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Video: Sri Lanka's unanswered questions over human rights

Oct 24 (BBC) The BBC has spoken to people in Sri Lanka who say they have been threatened with rape and tortured at the hands of officials. The group Human Rights Watch says rape and sexual violence are widely used against detainees, something the govt denies. Sri Lanka's Foreign Minister has said the country's investigations into human rights violations have been adequate. With less than a month to go until the Commonwealth conference in Sri Lanka, the govt there has rejected more..

Supreme Court rejects Commonwealth assistance in ousted CJ case

Oct 24 (Island) The Supreme Court yesterday refused applications by the Commonwealth Bar Association and the Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales. They had sought to appear as amici curiae to inform Court on the Constitutional Act of 2005 of the UK, which refers to the removal of judges. SC held that they were foreign institutions and their interventions were not needed. Dr. Sunil Cooray appeared for them. more..

The Budget and backdoor gazette

Oct 24 (DM) The Appropriations Bill or the first reading of the 2014 Budget estimates of revenue and expenditure, presented to Parliament on Tuesday, shows that expenditure will rise to Rs. 1542 billion—about 30 percent more than the figure for this year. Among the significant expenditure figures are Rs. 253 billion for the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development and Rs. 144 billion for the Ministry of Ports and Highways. The expenditure for Defence and Urban Development Ministry more..

‘Unite the oppressed without racism’

Oct 24 (DM) The question raised by many is, who can rescue the masses from the misery that exists. Misery of the working masses is either created or amplified by the Mahinda regime. Though the regime shouts from rooftops against those who are attempting to undermine Lankan sovereignty, many actions of the regime have opened the door for foreign domination. Mahinda has done everything to satisfy the IMF and the foreign masters to put the country into a debt trap. more..

International goodwill keeps Sri Lanka on devolution path

Oct 24 (SL) As recently as the middle of this year, none of what is currently transpiring in the North would have seemed possible. At that time Nationalist Sinhalese groups aligned themselves with hardliners within the govt to call for the abolishing of the Provincial Councils system. There were govt efforts to introduce a 19th Amendment to the Constitution, removing provincial land and police powers and also removing sections enabling more..

The UN- a part of the progress of Sri Lanka's journey a head

Oct 24 (DM) The UN Resident Co-ordinator in Sri Lanka Subinay Nandy spoke to the Daily Mirror on the future plans of the UN in Sri Lanka, the implications of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights’ visit to Sri Lanka, and the mistrust and criticism leveled against the UN in Sri Lanka. Excerpts of the interview follow-watch the interview online. Q: The UN has been in Sri Lanka for over 60 years. What would you say are more..

Colombo hotels get ready to make a kill during the CHOGM

Oct 24 (ST) With their Room rates set to increase drastically, leading hotels both in the city and the suburbs are busy preparing to accommodate the visiting delegates of the CHOGM. Training staff members and upgrading facilities are under way in hotels designated as ‘CHOGM Partner Hotels’. Room reservations from Nov 10-17 for the duration of the CHOGM events which will take place at these hotels, have been blocked to more..

Proposed Crown Resort staff to be trained by William Angliss Institute in Sri Lanka

Oct 24 (DM) The William Angliss Institute entered into an agreement with Crown Sri Lanka Resort to provide hospitality training through the Colombo Academy of Hospitality Management (CAHM) recently. “The agreement is a very open one whereby the CAHM will provide the basic training in hospitality related services to Crown Sri Lanka Resort, provided the project continues. William Angliss has already had some experience more..

SL too reliant on foreign borrowings: Fitch

Oct 24 (LBO) Sri Lanka is too reliant on govt foreign borrowings and foreign currency risks are also rising for borrowers who may not have forex revenues, Fitch Ratings has said. Sri Lanka has been unable to attract high levels of foreign direct investments since the end of a war with FDI averaging 1.2% of GDP since a war ended in 2009. "The country has therefore banked on the promise of higher future growth to more..

'Casino good but not for locals'

Oct 24 (CT) The National Freedom Front (NFF) gave an approval of sorts for the casino business, claiming casinos should be set up exclusively for foreigners and that they should be located at a suitable venue. The party also deemed that the licence to operate casinos could be issued under existing laws. This was decided at the Political Council meeting presided over by the Party Leader, Wimal Weerawansa, to discuss the more..

Sri Lanka targets US $ 2bn FDIs from CHOGM

Oct 24 (DM) Sri Lanka’s investment promotion bureau, the BoI, said it would expect at least US $ 2.0 billion worth of foreign direct investments (FDIs) in 2014 from the CHOGM alone. BoI Director Promotion Dilip Samarasinghe said they were expecting at least 1,000 delegates from 60 countries to the Commonwealth Business Forum (CBF), the biggest business forum ever held in Sri Lanka along with the CHOGM. more..

Budget 2014: Increase in allocation for education a sham–JVP

Oct 24 (Island) The JVP led Ceylon Teachers’ Service Union (CTSU) claimed that though the govt had tried to impress the public by increasing allocations for Education by a tiny amount in the Appropriation Bill presented at Parliament on Tuesday, there was a reduction compared to the total got expenditure with inflation factored in. According to the Appropriation Bill, Rs. 38.8 billion was allocated to the Education more..

'Don’t discriminate, give all Govt. MPs ministerial portfolios'

Oct 24 (Island) The govt had discriminated against some of its MPs by appointing only about 75% of its parliamentary group ministers or deputy ministers, UNP MP Nalin Bandara said. Those MPs who had been treated unfairly could be put in charge of subjects such as Gal (Stones), Bulath (Beetle), Hakuru (Jaggery), Puvak (Arecanut) etc. Those were areas in which some of them specialised and their expertise should not more..

TN house resolution calls for boycott of Colombo CHOGM

Oct 24 (Hindu) Tamil Nadu Assembly on Thursday unanimously adopted a resolution asking the Indian govt to “completely boycott” the CHOGM to be held in November in Sri Lanka. Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, who moved the resolution, said even “token participation of Indian representatives” should not be allowed. “India should immediately communicate its decision to the Sri Lankan govt and take steps to suspend the country from more..

Indian decision on attending CHOGM will affect its moral

Oct 24 (CT) Doubts are being cast on Indian PM Dr Manmohan Singh’s willingness to participate in the CHOGM to be held in Sri Lanka. Indian spokespersons have been very circumspect on the issue. Without committing themselves or giving an indication of whether the answer will be in the affirmative or negative, they merely say that the level of Indian representation has yet to be decided on. Indian politics is always full of issues that require the full time attention of its govt leadership. more..

Speaker says unedited parliamentary proceedings available now

Oct 24 (Island) A giant LED digital screen was unveiled by Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa at the Jayanthipura visitors’ car park of the Parliamentary Complex yesterday to provide live telecast of parliamentary proceedings to the public. Addressing the gathering, Speaker said it would be the first step towards providing live telecast of parliamentary proceedings so that the public would have the opportunity to see how their representatives conducted themselves in Parliament. more..

Daily Mirror Cartoon

Sri Lanka stocks up 0.6%, rupee gains

Oct 24 (LBO) Stocks ended a three day losing streak to close 0.60 percent higher and the rupee continued to strengthen against the US dollar amid inflows. All Share Price Index closed 35.50 points higher at 5,936.40, up 0.60%, after reaching an intraday high of 5,952.26. The S&P SL20 closed 4.58 points higher at 3,263.76, up 0.14%. Turnover amounted to 516.81 million rupees, up from 481.31 million rupees the previous day, with shares of 129 firms gaining against 53 losers. more..

Casinos for foreigners and the privileged

Oct 24 (CT) In what is becoming another one of those déjà vu situations, the govt on Monday night, following a Party Leaders' meeting at the Presidential Secretariat, decided to withdraw the contentious Strategic Development Project Bill No. 14, euphemistically referred to as the 'Casino Bill,' scheduled to be presented in Parliament yesterday. The Bill, viewed by many as attempts by the govt to legalize casinos in the country, elicited widespread censure, with the govt's own constituent more..

Video: Poor taxed while casinos enjoy tax holidays: UNP

Oct 24 (DM) UNP MP R. Yogarajan said today the government had imposed a 40% tax on ordinary people while giving a tax holiday to casino operators. “This is unacceptable. It is the poor who should be given relief and not the rich casino owners. The unreasonable tax holidays will allow foreign investors to transfer all their tax-free profits abroad. In the past the rich were taxed while the poor were given much-needed subsidies, he said. more..

Darmapalapala Vidyalaya attack: Three suspects arrested

Oct 24 (Island) Police have arrested three persons, wanted in connection with yesterday’s attack on the principal of Kottawa Dharmapala Vidyalaya, Y. Yasaratne and his deputy, A.B. Bandusiri in the school premises. The arrested persons were members of an eight-member group responsible for the attack. The police are looking for the others. Those involved in the attack were parents of boys studying at the school. Some of the suspects were old boys of the college, more..

Wigneswaran to go to court

Oct 24 (CG) Northern Province Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran says he is considering taking legal action against Tamil civilian land being taken over in Navatkuli, Jaffna. Wigneswaran said that the matter is a legal issue and as such he will deal with it through courts. Sinhalese families are being settled in the area and Tamil families who live close by are being moved out, reports from the area said. Wigneswaran said that while Sinhala families are being given land there are more..

Cameron, Suu Kyi agree on Lanka

Oct 24 (CG) British PM David Cameron and Burmese opposition leader and Nobel peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi have both agreed that engaging Sri Lanka is the right way to go on the human rights issue. Aung San Suu Kyi, who met Cameron in London on Wednesday, said that if he goes to Sri Lanka he should “engage with all those who are involved, all other stakeholders and not just the govt”. Cameron responded: more..

Deakin Uni. & SL higher education ministry signs MoU

Oct 24 (SM) The University of Deakin in Australia signed a MoU with the Ministry of Higher Education. Distinguished guests including the Australian High commissioner - Robyn Mudie, Ministry of Higher Education - Dr. Sunil Nawaratne as well as academic, industry and corporate leaders, partners and alumni of Deakin University attended the event held in Colombo yesterday. University of Moratuwa is the first institution to benefit from Deakin University’s exciting Sri Lankan collaboration more..

Will the report on Rathupaswala solve the issues of the people? - JVP

Oct 24 (AD) The govt has still not provided the people of Rathupaswala any solutions for their water problems, JVP MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake stated today in parliament. MP questioned the govt on whether the relevant Minister and the committee appointed to look into the matter would provide the necessary solutions to these issues which boiled over and cost the lives of three innocent people. He asked the assembly which committee would prepare the final report on the Rathupaswala more..

Mangala informs parliament of threats on his life

Oct 24 (SM) UNP MP Mangala Samaraweera at the parliament today claimed that he has received information about a plot to assassinate him in the run-up to the CHOGM to be held in Sri Lanka. Raising a privilege issue he stated that two underworld gang members called 'Chaku' and 'Kota Gamini' have been assigned the task of carrying out his murder. During his statement the Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa questioned if more..

Sri Lanka plant to be more than assembly unit: Maruti chief

Oct 24 (LBO) Maruti Suzuki India Ltd would like build a plant in Sri Lanka that would be more than a simple assembly operation, chairman R C Bhargava said. Maruti is conducting a feasibility study on the plant is in talks with the Sri Lanka govt on regulatory issues, he said at joint news conference with Associated Motorways (AMW), its agent in SL. Bhargava said the feasibility study will be concluded this year and then a decision will be taken on the ownership structure and capacity. more..

BBS given contract to undermine opposition to casino

Oct 24 (LT) A motorcade was launched by Bodhu Bala Sena to go to Kandy as a move to eradicate ‘Halal’ from the country. Galagodaaththe Gnanasara Thera had told the media the intention of the motorcade was to pay homage to the Temple of the Tooth and aspire intelligence for the authorities to remove ‘Halal’ from the land. However, from what has been revealed the move is a sudden contract the BBS has been assigned with. As a massive opposition has developed in the country more..

LPBOA await Govt. nod to operate on new expressway

Oct 24 (DM) Lanka Private Bus Owners' Association (LPBOA) Chairman Gemunu Wijeratne said the government had not informed them whether private buses would be allowed to operate on the Colombo Katunayake Expressway which is scheduled to be opened on Sunday. “About 200 buses operating on the Colombo-Katunayake and Negombo-Colombo routes will be badly affected with the opening of the new expressway,” he said. more..

Gas leak: Factory to move

Oct 24 (Island) The owner of the detergents factory responsible for emitting ammonia gas which left 72 area residents in hospital on Tuesday, has agreed to shift the facility to Kalutara. Following agitations by people, he gave the assurance at a meeting he had with senior police officers, Buddhist monks and people’s representatives of Batakettara, at the Sumanarama Temple. Director General of Central Environmental Authority Dr. Saranga Alahaperuma said that the CEA had suspended more..

Australia warns Lankan boat people

Oct 24 (CG) The Australian Govt has warned Sri Lankan boat people saying they will be sent back if they attempt to reach Australia illegally. A statement by the Australian High Commission said that the Australian govt had recently moved quickly to return Sri Lankans who arrived illegally by boat to Australia. it said that 73 of 79 Sri Lankans who recently arrived illegally by boat have been sent back to Sri Lanka with the remaining six also due to be returned having been screened out more..

'India will be isolated if it boycotts CHOGM'

Oct 24 (PTI) With PM Manmohan Singh yet to take a decision on whether to attend the CHOGM in Colombo next month, Sri Lanka has made it clear that India would be isolated if it does not participate in the summit. “Human rights violation takes place in every country in the world. We have our share of it and we are making effort to correct them. “All the govts in the Commonwealth had decided unanimously that the CHOGM more..

CHOGM 2013: Challenge or opportunity?

Oct 24 (TD) The CHOGM comes to Sri Lanka in Nov 2013 for the first time. The event is also historic for another reason: It is the second largest summit of world leaders to gather in Sri Lanka since the country gained independence, behind only the Non-Aligned Summit in 1976. Yet even with preparations for this milestone underway, the challenges that Sri Lanka faces in the international arena continues. It is beyond dispute that Sri Lanka’s three-decade conflict was externalized through more..

Govt. divided over Integrated Resorts Gazette – Tissa

Oct 24 (Island) With the govt forced to amend the Gazette on Integrated Resorts, its ministers were making contradictory statements, the UNP said on Tuesday. UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake, said that while Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena was at the forefront of promoting the Strategic Development Projects Act, that enabled the establishment of Casinos, Irrigation Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva was talking about Sri Lankan values and its culture. more..

Elephant race scrapped on Sri Lanka's new trunk road

Oct 24 (AFP) 24 elephants lined up for a race Thursday on Sri Lanka's newest expressway, but thousands of spectators were left disappointed when organisers scrapped the event due to safety concerns. The animals and jockeys were jostling at the start line on the Chinese-built 25.8-kilometre four-lane expressway from the airport to the capital when authorities had a sudden change of heart. Police felt that the tuskers could pose a threat more..

What the authorities don’t want you to see

Oct 24 (AI) One tip top opportunity to find lots of politicians to natter to about human rights is to go to their stalking ground…Party conferences. It is like a festival for political anoraks where we all queue up to see our favourite “acts”. However, this year among the many meetings, prawn vol-au-vents and receptions I was blown away by how human rights concerns can easily be pushed aside over a nice glass of wine (probably) paid for by the Sri Lankan govt (of which I did not partake). more..

Sri Lanka A capitulate against spin

Oct 24 (CI) A dismal first-innings for Sri Lanka A may not necessarily end in defeat at SSC, as Board XI batted again at the end of penultimate day at SSC, perhaps in an effort to give key batsmen time in the middle. Sri Lanka A surrendered haplessly to the spin of Sachithra Senanayake and Rangana Herath, managing only 125 in response to the opposition's 501, and perhaps would have been staring squarely at defeat, had Board XI chosen to enforce the follow-on. more..

UN says to seek long term peace in Sri Lanka

Oct 24 (Xinhua) The UN on Thursday said it will look to support the overall efforts of the Sri Lankan govt to ensure reconciliation and long-term peace for the people. The UN representative in Colombo said the basic ideas of the UN 's new cycle of cooperation with Sri Lanka are equity, inclusion and rights as enshrined in the Sri Lankan Constitution and the International Treaties and Conventions to which Sri Lanka is signatory. more..

Army court on Haiti rape meets

Oct 24 (CG) The five-member Court of Inquiry (CoI), convened by the Commander of the Army to investigate into a recent alleged sexual misconduct by a member of the Sri Lankan UN Peace Keeping Mission contingent in Haiti (MINUSTAH), has begun in close co-operation with UN Military Police in Leogane, Haiti, the army media unit said today. The CoI comprises Major General N.A.J.C Dias, Adjutant General, Major General E.K.J.K Wijayasiri, Provost Marshal, Brigadier R.P Rajapathirana, more..

Govt. under mounting pressure for salary hike

Oct 24 (DM) With the date for the announcement of the 2014 Budget Proposals fast approaching, the UPFA Govt is feeling the mounting heat generated by trade unions calling for a considerable pay hike for public and private sector employees. As a prelude to an intensified countrywide demand for a salary increase and for the elimination of salary anomalies, the All Ceylon Health Services Union (ACHSU) staged protests outside all state hospitals during the lunch break yesterday. more..