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Sri Lanka has closed the door to justice: UN Rights Chief

Feb 25 (FT) UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet has vowed to support judicial proceedings in other countries against perpetrators of grave human rights violations in SL, after the Govt had effectively closed the door to achieving justice locally for alleged war time abuses. In her statement to the 46th Session of the UNHRC yesterday, Bachelet said her office would support judicial measures in outside jurisdictions more..

Khan confident SL leaders will work to improve harmony: Hakeem

Feb 25 (FT) Pakistan PM Imran Khan yesterday met with Muslim MPs and expressed confidence SL leaders will work to improve inter-communal harmony. SLMC Leader Rauff Hakeem following the meeting tweeted that the discussion was pleasant and fruitful. “Had a pleasant and fruitful discussion with Pakistan PM along with my colleagues from several parties. He expressed confidence in the capacity of our leaders to improve harmony among all Sri Lankans and address their citizens’ more..

Some Muslim MPs notable absentees at banquet for Khan

Feb 25 (CT) Although leader of the SLMC, Rauff Hakeem participated at a banquet hosted for Pakistani PM Imran Khan, some Muslim MPs from several political parties including the SLMC were notable absentees. Party Leaders, Cabinet Ministers and Muslim MPs of the ruling party were invited to the banquet organised by PM for Pakistani Premier at Temple Trees on 23 Feb. Speaker together with a group of businessmen engaging in trade with Pakistan had also been invited. more..

SL-Pakistan to work on debt relief, connectivity: Khan

Feb 25 (FT) Sri Lanka and Pakistan have agreed to jointly work on negotiating debt relief, Pakistan PM Imran Khan said yesterday, calling on international organisations to support poor countries to tackle economic challenges worsened by the pandemic. Khan, who arrived in SL last afternoon for a two-day visit, was welcomed by his SL counterpart Mahinda Rajapaksa. The two PMs held bilateral discussions at Temple Trees more..

Ex-Prez in talks with legal team: Amaraweera

Feb 25 (CT) Former Prez Maithripala Sirisena is currently holding discussions with his lawyers in line with the recommendations made by the final report of the PCoI into the Easter Sunday attacks in 2019,Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said. He noted that the recommendations have been made by the commission and Sirisena will take precautions accordingly. However, Amaraweera said he is dissatisfied with the outcome of the PCoI, adding that apart from recommending more..

Sudarshini slams top Health Ministry officials

Feb 25 (DM) Primary Health Care, Epidemics and COVID-19 Disease Control Minister Sudarshani Fernandopulle today slammed Health Ministry officials over certain arbitrary decisions taken by them regarding the vaccination drive. She said it was difficult to carry out the vaccination drive when such decisions were taken without prior notice. “Some decisions were changed and communicated over the phone at midnight. Certain crucial decisions were not properly conveyed. more..

Differing views among Tamils on UNHRC Resolution

Feb 25 (TM) Different views have emerged amongst members of the Tamil community, with civil society organisations calling for a more stringent resolution to be adopted at the 46th UNHRC Session, whilst political parties are taking a more pragmatic approach towards the matter. At a press conference held in Colombo yesterday, the North-East Civil Forum claimed that the Zero Draft Resolution on SL presented at the UNHRC more..

Writ application over Hizbullah’s detention withdrawn

Feb 25 (Island) Attorney-at-Law Hejaaz Hizbullah and his wife Maran Califa yesterday withdrew the writ application they had filed in the Court of Appeal against the third extension of his detention order. Hizbullah was produced before the Fort Magistrate on Feb 18, 2021, and remanded. He was arrested by the CID in connection with the Easter Sunday suicide blasts of April 21, 2019. Hizbullah and his wife told the Court of Appeal, that since Hizbullah had been produced before a Court of law, more..

Who denied Covid-19 vaccine to those above 60?

Feb 25 (Island) Dr. Nihal Abeysinghe, President of College of Community Physicians strongly criticised the sudden and unilateral govt decision to do away with what he called the scientifically recommended Covid-19 vaccine priority list. He alleged that the priority list had been done away with on Feb 16 without consultations. Responding to a spate of probing questions, Dr. Abeysinghe explained how the powers that be acted recklessly contrary to the specific decisions taken by more..

Easter report recommendations: Ban us, but also implement rest of report: BBS

Feb 25 (TM) The BBS would not mind being banned as recommended by the PCoI into the Easter Sunday attacks, so long as it ensures the other recommendations of the PCoI are similarly implemented. “We would be more than happy to be banned, as long as the rest of the recommendations in the report are implemented properly,” BBS General Secretary Ven. Galagodaaththe Gnanasara Thero said. more..

Saliya Pieris elected new BASL President

Feb 25 (AD) The Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) has elected President’s Counsel Saliya Pieris as its new President. Pieris has been elected President with a total of 5,162 votes at the election, according to Attorney-at-Law Rajeev Amarasuriya, Secretary of BASL. Pieris has won over President’s Counsel Kuvera de Zoysa who obtained just 2,807 votes. President’s Counsel Saliya Pieris takes over the position from the outgoing President of BASL President’s Counsel Kalinga Indatissa. more..

Prez commission to probe SL Customs

Feb 25 (EN) Prez Gotabaya Rajapaksa had appointed a Presidential Commission of Inquiry to “evaluate the state of current affairs of the Sri Lanka Customs Department and make recommendations to enhance its effectiveness,” his office said. “The Commission is assigned to simultaneously come up with recommendations to make services by SL Customs more efficient and effective while dealing with various allegations and alleged irregularities against it,” the statement said. more..

Covid-19 deceased: Burials to be allowed soon?

Feb 25 (CT) Considering the growing plea among the public to allow burial of COVID-19 deceased and requests made by a number of party leaders, PM Mahinda Rajapaksa held a lengthy discussion with Govt Party Leaders at Parliament premises on 9 Feb, who endorsed this fact. The PM had pointed out at the discussion that a decision on burial could not be taken without seeking the opinion of the health authorities more..

US calls on UNHRC member states to support resolution on Sri Lanka

Feb 25 (FT) Addressing the UNHRC for the first time since its exit in 2018, US yesterday urged member states of the Council to back a resolution on SL to address the lack of accountability for past atrocities in the island. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told the 46th Session of the UNHRC currently underway that the US was “placing democracy and human rights at the centre” of its foreign policy. “We encourage the Council to support resolutions at this session addressing issues of more..

ComBank ends tough 2020 with platform for growth

Feb 25 (FT) Strong asset and other income growth combined with an emphasis on prudent provisioning in one of the most challenging years on record, have enabled the Commercial Bank of Ceylon Group (ComBank) to end 2020 on a stable platform for growth, with better liquidity than most peers and adequate provision cover. The Group, comprising of SL’s benchmark private bank, its subsidiaries and an associate, has reported gross income of Rs. 151.966 b for the year ending 31 Dec 2020, more..

PCoI on Easter Sunday attacks: AG not bound by its recommendations, yet to...

Feb 25 (Island) Attorney General Dappula de Livera, PC is not bound by recommendations made by the PCoI into the 2019 Easter Sunday carnage, or presidential directives in that regard, according to authoritative sources. They said that the AG couldn’t under any circumstances initiate legal proceedings until he had received the full PCoI report. President Mahinda Rajapaksa received the PCoI report on Feb 1. more..

CNN spotlight on SL’s resumption of tourism

Feb 25 (FT) World-famous news broadcaster CNN this week put SL under the spotlight, highlighting how the country has resumed international tourism, whilst following safety protocols amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. The positive exposure was during the channel’s popular First Move program hosted by famous anchor Julia Chatterley. She joined SL Tourism Chairperson Kimarli Fernando, who was live from Colombo, to explain what Chatterley described as an innovative way of revitalising tourism. more..

NATA butts out purported ayurvedic cigarette

Feb 25 (FT) Responding to reports on social media on an ayurvedic cigarette coming into the market, National Authority on Tobacco and Alcohol (NATA) Chairman Dr. Samadhi Rajapakse said that his office had written to the manufacturer of this product and requested him to halt the production and promotion of the product, as it is a violation of the NATA act. Dr. Rajapakse said that the law does not allow for the production or promotion of any product similar to a cigarette, even without tobacco, and more..

UNHRC sessions

SLC appoints 12 School Cricket Provincial Coordinators

Feb 25 (CT) Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has appointed 12 School Cricket Provincial Coordinators to seek for young talent covering all age groups. Coordinators will represent the SL Schools Cricket Association (SLSCA) at all age group selections, covering District and Provincial cricket. The Coordinators will work with District and Provincial Associations, School Coaches, Masters-in-charge and Principals to identify potential players to process them through Youth Level Cricket more..

Four COVID-19 deaths bring total to 457

Feb 25 (FT) Four Covid-19 deaths yesterday brought the country’s COVID-19 death toll to 457. Two of the deaths occurred yesterday, while one occurred on Tuesday and another occurred on 21 Feb. A 68-year-old individual from Boralesgamuwa tested positive for Covid-19 at the KDU Science Faculty Hospital and was admitted to the Homagama Base Hospital. However, she yesterday died of trauma of blood poisoning with Covid-19 and acute kidney disease. more..

'Trade best catalyst for peace in South Asia'

Feb 25 (FT) Pakistan PM Imran Khan yesterday highlighted dialogue, technology and trade as the top three ways for South Asia to tap its full potential, inviting SL businesses to invest in the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and insisting that wealth creation was the best way to lift millions, in both countries, out of poverty. Addressing a business and investment forum that saw the participation of top officials & private sector more..

Sports Minister presents proposal for high-performance centre to Pakistan PM

Feb 25 (DN) Minister Namal Rajapaksa handed over a proposal for the construction of a high-performance sports centre to the visiting Pakistan PM Imran Khan yesterday. The event took place when the Pakistan Premier was hosted for a banquet at the Lotus Room of the Shangri La Hotel in Colombo. The proposed high-performance centre constructed at Kirimandala Mawatha will focus purely on throwing and jumping field events and it will also feature a state-of-the-art sports more..

Shammi, Mathivanan top contenders for presidency

Feb 25 (CT) Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) will elect new office bearers for the next two years on 20 May. The election will commence from 10.30 a.m. at the Duncan White Auditorium of the Ministry of Sports in Colombo, and the list of nominations was submitted yesterday. Another two-way battle is expected for the top post, with incumbent President Shammi Silva and former Vice President K. Mathivanan in the fray. The main contenders from the Shammi Silva Camp are Jayantha Dharmadasa (Vice President), more..

458 persons test positive for COVID-19

Feb 25 (FT) A total of 458 COVID-19 patients were detected yesterday, pushing SL’s total COVID-19 patient count to 81,467. Yesterday’s patients are all associates of the Peliyagoda COVID-19 cluster. Divulapitiya, Peliyagoda and Prisons clusters have thus risen to 77,363 patients. 2,010 SL arrivals from abroad, 950 Navy personnel and their contacts, 651 persons linked to the Kandakadu cluster, and 180 foreigners have also tested more..

Editorial: Gesture of solidarity

Feb 25 (Island) Nothing could be more reassuring and uplifting in times of trouble than a true friend’s presence. SL has only a few generous, altruistic friends, and Pakistan certainly is prominent among them. Pakistani PM Imran Khan’s visit, albeit brief, could not have come at a better time for SL, a badger facing a pack of growling mastiffs in Geneva; what it needs most at this juncture is moral support. Many are the nations that have proffered loads and loads of unsolicited advice to SL on how to more..

Gotabaya regime’s Geneva response dumps Mahinda-appointed LLRC’s diagnosis

Feb 25 (CT) In a shocking example of backsliding that goes well beyond that which the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has accused the Govt of Sri Lanka, the official 30-page response of the Govt to High Commissioner’s Michelle Bachelet’s report on Sri Lanka, completely abandons, contradicts and denounces the diagnosis in the report of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation (LLRC) Commission, headed by former Attorney-General CR de Silva, more..

Charitha Herath

Foreign Policy: an examination of alleged incorrigibility

Feb 25 (DM) In 1996 Sri Lanka won the Cricket World Cup. The internet was in its infancy at the time. Social media wasn’t a household term. There was no Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and such. There was and, just as now, there was commentary. There was no room for outside comment though. Online comments were restricted to what now seems a rudimentary facility called which was where the fandits pontificated and argued with one another. more..

Tamil Tigers: Unfulfilled Promises of feminism and liberation

Feb 25 (GV) Govt’s Disarmament, Demobilisation, and Reintegration (DDR) program has invested in bridging former fighters’ transition from wartime to peacetime, but many aspects of the DDR program continued to pose problems for female cadres. Women who fought are still visited by the military in monitoring visits, which can be terrifying for family and neighbours and have detrimental impacts on their ability to live a normal life. Some women are pressured into marriage more..

21 Amphibians endemic to SL go extinct

Feb 25 (CT) The earth remains in the grips of a human-driven biodiversity crisis, with species’ extinction rates rising to levels unprecedented, since hyper-catastrophic events in deep geologic time. This crisis is immense. Recently it was revealed that in the last decade, 35 species of amphibians in the world have become extinct, with 21 endemic to SL. Representatives of environmental organisations & ecologists have pointed out, more..

Printing money to prosperity!

Feb 25 (ST) The global financial crisis in 2008/2009, according to one of the explanations, was caused by a mathematical equation. I know that many would consider this a joke, but it was not so; let me explain to you the story behind it. It was known as the Black-Scholes equation, developed by two financial economists – Fischer Black and Myron Scholes and published in 1973. The equation revealed a dynamic pricing formula for investors in the derivative market. The equation gradually led to open a whole more..

Hot Seat

Feb 25 (CT) Today the UN is in the hot seat! At the 46th virtual session commencing 22 Feb, the UN will take up allegations of war crimes and other abuses in SL. In trying to be righteous the UN has opened up a can of worms and as the good old adage goes when you point a finger at someone, forget not that there are three fingers pointing back at you. If the UN had a clean slate, well it would not have to worry then would it? But the UN hasn’t! Let’s take a look at the UN shall we, apart from more..

'I am for the 13th Amendment'

Feb 25 (DM) Vice Chairman of the CWC Senthil Thondaman shared his thoughts on the plight of estate workers and the leadership vacuum created by the demise of Arumugam Thondaman. Hailing from Badulla district Thondaman was a member of now defunct Uva PC. Thondaman, who was recently appointed as a member of the National Unity and Reconciliation Bureau, is the nephew of the late MP Arumugam Thondaman. more..

Geneva: A destination where the cruel fear to go

Feb 25 (DM) For many right thinking people the upcoming UNHRC sessions in Geneva offer hopes. These hopes are to have a govt that’s responsible and accountable. The many voices that support the Rajapaksa regime affirm that allegations are made against the country’s security forces and past officials of the Mahinda Rajapaksa regimes-that were in office between 2005 and 2015-sans a semblance of evidence. The tide in Geneva generated by democratic forces more..

De-forestation: Fauna and flora soon an extinct species

Feb 25 (DM) Our main focus today is not on the three islands off the Northern coast leased out to a Chinese company to set up a power project. The company has hit out against any outrageous interference by any third party sans legal and factual basis neither is it on the West Container Terminal (WCT), which is to be leased out to India on the basis of a Private Public Partnership (PPP) in lieu of the East Container Terminal (ECT) after the govet unilaterally pulled out of tripartite agreement more..