Saturday, November 6, 2010

Sri Lanka says Mahinda Rajapaksa's UK visit postponed not scrapped

Sri Lanka today said President Mahinda Rajapaksa visit to United Kingdom had been postponed till December and not cancelled, dismissing reports that the trip may have been scrapped over fears that he could face arrest.

Reacting to an Indian press report that the president had cancelled the visit fearing arrest, a Sri Lankan external affairs ministry official said the report was "false and misleading."

The report had said that the Lankan president had scrapped the visit following fears that he might be arrested for alleged war-crimes under British law.

It also said, that certain Sri Lankan Tamil organisations were planning to move court for his arrest for alleged rights abuses in his successful military campaign which ended 30-year of separatist campaign on the island.

The report cited the case of arrest by Scotland Yard in 1998 of former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet in London for atrocities against Spanish civilains during his 17-year-rule.

It also referred to the refusal by US authorities to grant a visa to the chief minister of Gujarat Narendra Modi over similar human rights allegations.

"The report is not only false but misleading", Bandula Jayasekera, the director of publicity, in the external affairs ministry said.

Without mentioning the dates of the visit Jayasekera said it had only been postponed till December.

He gave no reasons for the postponement.
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Friday, November 5, 2010

White flag civilians not shot: Ex- Mullaitivu GA

Jaffna Government Agent, Imelda Sukumar who was the Mullaitivu GA during the war, yesterday vehemently denied claims that those who crossed over from LTTE controlled areas to Government controlled areas carrying white flags were fired at by the army during the height of the war.

Mrs. Sukumar said this while responding to a question posed to her by the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) Chairman, C.R de Silva, on the issue, during a LLRC session held yesterday.

Ms. Sukumar maintained that reports of alleged atrocities by the Sri Lankan Army were false. No one was shot by the army when they crossed over carrying white flags. If it had happened I would have known about it. Not a single case of this nature was reported to me,” Sukumar said, adding that two of her drivers escaped the LTTE controlled zone carrying white flags and that they informed her of their safe return.

She said that civilians had been used by the LTTE as human shields to serve their own ends.

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Thursday, November 4, 2010

SLT Group profit Rs 3.73 b upto September

Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT) during the first nine months of 2010 has recorded a profit before tax (PBT) of Rs 3.73 billion and a Group profit after tax (PAT) of Rs 2.40 billion with YoY growth rates of 105 percent and 108 percent respectively.

A profit before tax of Rs 1.58 billion has been recorded for the third Quarter which is an exceptional growth compared to PBT of Rs 5 million recorded in the corresponding period of the previous year.

Recorded Group PAT for the third quarter is Rs 1.03 billion, a Year on Year (YoY) growth of 643 percent from a loss of Rs 189 million.

After normalization for non recurring expenses and Telecommunication Development Charge (TDC) refunds, the Group recorded a PBT of Rs 4.49 billion for the nine months which is an increase of 95 percent YoY.

The Group reported revenue of Rs 37.34 billion for the nine months and Rs 12.77 billion for the third quarter, recording a growth of 4 percent YoY for both periods.

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Lanka quips India in HDR

Sri Lanka has beaten India by 28 positions in the new rankings of the Human Development Report to be released on Thursday by UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon. The latest rankings based on development indices put Sri Lanka at 91 while India languishes at 119. Sri Lanka is also recorded to have a>> Full Story

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The brave new world is leaving the Tamil separatists behind

H. L. D. Mahindapala

One week President Mahinda Rajapakse is sitting between India’s Prime Minister and Vice President at the closing ceremony of the Commonwealth Games. Within a fortnight he is sitting next to the Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao at the closing ceremony of the spectacular 2010 International Expo held in Shanghai. This is a vastly different scenario from that of William Hague, the British Foreign Minister, sitting in the high chair with a straight back and seating supplicant Ranil Wickremesinghe in the low chair as a well-trained, low-caste stooge of the white man.

The symbolism is significant: overnight Sri Lanka, under President Rajapakse, has earned a strategically important place in the new world order dominated by the emerging two Eastern giants, India and China. The West no longer counts as it did in the past. It is becoming increasingly irrelevant though it continues to make strident noises. For instance, the noises made by David Cameron, the British Prime Minister, in the House of Commons is nothing more than hot air. The House of Commons is no longer the commanding seat of power that shook the world. Once upon a time it consisted of formidable men whose word meant practically everything to at least half the world. Now it consists of vote-catching, unprincipled political pimps who insist that sovereign nations like Sri Lanka should do what they say and not do what they do. The Conservative Camerons and Labour Millibands have yet to learn that Britannia no longer rules the waves of the world.

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Sri Lanka buys Shell LP Gas unit

Nov 03, 2010 (LBO) - Sri Lanka's government has bought liquefied petroleum gas distribution operations of Royal Dutch Shell in the island for 63 million US dollars, officials said.

Hiran Seneviratne, a company official, said the agreement was signed at 11.00 am.

Sri Lanka bought a 51 percent stake in Shell Gas Lanka, which is a distributor in which the government already has 49 percent stake, and a 100 percent stake in a storage terminal company.

Sirisena Amarasekera, a senior government official who heads a state committee in charge of the deal said out of the total of 63 million US dollars paid for the Shell units, 6.3 million US dollars would be set aside to deal with potential issues related to workers.

Petroleum minister Susil Premajayanth said yesterday that there was management expertise within the gas distributor to run it and he did not see a need to bring in outside management.

Shell is selling out of regional gas distributorships as part of its global strategy. Sri Lanka's information minister Keheliya Rambukwella said earlier that the government intends to list the firm in the stock market after buying out Shell.

An earlier government statement said the firm had a capital of 37.9 million US dollars and 65 million US dollars had been invested by Shell in the terminal company.
Another 24 million US dollars had been invested in building other infrastructure.

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