Monday, March 31, 2008
Chinese torchbearers walk with the Olympic flame upon its arrival at Beijing's Capital International Airport on March 31, 2008. The Olympic flame arrived in Beijing on March 31 from Greece ahead of the official start of the relay, with security tight at the Chinese capital's airport amid concerns over protests.
The election secretariat says that a large number of security forces personnel are expected to apply for postal votes. The postal votes applications will be issued after the 3rd of April, the final day of nominations.
Meanwhile, several main political parties are in the process of finalizing their nominations for the eastern provincial poll.
Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage, a member of the SLFP nomination committee said that the list of nominations has been finalized.
Friday, March 28, 2008
Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations speaking at the Seventh Session of the Human Rights Council said that the Council must not give up the responsibility to examine human rights in a holistic manner.
He further stated that this includes discussing the roots and context in which violations of human rights take place.
Dr. Jayatilleka, addressing the Sessions prior to the adoption of several resolutions pertaining to human rights issues pointed out that what was required was “an office which will be a lighthouse of human rights, a lighthouse whose beam plays across the horizon back and forth. We do not need an Office which is opaque or indecipherable, standing above us like Kafka’s castle.”
He said that Sri Lanka supports the effort to make the Office more authentically representative of regions and peoples.
“We believe that in so broad-basing the Office, in making it a more accurate mirror of the planet, it will be able to discharge its functions far more effectively and it will find itself a more greatly empowered and authentically independent institution.
“Not independent of some but dependent on others, but independent of all above the fray and recognized as such universally.”
With respect to the resolution titled “Mandate of the independent expert on the effects of foreign debt and other related international financial obligations of States on the full enjoyment of all human rights, particularly economic, social and cultural rights”, A/HRC/7/L.9, Dr. Jayatillake said that Sri Lanka will support the text because we do not agree with the criticism that much of the substance belongs elsewhere.
“We also know the famous divide between socio-economic and cultural rights on the one hand and political rights on the other. This is sometimes referred to as the distinction between individual and collective rights. We believe that this text attempts to bridge this divide.
It is a bridging exercise that is vitally necessary; bringing together the concerns of individuals and collectives, of North and South.”
Finally, on the Resolution titled “Mandate of the independent expert on human rights and international solidarity”, A/HRC/7/L.12, Dr. Jayatilleka stated the following:
“Sri Lanka intends to vote yes for two very simple but very fundamental reasons. Mr. President, we know the lamentable effects of the split between the three great slogans, the triad of slogans of the French revolution: liberty, equality and fraternity. One part of the world privileged one of the three terms, and another part of the world, during the 20th century, privileged the other two. We think that the triadic nature of the three goals should be emphasized and we think this text by focusing on solidarity, brings back the dimension of equality and fraternity, linking it with the great goal of liberty.
“The second reason, Mr. President that we shall vote in favour is that we remember the words, the phrase, of the late Pope John Paul II who repeatedly spoke of the need for the globalization of solidarity. For these two reasons Mr. President, we shall vote in favour.”
UN Worker fined for drug offence
A UNICEF consultant Ms Lisa Woods was fined Rs.8000 by a Colombo Court for being in possession of 80mg of heroin. A senior Government officials said Ms Woods, a US passport holder,had arrived in Colombo on March 5.
Police said they responded to an emergency call after the UNICEF Office in Colombo had contacted the Renuka Hotel, where she was lodging when Ms Woods failed to report to work on 12 March on the request of the UNICEF. The hotel management had opened room which had a ‘Don’t disturb’ sign on the door.
They had found her unconscious. The door had been op end in the presence of a foreign colleague of Ms Woods,he said She had been admitted to the intensive care unit where a routine check of her clothes by the hospital staff had resulted in the recovery of 80mg of heroin. It had been in one of the pockets of her denims,police said. Police arrested her on march 17 and produced her before a Magistrate who ordered her remanded till March 25. When she was produced before the magistrate on March 25, a fine of Rs 800 was imposed on her on the charge of being in possession 80mg of heroin.
Thursday, March 27, 2008
Stop the War on Journalists in Sri Lanka says World Press Freedom Community
This letter is the first of a series of actions for the ‘Stop the War on Journalists’ campaign for Sri Lanka which will culminate with world Press Freedom Day on May 3 and the release of the IFJ’s annual South Asia Press Freedom Report for 2007-2008.A global day of action has been called for April 10, 2008. This day, which falls two days before Sri Lanka’s Sinhala and Tamil New Year celebrations, will send a message of hope and strength to the band of journalists’ organisations in Sri Lanka who have continued their fight for press freedom despite dangerous circumstances involving high risks to the personal safety of themselves and their families.“Sri Lanka has long been considered one of the most dangerous countries in the world for journalists, but the situation is becoming ever more serious,” said IFJ Asia Pacific Director Jacqueline Park. “Our colleagues in Sri Lanka need to know that the international press freedom and human rights communities stand in solidarity with them and support their tireless work.”All journalists’ associations, media organisations and press freedom and human rights groups are invited to add their name to the joint letter as well as send their own letters to the Sri Lankan embassies in their countries on April 10 and display the campaign poster on their websites, at rallies and in the press at any opportunity.
Sri Lankan Film director to start a hunger strike
Director of the film ‘Prabhakaran’, Thushara Pieris says he would start a hunger strike today as a mark of protest against the confiscation of his movie cassette by Indian authorities in Chennai. He has been assaulted in India when he went there to obtain the final copies of the film.He ca me back to Sri Lanka and admitted to the private hospital in Colombo.
Pictured here at his hospital bed in Colombo . His wife also near the bed . He is on a hunger strike demanding the prints of his movie back from India.(pix by Daily Mirror)
Thusara Peiries who received critical injuries including a cut on his back at the Gemini Colour Laboratory in Chennai was immediately rushed to Sri Lanka after RAW and Indian police intervened.
Thusara who had vomited several times following the attack is now undergoing treatment at a private hospital in Colombo.
Thusara who completed the Sinhala version of his film which revolves around the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka and recruiting of child soldiers had gone to India on March 20 to make the Tamil version of the film.
“Throughout last week the problem was there and the film was a hot subject that was given prominence in the Indian media creating headlines. I was not very much aware what was going on. However there had been massive and misleading propaganda claiming that the film was anti-Tamil,” Thusara said few minutes before he was admitted to the hospital.
A violent mob of more than 1000 which included Indian film directors, producers and technicians started a protest in front of the Gemini Laboratory from Tuesday morning.
“I realized that the mob was getting violent and somebody asked me to run back to the lab and I started running. They chased after me and started to attack me. They hit me on my head and I felt a cut on my back and then passed out After about 45 minutes I came to my senses and realized that all my clothes were torn and I was lying on the ground. The crowd was still shouting slogans,” Thushara said.
During the attack I heard them mentioning President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s name and I realized that they shouting that I had made a film for President Rajapaksa, which was totally wrong.
Later the media and police had rushed to place and the assailants themselves had brought a new shirt and forced him to wash his face and kept him under hostage in a room in the laboratory.
“I was not allowed to talk to the media by those assailants nor the police,” Thusara claimed.
Later officers of the Indian intelligence RAW and Police had escorted Thusara to his hotel where all his belongings were packed and prepared to send him back to Sri Lanka immediately.
“As I was entered the hotel all my belongings were ready at the entrance with my passport and I was taken to the airport where a number of RAW officers gave me protection,” he said.
However before returning to Sri Lanka Thusara was forced to participate in a conference where officers from Indian Police, film producers and technicians and Censor Board officials participated.
“There the technicians demanded that they wanted to see the film to which I agreed and requested them to screen it at the Gemini Lab. There I was made to sign a document which stated that if there was any scene which was anti- Tamil or anti-terrorist, the film would not be screened in India,” Thushara complained.
The young filmmaker had to leave the film at the Gemini Laboratory and leave India.
“I am worried about my film which I made spending nearly Rs. 40 million and I requested the Sri Lanka High Commission in India to protect my work of art,” he requested.
However Thushara complained that the Sri Lankan High Commission was aware about the tense situation that was gradually developing over the week and had not taken any step.
When contacted by the Daily Mirror, Sri Lanka Film Corporation General Manager Saman Weeraman said that he had received no information about the incident.
The filmmaker requested the relevant authorities to protect his film for all Sri Lankan and Tamils around the world to see.
Eight copies of the film were to be released worldwide.
“This is not a pro-government or anti-LTTE film. It is a film about loss of humanity as a result of the thirty-year-old war and to show the LTTE view of the Sinhala community.
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Vast iceberg breaks off in Antarctic, bigger ice shelf threatened
A vast iceberg has broken away from the Antarctic coast, threatening the collapse of a larger ice shelf that is now “hanging by a thread”.
Satellite images have revealed that about 160 square miles of the Wilkins Shelf have been lost since the end of February, suggesting that climate change could be causing it to disintegrate much more quickly than scientists had predicted. “The ice shelf is hanging by a thread,” said David Vaughan, of the British Antarctic Survey(BAS). “We’ll know in the next few days or weeks what its fate will be.”
Professor Vaughan was a member of a BAS team that predicted in 1993 that the Wilkins Shelf could collapse within 30 years, if the pace of global warming continued.
“Wilkins is the largest ice shelf on the Antarctic Peninsula yet to be threatened,” he said. “I didn’t expect to see things happen this quickly. We predicted it would happen, but it’s happened twice as fast as we predicted.”
The retreat of the shelf was first spotted from satellite data by Ted Scambos, a glaciologist at the University of Colorado, who alerted Professor Vaughan and his BAS colleagues to the risk.
BAS then sent a Twin Otter aircraft on a reconnaissance mission to assess the extent of the damage.
Jim Elliott, who flew on board the plane to capture video footage of the break-up, said: “I’ve never seen anything like this before — it was awesome. We flew along the main crack and observed the sheer scale of movement from the breakage. Big chunks of ice, the size of small houses, look as though they’ve been thrown around like rubble — it’s like an explosion.”
The Wilkins Shelf is now protected by only a thin thread of ice between two islands. It covers an area of 5,600 square miles (14,500 sq km).
The Antarctic Peninsula, which stretches north from the frozen continent towards South America, has experienced unprecedented warming over the past 50 years, leading to the retreat and collapse of several ice shelves. Six have been lost entirely — the Prince Gustav Channel, Larsen Inlet, Larsen B, Wordie, Muller and Jones shelves.
The Wilkins Shelf is farther south than other ice that has retreated, and should thus be protected by colder temperatures. But Professor Vaughan said: “Climate warming in the Antarctic Peninsula has pushed the limit of viability for ice shelves further south, setting some of them that used to be stable on a course of retreat and eventual loss.
The importance of it is that it’s farther south than any ice shelf we’ve seen retreating before, it’s bigger than any ice shelf we’ve seen retreating before, and in the long term it could be a taste of other things to come. It is another indication of the impact that climate change is having on the region.”
As the shelf is already afloat, it will not affect sea level, but Antarctica’s ice shelves act as buffers for land ice that could lead to dramatic changes in sea level if it melts.
Saturday, March 22, 2008
Government Requests observation of One Minute Silence Today To Honour Sir Arthur.C.Clarke
Saturday, 22 March 2008
The Government while extending deepest condolences on the demise of Arthur.C.Clarke kindly requests that all media institutions in the Island would as a mark of respect observe 1 minute silence from 3.30 -3.31 pm today Saturday the 22nd of March 2008.
Though already all Television channels, Radio stations, News papers both state and private have recognized him for his contributions we cannot forget the fact that Arthur. Clarke is a special citizen of Sri Lanka, who has chosen Sri Lanka as his homeland and worked towards the advancement of science, education, space and satellite technology and excelled as a science fiction writer.He was committed to his vocation in life as a unique scientist and science fiction writer with a great passionSir Arthur.C.Clarke passed away on 19th march 2008 in a private nursing home in Colombo Sri Lanka The international Telecommunication Community will always remember Sir Arthur.C.Clarke for popularizing the concept of utilizing the geo-stationary, orbit for communication as early as 1945 he researched and published a paper titled" Extra Terrestrial Relays - can Rocket Stations give world wide Radio Coverage?" in the British magazine Wireless World. Since then Sir Arthur.C.Clarke has written more than 80 books involving space, science and science fiction and He served as the chancellor of the Katubedda University and patronized the Arthur.C.Clarke center.
With the successful implementation of the flyover project at Peliyagoda, the Highways Ministry has decided to construct 16 new pre-fabricated flyovers in Colombo and suburbs to ease traffic congestion, Highways Minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle said.
The total cost of the project is estimated at pounds 75 million and will be implemented with British assistance.Inspecting the construction work at the Peliyagoda flyover, Fernandopulle said these new flyovers will be constructed apart from the four already planned to construct in Colombo.“The construction of these new flyovers will ease heavy traffic congestion in Colombo”, the Minister added.The Minister had discussions with British engineers in charge of the construction of the Peliyagoda flyover, labourers and shop owners living close to the flyover during his inspection tour.The first phase of the Peliyagoda flyover is due to be completed on March 25, possibly adding yet another world record in the construction industry.The second phase of the project is due to commence in April with the intention of completing the construction work by July end, Fernandopulle said. Apart from the 16 flyover projects the Government has also embarked on a project to construct 222 bridges countrywide with pounds 50 million financial assistance from the British Government.
Friday, March 21, 2008
Sunday, March 16, 2008
Born on February 15, 1949 Anura Bandaranaike had the privilege of becoming the only Sri Lankan who had both parents served as prime ministers of Sri Lanka. With a sister who went on to become the first woman President in the country, till his death he was known as the crown prince of Sri Lanka. An old boy of Royal College Colombo Anura was elected to Parliament in 1977 and was the leader of the opposition from 1983 to 1988. In the years 1993 and 1994 he served as the minister of Higher Education. The Bandaranaike junior was elected the Speaker of Parliament in 2000. Following the 2004 general election he was appointed the Minister of Tourism. He last served as the minister of national heritage in the present government.
Saturday, March 15, 2008
The Gampola house of journalist Miss. M. Parameswari has come under attack by a group of goons today. She was faced many times many threats fast few months.
Friday, March 14, 2008
Employees of the Rupavahini Corporation have stopped all live programmes with immediate effect till President Mahinda Rajapaksa intervenes and gives an assurance that spree of violence against Rupavhini employees would be brought to an end. However The President Mahinda Rajapaksha attended this matter. Then live programes goin on.
The government will hold the provincial council elections in the Eastern Province on May 10; nominations will be called from March 27 to April 3, an official of the Elections Department said yesterday.
The elections will be conducted to establish the provincial administration in the East -- for the first time since it was de-merged from the North following a Supreme Court ruling.
Meanwhile, Local Government and Provincial Councils Minister Janaka Bandara Tennakoon said that his Ministry had already given instructions to the Department to take action in this regard.
With the PC elections coming hot on the heels of the local government elections in Batticaloa, political parties are now bracing up to contest the upcoming PC elections. The JVP has also decided to join in the fray this time.
JVP parliamentary group leader Wimal Weerawansa told that his party would contest the elections in the three districts in the East, but that a final decision had to be taken in consultation with the party hierarchy.
“Most likely we will contest in all three districts,” he said.
The SLMC, meanwhile, said that it remained open for discussions with breakaway Muslim parties to come to an understanding on fielding common candidates for the election.
The party’s general secretary, Hasan Ali, said that the Eastern Province was their stronghold, with a sizeable concentration of Muslims and, therefore, they should not allow the Muslim vote bank to be divided among several parties.
“So we are willing to discuss with the Muslim political parties led by Ministers Amir Ali and M.L.M. Athaulla. If we all reach common ground on the elections, it will increase our chances of winning the council,” he said.
He said that the SLMC would hold a consultation meeting with its organizers at the grassroots level and the Pradhesiya Sabha members to plan out logistics for the election.
The new political alliance comprising the EPRLF (Vartharajah) faction, the TULF led by V. Anandasangari and PLOTE led by D. Sitharthan, has also decided to contest the elections.
EPRLF leader P. Sridharan said that his party was happy about the local government elections in Batticaloa, stating it was conducted in a peaceful manner, unlike the 2004 General Elections in the North-East.
“During that period, the LTTE helped the TNA to increase their votes. No such thing happened this time,” he said.
The main Opposition UNP said that it would decide on the elections soon. UNP National Organizer S.B.Dissanayake said that they urged the government to disarm the paramilitary forces operating in the area and ensure a favourable atmosphere for the elections.
“We were ready to contest the local government elections as well. But some paramilitary groups threatened our prospective candidates. So we gave it up. Anyway we are now doing the groundwork for the upcoming elections. A final decision will be taken very soon,” he said.
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
United Nation Party today handed over a petition to the Polls Chief calling on him not to hold Provincial Polls in the east.
UNP leader Ranil Wickramasingha took part in a protest opposite the Elections Commission today urging the commissioner not to hold a provincial council election in the East.At the press conference held in Opposition Leader's official residence to clarify the stance of the UNP on Batticaloa poll, the MP said that the UNP would reject the result.
MP Kiriella(UNP) said that the government would not be able to cheat the international community through elections contested in connivance with armed groups. He said that the election of the Eastern Province would add to the long list of human rights violations such as killings and abductions
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Counting Centers have received the ballot boxes. Counting is now in progress. Our correspondents said voters enthusiastically exercised their franchise. 270,471 were eligible to vote.50% voted at the polls. Polling took place at 287 booths. Six recognized political parties and 22 independent groups fielded 831 candidates. 101 members will be elected to the nine local bodies.
Thursday, March 6, 2008
|TNA Jaffna district MP K. Sivanesan died following a claymore attack targeting his vehicle at Kanagarayakulam in Wanni this afternoon. His driver also died in the attack. He was on his way to Killinochchi at the time of the blast.|
SRI LANKA RUPAVAHINI COOPERATION female employee slashed
A female employee of the Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation was slashed on her back with a razor blade by an unidentified man in Peliyagoda, while traveling in a bus after work last evening -- just weeks after Minister Mervin Silva stormed the SLRC premises.
Ranjani Herath, the Assistant Director of the SLRC Library, was on her way home, seated in a Kadawatha bound bus. As it was passing Kelaniya Bridge she had felt a pain in her back. “I had dozed off, and when I turned, a young man in an orange T-Shirt who was seated just behind me was doing something with his hand,” she said.
She added that, as she turned around further, the man had cut her again. “I did not see what sort of weapon he used, but as soon as he cut me he ran and jumped out of the bus,” she said; adding that she had cried out for someone to stop him, yet no one in the bus come to her aid.
Soon afterwards, Herath, the mother of a nine-year-old girl, was rushed to the Colombo National Hospital, where she was given the necessary treatment.
She described her assailant as being about 28 years of age and wearing a white cap pulled down over his face. Police are conducting further investigations into the incident.
Meanwhile, five media organizations condemned the attack, saying that this was the fourth incident in which SLRC employees had been subjected to various ordeals since January 26, when a Senior SLRC Producer was hacked by two unidentified persons. After that the houses of two SLRC employees, Duleep Dushantha and Piyal Ranjith, were broken into by armed gangs who had threatened them.
The media organizations held the government responsible for not taking any action against the intruders, including Mr. Mervin Silva, who had stormed the SLRC premises and created disorder.
Spokesman for the five media organizations, Mr. Sanath Balasuriya, said, “the fact that no police action had been taken against Minister Mervin Silva and his supporters makes us disbelieve that these incidents are the result personal disputes”.
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
|71 rescued from human smuggling vessel, 20 dead |
Sri Lanka Navy has rescued 71 people from a large trawler which was engaged in human smuggling and went disabled at sea off Mullaitivu. This was revealed after the suspicious ship was towed to Trincomalee. There had been 91 nationals from Burma and Bangladesh and 20 had died due to hunger and the bodies had been thrown into the sea.
Navy to the rescue...
One of the survivors who was rescued from a drifting vessel today is pictured here being fed by a sailor on board a Sri Lanka Navy Ship in the middle of the high seas off Mullativu. Pic courtesy Sri Lanka Navy
Monday, March 3, 2008
NEWS UPDATING 24 HOURS -- FROM SRI LANKA
HRW urges UNHRC to intensify engagement on Sri Lanka
|Human Rights Watch says the UN Human Rights Council which is meeting in Geneva today, should intensify its engagement on the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sri Lanka and Burma. Several reports in the session will draw attention to the deteriorating situation in Sri Lanka, HRW said adding that among them the Working Group on Enforced Disappearances will present its 2007 report in which Sri Lanka has the highest number of new cases of “disappearances” reported in the world.|