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Iran ready to support Lanka at UNHRC sessions

Feb 16 (SO) Iran is ready to extend its fullest support to Sri Lanka during the UNHRC sessions in Geneva, Special Representative of Iran’s Spiritual head Ghazi Askar said. He said that USA and its allies which launch merciless attacks on other countries are talking about human rights violations. They commit crimes and point their finger against others. He told the media, that the United States of America levels allegations on others while being the prime human rights violator in the world. more..

Pillay’s bombshell report corners Rajapaksa regime

Feb 16 (ST) A damning 20-page report from UN Human Rights High Commissioner Navi Pillay became the subject of close scrutiny by the UPFA Govt this week. Pillay’s office urged the Govt, as is the practice, to respond to the contents of this 74-point report — the precursor to the US backed latest resolution on Sri Lanka next month — within a week. External Affairs Ministry (EAM), which co-ordinated the point by point more..

India’s ‘perfect’ diplomacy

Feb 16 (CT) India is once again playing a very 'diplomatic' game. Displaying its mastery in the craft of diplomacy, the giant neighbour is indeed showing 'little brother' Sri Lanka how to conduct itself in the deeply layered arena of international relations. If only our so-called political pundits and unapologetic sycophants would deign to get off their one-dimensional track and give serious ear to the 'Indian' way of conducting matters that are beyond our shores and beyond our control, more..

Executive Presidency: Single Issue or Non-Issue?

Feb 16 (Island) The law of presidential terms seems to work in funny ways in Sri Lanka. A limited term system usually turns an incumbent into a lame duck in his final term. President Rajapaksa’s unlimited term seems to have turned him into a permanent lame duck, but more in its executive sense than in its political sense. Mahinda Rajapaksa is presiding over a govt that is abusing its power even to the extent of trying to change the intent of legislation through extraordinarily surreptitious more..

Hitech lab to track down criminals

Feb 16 (SO) Genetech, Sri Lanka’s foremost research institute will expand its DNA profiles on criminals significantly to expedite the arrest of crime suspects. “We have around 3,500 profiles of those who have committed various crimes in the past 14 years. We hope to expand this to over 10,000 in the near future, as we now have an established laboratory for the purpose”, Senior Scientist and Head of Molecular Forensics more..

Mavai rubbishes Wiggie

Feb 16 (NS) TNA has reiterated its position that it wanted a solution through a federal model, contradicting Northern Province CM, C.V. Wigneswaran’s statements that Tamils should not expect 100% power sharing. Wigneswaran said he was willing to settle for something less than a federal system, a view that is in total contrast of the TNA that has been calling for maximum power devolution under a united Sri Lanka. more..

DMK seeks referendum for political solution to Sri Lankan Tamils

Feb 16 (Hindu) The 10th State conference of the DMK on Sunday urged the Indian govt to move a resolution in the UNHRC seeking referendum among the Sri Lankan to facilitate a political solution preferred by them. A resolution adopted in the meeting said India should insist on a referendum under the supervision of the United Nations and an international inquiry into the alleged war crimes in the last phase of war more..

Golden Key optimistic of making 41% cash payout to depositors

Feb 16 (Island) In what appears to be a silver lining, a possible cash payout of 41% of the holdings of Golden Key (GK) depositors is on the cards following the transfer of Ceylinco Group assets worth billions of the rupees to the GK Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) in terms of the Supreme Court order. The biggest anticipated cash inflow of around Rs. 3.5 billion will come from the sale of a parcel of 2.28 million, high-value shares more..

Australian war crimes Study Bogus

Feb 16 (NS) Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC), the Australian NGO who carried out a study on alleged war crimes in Sri Lanka during the final phase of war, has ducked media queries over ‘quantity’, transparency and accuracy of its research. Asian Mirror a news website based in Sri Lanka has already sent two questionnaires to the Australian NGO seeking more details about the mechanism of the study. more..

Narada won’t go despite concerns

Feb 16 (ST) Narada Dissanayake, elder son of Higher Education Minister S. B. Dissanayake, is to continue to hold the post as the secretary of the Quality Assurance and Accreditation Committee established by the Higher Education Ministry. The appointment has caused concern in many quarters after the Sunday Times exposed it last week. However, Higher Education Ministry Secretary Sunil Nawaratne defended more..

Gamani Corea leaves estate exceeding Rs. 1.5 billion

Feb 16 (ST) The late Dr. Gamani Corea, one of Sri Lanka’s best known economists of yesteryear and one time Secretary General of UNCTAD (United Nations Conference on Trade and Development) has left an estate exceeding Rs. 1.5 billion (Rs 1,500 million) in his last will and testament.Dr. Corea passed away on Nov 3, last year, the day before his 88th birthday. His estate includes several assets both in SL and Switzerland. more..

Controversial gazette not withdrawn yet GMOA charges ministry dragging feet

Feb 16 (NS) The controversial Extraordinary Gazette notification that unions claim gives private universities license to operate without obtaining verification from professional bodies, is yet to be withdrawn by the Govt despite President Rajapaksa’s order to do so last week. GMOA yesterday charged that the Higher Education Ministry was engaged in delaying tactics in withdrawing the Gazette, which has now more..

India may vote against Sri Lanka yet again!

Feb 16 (Island) India is most likely to vote against Sri Lanka when its human rights record comes up for evaluation before the UNHRC in March. This was hinted at by a senior govt official who asked not to be identified. Sri Lanka had an opportunity to highlight elections to the Tamil-majority Northern Province as one concrete attempt at political reconciliation. But Colombo seems to have "squandered it by locking horns" more..

UN seeks foreign probe of SL war crimes

Feb 16 (AFP) The United Nations' human rights chief has recommended an international investigation into war crimes committed in Sri Lanka during the final stages of its Tamil separatist conflict, a report said. Navi Pillay has asked the UNHRC to set up an independent probe, saying that Colombo "consistently failed to establish the truth" and ensure accountability for the atrocities, despite repeated calls. more..

New code of sports guidelines to come into force

Feb 16 (SO) The Ministry of Education has issued a special code of guidelines to school heads countrywide with regard to the sports-meets and sports training programs safely in the future. Anura Dissanayake, secretary to the Ministry of Education in this code of guidelines to school principals has emphasised that sports teachers, PTIs and coaches should be with their trainees as long as the training sessions are held to ensure the safety of students. Several unfortunate incidents have been more..

Engagement with Diaspora, accelerated provincial development: The way forward

Feb 16 (CT) Honourable Chairperson, distinguished guests, my dear brothers and sisters! I am indeed flattered that the SL academia, under the leadership provided by the UGC, has thought it fit to invite me today to deliver the keynote address on “Accelerated Provincial Development – The Way Forward”. I am mindful that there is probably more value ascribed to my career of barely half a year as a politician than my career of half a century in the legal profession or quarter century as a judge! more..

Celebrations of 66th Independence Day of Sri Lanka in South Korea

Feb 16 (IL) On the morning of February 4th, staff of the Sri Lanka Embassy gathered on the Embassy premises, braving frigid temperatures of around -5C, to celebrate Sri Lanka's independence. Ambassador Tissa Wijeratne first unfurled the national flag, which was followed by singing of the Sri Lankan National Anthem, a two-minute silent observation to honour fallen heroes of SL, and lighting of the traditional oil lamp. more..

We need to move forward and rebuild the North - Jaffna University VC

Feb 16 (SO) Chief Minister of the Northern Provincial Council (NPC) C.V. Wineswaran had to take a dose of his own medicine at the National conference on Post-terrorism Socio-Economic Development of the Northern and the Eastern Provinces organised by the UGC under the patronage of its Chairperson Prof. Kshanika Hiriburegama at Taj Samudra Hotel, Colombo on Thursday. Vice Chancellors of the University of Jaffna and the Eastern University more..

Over 4,000 Grama Niladharis get letters of appointment

Feb 16 (SO) The Ministry of Public Administration and Home Affairs will appoint 4045 Grama Niladharis to fill vacancies. The open competitive exam to recruit Grama Niladharis was held in 2013 by the Department of Exams. Marks of both written exam and interviews have already been handed over to the Ministry by the Examinations Department on Feb 5. The Secretary to the Ministry of Public Administration and Home Affairs P.B. Abeykoon has already obtained the approval of more..

Balapatabendi Bribery Case: Businessman says truth has finally prevailed

Feb 16 (Island) With the Bribery Commission dismissing the JVP’s complaint against its Chairman, the businessman accused of offering an inducement to Justice Jagath Balapatabendi, broke his silence last week to declare that the "truth has finally surfaced". "I am now prepared to come out with the story as the probe into the JVP’s complaint has been concluded by the Commission and the Chairman now more..

Presidential check on mobility

Feb 16 (SL) Earlier this week President Mahinda Rajapaksa went off to the Welisara grounds to indulge in his passion for rugby, watching a good game in the company of a close friend. Returning to the Presidential abode, the friend found himself commandeered to accompany the country’s First Citizen to Tangalle, helped by his son Namal. The President wanted to check out the new highway to Matara. One of the coaches brought in for the CHOGM meet was used and the small team more..

Lack of finances curtails so much

Feb 16 (Island) Whatever the Central Bank says; however satisfying the figures put out by its Statistical Department on GDP et al; and however rosy the picture of the country is as painted in a recent video titled "Sri Lanka: reconciliation and rebuilding" produced at great cost we are sure and aired over NBC TV; the real picture is not bright, rather is it bleak if not frightening as manifested in various ways. We need not talk of the cost of living. People who are middle class wage earners, more..

TNA stands ground

Feb 16 (SL) TNA says it will not take part in the Parliament Select Committee (PSC) on the National issue as the Govt had failed to fulfill promises given in the past. Indian Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh told a group of visiting Sri Lankan journalists in New Delhi last week that the Govt of Sri Lanka must resume a substantive dialogue with the TNA for a political settlement and reconciliation. “India has consistently urged the more..

Mahinda Algama passed away

Feb 16 (NS) Veteran broadcaster, children’s program producer, lyrics writer and radio drama director Mahinda Algama passed away yesterday (15) at the age 68. He joined SLBC in 1970 as a program producer. A number of popular Sinhala songs were composed by him. Popular children’s programs such as Lama Pitiya, Saraswathee Mandapaya are some of his creations. His remains lie at Jayaratna Funeral Parlor in Borella. Final rites will take place at Borella cemetery on Feb 17, more..

Srinath Perera accuses Gammanpila of violating election laws

Feb 16 (AD) Colombo District UNP Candidate Srinath Perera today accused former Provincial Minister Udaya Gammanpila of betraying his own policies, ethics and values for his new position as the District Leader of Colombo for the UPFA by violating election laws. In an open letter to the former Minister, Perera stated that it was widely publicized through media that Gammanpila had launched his election campaign under the auspices of Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa. more..

Video: ‘To those who say isolate Sri Lanka, I say engage with Sri Lanka’

Feb 16 (AD) Australian govt has reaffirmed its commitment to working with the Sri Lankan govt to foster peace, prosperity, stability and security in the pursuit of freedom, the rule of law and democracy. The Australian govt places great value on our longstanding relationship with Sri Lanka, the Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop said, during a recent ceremony at the Sri Lankan High Commission in Canberra. more..

Booking of DWC circuit bungalows online

Feb 16 (Island) The public will be able to book circuit bungalows and camping sites of the Department of Wildlife Conservation of Sri Lanka (DWC) via the internet. According to the ICT Agency of Sri Lanka (ICTA), concomitant with this online reservation, payment for the booking could be made through credit cards and mobile phones. Local and foreign tourists will greatly benefit from the introduction of this e-Service jointly implemented by DWC of the Ministry of the Wildlife Resources more..

Bahu questioned for two hours

Feb 16 (ST) Gampaha Police yesterday questioned NSSP Leader Dr. Wickramabahu Karunaratne for about two hours and recorded his statement on the 15 fraudulent nominations submitted by his party for the Gampaha district for the upcoming WPC Elections. Dr. Karunaratne in his statement to Police has said that number one and number two candidates in the NSSP nomination list were responsible for the error. The Police will send its report to the Attorney General, more..

Arbitrary, ad hoc Law College decisions enrage students

Feb 16 (ST) Candidates who claim they were deprived of admission to the Law College due to a reduction in the intake this week vow to continue their protest campaigns until they are given a solution. The General Secretary of the union that launched the protest, the Neethi Adyapanaya Surakeme Sishya Ekamuthuwa (Front for Safeguarding Legal Education), Daminda Hettiarachchi said students who protested more..

Lankan debtor’s daughter taken in by foundation

Feb 16 (GT) The General Department of Human Rights in Dubai, in cooperation with the Dubai Foundation for Women and Children, took in a 4-year-old Sri Lankan child after her father was imprisoned in a financial case and left her alone with a neighbour. According to the Brigadier Mohammed Al Murr, director of the General Department of Human Rights in the Dubai Police, a Sri Lankan woman came to Dubai Police with a child and asked for their help to find her safe asylum, more..

British man convicted over bogus teak plantation scheme in Sri Lanka

Feb 16 (Island) Matthew Ames, 38, of Goldfinch Lane, Thundersley, a finance company boss was found guilty at Isleworth Crown Court last week for scamming British investors in a bogus teak tree plantation scheme in Sri Lanka. Ames has pocketed out Sterling Pounds 846,000 from the investors and used the money on overseas trips, including a family holiday to the Caribbean Island of Mustique. The court was told that Ames managed persuaded one couple to invest Sterling Pounds 78,000 more..

Gota set a bad precedent by addressing UPFA political rally —PAFFREL

Feb 16 (Island) Executive Director of local election monitor, PAFFREL, Rohana Hettiarachchi said that the Secretary Defense and the UDA Gotabaya Rajapaksa had set a bad precedent to all state officials by addressing the inaugural propaganda meeting of the UPFA group leader for Colombo last week. The Defense Secretary may be the brother of President Rajapaksa, but he should have set a good example more..

Ministry strives to reduce drug prices

Feb 16 (NS) The Health Ministry has started work on a fresh mechanism to reduce and stabilize prices of imported drugs, officials said. Secretary to the Health Ministry, Dr. Nihal Jayathilaka told The Nation that recommendations pertaining to the issue would be handed over by Director General of Health services, Dr. Palitha Mahipala. The move for a fresh mechanism has been initiated due to recent revelation of a drug mafia which manipulates cancer drug prices. more..

Police to arrest Wanathamulla protesters

Feb 16 (AD) Police today said that investigations have been launched to arrest the organisers of a protest in Wanathamulla yesterday against the alleged abduction of a resident from the area. SSP Ajith Rohana stated that they have received information including video footage of the people engaged in the protest. A large number of people had gathered engaged in a protest blocking the Baseline Road over the alleged abduction. The abducted persons, said to be an activist more..

Father sparks row over Rajiv assassin’s parentage

Feb 16 (FPJ) In a controversial claim, Sankaranarayanan, the ageing father of Nalini Sriharan, the life convict in former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination, has disputed the widely perceived belief that Padma, a co-convict, was her mother. Instead he has claimed that Nalini’s mother was one Valliammal. Nalini, the lone surviving accused to be present at the assassination spot of Rajiv Gandhi on the fateful night more..

Issues have come up regarding impartiality of security sections – Tilvin writes to EC

Feb 16 (LT) The security sections including the police are being manipulated with the mediation of the Defense Secretary in a manner to give UPFA candidates an unfair advantage says the General Secretary of the JVP Tilvin Silva. In a letter to the Commissioner of Elections the General secretary of the JVP states such acts violates election law and requests the Commissioner of elections to take necessary measures. In his letter Tilvin Silva states: "I would like to draw your attention to more..

SL vs England U19 World Cup: Lanka win thriller by one wicket

Feb 16 (CI) In a match that ebbed and flowed, Sri Lanka Under-19s last-wicket pair edged past England Under-19s in the most thrilling match of the tournament so far. With all men in the ring, Anuk Fernando, Sri Lanka's No.10, dabbed the ball towards point and risked the single even with eight balls remaining. They scampered through and Sri Lanka had all but booked their place in the quarter-finals, with wins from both their games. At 160 for 7 in the 35th over chasing 231, more..

Video: Wimal’s party says JVP, UNP plotting together

Feb 16 (DM) NFF led by Minister Wimal Weerawansa today alleged that the abduction of a trader in Wanathamulla was a conspiracy of the JVP and the UNP, to put the govt into difficulty. NFF Spokesman and Member of the CMC Mohamed Muzammil told journalists that the participation of JVP candidate for the Western Provincial Council K.D. Lal Kantha and UNP MP Ravi Karunanayake’s arrival at the protest more..

View from Ritigala - by mahasona

Feb 17 (NS) Ex-Army Major Ajith Prasanna got into his old uniform and threw his weight around. The uniform, he believes, helps boost his image as he seeks to get elected. He may be correct to an extent. But people are not stupid. Inside all uniforms there’s a person and the true character comes out, sooner or later. In this instance, the thug within him has come out. It is good that the Army Commander has issued a warning about abusing army uniforms in this way. more..

Sobhitha Thera enters political equation

Feb 17 (NS) The first candidate of the next presidential election appears to have declared himself this week. Maduluwave Sobhitha Thera, popular Buddhist preacher, Chief Incumbent of the Naga Viharaya and head of the National Movement for Social Justice (NMSJ) has offered to be a ‘single issue’ candidate. That, Sobhitha Thera says, would be on the issue of abolishing the Executive Presidency. Given the unpredictable nature of Opposition politics, Sobhitha Thera’s more..