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Appeals to Zeild Al-Hussein for release of lands

Feb 9 (CT) Valikamam North Resettlement and Rehabilitation Committee in a memorandum submitted to UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeild Al-Hussein has urged him to take steps to allow the displaced people of Valikamam North area to resettle in their own lands and ensure their occupations at the earliest. Memorandum pointed out that only the international community can solve more..

Facebook and Google to enter SL in June

Feb 9 (ST) While Sri Lanka being a developing island with many new innovations and technologies evolving, international big players and multibillionaires such as Facebook and Google are eyeing to enter the country in June this year. Minister Harin Fernando made this disclosure at the Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT) launch of South East Asia – Middle East – Western Europe 5 (SEA-ME-WE 5) submarine cable system together with the launch of SLT’s Tier 4 National Data Centre, more..

We have nothing to fear from India: Coach

Feb 9 (DN) Coach Roger Wijesuriya said his side's impressive win over England left him optimistic about the first semi-final of U19 Cricket World Cup against favourites India in Mirpur today. "India is a strong side, a good all-round side," said Wijesuriya. "We know their strengths. I know Indians play spin well but spin bowling is our strength and we will stick to that. "If we play the way we did against England, there is no reason why we can't turn the semi-final in our favour. more..

LG polls in June under mixed system: Minister

Feb 9 (Island) All steps had been taken to hold LG elections in June under a mixed electoral system, Minister Faizer Mustapha said. He said that his ministry would gazette the amendments to the demarcation of electoral boundaries in local govt wards in April. "I have already instructed the committee to issue the Appeal Investigation Report on Demarcation of Electoral Boundaries in Local Govt bodies by April and thereafter more..

Sri Lanka envoy unveils welfare plan for island’s expat workers

Feb 9 (AN) SL Ambassador Azim Thassim told his countrymen in the Kingdom that his mission has chalked out a 20/20 plan to promote bilateral relations with the Kingdom and to work for the welfare of the island’s 500,000 workers in Saudi Arabia. The envoy was addressing the SL community on the occasion of his country’s 68th anniversary of its Independence Day. A large gathering of the Lankan community, including schoolchildren and Saudi businessmen, more..

Mixed cheer at Distilleries Company

Feb 9 (FT) Distilleries Company saw mixed fortunes in the first nine months of the 2015/16 financial year, with profitability lower despite revenue soaring. In 3Q, Group revenue rose by 36% to Rs. 23.58 billion whilst profit from operations declined by 7% to Rs. 2.2 billion. Cost of sales rose by 27% to Rs. 9 billion. Pre-tax profit was flat at Rs. 2.5 billion and after tax profit rose by 8% to Rs. 1.7 billion. Bottom line rose by 10.7% to Rs. 1.78 billion. In the nine months ended on 31 Dec 2015, more..

Five crucial pieces in Sri Lanka's T20 puzzle

Feb 9 (CI) Sri Lanka rose to No.1 in the T20I rankings when Graham Ford was coach and won the World T20 after Ford's first tenure ended. He has begun his second stint in charge of a far less settled T20 unit, with another global tournament in the coming weeks. These are just five of the many questions Sri Lanka may seek answers to during this three-match joust with India. Who will partner Tillakaratne Dilshan at the top? more..

Independence Day celebrations in Ottawa

Feb 9 (FT) Sri Lanka’s 68th Independence Day celebrations were held at the Official Residence of the High Commissioner in Ottawa on 4 Feb 2016. It was attended by a large number of SL Canadians representing all communities. Religious discourses on the theme of national unity were delivered by the Buddhist, Hindu, Catholic and Islamic clergy. Speaking on the occasion, High Commissioner of Sri Lanka to Canada, Ahmed Jawad highlighted the progress made by Sri Lanka over the years more..

Fish prices up Rs 100

Feb 9 (CT) Food inflation continued to bite, at least as far as the sample captured by Central Bank (CB) in the week ended on Friday showed. For instance, marine fish, discounting inland water fishery, probably a key source of animal protein, due to religious sentiments, where there may be an aversion to the consumption of poultry, though, probably a cheaper substitute of protein than fish, saw a year on year (YoY) increases in their prices, at least in the sample captured by CB more..

SAARC mulls regional energy regulatory authority

Feb 9 (FT) SAARC energy regulators are planning to set up a regional body to promote cross-border trade among member countries. “There is a consensus that a Central Regulatory Authority would be created for the smooth implementation of the energy cooperation agreements in the South Asian region,” SAARC Secretariat Director Ali Haider Altaf said at the inauguration of 2nd meeting of SAARC more..

Seagulf Shipyard to invest US$ 40 mn on three projects

Feb 9 (DN) Seagulf Shipyard (Pvt) Ltd will invest over US$ 40 million to build shipping yards and for maritime related activities for 2016. These investments will be made in Trincomalee, Galle and at their yard in Modera. Seagulf Shipyard Managing Director Sarath Obeysekera said that they have already invested US$ 3 million to build a ship building facility in Modera. “We offer about 100 employment opportunities and will infuse a further US$ 7 million with a Malaysian partner to more..

The politics of punishing war crimes in SL

Feb 9 (Island) Two days ago the national anthem was sung in Tamil for the first time at the official celebration of independence day since independence in 1948. Six years ago the govt’s own regional director for education in the Tamil north, Markandu Sivalingam, was assassinated by unidentified gunmen for disagreeing with President Rajapaksa’s directive to ban the singing of the national anthem in Tamil at official functions.United Nation’s High Commissioner for more..

Sri Lanka targets five Gold medals

Feb 9 (CT) The athletics competition of the 12th South Asian Games (SAG) 2016 will commence today, with a card of 10 finals where five top Sri Lankan athletes will be in action and will start their campaign as favourites to win Gold medals in their respective events. Himasha Eashan (100m), Indunil Herath (800m), Manjula Kumara Wijesekara (high jump), Nimali Liyanarachchi (800m) and Chamali Priyadarshani (long jump) are more..

Editorial: Premature applause

Feb 9 (Island) There has been a mixed reaction to UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Hussein’s visit, as expected. Efforts are being made in some quarters to lionise him while his critics are all out to demonise him. Much publicity has been given to a claim that the UNHRC chief rejected Northern Province Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran’s request for UN intervention to secure the release of LTTE suspects in custody. He is reported to have pointed out the need for more..

Sri Lanka and UNHRC

Feb 9 (Island) The long and convoluted saga of the West's efforts aimed at regime change and the ongoing story of neo-colonialism in Sri Lanka, related by my friend Neville Ladduwahetty, in the well-researched article titled "UN Role in Sri Lanka's Accountability Process" in your esteemed newspaper on February 6, should be required reading for both our country's decision makers as well as your interested reading public. As he relates it and the facts support, more..

Jailed or killed, no one can destroy the Rajapaksas: Gota

Feb 9 (FT) Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the second most powerful man among the Rajapaksa clan during the previous regime, asserted that no one could politically destroy the Rajapaksas even if they were jailed or killed. Former Defence Secretary, said that the family had been in politics for over 80 years and that all attempts to wipe them out would be a failure as people still hoped to bring Mahinda Rajapaksa back into power. more..

Dickwella replaces injured Dilshan for first T20

Feb 9 (CI) Wicketkeeper-batsman Niroshan Dickwella has been added to Sri Lanka's squad as cover for Tillakaratne Dilshan, who was ruled out of the first T20 against India with a hand injury. Dilshan did not travel with the team to India on Saturday. He will instead spend a few days recovering from injury at home, before joining the side mid-series. He is expected to be available for the second match, in Ranchi, on Feb 12. This injury is an aggravation of an old complaint for Dilshan, more..

68 years after independence: A tale of missed opportunities?

Feb 9 (ST) The celebration of 68 years of independence three days ago had an additional significance. It was also a celebration of regaining democracy, the rule of law and freedom from autocratic rule a little over a year ago. This significant political change is an opportunity to pursue pragmatic policies to achieve the nation’s full economic potential and enhance human development. However we celebrated it at a time of economic instability and uncertainty. more..

Hiru TV: Balaya

Ranil takes on the media Brahmins

Feb 9 (SL) Ranil Wickremesinghe has pelted stones at Lanka’s demi-gods and the gods have taken to quite an ungodly act: pelting back not only stones but hurling mud, rumours and calumny against Ranil for his sacrilegious act. We feel inclined to raise at least one and a half cheers – instead of the full throated three – at Wickremesinghe’s performance for we do not go all the way with what he said. We must confess that despite being a professional scribe loyal to the profession for more..

In a Nutshell

Feb 9 (SL) The busy bodies in the group that call themselves the joint opposition it seems are busy stealing coconuts these days. Last week the opposing ones decided to dash coconuts in the Seenigama Devala against the khaki coats investigating all that is wrong in financial fronts. One smart Morning type said that one million coconuts will be dashed to secure the release of former Royal Yo-shitter, little realizing that such a move would result in a shortage of coconuts in country. more..

'Clause on Buddhism in the constitution should not be changed'

Feb 9 (SL) Minister Lakshman Seneviratne said the clause on Buddhism in the Constitution should not be changed adding that this is the only country for Sinhalese Buddhists. He said that instead of removing the clause on Buddhism, other religions too should be given equal rights. He said that Tamil people and Sinhalese can live together in harmony and it's the politicians who want separate governance & not the Tamil people. more..

The High Commissioner for Human Rights visit to Sri Lanka raises hopes for victims

Feb 9 (GV) This week, the UN’s top human rights official, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein – the High Commissioner for Human Rights – is visiting Sri Lanka. He will see a country that has changed considerably since his predecessor Navi Pillay came to the island in 2013. Since then, the increasingly authoritarian govt of President Mahinda Rajapaksa was voted out of office. The new govt, led by President Sirisena, has taken notable steps to change SL’s course on human rights. more..

An appeal to democratic forces

Feb 9 (GV) The great electoral victory won by democratic forces on 8th January 2015 against the anti-democratic, corrupt, murderous, and authoritarian family rule is in jeopardy. Rajapaksa family and cronies have begun to regroup in order to reverse the democratic gains we have made. This appears a real threat at present. If these attempts are not halted the country will be flung into an abyss and the people will again face the situation that prevailed during 30 years of barbaric war. more..

A Day in the Life of constitution-making

Feb 9 (SO) On the lawn and in the shade of trees in the sunlit compound, people waited to transact whatever dealings they had come for with the local bureaucracy. It was a typical busy Monday mid-morning at the Gampaha District Secretariat and most of the local citizenry seemed unaware of the historic proceedings taking place inside the oldish, colonial-style, Secretariat building, an event that would touch all of their lives as citizens once more..

After darkness at noon, deception in daylight

Feb 9 (CT) The best and the brightest of the academic and activists who supported the common candidacy of President Sirisena have decided to refresh Presidential remembrance of his covenant on good governance announced prior to the Presdential election. The three page letter in elegant, eloquent Sinhala seems to suggest that promises not kept are deemed as broken. Their sense of disillusionment is expressed with extreme economy, an indication that they still cling to more..

Elephants, Tourism & Cruelty to animals

Feb 9 (CT) In Sri Lankan tourism, riding an elephant has become one of the key attractions. Due to this we find many elephants in the country being victims of cruelty and inhumane treatment in the name of tourism. While there are set guidelines on the treatment of elephants, they are visibly not followed, and the laws on cruelty to animals in Sri Lanka dating back to 1907 fail to address this issue in an effective manner. This in turn highlights the need for effective laws to address more..

UNP working committee unanimously approves Fonseka’s name

Feb 8 (AD) The Working Committee of the UNP today unanimously approved Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka for the parliamentary seat left vacant by the death of Minister M.K.A.D.S. Gunawardena, UNP acting General Secretary Akila Viraj Kariyawasam says. This came after the UNP signed a collective agreement with Democratic Party (DP) led by former Army Commander at Temple Trees. Agreement was signed by Fonseka as more..

Yahapalana govt’s Rs.4000 million fraud to be taken to FCID

Feb 8 (LT) All Ceylon Farmers Federation has decided to complain to the FCID against the Minister of Agriculture and Paddy Marketing Board for inflicting a loss of Rs.4000 million to the govt by handing over 234,800 metric tons of Nadu paddy to three mill owners, who are close associated of the govt, at reduced prices. They also have taken a decision to take legal action. The complaint would be filed at FCID tomorrow and All Ceylon Farmers’ Federation will be joined by more..

MDP slams Yameen for consulting Lankan black magician

Feb 8 (CG) Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has slammed Maldives President Abdulla Yamin Abdul Gayooom for allegedly consulting a Sri Lankan black magician. MDP said that the media had revealed that President Yameen has been consulting a Sri Lankan practitioner of black magic before taking political decisions. MDP also said that the Maldives Police had announced that they are investigating a judicial arrest warrant, which was reportedly issued against President Yameen. more..

Sri Lanka's ex-regime slams UN rights chief's joke visit

Feb 8 (AFP) Ex-president Mahinda Rajapakse's brother denounced Monday the UN human rights chief's visit to Sri Lanka as a big joke, as the former regime stepped up opposition to a UN-backed war-crimes probe. Former president Rajapakse and his brother, ex-defence secretary Gotabhaya Rajapakse, have signed a petition against the probe into allegations of thousands of civilian deaths during the final months of war. more..

Under-strength SL have mountain to climb

Feb 8 (CI) When these T20 teams met most recently, at the 2014 World T20 final, India may have been better-drilled, but Sri Lanka had the cleverer strategy. Sri Lanka were T20's iconoclasts at the time, topping the rankings with wit and versatility, while other teams doubled down on power. Things have changed south of the Palk Strait since then. There's been an exodus of cricketing intelligence. The team has not coped, so far. India have never lacked for smarts themselves, more..

Mortar discovered from University grounds

Feb 8 (DN) A mortar which had been found from the stadium of the Eastern University has been defused by the military, Nilaveli Police said. The mortar had been discovered while the constructions of the stadium were going on. It has been identified as a mortar belonging to the type 81 mm. The bullet has been defused on a court order. No suspects have been arrested in connection with the incident hitherto. Nilaveli Police is conducting further investigations into the incident. more..

There is peace in the Country: Mahanayake Thera tells UNHR Chief

Feb 8 (DM) Malwatte Chapter Mahanayake Thera the Most Ven. Tibbatuwave Siddhartha Sri Sumangala Thera has told visiting UN Human Rights High Commissioner Prince Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein that present govt was striving hard to bring about reconciliation in the country. UNHR Chief visited the Dalada Maligawa today and after paying homage to the sacred tooth relic he paid a courtesy call on Mahanayake Thera. more..

Certain former ministers still to return vehicles and vacate official residences

Feb 8 (DN) The Anti-Corruption Front has urged the govt to immediately take over vehicles and official residences from former Members of Parliament, Cabinet Ministers and Deputy Ministers who have not yet handed them over to the relevant authorities. Spokesman for the Anti Corruption Front said that several former Cabinet Ministers and Deputy Ministers have been occupying these houses for the past 13 months, even though they have lost their portfolios. more..

National Anthem sung in Tamil: MR expresses surprise

Feb 8 (DN) Former President Rajapaksa expressed surprise about the National Anthem being sung in Tamil during the Independence Day celebrations on Feb 4. He said this was something no one had expected. Rajapaksa said that by doing so, those who decided on the move have created a problem where none existed. He said feelings of animosity could surface by forcing something on the people which they had never requested. He said several Tamil and Muslim politicians had called him more..