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MR challenges Tamil Diaspora

June 7 (DM) President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday challenged the Tamil diaspora to donate a single dollar for the welfare of Tamils in Sri Lanka if possible, if they genuinely had any feeling for them. Addressing a ceremony to mark the commissioning of the multi-purpose transmission tower at Kokavil in Kilinochchi, President Rajapaksa further stressed that not a single member of the so called vociferous Tamil diaspora in foreign countries claiming to protect the rights of Tamils has more..

Roshen’s relatives’ and friends’ fundamental rights violated: UNP

June 7 (DM) The main opposition UNP yesterday charged that no one was allowed to engage in conducting funeral rites in keeping with the traditions at the funeral of slain Free Trade Zone worker Roshen Chanaka last Saturday. UNP MP Dr. Jayalath Jayewardena told a news conference yesterday that no one was allowed to put sods of sand in the grave in keeping with tradition. He charged that the security forces did not allow it following orders given to them by the government. more..

'Lanka appreciates Chinese support to safeguard sovereignty'

June 7 (Island) The Prime Minister D.M. Jayaratne expressed appreciation for China’s support to Sri Lanka regarding its development and safeguarding of its state sovereignty and territorial integrity. Sri Lanka welcomes the active role China plays in the international community, the Premier has said. The Prime Minister has hailed the bilateral friendship with China when he met the Chinese State Councilor Dai Bingguo in Kunming, more..

Sri Lanka raises US$2.1bn to rebuild north

June 7 (LBO) Sri Lanka has raised 2.1 billion US dollars to rebuild roads, rail, power, hostpital, water supply and help resettle refugees in the war torn Jaffna region in 2010, a finance ministry report said. These funding programmes have helped to resettle internally displaced people within a short period of time and restabilise civil administration and public infrastructure by replacing damaged roads, schools, hospitals and administrative buildings," more..

SL questions reliability of ‘UN mechanism’ after Pillay retracts criticism of Bahrain

June 7 (Island) The Sri Lankan government says admission by the UN that it has been misled with regard to developments in Bahrain, where the ruling party is battling the Opposition, is indicative of serious shortcomings in a UN mechanism to deal with domestic problems of member states. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, who had been pushing for an international war crimes tribunal on the basis of the controversial more..

'Goon attacks indicative of country’s lawlessness'

June 7 (Island) UNP Deputy Leader Karu Jayasuriya said the use of goons by the government to disperse protests was an indication that the rule of law was dead in the country. "Goons were seen along with the police attacking unarmed workers of the Katunayake Free Trade Zone, when they were protesting against the proposed Pension Bill. Whether it is at Lipton Circus, Welikada Prison or Katunayake, these incidents announce the more..

'No more SL cricketers under dope scanner'

June 7 (DM) There is no evidence or reason to suspect that any more of the Sri Lankan cricketers are involved in doping, National Anti Doping Organisation (NADO) Chairman Dr. Geethanjana Mendis said. "It is unfair to slander Sri Lanka's cricket, just because there are media allegations of one failed dope test. As the Chairman of the NADO and also as the head of the Sports Medicine Unit, I can clearly say that no Sri Lankan cricketers are more..

Menon, Nirupama to hold talks with Sri Lankan officials

June 7 (Hindu) Two top Indian officials will visit Sri Lanka later this week to discuss, among other things, the progress in the reconciliation process in north Sri Lanka, and the United Nations Secretary-General's Expert Panel Report on Accountability in Sri Lanka. National Security Adviser Shiv Shankar Menon and Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao — who have served in Sri Lanka as High Commissioners — will hold consultations with more..

Magistrate pulled up by appeal court

June 7 (DM) The Court of Appeal yesterday ruled that Pugoda Magistrate W. Aravinda Perera had acted contrary to law by not complying with the instructions of the Attorney General to release two suspect police officers of the Kirindiwela police station due to lack of evidence. Appeal Court President Sathya Hettige PC and Justice Upali Aberatna made this observation while ordering the Magistrate to more..

FR case against chief investigator withdrawn – AG

June 7 (Island) When the ‘White Flag’ case was taken up yesterday before the High Court of Colombo, the three-member Trial-at-Bar Bench granted a request by the Defence Counsel to present as evidence, judgments delivered by the Supreme Court and the High Court in respect of charges against the Police Inspector handling investigations in the ‘White Flag’ case. more..

Sri Lanka: war crimes and confused Americans

June 8 (RNW) Pressure is building on the Sri Lankan govt to investigate war crimes allegedly committed by its military against captured Tamil rebels two years ago. Video footage purporting to show Sri Lankan army soldiers executing surrendering Tamils forms the basis of a UK Channel 4 documentary shown to the UN's Human Rights Council last weekend. Sri Lankan govt officials deny the video is authentic, or that there have been any war crimes committed by their military. more..

Sri Lanka-Iran bilateral relations enhanced

June 8 (GDI) Sri Lanka and Iran have called for expansion of the bilateral ties between the two countries. Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister for Asia and Oceania Affairs Mohammad Ali Fathollahi met Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday and discussed ways to enhance the relations between the two countries. The two sides emphasized the need to expand bilateral relations at this discussion. Both countries have called for the creation of the second political more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 07.06.2011

Estate workers betrayed through new agreement, claimes JVP

June 8 (AD) The agreement that has betrayed the estate workers has to be nullified and the workers provided with a wage which is suitable to the cost of living, the JVP says. The party in a release accuses that, while the agreement provides the workers with only a minor increment in their daily wages, it also agrees not to increase their wages for another 2 years. Not only is the signed collective agreement an unjust one, it is also a grave betrayal and deception of the estate workers, more..

‘Pension bill not withdrawn’

June 8 (DM) The opposition today charged that the Private Pension Scheme Bill has not been withdrawn from the parliamentary order paper despite the cabinet decision to do so. The bill has been listed on the order paper as the item number 14 to be taken up for debate. JVP MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake was the first to raise it and asked as to why it had not been removed from the order paper. Chief Opposition Whip John Amaratunga also raised the same matter subsequently and more..

Black tea challenged by other varieties

June 8 (AFP) Exotic and organic teas are wooing tea drinkers and challenging traditional black tea's dominance as never before, tea industry experts say, as a tea factory in Dubai bids to become the world's largest. The shift in global tea-drinking trends is felt at the Jebel Ali Free Zone, despite it being more than 2,000 kilometres (1,250 miles) from the nearest tea bushes in the lush misty mountains of South Asia and East Africa. more..

A false complaint made by a student formed by J’pura VC is revealed

June 8 (LT) It was revealed yesterday that the Vice Chancellor of J’pura University had directed a new entrant to make a false complaint to Police that he was subject to harassment by the seniors. This was revealed at a media briefing held yesterday at CSR Hall in Maradana conducted by the Students’ Union which was convened to disclose the students repression at Sri Jayawardenepura University. Ven. Kamburupitiye Gnanissara Thero said that ‘a student, more..

SF against military deployment

June 8 (DM) Jailed Sarath Fonseka said that he is against the military deployment to control protests in the country, the BBC reported. "In civilised countries one would not replace the police with the army to control protests," Mr Fonseka said. The govt that attempted to "steal" private sector workers funds, Mr Fonseka said, is currently planning to "steal" funds sent by Sri Lankans abroad. “I urge the army not to turn the guns used against terrorists towards civilians." more..

'Reveal details of Indo-SL agreement'

June 8 (DM) The UNP today requested the govt to disclose to parliament the details on the recent agreement it had reached with India. This request came in the wake Opposition UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe’s recent visit to India. UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake said a top level Indian delegation including Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao were due in Sri Lanka for follow up talks on the joint agreement between India and Sri Lanka. more..

Kamalini further remanded

June 8 (DM) Ex-LTTE Political Division Leader Subramaniam Sivagami alias Kamalini was today ordered to be further remanded till July 4 by the Colombo Chief Magistrate. Magistrate Rashmi Singapulli made the order sequel to a request by the CID which claimed it had sent extracts of the investigations report to the Attorney General and they were awaiting his response. Therefore they requested that Kamalani be remanded further. The CID earlier complained to the Magistrate that more..

IPU visit not political

June 8 (NN) Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) representative Mark Trowell says his visit to Sri Lanka is not at the request of any political party or individual. Releasing a statement this evening, Trowell said that he is in Sri Lanka as an independent and impartial observer solely on the instructions of the IPU. “I want to make it perfectly clear that my mission is not being made at the request of any political party or individual. I am here at the instructions of more..

No deal with Indians

June 8 (NN) The govt says it has not reached an agreement with India to change Sri Lanka’s constitution, as alleged by the opposition. Minister G.L Peirissaidt today that during his recent visit to India he had only reached a verbal agreement on future discussions regarding power and energy, fishing and other matters. He rejected claims of an Indi-Lanka agreement being signed during his visit to New Delhi where he had also touched on the controversial ‘Darusman report.’ more..

Open University closed its doors to Priyanka Lal

June 8 (LG) Amidst all the brou-haha of military conference on defeating `terrorism’, Roshen Chanaka’s murder for demonstrating against FTZ workers’ conditions and Channel 4 news exposition of video evidence of torturing and killing Tamil captives at UNHRC (United Nations Human Rights Commission) sittings, there was a hardly noticed news item that a university student committed suicide because he could not afford a course fee of Rs 32,000!!! more..

Misusing the people’s money

June 8 (LG) This week’s protests over the Pension Bill and subsequent killing of a young FTZ worker in police shooting, one hopes, will serve as a warning to the Government not to steamroll any proposal that has wider public ramifications without a proper debate. President Mahinda Rajapaksa, ironically, was one of the biggest flag bearers of human rights, founding the Mothers’ Front and canvassing human rights issues in Geneva due the repression of the 1989-90s’ when more..

'Don’t try to create further divisions among communities'

June 8 (Cimic) A section of peace-loving people in Jaffna started a hunger strike Saturday (04) demanding local Tamil politicians and the Diaspora to refrain from issuing adverse statements and staging demonstrations against Sri Lanka blocking fast development now taking shape in war-torn areas. Members of the People Association For Conflict Affected Areas launched the strike in the wake of continuous unappealing behaviour of some local Tamil more..

Beyond pensions - right to work until 60 years

June 8 (LG) Much has been written about the advantages and disadvantages of the proposed Employment Pension Benefits Fund. While I will not deal with the specific proposals of the Bill that has now been temporarily suspended by the government, it is of paramount importance to understand the compulsions and consequences that led to the proposed bill in the event the bill is presented to Parliament in another disguise. The Overseas Employees Pension Benefit Fund is also more..

‘Sri Lanka under attack in Geneva’

June 8 (LG) I write to emphatically refute a reference to me in the current issue of the Sunday Times, Colombo (June 5th). A report entitled ‘Sri Lanka under attack in Geneva’ by the Political Editor of the Sunday Times says: “Sri Lanka's delegation in Geneva - comprising Ministers Mahinda Samarasinghe, Nimal Siripala de Silva and Attorney General Mohan Peiris -- was joined by a fourth player this week. Its mission was to lobby against the possible adoption of more..

Bill will be re-introduced with amendments – Vasudeva

June 8 (DM) Despite reports that a new private sector pension bill would be introduced in place of the present one, Vasudeva Nanayakkara the Minister of National Languages and Social Integration told parliament yesterday that the same bill would be reintroduced with amendments rather than a new one. Speaking during the debate on new financial regulations in the House yesterday, Mr. Nanayakkara said the necessary amendments would be made to the bill. more..

EP education authorities misusing public funds: Union

June 8 (DM) Education sector officials have accused the Eastern Province education authorities of misusing state resources and violating national policy, a teachers’ union said. It said some Rs.4.2 million had been spent by a top EP education ministry official for a series of workshops to educate zonal education directors on the teacher transfer process. “It is easier to refer to the NTTP to learn about teacher transfers rather than organising workshops? more..

'LTTE rump in fresh bid to exploit global community'

June 8 (Island) A delegation of TNA MPs met the Russian Ambassador in Colombo on Monday to urge Moscow not to support President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s government. The TNA, which once declared the LTTE the sole representatives of the Tamil speaking people and the Diaspora has stepped-up its campaign to have a war crimes probe launched, while having talks on devolution with the govt. more..

A bad week for Rajapaksa

June 8 (SG) IT has not only been a bad week but a particularly humiliating one for the six-year-old government of Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, enjoying his second term in unrivaled power. Riding high after triumphantly ending a near 30-year-old conflict, Rajapaksa has played his cards wisely, shrewdly and somewhat ruthlessly, wiping out any opposition to his party and using war victory rhetoric to ensure he is firmly in control for another six years. more..

'Lanka won’t ask other countries to condemn Darusman report'

June 8 (Island) External Affairs Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris said that Sri Lanka wouldn’t ask foreign governments to condemn the controversial ‘Darusman Report’. The Minister said that such a course of action would give undue importance to the report of the UN Panel of Experts. The minister was responding to a question raised by DNA MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake regarding a joint statement issued after more..

What is happening in Geneva on the UN panel report?

June 2 (LG) While the Govt and State-inspired private media sources fill the pages of the dailies with many stories of "many victories" for the government in Geneva there are other different reports emerging elsewhere which are not in accordance with the GOSL view. We certainly like to see for 10 projects, the ministry said without elaborating on details of the projects lent to. more..

Ban still awaiting Lanka’s response

June 8 (DM) UN Chief Ban Ki-moon said he was still awaiting the response of the Sri Lankan govt on the Expert Panel recommendations, while claiming that he would continue to discuss with Sri Lanka on its accountability. “I am still awaiting the response of the Sri Lankan Govt. I am checking almost every day, every week so that they will send their response as soon as possible. That can give me further review on their response,” more..

'Media should project Mahinda Chintana success'

June 8 (DN) Mahinda Chintana is the key programme of work being implemented for the development of the country. It is the duty of all to make it successful. It is also the responsibility of the state media institutions to project the success of the Mahinda Chintana and to stand for it. Acting in this way is not tantamount to indulging in politics but it is a great contribution being made to popularize the development of the country, more..

Govt. earned over Rs 44.84 bn from taxes in 2009

June 8 (Island) The government has earned tax revenue of Rs 44,840 million from the taxes imposed on nine essential items imported into the country in the year 2009, a document tabled in Parliament said yesterday. The aforesaid tax revenue had been earned from the duty and all other forms of taxes imposed on imported items namely milk powder, gas, sugar, dhal, onions, potatoes, rice, canned fish and petroleum. more..

Govt. admits irregularities in arms deals

June 8 (DM) The govt admitted in Parliament that the Presidential Commission headed by Justice Shirani Thilakawardane submitted its report on irregularities in the purchase of arms, ammunition and other equipment for the Army, the Navy and the Air Force, but declined to reveal further details citing security concerns. The Commission comprised of Mrs. Tilakawardane, Nissanka Udalagama and Nihal Edward Dissanayake. more..

Tillakaratne denies revealing names

June 8 (DM) Former captain Hashan Tillakaratne made a special statement specifically denying mentioning any names to President Mahinda Rajapaksa during a meeting, putting wide-spread media speculation to rest. Tillakaratne who is now an opposition UNP member in the Western Provincial Council, made this statement at a Council meeting yesterday. “While my wife and Rev. Uduwe Dhammaloka also took part with me in a meeting which had been summoned by more..

TN seeks economic sanctions against Sri Lanka

June 8 (PTI) Tamil Nadu Assembly today adopted a unanimous resolution seeking imposition of economic sanctions against Sri Lanka by India on issues concerning Tamils in the island nation, including alleged human rights violations. The resolution moved by Chief Minister Jayalalithaa also wanted India to press the United Nations to declare as “war criminals” those who committed alleged crimes during the conflict in Sri Lanka. more..

Sri Lankan Airlines to start Zurich flights

June 9 (LBO) State-run national carrier SriLankan Airlines is re-starting services to Zurich in Switzerland which were stopped in 2005, expanding its network to 53 destinations in 34 countries, the airline said. The services will start from December 23, 2011 and run twice weekly on Monday and Friday. "This will significantly strengthen our services to travelers in central Europe, which is viewed as a market with great potential for tourism to Sri Lanka," more..