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US accuses EPDP in rights report

Feb 28 (CG) United States says there were persistent reports that the EPDP, led by minister Douglas Devananda, engaged in intimidation, extortion, corruption, and violence against civilians in Jaffna last year. In the annual human rights report released by the US State Department, US said that there were persistent reports of close ties between pro-govt paramilitary groups such as the EPDP and govt security forces. more..

India inaugurates IPKF war memorial

Feb 28 (TOI) An Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) war memorial was inaugurated at a somber ceremony at the Sudarshan Chakra corps in Bhopal by Lt Gen Ashok Singh, Commanding-in-Chief of Southern Command, in Pune. The names of 1,200 martyrs who laid their lives in the service to the nation are inscribed at the war memorial. IPKF was the Indian Armed Forces contingent which undertook peace keeping operations in Sri Lanka between 1987 and 1990. more..

Lokuarachchi pleads guilty in fixing probe

Feb 28 (AFP) Sri Lankan spinner Kaushal Lokuarachchi pleaded guilty to a role in the match-fixing episode in the Bangladesh Premier League T-20 competition along with former New Zealand batsman Lou Vincent and former Bangladesh captain Mohammad Ashraful. Vincent, 35, pleaded guilty to not reporting an approach from illegal bookmakers while playing for the Khulna Royal Bengals last year, the second edition of the BPL. He is one of three players to admit guilt before more..

Kerry says US keen on resolution

Feb 28 (CG) US Secretary of State John Kerry says the US is keen on the resolution on Sri Lanka to be presented at the March session of the UNHRC. Kerry made the comment after releasing the annual human rights report for 2013 by the US State Dept. “…govt still has not answered basic demands for accountability and reconciliation, where attacks on civil society activists, journalists, and religious minorities, sadly, still continue. more..

Religious unity for economic stability

Feb 28 (DM) In the afterglow of Maha Sivarathri, the holiest day in Hinduism, we should reflect deeply on the urgent need for religious unity in diversity to build a tolerant society that will guide us to a real and lasting peace. Presently Sri Lanka is the home of people of four major religions – Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity and Islam. Buddhism is the religion of the majority and the followers of other religions need to remember this and respect the culture and civilisation, the traditions and more..

'Educating Muslims is my priority'

Feb 28 (DM) Journalist and a human rights activist, Murshideen Badurdeen is contesting the upcoming WPC elections from the Colombo District. In an interview with Daily Mirror he said this was not his first encounter with politics. His main focus is on the Muslim Community and claims to be a voice for the voiceless. He says the main reason for him to contest from the SLMC is because it is the only powerful Muslim Party which has won the trust of the Muslim community. more..

Questions linger over Nishantha’s death

Feb 28 (SL) While many theories surfaced last week over the death of an ex-student of the Peradeniya University, Student Unions revealed that similar deaths had occurred in the recent past and went unreported. D.K. Nishantha, a key witness in a ragging incident, was found dead hanging from a tree in the garden of the University recently. The JMO confirmed death by suicide but the motive for suicide remains unclear. more..

Paddy farmers in quagmire

Feb 28 (ST) Traditional farmer Gamini Rathnamalla was busy turning out flowerpots from cement when we met him in Anuradhapura, the heart of Sri Lanka’s rice bowl. Two lanes away, fellow farmer Nimal Senaratne was napping. Having switched from paddy farming to alternate crops long ago, he has less to worry about than Mr. Rathnamalla. With the little irrigation water his farm received this season, Senaratne successfully more..

Sri Lanka to host 3 concurrent textile expos from March 6

Feb 28 (F2F) The Sri Lankan capital city of Colombo is all geared up to host three concurrent textile expos, the 5th International Exhibition on Textile & Apparel Technology, Machinery and Related Services (TexTech 2014), the 5th Colombo International Yarn and Fabric Show, and the 17th Dye and Chemical International Expo, all scheduled to be held from March 6 to 8, at the Sri Lankan Exhibition and Convention Center. more..

Mahanayake calls for closer ties between Buddhists and Hindus

Feb 28 (Island) The country would be strong as long as it remained religiously united and Buddhism and Hinduism were two religions born in the same country, India, Head of Asgiriya Chapter of the Siam Sect, Most Ven. Udugama Rathanapala Sri Buddharakkhitha Mahanayake Thera said when he met Hindu religious leaders at Nallur in Jaffna on Wednesday. The Mahanayake Thera said Buddhists and Hindus had never fought with each other. more..

Arjuna, Tiran to revamp DNA

Feb 28 (Island) Former Sri Lanka Cricket captain and Democratic National Alliance (DNA) MP Arjuna Ranatunga said that he had never given any thought to crossing over, either to the UPFA govt ranks, or the UNP. He told The Island that though Gen. Sarath Fonseka, who had later formed the Democratic Party (DP), was still the leader of DNA, he was not involved in the affairs of the Alliance. more..

Minister Amunugama to engage India

Feb 28 (CT) Deputy Minister Dr. Sarath Amunugama, left to India yesterday as a special representative of President Rajapaksa. During his tour of subcontinent, Dr. Amunugama is expected to engage with several prominent Indian Govt officials, and is expected to garner India's support, ahead of US sponsored resolution, which is due to be mooted against the island during the UNHRC session in Geneva. more..

UNP no faith motion a big joke - JVP

Feb 28 (Island) The JVP yesterday said it had no faith in the man who was moving a motion of no confidence against the govt, scheduled to be taken in Parliament in the second week of March. Chief Opposition Whip John Amaratunga, described as the chief architect of the no confidence motion, had just returned from an overseas tour with President Mahinda Rajapaksa, JVP Propaganda Secretary MP Vijitha Herath said. more..

New Air Chief assumes duties

Feb 28 (CG) The new Air Force Chief, Air Marshal Kolitha Gunatilleke assumed duties today as the 14th Air Force Commander of Sri Lanka. He replaced Air Marshal Harsha Abeywickrama who retired from the Sri Lanka Air Force yesterday. The change of command formalities concluded with the formal guest night last night where the outgoing commander was felicitated by the Air Force. The evening and the illustrious more..

Video: Dr. Eliyantha White’s car shot at

Feb 28 (AD) Unidentified gunmen opened fire targeting the vehicle of President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s doctor Dr. Eliyantha White in Mirihana this morning. The police said that the shooting took place early this morning down Edirisinghe Road in Mirihana near the doctor’s house. The doctor had gone into the house while the driver was at the seat when the gunman on a motorbike opened fire at the car. more..

International bar backs report

Feb 28 (CG) The International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) has urged the UNHRC to establish an independent and international inquiry into alleged war crimes and past violations of human rights law in Sri Lanka as called for by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, in a recently published report. IBAHRI Co-Chair Baroness Helena Kennedy QC said, ‘Since the end of the more..

JHU’s refusal to walk the talk

Feb 28 (CT) Idle threats, empty rhetoric, or plain hypocrisy, call it what you may, disingenuousness is fast becoming the guiding principle of the JHU, the self-appointed custodians of the Sinhalese-Buddhist culture, whose actions are becoming increasingly at odds with the very public postures. A likely sidekick to their Janus faced pronouncements would be the National Freedom Front (NFF), whose leader is also famous for empty rhetoric and squelched action. The mismatch between pronouncements and more..

The PRRA killer’s diary: Ranil W, Rajitha R and the Left

Feb 28 (CT) The core of the PRRA was drawn mainly from the SLMP (Sri Lanka People’s Party). It also had close links with the ISU (Independent Students’ Union) whose leader Daya Pathirana had been killed by the JVP and its new leader Dharmasiri was under threat and was killed in the latter half of 1989. Another group SRRA (the Socialist Revolutionary Red Army) had similar connections. The account below relies mainly on a police report. more..

Boston Lanka: Dayan Jayatilleka -Part 1

Sri Lanka stocks surge 1.2%

Feb 28 (LBO) Stocks surged 1.2% Friday with index heavy John Keells Holdings extending gains, while the rupee strengthened against the greenback, brokers and dealers said. All Share Price Index closed 67.50 points higher at 5,940.31, up 1.15%. The S&P SL20 closed 34.86 points higher at 3,223.66, up 1.09%. Turnover was 851.64 million rupees, up from 446.57 million rupees last Wednesday. JKH closed 8.70 rupees higher at 220.70 rupees, contributing most to the more..

Sri Lanka rupee recovers from near 3-month low on exporter dlr sales, remittances

Feb 28 (Reuters) The Sri Lankan rupee recovered on Friday from a near three-month closing low in the previous session, rising to a more than one-week high due to exporter dollar conversions and inward remittances. The spot rupee ended at 130.55/60 per dollar, 0.33% firmer from Wednesday's close of 131.05/10, its lowest since Dec. 3. Both the stock and currency markets were closed on Thursday for a religious holiday. The currency has been hovering around three-month lows more..

UK Foreign Office responds to UN report

Feb 28 (FCO) On Monday 24 Feb, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, released her report on the promotion of accountability and reconciliation in Sri Lanka following her visit to Sri Lanka last August. In response to the publication of the report, Foreign Office Minister Hugo Swire said: “The British Govt attaches great importance to lasting peace and reconciliation in Sri Lanka. more..

Former UNP Chairman sees tide turning against UPFA

Feb 28 (Island) UNP MP Gamini Jayawickreme Perera is optimistic that the UNP together with the JVP and Democratic Party (DP) would upset all calculations and gain a majority at the March 29 elections to the Western and Southern PCs. He said that the govt could not fool the people any longer and the voters in those two provinces were prepared to kick the UPFA out of power. He said that he was confident that with the assistance and support of the JVP led by Anura Kumara Dissanayake and more..

Death of Deputy Minister’s Secretary not suicide

Feb 28 (AD) The cause of death of the Coordinating Secretary of a Deputy Minister on Thursday has been confirmed as suffocation after the consumption of alcohol, by Chilaw medical examiner. The deceased, Gamini Ranasinghe, 52, from Serukele in Anamaduwa was serving as the Coordinating Secretary of the Deputy Minister of Coconut and Janatha Estate Development, Victor Anthony Biyanwila, prior his death. He was admitted to the Chilaw General Hospital on Wednesday more..

Sri Lanka inflation at 4.2% in February

Feb 28 (LBO) Sri Lanka's consumer prices rose 4.2% in the 12-months February 2014, down from 4.4% in January. The widely watched Colombo Consumer Price Index rose 0.2% during the month. Annual average inflation, a lagging indicator averaged across two years eased to 6% in February 2014 from 6.5 a month earlier. Inflation showed up a rise in the food sub-index rose 0.2% in February after falling 0.9% a month earlier. more..

Kidnapped Lankan woman rescued in Kuala Lumpur

Feb 28 (TS) Police rescued a Sri Lankan woman who had been kidnapped and held for ransom for three days. They also arrested the three kidnappers after tracking them to a house at Wangsa Melawati where the victim was being held. Gombak OCPD Asst Comm Rahim Abdullah said the 20-year-old woman, accompanied by her Malay­sian relative, was lured to Batu Caves at around 1pm on Sunday to meet with one of the kidnappers who had posed as a travel agent. more..

Democratic Party complains of intimidation in Hambantota

Feb 28 (Island) Democratic Party (DP) led by former Army commander Gen. Sarath Fonseka, said that they would have no alternative but to stop their PC election campaign in the Hambantota District due to continuous harassment at the hands of ruling party politicians of the area. DP General Secretary Ananda Manawadu said that they had not yet decided to pull out of President’s home district, but they had not been able to campaign there since the handing over of nominations on Feb 6. more..

HRW backs international inquiry into Lanka's war crimes

Feb 28 (PTI) Human Rights Watch (HRW) has backed UN rights chief's recommendation for an international inquiry into alleged war crimes committed in Sri Lanka during the final phase of battle with the LTTE. "The UNHRC should adopt the recommendation of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay to create an independent international inquiry into war crimes and other serious abuses committed more..

Black magic teacher interdicted

Feb 28 (DM) The teacher, who is alleged to have burnt the soles of a school girl’s feet, was interdicted today following a preliminary investigation carried out on the instruction of the Education Ministry Secretary, the Kebithigollawa Zonal Education Director Hemapala Gunawardana said. The injured girl was admitted to a private hospital in Colombo on the instructions of MP Namal Rajapaksa and Minister Johnston Fernando. The girl alleged that she was subjected to cruelty at more..

Emergency measures adopted to contain hoof and mouth disease

Feb 28 (Island) Foot and mouth disease was spreading among the cattle and other hoofed animals in the dry zone, the Department of Animal Production and Health (DAPH) said. Director General DAPH, Dr. W. K. de Silva said that while continuing with the vaccination of cattle in areas affected by the foot and mouth disease, the department would commence vaccinating pigs once a stock of vaccine arrived. The virus affected goats and sheep as well, Dr. de Silva said. more..

Sri Lankan president 'uncomfortable' with UNHRC resolution

Feb 28 (Xinhua) President Rajapaksa said Friday that he is "uncomfortable" with the U.S.-led resolution to be presented at the UNHRC and believes there should be no resolution at all. The Sri Lankan govt faces a U.S.-led resolution before the UNHRC next month for failing to implement adequate reconciliation measures and investigate allegations of war crimes. The resolution, the third consecutive one faced by the govt, more..

India, Sri Lanka should beware of us: Afghanistan coach Kabir Khan

Feb 28 (PTI) Buoyed by a spirited effort from his boys against heavyweights Pakistan, the Afghanistan coach Kabir Khan on Friday sounded a warning bell for India and Sri Lanka stating that they are "hungry to win" a match in the ongoing Asia Cup tournament. Afghanistan on Thursday had reduced Pakistan to 117 for six before they recovered well to end up at 248 thereby winning the match by 72 runs. "All of our boys are very hungry to win a game or two here they know how much it ill change more..

Cabraal says bid to thwart counterfeiting of currency notes successful to a large extent

Feb 28 (Island) Central Bank says the introduction of sophisticated equipment has helped reduce counterfeiting of currency notes to a large extent. Counterfeiters got caught quickly now due to advanced technology being used, the Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal said." The point at which forged notes get detected is shorter, resulting in a drop in production." The police generally knew who the manufacturer was depending on the particular type of note in circulation, more..

Video: NICs with printed data for first time

Feb 28 (DM) National Identity Cards (NIC) with holder-related data printed in Sinhala and Tamil was issued for the first time today since its introduction in 1972. The data will no longer be handwritten as before. Some 200 bilingual identity cards were printed and issued today amid technical difficulties which caused a slight delay. Department of Registration of Persons’ Commissioner General R.M.S. Sarath Kumara said this was the first more..

'Iraq lifts ban on Sri Lanka cocopeat'

Feb 28 (LBO) Iraq has lifted a ban on coconut fibre pith exports from Sri Lanka and is has also agreed to relaxing restrictions on Ceylon Tea, the ministry of industry and commerce said. Minister of industry and commerce Rishad Bathiudeen had led a delegation to Baghdad for two days of talks starting February 24 under the Sri Lanka Iraq Joint Committee for Economic Cooperation (JEC) sessions. Iraqi team was led by Minister of Trade, Kheer-allah Muhammad. more..

Lokuarachchi not charged for any corrupt activity-SLC

Feb 28 (DM) Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) said that contrary to media reports saying that cricketer Kaushal Lokuarachchi had pleaded guilty to match fixing, he was not charged for any corrupt activity and the only offence he had committed was a failure to report an approach made to him, which he had rejected. “We would also like to confirm that he has cooperated with the ICC in the investigation and that he has not been sanctioned and the proceedings are continuing,” the SLC said in a statement. more..

Salt found in Norochcholai condenser: Probe committee findings not revealed

Feb 28 (Island) The much-awaited findings of a probe into an allegation that attempts had been made to sabotage the condenser at the first coal fired power plant in Norochcholai have not been made available even to the top engineers of the CEB. However, a copy of the probe report has been handed over to the CID. CEB Additional General Manager M. C. Wickramasekara, contacted for comment, said yesterday that he had not more..

'Get heroin in bulk from PM’s office & small quantities from closest police station'

Feb 28 (LT) There is a talk that PM’s office should be contacted to get heroin in bulk and the nearest police station to get it in small quantities says K.D. Lal Kantha, the leader of the group of JVP candidates contesting the Western PC election from Colombo District. Addressing a propaganda meeting he said, “When Mahinda Rajapaksa came to power in 2005 the monthly expenses of a family of four was Rs.25,344. After eight years, at the end of Jan 2014, it had risen to Rs.49,789. more..

Another secretary general unknown to Maithripala?

Feb 28 (LT) Despite Minister Maithripala Sirisena is known throughout the country as the Secretary General of the SLFP, a news item is reported that raises doubts whether another secretary general has been appointed to the SLFP without the knowledge of Mr. Maithripala Sirisena. Mr. Maithripala Sirisena has stated that the appointment given to Minister Mervin Silva as the SLFP organizer for Kelaniya has occurred without his knowledge. According to normal procedure of more..

Sangakkara ton gives SL tense win

Feb 28 (CI) India's new-look middle-order had its first serious test in the absence of vastly experienced trio of MS Dhoni, Suresh Raina and Yuvraj Singh, and it stuttered badly against Sri Lanka's spinners. Ajantha Mendis, completing a three-man spin attack on a low-and-slow surface, got the wickets of the two batsmen who spent time in the middle, Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli, as India's innings unravelled in the death to leave a target of 265. more..