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U.S. official raises Sri Lankan human rights issue

Nov 14 (Hindu) Hardly a week before a Sri Lankan govt report on its war with the Tamil Tigers is to be handed over to its President, a senior U.S. official brought up the question of human rights at a maritime conference here. “Another important part of U.S. foreign policy is engagement in support of human rights,” said Robert M. Scher, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defence for South and Southeast Asian affairs, at the Galle Dialogue, a maritime security conference more..

Resilient Sri Lanka level series

Nov 14 (CI) The ICC's latest fiddle with the rules was primarily responsible for the intrigue in Dubai, where the tale of two batting Powerplays decided the course of the second ODI; Sri Lanka stole 48 off theirs, to poke a slumbering innings to life and propel a surge that yielded 136 runs off their last 20 overs. Chasing 236, Pakistan were rocked early by seam before a dazzling counter-attack from Umar Akmal left them more..

Website Registration Fail

Nov 15 (SL) The govt has requested all ‘news casting’ websites that discuss Sri Lanka to register. This seems to involve organisations like Lanka eNews, but also blogs, foreign outlets like the BBC, and possible Facebook pages or presumably Twitter feeds. Their technical requirements make about as much sense as the policy. Thankfully this is only a request, not a law. Let us look at what the Media Ministry has requested: “The Ministry of Mass Media and Information has decided to more..

Can it get any worse?

Nov 15 (SL) That, as they used to say in the days before the US currency nose-dived, is the million dollar question! I speak here of the escalating violence, much of it bred of feelings of rage generated by a population that finds that their basic needs for service from the state are not met. Increasingly, they find that the law and order that they had, warts and all, taken for granted has ceased to exist, even nominally, and does not exist even where they sought to more..

Democracy: The Rajapaksa variety

Nov 15 (SL) We were lounging in our haansi puttuwa enjoying the cool, cool waters of Nuwara Eliya (sorry Carlo) and thinking of our post independence political ideologies (Chintanayas). The Senanayake father and son had no such philosophical thoughts. The father wanted Independence from the British and got it while the son wanted to make the country self sufficient in rice and nearly made it. Then came the philosophers and their Chintanayas: Bandaranaike principles, more..

Delineating democracy and State security

Nov 15 (DM) It is in this background that all criticism on the approach either of the Government and/or the Tamil community and polity needs to be viewed and understood. Else, we would end up continuing to promote arguments that blame one or the other side for the inconsistencies between the promises and delivery in terms of ethnic reconciliation in the post-war era. In a way, conscious and conscientious elimination of mistrust would lead the nation to a situation more..

The leftist trend in the JVP has become irritant to party leadership

Nov 15 (TC) However much the JVP may stress that it has not affected by the recent rebellion by a group more theoretic than the official leadership of the party, it seems to have ideologically shaken by the newest development. The recent confession by the JVP leaders on their past alliances with the Peoples Alliance (PA) and forming the Democratic National Alliance (DNA) with the former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka seem to be an upshot of that development. more..

Saying it with flowers

Nov 15 (SO) A group of foreign nationals who were on their way to Dalada Maligawa Kandy stopped at Peliyagoda and inquired from an elderly woman about a place where they could purchase flowers. As it was a Full Moon Poya Day the woman was clad in pure white. She was proceeding towards Kelaniya Raja Maha Vihara to observe sil. The foreigners introduced themselves as members of a Buddhist delegation from Thailand. The elderly woman promptly replied that more..

Erosion of credibility causes public concern and confusion

Nov 15 (NS) The erosion of credibility resulting from politicians’ tendency to hide their true motives for their actions is a major factor contributing to the prevailing confusion among people in this country. The uncanny speed with which they proceed with certain tasks while showing abysmal lethargy in dealing with certain other matters invariably throw doubts about the honesty of their purposes. These politicians, while speedily pursuing tasks and programmes that promote more..

‘Expropriation’ bill violates basic notion of separation of powers

Nov 15 (TC) The assertion of Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, a French anarcho-socialist philosopher, that property is theft (What is Property? Or, an Inquiry into the Principle of Right and Government) is well-known to students of political science. The word ‘theftocracy’ was used by Managala Samaraweera to denounce President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his family and associates in the discussion on The Revival of Underperforming Enterprises and Underutilized Assets Bill (RUEUAB). more..

'TNA objective is to find political solution within an undivided united country'

Nov 15 (TC) The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) recently went to the United States and met with several US State Department officials and the UN Under Secretary General, Political Affairs, Lynn Pascoe. TNA PM M.A. Sumanthiran, a member of the delegation, speaks to The Nation on their visit and the displeasure expressed by the members of the Tamil Eelam Liberation Organisation (TELO) over their exclusion from the US visit and the talks with the govt. more..

New law adds to the gloom over Foreign Direct Investment

Nov 15 (ST) Sri Lanka requires a much higher amount of foreign direct investment (FDI) than what it has attracted in the recent past to sustain a high trajectory of economic growth. Foreign investment was expected to flow in once the war was over. Initially there were signs of investors wanting to make large investments. However in the two and a half years that have lapsed foreign direct investment flows have been inadequate. Even the investments that have been forthcoming are more..

Editorial: A close shave

Nov 15 (Island) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has congratulated Gold Coast on winning the bid to host the Commonwealth Games 2018. His gesture should be appreciated. However, it was not just a congratulatory note he should have sent the Australians but a huge thank you card preferably the size of his cutout near the Airport junction. For, Gold Coast has surely saved us from disaster! That some of the Commonwealth countries are not well disposed towards Sri Lanka more..

Special bodhi pooja held in London for late Bharatha Lakshman ex MP

Nov 15 (IL) Religious observances including special Bodhi Pooja were held recently to transfer merits to late Presidential advisor late Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra at Thames Buddhist Vihara, South London. Sri Lanka Mahajana Party jointly organised the religious programme with the help of United Socialist Alliance and Lanka Samasamaja Party in London. more..

TESS cannery to cut canned fish imports

Nov 15 (ST) Tropic Engineering Supplies and Service (TESS) Group, through its subsidiary, Tess Pvt Ltd will set up a tinned fish cannery in a bid to reduce canned fish imports, officials said. “We are trying to can the small fish for the local markets, which is why we want to set up this cannery,” Dilshan Fernando, Director Tess Pvt Ltd told the Business Times. He noted that Sri Lanka imports US$ 48 million worth of canned fish for a year. “This cannery, which we plan to more..

Grievances of EP Muslim farmers to be taken up with Defence Secy.

Nov 15 (Island) Muslims, particularly the farming community in the Eastern Province, are facing numerous hardships despite peace being restored in the country. UPFA Colombo Municipal Councillor Azath Salley and Deputy Minister Faizer Mustapha will soon meet Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa to discuss three pressing issues affecting the Muslim community there. Salley said that an Army officer in the East had asked farmers in Potuvil to bring documents more..

Five-star hotel only for forces

Nov 15 (BL) The mega five-star hotel to be constructed by the Sri Lanka Army in Colombo soon will be exclusively for forces personnel including the Army, Air Force and Navy, Brigadier Nihal Happuarachchi said. “Initially, we have thought of servicing Army, Navy and Air Force personnel and depending on the accommodation availability would be extended to the general public in which eventuality it would also include Police, STF, PSD and MSD personnel,” more..

Counterfeit note printing on the rise

Nov 15 (DM) The printing of counterfeit currency notes are on the increase with 62 such incidents reported during the first nine months of this year alone, as against 38 reported the previous year. The reports say that 52 cases were detected in 2009, 34 in 2008, 37 in 2007, 28 in 2006, 35 in 2005 and 43 in 2004. Governor Ajith Cabraal said, highly sophisticated features had been introduced in the present currency notes, therefore it was difficult to counterfeit them. more..

Displaced Jaffna residents still waiting to go home – two years after war ended

Nov 15 (ST) There are still some 34.000 people, or 2,000 families, living in welfare centres or rented houses in the Jaffna district, close on two years after the conflict in the North and East ended. Another 7,100 displaced Jaffna residents are housed in refugee camps in India. Kilinochchi GA Roopavathy Ketheesawaran said that 150 to 200 familes are waiting to be resettled in the Kilinochchi-Palai area. For now, resettlement is not permitted in seven Grama more..

'Projects worth Rs 50,000m launched in resettled areas'

Nov 15 (DN) Infrastructure development projects totaling to Rs 50,000 million have been launched in areas where internally displaced people have been resettled in the Jaffna Peninsula as at present, said Jaffna district GA Imelda Sukumar yesterday. Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa has given land clearance to more than 85 percent of lands affected by landmine contamination for development after successful de-mining operations, said Sukumar. more..

Treasure hunters arrested digging abandoned estate

Nov 15 (Island) Five persons, who attempted to dig up an abandoned estate to unearth a hidden treasure, had been nabbed by Galewela Police. The suspects had posed as road development workers and misled the residents of Nilgama village in Galewela, police said. The suspects were from Kadawatha, Avissawella and Kiribathgoda. They had told the villagers that they would engage in construction work of the dilapidated roads in the area, police said. more..

Former Sri Lanka President Chandrika at Harvard University

Nov 15 (UL) Chandrika Kumaratunga, former Sri Lankan President will deliver a speech titled, ‘Negotiating Identities and Emotions: Ethnopolitical Conflict in Sri Lanka’ at the Harvard University on Tuesday, November 14th, 2011. President Kumarathunga who was the leader of Sri Lanka from 1994 to 2005, will be this week’s guest speaker at the lecture series organized by the Harvard International Negotiation Project (HINP), co-sponsored by the South Asia Initiative. more..

Side wind should not deprive people’s rights, laments petitioner against Expropriation Bill

Nov 15 (FT) The exercise of the Constitutional right by a citizen to be heard by the Supreme Court cannot be deprived by a side wind by merely arbitrarily ‘rubber stamping’ a bill as an ‘urgent bill’ by the Cabinet of Ministers who do not have unfettered powers. So laments a public interest activist cum consultant in his fundamental rights petition challenging the impugned Expropriation Bill titled ‘Revival of Underperforming Enterprises more..

Visiting Palestinian delegation commends President’s services

Nov 15 (DN) A Palestinian delegation led by Mayor of Beitunia, Arafat M.A. Khalaf which is on a five-day official visit in Sri Lanka yesterday called on President Mahinda Rajapaksa at Temple Trees. Khalaf commended the services rendered by President Rajapaksa for the cause of Palestine as a President of Sri Lanka-Palestine Solidarity for over 29 years. He thanked the President for extending support to the Palestinians cause. The visiting Beitunia Mayor lauded President more..

The quality of mercy

Nov 15 (ABC) There is a Tamil man from the north of Sri Lanka, sitting in an immigration detention facility in Victoria. He has been assessed as a refugee but is not allowed to be released. He is married. His wife is living with an Australian family. The husband and wife are not allowed to spend time together. ASIO will not give him a security clearance. He will be in detention forever. It is sending the man and his wife mad. They are suicidal. This situation, created by more..

Some 41,750 removed from voters register

Nov 15 (DM) The total number of voters in the Jaffna electoral district has been reduced by another 41,750 this year due to reasons such as residents leaving the district to live in other parts of the country, officials said yesterday. The total of 816,005 registered voters in the district was reduced to 485,791 last year and as a result the Elections Department reduced the number of MPs to be elected from the Jaffna district from nine to six. more..

University students in Jaffna still face death threat from SLA intelligence

Nov 15 (TN) Representatives of the Jaffna University Students Union (JUSU) are continuously being threatened with death and intimidation by the Sri Lanka Army intelligence operatives. Some members of the JUSU on Tuesday narrowly escaped from the hands of the SLA intelligence division personnel when they were returning from Puththoor in Ki'linochchi district after making arrangements for holding free special classes for G.C.E.O/L students of Vanni more..

'SLMM tilted balance in favour of Sri Lanka, against LTTE'

Nov 15 (TN) Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM), the peace keeping arm of the Norway facilitated peace process in the island, tilted the balance in favour of the Sri Lankan state and against the LTTE, wrote Gajendrakumar Ponnampalam in 2007, in an unpublished research paper on the 2002 Ceasefire Agreement (CFA) he submitted to a foundation in the West. The IC could have used the CFA to pursue conflict resolution by maintaining the balance of power between the parties, but more..

Development Diaries: Nov 9, 2011

Pakistan,Sri Lanka to expand trade,security ties

Nov 15 (Island) The President Mahinda Rajapaksa had held bilateral talks with Pakistani Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani,on the sidelines of the17th SAARC Summit in Male last week. They had agreed to further expand and strengthen ties in various fields,especially in trade,security, culture and people-to-people contacts. Prime Minister Gilani had also exchanged views on the working of SAARC and said that there was a need to make this organization more active for more..

Govt. seeks investors for takeover listed institutions

Nov 15 (Island) The Govt will call for tenders from investors to manage the institutions, including the factories closed down in the Export Promotion Zones, mentioned to be taken over in the Appropriation Bill that was passed in Parliament. Lawyers, experts and professionals in the respective fields will be appointed on a temporary basis to head those 37 institutions and their main task would be to analyse what steps need be taken to revive them. more..

Seven cops to confess in businessman’s killing

Nov 15 (DM) Seven of the 10 policemen arrested in connection with the killing of a Grandpass businessman had today sought the Magistrates permission to make their confessions on camera. In this case 10 policemen including the Colombo North Anti Vice Squad OIC are alleged to have killed Pettah businessman Gunawardena Gamini Thushara and introduced a T56 assault rifle to the scene of the killing and identified the victim as an underworld gangster. more..

Will act against dissidents critical of the party: JVP

Nov 15 (DM) The JVP will take disciplinary action against its central committee members turned dissidents, who criticised the party at a Sugathadasa Stadium ceremony to commemorate the 22nd death anniversary of the party’s founder leader Rohana Wijeweera, a senior JVPer said. The JVP and its dissidents held two separate events to commemorate Mr. Wijeweera’s death anniversary. A senior JVP member said the party could not hold disciplinary inquiries against more..

Physical instructor who got physical with boys arrested

Nov 15 (Island) The Hanwella Police yesterday arrested a physical training instructor on charges of sexually abusing eight male students of a govt school in the area. The PTI had obtained the written permission of the parents of children to take them to a three-day Sports Camp to be held on 7,8 and 9 of October this year. Instead, he had taken the students on a trip in a van to Udawalawa, Kataragama and Kirinde areas where the students had been abused. more..

Govt to plant over a million trees

Nov 15 (Island) The Environment and Natural Resources Ministry will today plant more than one million trees countrywide as part of the national tree planting day. The main ceremony will take place at the newly constructed seven-acre botanical garden on the Sri Lanka-Japan Friendship Road in Battaramulla at 9.01 a.m. Minister Anura Priyadharshana Yapa said that even the UNEP has appreciated Sri Lanka’s initiative and ongoing tree planting programme. more..

WP docs strike tomorrow over phone allowance

Nov 15 (Island) Doctors in the Western Province will stage a one-day token strike tomorrow demanding payment of their telephone allowance. Assistant Secretary of the Govt Medical Officers’ Association, Dr. Sankalpa Marasinghe said yesterday that doctors of all other provinces had been paid the allowance except those in the Western Province. He said that the payment of phone bills of public sector employees had been authorised under a general circular last year. more..

Hilton assets, shares held with the govt.

Nov 15 (Island) Hotel Developers (Lanka) PLC which manages the Hilton Hotel in Colombo told the stock exchange yesterday that the company’s assets and shares held by all shareholders of the company was now held by the Secretary to the Treasury. This is in consequence to the enactment of the takeover bill passed in parliament last week. "At this moment, we are not in a position to comment on the impact of the said legislation on the company and its shareholders, as we await instructions from more..

Bus strike off, fares up by 3.5 pc

Nov 15 (Island) Private bus operators yesterday decided to call off their planned strike after the govt agreed to permit a fare hike of 3.5 per cent. A Lanka Private Bus Owners’ Association (LPBOA) delegation which met Private Minister C.B. Ratnayaka made this decision as the govt agreed to a fare hike proportionate to the recent increase in diesel prices. The price of a litre of diesel was increased by Rs. 8 per litre from Rs.76 to Rs. 84. more..

PNM criticises paddy purchase mechanism

Nov 15 (Island) The government’s paddy purchasing mechanism came in for severe criticism from the Patriotic National Movement yesterday. PNM President Dr. Gunadasa Amarasekera said that the govt wasn’t purchasing enough paddy and enforcing a price control. He said in order to stabilize the prices of the various varieties of rice during times of shortages the government needs to purchase as much paddy as possible from the farmers and have it stored for emergencies. more..

Promotion of Tourism in Jaffna

Nov 15 (GDI) A programme has been launched to focus attention of tourists on several archaeologically important places in the Jaffna peninsula that had not been visited by tourists earlier. 40 archaeologically important sites in the peninsula have been identified for this purpose. The conservation of these archaeologically important sites has been started, with prominence given to the Dutch Fort. This site is being conserved with the assistance of the Dutch Govt. more..