities engaged in a protest in Fort said that moves were afoot to reduce the duration of their degree programme, which could deprive them of the opportunity of acquiring all the necessary skills for their professions. Such a measure, they said, wouldn’t be necessary if adequate funds were made available for this field, and a proper decision making more..

UK Foreign Secretary William Hague updates parliament on the UNHRC resolution

Apr 1 (FCO) Further to my written Ministerial statement of 18 March, UNHRC passed a resolution on Sri Lanka on 27 March. This resolution calls for an international investigation into allegations of violations and abuses of international law on both sides during the civil war, and for progress on reconciliation, human rights and a political settlement. British Govt is pleased with this outcome and strongly believes that it was the right decision. My right Honourable friend Prime Minister more..

Ballot paper marked for JVP found

Apr 1 (CT) A ballot paper, on which the JVP bell symbol was marked as the vote, was found discarded at the Richard Pathirana Maha Vidyalaya polling booth, at Uluvitike, Akmeemana in Galle yesterday. Galle District, Deputy Elections Commissioner A.B.I. de Silva and reported the incident. Police, in collaboration with the Galle District Elections Commission, are investigating. The JVP Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake, affirming the incident, expressed his discontent upon more..

Sri Lanka bans LTTE fronts

Apr 1 (DBS) Sri Lankan Govt has in a decisive move with far reaching implications proscribed as foreign terrorist entities several overseas organizations suspected of being fronts of the LTTE. The Govt of Sri Lanka against which a US sponsored resolution was passed by the UNHRC last week has now banned several organizations functioning abroad as “foreign terrorist” utilising the UN Security Council Resolution 1373 which more..

Ban sale of cigarettes to anyone born in this century

Apr 1 (DM) Setting an enlightened example to Sri Lanka, British doctors have called for a permanent ban on selling cigarettes to anyone born in this century in a bid to eradicate smoking from Britain entirely. According to the Daily Mail newspaper the radical plan would see the age limit for buying tobacco - currently set at 18 - rise every year until the last cigarette smokers die out, at which point smoking would be illegal for everyone. Doctors have asked the powerful British Medical more..

Getting the act together

Apr 1 (DM) With all the controversy surrounding the continuing entry of women from the entertainment industry, including several actresses and at least one pop singer, into politics, a comment by the chairperson of a leading women’s organisation, published in a Sunday Sinhala newspaper, caught my attention. While pointing out to a basic contradiction in seeing ‘actresses as women and women as actresses’ (in the context of women’s representation in politics), she proceeds more..

'Geneva was not a debacle'

Apr 1 (DM) Minister of External Affairs, G.L Peiris rejected the notion that the recent resolution against Sri Lanka passed by the UNHRC was in fact a debacle. He defended the conduct of the Sri Lankan missions overseas and asserted that the resolution was not driven by reason and logic. Instead the Minister said that other political considerations played a pivotal role in the passing of the resolution. more..

UNHRC takes ‘global war’ to the ground, spreads discontent all round

Apr 1 (SL) At the end of the day, it’s Pyrrhic victory at best for the Anglo-American authors of UNHRC-3 resolution against Sri Lanka. While the resolution that satisfied none – possibly starting with the movers and shakers of the world that the US and Europe think they are – managed to muster 23 votes, those ‘not in favour’ added up to a higher 24, comprising 12 against and 12 ‘abstentions’. Be it ‘against’ voters, abstentions or their total, more..