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'Certain Western countries target Sri Lanka due to hidden agenda'

Feb 17 (SO) Minister Dinesh Gunawardena said that it was only a few Western countries which have embarked on an anti-Sri Lanka conspiracy as they are housing sections of runaway LTTEers. Sri Lanka's situation is being targeted obviously because of a hidden agenda. He said we have been able to bring new life and prosperity to the people of the North which they didn't enjoy under the suppression of the LTTE. more..

What has happened to the Weliweriya inquiry?

Feb 17 (ST) In the Weliweriya incident where innocent bystanders died as a result of the army firing into the crowds asking for clean water, a military court of inquiry found that the soldiers had ‘exceeded the scope’ of their duties. This by itself is a remarkably understated conclusion given the level of aggravation which occurred, with soldiers chasing and assaulting journalists who were legitimately reporting on the fracas and abusing men and women of the cloth when more..

The after March noose

Feb 17 (CT) All eyes are on Geneva. Only 3 weeks are left for the opening of 25th Sessions of the UNHRC. The 25th Sessions of the UNHCR is scheduled to be held from March 03 – 28 at Palais des Nations, Geneva. It is now certain the US will move its 3rd resolution against Sri Lanka calling for an international investigation against war crimes, crimes against humanity committed by Sri Lanka during the last phases of the war in May, 2009. It is likely Britain and Canada might more..

‘I am against development mania’

Feb 17 (NS) JHU Media Spokesman, Nishantha Sri Warnasinghe, after 20 years of backstage politics, has come out to contest an election this time. Warnasinghe who hailed from a family which engaged in ‘Leftist Politics’ in 70s contest the PC elections for Colombo District from the ruling UPFA representing his party; JHU. Warnasinghe said that political discussions and debates at home, books brought by adults more..

Wigneswaran contradicts Sampanthan

Feb 17 (CT) Northern Province Chief Minister, C.V. Wigneswaran, in a clear deviation from the long-held stance of the TNA and its Leader, R. Sampanthan, said on Thursday that the Tamils cannot expect total power sharing. However, it must also be said, when the Chief Minister met UN Assistant Secretary-General (UNDP), Haoliang Xu, in Jaffna last week, he emphasized the importance of a third party involvement, especially the engagement of the UN, in resolving the Lankan Tamil question. more..

Off The Record

Feb 17 (CT) President Rajapaksa is in the habit of holding little babies in his arms when he meets people, while he tours around the country. However, a most amusing incident happened recently when he took a baby into his arms during a recent tour to the South. The baby sprang to the arms of the President and wanted to leave with him. He even bade 'Ta-ta' to the parents. It was very difficult to take back the baby from the President's arms. He began to cry clinging onto the President. more..

Dr ShanthaHettiarachi: Taruna Prashna

Twist towards state control in economic policies

Feb 17 (ST) The election of 2004 brought about a twist in economic policies. The theoretical underpinnings and de facto policy changes of the new govt under the leadership of President Rajapaksa modified the earlier economic development strategy. The new policies were significantly different from that of the earlier regime of the same party. Larger state intervention in the economy, enlargement of state ownership and control of economic enterprises and a tilt more..

The lament of Wanathamulla evictees

Feb 17 (CT) The news that those living in low income urban settlements will get alternative accommodation in high rise apartments, may really excite the average Sri Lankan of a less analytical mind. However the story is actually about not doing right, but using might. This is the usual cruel and boorish behavior of Gotabaya Rajapaksa and his abetters in the now infamous UDA. The acronym UDA can be changed from UDA to Unauthorised Demolition Action. more..

'Govt does not understand gravity'

Feb 17 (SL) UNP MP Lakshman Kiriella said that the govt has not fulfilled any of its promises to the international community on the reconciliation front. He said the govt has already promised to hold a domestic inquiry and fully implement the 13th Amendment to the constitution. Govt has not taken any serious measure to implement recommendations of the LLRC commission, Kiriella noted, as Secretary to more..

Editorial: Noble mission, mighty rush

Feb 17 (Island) Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s resignation in protest against the blocking of his anti-corruption Bill in the state assembly has drawn a mixed reaction. Some political observers view it as a gimmick in view of the upcoming parliamentary polls his party is scheduled to contest. He has also been accused of shirking responsibility by setting unattainable goals for himself and striving to achieve them. However, his supporters argue that, fighting against corruption being more..

Dawn on the Ethnic Front?

Feb 17 (Island) As I have written two articles on darkness at noon on the ethnic front, it might seem to the reader that I am taking joy in being contrary by immediately afterwards writing an article on dawn on the ethnic front. I am not being contrary because I have placed a question mark at the end of my title. It is meant to signify that the dawn may take fifty years, or five years, or five months, or it may never come at all. What is important is that we should bear in mind the difference more..

Ragging takes its toll: Shattered dreams...

Feb 17 (SO) What happened to him? Only time will tell. The truth is too heavy to sink it will lie low for a while and then come out in the open. Anyway innocent, hard-working Nishantha paid the supreme penalty and his lifeless body was found hanging on a branch of a tree close to the very University where he was selected and was wanting to pursue a Degree but his dreams were shattered when the Seniors of the university stooped more..

Why force consolidation?

Feb 17 (NS) UNP MP Eran Wickramaratne last week accused the Central Bank of forcing the banking and financial institutions in the country to go for mergers and absorptions through the process that the regulator had spelt out. Whilst pointing out that although the consolidation of the financial sector in principle is a good move and a long felt need, he however condemned that the guidelines that has been issued in facilitating the process were very illogical and that which raised suspicions more..

The Sri Lankan Masters

Feb 17 (Island) English county cricket owes a huge debt to its overseas players. Particularly since the qualification rules were liberalised in 1968, county supporters have been able to watch the world’s greatest cricketers plying their trade on a daily basis. In that first year, Gary Sobers, Rohan Kanhai, Farokh Engineer, Majid Khan, Barry Richards and Mike Procter were among the stars to adorn the domestic game. And they were often as loyal as any local boy. more..

'Handling big moments will be the key'

Feb 17 (CI) Captain Angelo Mathews has said, ahead of the first ODI against Bangladesh in Mirpur, handling the big moments will be key for both sides. Mathews is aware of the home side's preference towards the limited-overs format, but he doesn't think the momentum is far from his team's grasp. Bangladesh pushed the visitors till the last ball in both Twenty20s in Chittagong, but couldn't quite finish the job. more..

Global tea prices expected to be on a steady rise

Feb 17 (Island) A foreign news source who declined identification said although China, India, Kenya, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh registered record crop production in 2013, tea will continue to sell well. Demand will outstrip supply. This will mean that tea- growing countries will continue to gain in prices. Sales averages will also rise. The FAO who were present at the tea convention early last year confirmed there would not be enough tea to go round in the short run. more..

Cinnamon Grand and DIAGEO launch ‘Drink Wise’ campaign

Feb 17 (ST) Colombo-based Cinnamon Grand hotel recently launched its “Drink Wise” responsible drinking campaign in partnership with international spirits producer DIAGEO. Launched this month, the campaign “primarily aims to raise awareness among customers to encourage them to drink responsibly by thinking about the decisions they are making, when choosing to drink”, according to a statement by the hotel. Additionally noted; “As part of its commitment, the hotel has already trained more..

Digitalisation of cinema to resurrect Sri Lankan film industry

Feb 17 (ST) Sri Lankan filmgoers will soon be watching digitally transmitted movies in cinema halls countrywide with the implementation of national policy on digitalization of cinemas, govt official said. Govt will initiate the process of converting local cinema halls to digital cinemas providing assistance to introduce this new technology, Secretary to the Ministry of Media and Mass Communications, Charitha Herath said. more..

Gamma Knife can be a boon to brain tumour patients

Feb 17 (FT) Introduction of the ‘Gamma Knife,’ a new technological device, can bring a cost effective cure to hundreds of patients with brain tumours as well as boost medical tourism, according to local healthcare industry experts. They said that at present in Sri Lanka brain tumours are treated with surgery and often costly. However the ‘Gamma Knife,’ which is a stereotactic radiosurgical device that treats non-invasively malignant and benign tumours in a single patient visit, more..

War crimes: Sri Lanka still to act on demand for justice

Feb 17 (SAM) A recent report claims large-scale human rights violation and indiscriminate killing by the Sri Lankan army in the final official offensive against the LTTE in May 2009. The International Crimes Evidence Project (ICEP) report presented by the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) claimed that soldiers committed ‘vast majority’ of the crimes during the last phase of the Eelam War IV. The report title “Island of Impunity?” includes material from independent international experts, more..

Sri Lankans in Geneva celebrate Independence Day

Feb 17 (IL) The Sri Lankan community resident in Geneva and the environs came together to celebrate Sri Lanka's 66th anniversary of independence at an event organised recently by the Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka to the UN in Geneva at the ILO premises. With over 250 Sri Lankans under one roof, the event was testimony to the country's rich and multi-faceted heritage. Addressing the gathering Ambassador more..

Bangladesh seek to build on home ODI form

Feb 17 (CI) Bangladesh are slowly creeping closer to Sri Lanka. It happened in the Test series when they bounced back from a horrendous defeat in Dhaka to a first-ever drawn home Test against Sri Lanka. The two Twenty20s were last-ball finishes; Anamul Haque failed to connect a high full-toss in the first and Sachithra Senanayake hit a boundary when two were required to win in the second. Sri Lanka will however look to maintain their excellent record in Bangladesh, having won all their more..

We can beat any team at home - Mushfiqur

Feb 17 (CI) Bangladesh have not lost a bilateral ODI series at home since 2011, and captain Mushfiqur Rahim believes that the trend can continue in the three-match series against Sri Lanka. The last time they lost at home in their favoured format was to Pakistan more than two years ago, with victories coming against West Indies in late 2012 and New Zealand last year, as well as pushing Pakistan in the Asia Cup final in 2012. After a good result against New Zealand in Oct and Nov last year, more..

Diaspora not counted as tourists – Official

Feb 17 (CT) Director General of Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority, Dr. D.S. Jayaweera, claimed that Diaspora and transit passengers had not been included in the latest tourist arrival figures put out by the Authority. The inclusion of Diaspora and transit passengers earlier had come under heavy criticism, he said. As of end Nov last year, SL needed more than 180,000 tourist arrivals to reach its goal of 1.2 million, more..

Valachchenai fire destroys 10 MT of paper

Feb 17 (Island) A fire at the Valachchenai Paper Mill on Saturday had destroyed about 10 MT of paper stored there, police said. The fire was extinguished by the security personnel of the mill with the help of the police, the army and employees of the Batticaloa Municipal Council. The stock of paper destroyed in the fire was to be removed from the factory. A section of the factory, too, has been damaged by the fire. The fire which erupted around 5.30 pm on Saturday had raged for about five hours, more..

SL school in Oman marks silver jubilee

Feb 17 (OT) Muscat Sri Lankan School Muscat (SLSM) celebrated its silver jubilee with pomp and pageantry at a gala function in Sultan Qaboos Stadium in Bowshar on Sunday. The chief guest HE Asoka Girihagama, Sri Lankan Ambassador to the Sultanate, Lionel Jayasinghe, founding principal and guest of honour, and other dignitaries were welcomed by the principal Somabandu Kodikara and members of the staff and management. The dignitaries were escorted to the VIP box by more..

'BJP won’t offer military support to Lanka'

Feb 17 (Hindu) BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi has assured that no military support would be given to Sri Lanka in the event of his party coming to power, MDMK general secretary Vaiko said. Mr. Vaiko said that he recently met Mr. Modi in Chennai and explained the atrocities unleashed by the Sri Lankan Army on Tamils. “Mr. Modi has given an assurance that former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s decision of no military more..

Provide facilities in Tamil language for Muslim and Tamil teachers – CTSU

Feb 17 (CT) Ceylon Teachers' Services Union (CTSU), demanded that the Education Ministry facilitates Tamil teachers to engage in their official work in the Tamil language. General Secretary, CTSU, Mahinda Jayasinghe, in a letter to the Secretary to the Education Ministry, noted that Tamil teachers have to face numerous inconveniences as most of the documentation is done in the Sinhala language. "Written communication and requests for leave should be submitted in English. more..

Out – areca nut, tobacco and lime: MoH introduces nutmeg and cardamom with betel

Feb 17 (CT) The Ministry of Health revealed yesterday that approximately 14,000 people had died due to cancer, while 25,842 cancer patients had registered in hospitals, countrywide, to seek treatment for the malaise, in 2013. Of the number of deaths due to cancer recorded last year, nearly 2,500 had been due to oral cancer. According to statistics available, the five most common types of cancers in Sri Lanka are oral, breast, laryngeal, stomach and cervical cancer. more..

Intelligence Division OIC found dead; Police suspect suicide

Feb 17 (Island) Athurugiriya police found the body of OIC of Mount Lavinia Branch of the Western Province police Intelligence Division, Inspector W.M. Samarakoon in a paddy field at Godagama yesterday. Police suspect that the inspector committed suicide by shooting himself in the head with his official firearm. The investigators have found IP Samarakoon’s motorcycle and official firearm beside his body. more..

Coal plant to be restored today after three-day shut down

Feb 17 (Island) The Norochcholai coal-fired power plant notorious for its frequent breakdowns was expected to be connected to the national grid today after another hiccup on Friday, a top official said. Last Friday night engineers decided to shut down the plant to attend to an urgent repair. CEB Deputy General Manager Operations and Business Strategy, Senajith Dassanayake, contacted for comment, said that the 300MW plant had been shut down due to a technical problem in a valve. more..

JVP mulls another electoral front

Feb 17 (Island) The JVP was planning to form an electoral front to contest national level elections, party sources said yesterday. It has called upon professionals and civil society leaders to join forces with it. Since its inception in 1965, the JVP has entered into and withdrawn from several alliances and electoral pacts, the most recent one being the Democratic National Alliance (DNA) led by Gen. Sarath Fonseka for the presidential and general elections 2010. more..

Locomotive drivers continue strike

Feb 17 (CT) The strike launched by the railway's locomotive drivers is to continue for the fifth day, today, due to the refusal of the authorities to give into their demands. A spokesman for the Locomotive Drivers' Union said their discussions with the Transport Ministry officials had been a failure, hence the decision to continue with the strike. However, Sri Lanka Railways (SLR) said despite the strike by locomotive drivers, more..

Country or ego?

Feb 17 (DM) Sports governance provides us a perfect sample of human behaviour at large. What is happening to this country’s status internationally, is also happening to this country’s sports with a chilling indistinguishability. As Sri Lanka’s govt leaders prepare vigorously to face an international challenge over the country’s human rights issues in Geneva early next month, Sri Lankan sports administrators led by the Sports Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage are facing a serious challenge more..

Increasing Religiosity and Social Cohesion

Feb 17 (DM) I was encouraged to start writing this article at 4.00 in the morning on the Independence Day as I was woken up by the loud noise emanating from two rival places of worship in a particular Kandyan town where I spent the night. The preachers at both places of worship commenced the airing of their sermons or calls to prayer very early in the morning and one could not continue to sleep beyond 5.00 am unless one was so insensitive to noise. You could not follow medical advice to more..

Drought parches Sri Lanka's farms, threatens hydropower

Feb 17 (TRF) In mid-January, when a thick morning fog descended on some parts of arid North Central province, the older generation was quick to take note. Local lore has it that unusually heavy fog is a harbinger of severe drought. In fact, the impact of dry weather is already clear to see. SL has had no significant rains since mid-November and its longest river, the Mahaweli, has been reduced to a trickle in some stretches. more..

Sri Lanka policy rates unchanged; credit picking up: Central Bank

Feb 17 (LBO) Sri Lanka's central bank kept policy rates steady in February signaling that gilt rates are bottoming out but said longer term lending rates have more room to fall. "Whilst deposit interest rates and rates on Govt securities have indicated signs of stabilising at current levels, longer term lending rates, which displayed some downward adjustments in January, have space to decrease further," the Central Bank said more..

High-powered delegation to Geneva

Feb 17 (ST) Minister G.L. Peiris will lead Sri Lanka’s delegation and address the UNHRC main segment on March 5, just two days after the sessions begin. Official said other members of the delegation were yet to be named. It is expected to include Presidential Secretary Lalith Weeratunga, Monitoring MP of the EAM Sajin de Vass Gunawardena, External Affairs Secretary Kshenuka Seneviratne, AG Palitha Fernando, more..

Western Province: A den of iniquity

Feb 17 (SL) The Western province has a growing population of unemployed which is in turn resulting in the increase of criminal activities, prostitution and underworld activities. The incidence of consumption poverty (head count index) varies significantly across provincial boundaries with Uva, North Western and North Central Provinces having a significantly higher poverty level than the other Provinces. more..