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BRICS summit delivers tangible results

Saturday, March 30, 2013



SOUTH AFRICA: The leaders of five major emerging economies on Wednesday wrapped up their latest round of summit in the South African city of Durban to promote their partnership for development, integration and industrialization.

It is the first time for the BRICS nations, namely Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, to hold their leaders’ meeting on the continent of Africa.

CHINA PLEDGES TO ENHANCE BRICS COOPERATION
While addressing the summit in his keynote speech, Chinese President Xi Jinping called on all BRICS members to work hand in hand for common development.


He pledged that China would strengthen cooperation with other members to make economic growth of BRICS countries more robust and their cooperation better-structured and more productive.

BRICS cooperation not only brings benefits to the peoples of the five countries, but also contributes to promoting democracy in international relations, Xi said.

He said all members should manage their own affairs well by growing the economy and improving people's lives, strengthen coordination of macroeconomic policies, reform the international monetary and financial systems, and promote trade and investment liberalization and facilitation.

They should jointly participate in the setting of international development agenda and make global development more balanced, he said.

BRICS countries should work hard to boost cooperation in economy and trade, finance, infrastructure, movement of people and other fields, Xi said.

He also called for improving global economic governance and increasing the say and representation of BRICS countries, and urged the BRICS nations to move toward the goal of integrated markets, multi-tiered financial network, connectivity by land, air and sea, and greater cultural exchanges.

TANGIBLE RESULTS
At the summit, the five BRICS members have achieved a number of tangible results, and agreed to expand their future cooperation to more sectors, according to a statement issued after the meeting.

The most tangible outcomes, among others, is that the leaders have agreed to establish a development bank for mobilizing resources for infrastructure and sustainable development projects in the BRICS, as well as other emerging and the developing nations.

The BRICS leaders believed that the bank serves as a supplement to the existing efforts of multilateral and regional financial institutions for global growth and development, adding that the initial contribution to the bank should be sustainable and sufficient.

COOPERATIVE PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN BRICS & AFRICA
Also on Wednesday, the leaders of the BRICS members and some African countries, after the summit, discussed their cooperation at the first BRICS Leaders-Africa Dialogue Forum, which is under the theme “Unlocking Africa's potential: BRICS and Africa cooperation on infrastructure.”

While addressing the forum, Chinese President Xi Jinping the dialogue between leaders of BRICS and African countries reflected the political will of both sides to realize equality and inclusiveness and seek common development.

Xi said the Chinese government is willing to form a cooperative partnership for transnational and trans-regional infrastructure, and help the African nations with the consultation, planning, feasibility research and project design of promoting interconnections and resource censor.

He also promised to help Africa to train 300 managing and technical personnel specialized in the field of infrastructure, and encourage Chinese enterprises and financial institutions to participate in the building and operating the infrastructure.

The Chinese leader also reaffirmed China's promise to give zero-tariff treatment to 97 percent of the tariff items of exports to China from the least developed nations having diplomatic ties with China.

Other leaders of the BRICS nations said the BRICS countries would like to forge a cooperative partnership with Africa, and help Africa in constructing its infrastructure.

The African leaders said Africa needs to strengthen its infrastructure, promote integration and industrialization, and lift over-all competitiveness and the capacity for sustainable development. The African nations are willing to set up with the BRICS members a cooperative partnership that highlights mutual support, mutual benefit and win-win results, said the leaders.

XINHUA

Syrian opposition’s AL seat ‘illegal’ - Russia



RUSSIA: Russia on Wednesday called the Arab League's decision to award Syria's seat at the organisation to the anti-regime National Coalition “illegal and indefensible”.

“In terms of international law, the League's decision on Syria is illegal and indefensible because the government of the Syrian Arab Republic was and is the legitimate representative member-state at the United Nations,” the Russian foreign ministry said in a statement.


Syrian opposition chief Ahmed Moaz al-Khatib took Syria's seat at the League on Tuesday as Arab leaders gathered in Doha for their annual summit. The move sparked a furious reaction from Damascus.

Russia is viewed as one of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's few allies because it vetoed three rounds of UN Security Council sanctions against his government.

The foreign ministry noted that Khatib used the opportunity in Doha to call for the establishment of internationally-enforced no-fly zones over areas in Syria controlled by the armed opposition.

It then accused the Arab League -- an organisation with which it has had tense ties throughout the two-year-long conflict -- of effectively supporting a military solution to the conflict instead of peace talks. “We are talking about the expression of open support for forces that unfortunately continue to bet on a military solution in Syria, without looking back at the suffering of Syrians, which is growing by the day,” said the statement.

AFP

Iran backs UN’s Arms Trade Treaty _ Ahmadinejad



IRAN: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says the Islamic Republic supports the United Nations’ Arms Trade Treaty to regulate the global trade of conventional arms.

Ahmadinejad made the remarks in a telephone conversation with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon on Wednesday.

Iran has been a victim of terrorism and fully supports the treaty, the Iranian President stated.

“Controlling transportation of arms in the world can help the international security a lot,” he said, adding that measures could be taken to further improve a draft, being prepared by UN members in New York.


The draft text was circulated to the states participating in a conference that began in New York City on March 22.

The treaty drafting conference will continue at UN’s headquarters through Thursday in an attempt to regulate the $70 billion global conventional arms trade.

In the last round of talks held in New York from July 2 to 27, 2012, the members could not reach an agreement on the treaty text.

The treaty would impose tough new standards for all cross-border transfers of any type of conventional weapons.

PRESS TV

Sri Lanka Muslim Congress thanks Pakistan



Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) Deputy leader and Eastern Provincial Council Minister Nazeer Ahamed extended his gratitude to Pakistan for supporting Sri Lanka at the UNHRC at Geneva.


Ahamed said he noted with a profound sense of appreciation how Pakistan had canvassed support from the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) nations despite the US pressuring them to support its resolution citing the recent attacks on Muslims by certain extremist sections in the country.

The SLMC deputy leader said Pakistan has stood by Sri Lanka since the day the great nation was created and has asked for nothing in return.

He recalled the time when Sri Lanka's High Commissioner called on then President Zia Ul Haq to help quell an uprising here.

President Zia ul Haq had told the High Commissioner that Pakistan does not charge money for help rendered to friends in their time of need.

Ahamed said he was certain that relations between Pakistan and Sri Lanka will continue to grow from strength to strength in the days and the years ahead.


Singer Britney Spears wax figure


Singer Britney Spears wax figure was unveiled in front of Madame Tussauds, in New York, March 26. Britney Spears joins a star-studded line up of wax figures, standing along recording artistes such as Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga and dozens more. AFP


Sweden scraps 'ungoogleable' after Google pressure



SWEDEN: The Language Council of Sweden said Tuesday it had removed the word "ungoogleable" from its 2012 list of new words because it refused to give in to the US company's demands to include the word Google in the definition.

The list of new words in the Swedish language came out in December, including the term "ogooglebar", which was defined as something "which cannot be found on the Internet with the use of a search engine." The Language Council said Google had since then repeatedly contacted it to insist that the definition include a mention of the company's name.
 

"Google has referred to legislation that protects trademarks and wants the Language Council to change the wording of the definition, introducing the name Google into the definition, and adding a disclaimer where we point out that Google is a trademark," the Language Council's head Ann Cederberg said. "We have neither the time nor the desire to engage in the long, drawn-out process Google is trying to initiate.

Neither do we want to compromise and change the definition of 'ogooglebar' to the one the company wants," she said. "That would go against our principles, and the principles of language.

Google has forgotten one thing: language development doesn't care about the protection of trademarks," she added. "Today we are instead removing the word" from the list, she said.Google Sweden declined to comment when contacted by AFP.

The Language Council, which is under the authority of the Swedish culture ministry, does not determine which new words are officially accepted into the Swedish language -- that is the role of the Swedish Academy.

Instead, the council merely notes which new words are gaining popularity among Swedes.

AFP

ComBank ranked Lanka’s most desired employer

The Commercial Bank has been ranked number one in a survey of ‘Employers of Choice’ in Sri Lanka, published in the March 2013 issue of LMD magazine. The Bank achieved an Employer Choice Index of 105 in the survey conducted by TNS Lanka.

The objective of the survey was to benchmark corporate entities and organisations as preferred employers in Sri Lanka.

In its report on the survey, LMD magazine states that “Commercial Bank wins a seal of approval as the most desired employer in Sri Lanka.”


The magazine listed 42 companies in the ranking, which includes two global banks, multinationals, leading Sri Lankan conglomerates and top apparel manufacturers.

“Our people are without a doubt the key to our position as Sri Lanka’s leading private bank, and we are pleased to be acknowledged as a leader across sectors, in the sphere of HR,” said Dinesh Weerakkody, Commercial Bank’s Chairman.

He said the Bank provides many opportunities to its employees to build a career within the organization.

“This ranking is a valuable endorsement of the commitment of the Bank to adhere to best practices in the field of human resources management, and the consistent efforts made by the Bank to ensure that all employees reach their highest potential,” said Ravi Dias, Commercial Bank’s Managing Director/CEO.

The largest private bank in Sri Lanka, Commercial Bank employs 4,400 people and is the only Sri Lankan Bank to be listed two years consecutively in the world’s Top 1000 Banks.

Source :dailynews.lk


‘Sri Lankan entrepreneurs have the potential to be world class’



H.D.H Senewiratne

Dr Wijayasuriya
Sri Lanka's IT entrepreneurs have the nrcessary potential to be world class, as they have the ability in value addition to their businesses, talent potentials and innovations. But the issue is that they lack the capital to move forward, Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (CCC), ICT Steering Committee Chairman, Dr Hans Wijayasuriya said.

“If we could support the local IT entrepreneurs to build the capacity, we could enhance the country’s competitiveness from medium to a long term perspective,” Dr Wijayasuriya said at the Spark iT Awards ceremony, where awarded Rupees one to four million IT entrepreneurs were awarded to initiate platforms to empower ICT entrepreneurial development throughout Sri Lanka. The event was organised by the CCC, together with the ICC - ICT Steering Committee.

Commenting on the occasion, he said that ICT entrepreneurs have been most encouraging in Sri Lanka which would help to create value addition to business and in turn, help build the country’s competitiveness in the long run.
 

Dr Wijayasuriya said that the Spark iT Programme had been designed to provide winners with start up funding in the form of investment awards from blue chip corporate, which would fulfill the Chambers’ objectives, the competitiveness in the sector and also the country.

CCC's Vice President Suresh Sha said that presently, business entities faced obstacles, but if we were smart enough, without given up, we could be successful.

During the event, the CCC awarded the four grand finalists of the Spark iT ICT entrepreneurs development initiative at a recent concluded event. The winning submission selected was, Atiral, Ridgecrest Asia-AutisLK, Search Sri Lanka Portal and TopDocOpinions, while each winning start up were awarded Rs one million to fund their project's development.

Ten fianalists were short listed from over 60 applicatnts in which four grand finalists were selected for the Spark iT grant by a panel of industry and sector specialists.

Source :dailynews.lk

CDL gets ship building orders for US$ 220 mn

Shirajiv SIRIMANE
The Colombo Dockyard (CDL) has undertaken ship building contracts from overseas to the tune of over US$ 220 million this year. Managing Director of CDL, Mangala Yapa told Daily News Business at their 20th celebratory functions with Onomichi Dockyard Company of Japan at Cinnamon Grand, that they would be expecting more orders by mid year. “This should be the highest value of foreign contracts that we have undertaken per year to date.”


He said that among the highlights of these tenders would be the building of two 400 seat passenger ships for an Indian company. “Both these tenders are for more than US$ 60 million.

“In addition, we will also build four vessels for Singapore companies and the first would be ready by the end of the month,” he said. He also added that each vessel would cost around US$ 26 million.

Currently, they are in the process of negotiating for some European tenders.

Recalling the past, he said that the company went through a lean patch in 1979.

“However, we recovered, thanks to the collaboration with Onomichi Dockyard, Japan, who still holds a 51% stake, with government assistance and mainly due to their dedicated staff, who are one of the biggest contributors of foreign exchange to the country, mainly through the ship repairing business.

He said that today, CDL boasts of the biggest dry dock repair facility in the region and pioneered the local ship industry to international levels.

“My vision for the future would be to nurture a more appropriate corporate ethos for Colombo Dockyard. I firmly believe that our uniquely Sri Lankan qualities should form the basis of a philosophy that integrates Japanese values and western capitalistic ideals best suited for our requirements.

"A corporate value culture of this nature would certainly redefine the cultural fabric of the company and propel Colombo Dockyard to the pinnacle of global marine services in the future,” he added.

Under the expertise of our Japanese partner, we sought to weed out incompetence and trim inefficiencies, thereby, gaining a solid foothold on international competitiveness.

In the years since the collaboration we have also been greatly influenced by the Japanese value culture,” he said. Akihiko Nakauchi, Chairman, CDL said that they have been inspired to showcase our ship repair and ship building capabilities on an expanding international landscape. Our prudent approach has deservedly earned us the reputation as a consistent, high quality maritime solutions provider.

“In the recent past, we have been successful in carving out certain niche markets. Our expertise is highly sought after across the globe, particularly in the manufacture of sophisticated Offshore Vessels. We are also gaining momentum in the region as a Builder of Efficient, Economic and Environment friendly passenger vessels. These are definitely encouraging signs and provide the impetus to strive for bigger things in the years to come,” he added.


Immigrant wins $338 million lottery



US: The immigrant owner of a US convenience store claimed a $338.3 million lottery jackpot Tuesday and said that, despite being catapulted into the ranks of the super rich, his heart won’t change.

Pedro Quezada, 44, celebrated the golden ticket he bought on Saturday with a televised press conference at the New Jersey lottery headquarters.


The Dominican-born man faced 175-million-to-one odds when he bought a “quick pick” ticket with the correct five numbers and a Powerball -- choosing to let the lottery’s computer, rather than his own guesswork, do the picking. Quezada purchased the ticket in an Eagle Liquors store in Passaic, New Jersey where he went regularly to buy beer. “My life will have to change with so much money, but my heart won’t change,” the father of five said in Spanish.

One thing that might not change is his lottery habit. Quezada joked he might still buy tickets “in search of more.” Quezada was shocked when he first found out, reports said. It was only on Monday, when he went back into Eagle Liquors, that he realized his good fortune.

“He didn’t know he won when he came in because he stopped to check the board,” an employee told the New York Post.

“He was shocked and emotional. He said, ‘It’s me!’” Asked in the street by CBS television if the sudden wealth seemed real, he said “Yeah!” then corrected himself to say: “I don’t know yet.” He was also filmed in his modest convenience store, locally known as a bodega, shouting “I’m a millionaire!” into a telephone.

AFP

N. Korea cuts military hotline with South



North Korea severed its military hotline with South Korea on Wednesday, breaking the last direct communication link between the two countries at a time of heightened military tensions.

The decision coincided with an announcement that the North's top political leadership would meet in the next few days to discuss an unspecified "important issue" and make a "drastic turn".


The hotline move was relayed by a senior North Korean military official to his South Korean counterpart just before the link was severed.

"Under the situation where a war may break out any moment, there is no need to keep up North-South military communications," the official was quoted as saying by the official Korean Central News Agency.

"From now, the North-South military communications will be cut off," he said.

Several weeks ago North Korea severed the Red Cross hotline that had been used for government-to-government communications in the absence of diplomatic relations.

Severing the military hotline could affect operations at the Seoul-funded Kaesong industrial complex in the North because it was used to organise movements of people and vehicles in and out.

The industrial estate -- established in 2004 as a symbol of cross-border cooperation -- has remained operational despite repeated crises in relations. "We are negotiating with the North to prevent any operational issues," an official from the Kaesong management committee told AFP.

"There is no problem with movement to and from the Kaesong complex at the moment." Cutting the hotline was the latest in a series of threats and actions that have raised tensions on the Korean peninsula since the North's long-range rocket launch in December and its nuclear test last month.

Both events triggered UN sanctions that infuriated Pyongyang, which has spent the past month issuing increasingly bellicose statements about unleashing an "all-out war".

Earlier Wednesday the North announced an imminent meeting of the ruling party politburo and launched a scathing attack on South Korea's new president, Park Geun-Hye.

Its Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea accused Park of slander and provocation after she made a speech warning the North that failure to abandon its nuclear weapons programme would result in its collapse.

"If she keeps to the road of confrontation... she will meet a miserable ruin," the committee said. In Seoul, some analysts suggested the North was fast running out of threats and targets for its invective as it sought to bully the international community into negotiating on Pyongyang's terms.

AFP

Actress Veena Malik Hot and Sexy Bikini shoot


Sri Lanka Rejected the Report of High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay

Thursday, March 21, 2013


Geneva, 21 March, (Asiantribune.com):
Sri Lanka rejected of the High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay and called the report, ‘flawed and misconceived, -based on a collection of inaccuracies and misconceptions is in itself fatally flawed'.
Mahinda Samarasinghe, MP Minister of Plantation Industries, Special Envoy of President of Sri Lanka on Human Right & Leader of the Delegation of Sri Lanka

“We note that in the Report, the Office of the High Commissioner has gone beyond the mandate granted under resolution 19/2 which limited her role to reporting on the provision of technical assistance in terms of OP3 thereof,” pointed out Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe.

Sri Lanka’s special Envoy of President of Sri Lanka on Human Rights and the Leader of the Sri Lanka Delegation Mr. Mahinda Samarasinghe speaking in Geneva on the report of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights said the report appears to be “the outcome of no more than an information gathering exercise that has served as launching pad for a fresh resolution.”

When speaking, Leader of the Sri Lanka Delegation Mr. Mahinda Samarasinghe said, “The OHCHR has ventured into territory not envisaged by L.19/2 by making substantive recommendations. The recommendations contained in the Report introduce substantive measures which are totally unrelated to the mandate under 19/2.

“The Report refers several times to the United Nations Secretary General’s Advisory Panel of Experts’ (PoE) Report on Sri Lanka. We requested the OHCHR to delete all references to the PoE Report as it was not referred to in the Resolution 19/2, and therefore reference to it in the OHCHR Report expands the ambit of the Report beyond the original scope and mandate of that Resolution, he said.

He further said, As we pointed out in our statement to the High Level Segment of this Session, the Government of Sri Lanka in good faith facilitated this visit. The OHCHR team engaged in a dialogue with Sri Lankan counterparts, carried out field visits and held consultations with selected segments of the Sri Lanka polity. The High Commissioner herself appreciates that open access was granted.

Full statement on the Report of the OHCHR A/HRC/22/38 delivered on Wednesday 20 March, by Mahinda Samarasinghe, MP Minister of Plantation Industries, Special Envoy of President of Sri Lanka on Human Right & Leader of the Delegation of Sri Lanka to the 22nd Session of the UN Human Rights Council, Geneva

We wish to express our strongest reservations as to the content of the report on Sri Lanka as well as the procedure followed in formulating this document which bears number A/HRC/22/38. This report purports to be pursuant to Resolution L. 19/2 which we have rejected. We also question how a technical mission, after a visit of just over a week, could have produced such a document purporting to be a comprehensive report pursuant to L.19/2.

We have already placed on record the numerous inaccuracies and misconceptions which mar the report in an Addendum numbered A/HRC/22/38/Add.1.

We note that in the Report, the Office of the High Commissioner has gone beyond the mandate granted under resolution 19/2 which limited her role to reporting on the provision of technical assistance in terms of OP3 thereof.

The OHCHR has ventured into territory not envisaged by L.19/2 by making substantive recommendations. The recommendations contained in the Report introduce substantive measures which are totally unrelated to the mandate under 19/2.

The Report refers several times to the United Nations Secretary General’s Advisory Panel of Experts’ (PoE) Report on Sri Lanka. We requested the OHCHR to delete all references to the PoE Report as it was not referred to in the Resolution 19/2, and therefore reference to it in the OHCHR Report expands the ambit of the Report beyond the original scope and mandate of that Resolution.

Furthermore, the PoE Report on Sri Lanka was commissioned by the UN Secretary General as a private consultation and is not the product or a request of the UN Human Rights Council, or any other intergovernmental process. Neither has it received the endorsement of any intergovernmental body.

Hence, it has neither credence nor legitimacy. In its Report, the three-member Advisory Panel also makes it clear that the assertions set out there in remain unsubstantiated and require a higher standard of proof. For these reasons among others, the GoSL does not recognize the PoE Report, and is perplexed as to the rationale behind it being invoked extensively in the OHCHR Report.

We also have concerns regarding the conduct of the OHCHR team who immediately after their return to Geneva, chose to brief a selected group of countries at an event hosted by a third country even before sharing the outcome of their visit with Sri Lanka either in Colombo or with the Permanent Mission in Geneva. Our Permanent Representative had, at the time, raised these concerns with the High Commissioner. It is interesting that the new draft resolution borrows heavily from the language of the OHCHR Report. I submit that follow up action based on a collection of inaccuracies and misconceptions is in itself fatally flawed.

As we pointed out in our statement to the High Level Segment of this Session, the Government of Sri Lanka in good faith facilitated this visit. The OHCHR team engaged in a dialogue with Sri Lankan counterparts, carried out field visits and held consultations with selected segments of the Sri Lanka polity. The High Commissioner herself appreciates that open access was granted.

In sum, it appears that the report is the outcome of no more than an information gathering exercise that has served as launching pad for a fresh resolution, rather than an attempt to stay within the bounds of strictly following-up on L.19/2 which stipulates the requirement of consultation and concurrence on the provision of technical assistance, consistent with Resolutions 5/1 and 5/2.

Despite its dissociation from L.19/2 and measures pursuant to that action in the Council, Sri Lanka has never ruled out cooperation with the High Commissioner for Human Rights. We have had a Senior Advisor to the UN Country Team from the OHCHR since the aftermath of the tsunami of December 2004. In my former capacity as Minister for Human Rights, I hosted the High Commissioner’s predecessor Madam LoiuseArbour’s visit to Sri Lanka, and her visit during the humanitarian operation in 2007 was characterized by open and constructive engagement. From 2008 onward, the Senior Advisor from the High Commissioner’s office contributed to the process of formulation of the National Action Plan on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights. This demonstrates our willingness to work with the Office of the High Commissioner.

As we have stated on many occasions, we have invited the High Commissioner to visit Sri Lanka since April 2011 in pursuance of our ongoing engagement. Despite her finding time to visit the region in the recent past, in particular her visits to the South Asian sub-region within the past 12 months, she has not been able to schedule a visit to Sri Lanka when she could see for herself the remarkable transformation taking place in the day to day lives of citizens after the defeat of terrorism in 2009.

For these reasons, we would request Members of this Council to critically evaluate the content and scope of this Report to ensure that an unhealthy precedent should not be established. I would also urge you to resist all attempts to use such a flawed and misconceived document to be the basis on which this Council contemplates taking further action.

Source: Asian Tribune

Sanjay Dutt gets 5 years in jail in 1993 Mumbai blasts case


New Delhi, 21 March (Asiant6ribune.com):
The Supreme Court has upheld the conviction of actor Sanjay Dutt and has sentenced him to five years imprisonment.

1993 blasts: Sanjay Dutt gets 5 years in jail

The actor has four weeks to surrender. The court said that the circumstances and nature of the offence was so serious that Dutt cannot be released on probation.

The apex court upheld the conviction of Sanjay Dutt under Arms Act in 1993 blasts case, but reduced the six year jail term given by TADA court to five years.

The apex court said it agreed with TADA court's decision to acquit him of terror charges but offences under Arms Act were clearly made out for possessing and later destroying weapons of prohibited calibre.

Sanjay Dutt, who has already served nearly 18 months in jail, will now have to go to jail and serve the remaining term. Dutt will not be able to shoot pictures during the remaining three and a half years of prison term, the apex court said.

The judgement was delivered by a bench of Justice PS Sathasivam and BS Chauhan. The judges only read out the excerpts of the voluminous judgement that lasted for one and a half hours.

Sanjay Dutt was sentenced to a jail term of six years for illegal possession of firearms acquired from terrorist acquaintances, who were responsible for the 1993 Mumbai bomb blasts on July 31, 2007. He was granted bail by the apex court on November 27, 2007.

A total of 257 persons were killed and 713 others injured when a series 13 coordinated explosions shattered the metropolis on March 12, 1993.

The blasts occurred at 12 places including Bombay Stock Exchange building, Air-India Building at Nariman Point, at Worli opposite Century Bazaar, Hotels Sea Rock and Juhu Centaur.

Source : Asian Tribune -

USA win in Geneva by 12


Geneva, 21 March,
The US-sponsored resolution on Sri Lanka brought to the UNHRC was passed by the member states following a vote, a short while ago in Geneva.

25 member states voted in favour, 13 against while 8 abstained from voting.

India and South Korea were the only Asian countries voted in favour of the resolution while Pakistan, Venezuela and Ecuador voted against. Japan and Malaysia abstained from voting.

A senior official said in Colombo that the final voting was not a surprise because of EU and US pressure tactics. “While US twisted the arm of Korea to get its vote, India failed to muster any support. It shows India’s unpopularity,” he said.

An official in the external affairs ministry blamed the Sri Lankan High Commission in New Delhi for, what it described as its total blunder to get support from all the African and Latin American embassies concurrently accredited to Sri Lanka from New Delhi.

“Mission in New Delhi failed to brief them properly,” he said.

The final resolution tabled by US

The Human Rights Council,

Reaffirming the purposes and principles contained in the Charter of the United Nations,

Guided by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenants on Human Rights and other relevant instruments,

Bearing in mind General Assembly resolution 60/251 of 15 March 2006,

Recalling Council resolutions 5/1 and 5/2 of 18 June 2007, on institution-building of the Human Rights Council,

Recalling Human Rights Council resolution 19/2 of 22 March 2012 on promoting reconciliation and accountability in Sri Lanka,

Reaffirming that it is the responsibility of each State to ensure the full enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms of its entire population,

Reaffirming also that States must ensure that any measure taken to combat terrorism complies with their obligations under international law, in particular international human rights law, international refugee law and international humanitarian law, as applicable,

Welcoming the announcement by the Government of Sri Lanka to hold elections to the Provincial Council in the Northern Province in September 2013,

Welcoming and acknowledging the progress made by the Government of Sri Lanka in rebuilding infrastructure, demining, resettling the majority of internally displaced persons, and noting nonetheless that considerable work lies ahead in the areas of justice, reconciliation and resumption of livelihoods, and stressing the importance of the full participation of local populations, including representatives of civil society and minorities, in these efforts,

Taking note of the report of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission of Sri Lanka and its findings and recommendations, and acknowledging its possible contribution to the process of national reconciliation in Sri Lanka,

Taking note of the National Plan of Action to implement the recommendations of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission of the Government of Sri Lanka and its commitments as set forth in response to the findings and recommendations of the Commission,

Noting that the national plan of action does not adequately address all of the findings and constructive recommendations of the Commission,

Recalling the constructive recommendations contained in the Commission’s report, including the need to credibly investigate widespread allegations of extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances, demilitarize the north of Sri Lanka, implement impartial land dispute resolution mechanisms, re-evaluate detention policies, strengthen formerly independent civil institutions, reach a political settlement on the devolution of power to the provinces, promote and protect the right of freedom of expression for all and enact rule of law reforms,

Noting with concern that the National Plan of Action and the Commission’s report do not adequately address serious allegations of violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law,

Expressing concern at the continuing reports of violations of human rights in Sri Lanka, including enforced disappearances, extrajudicial killings, torture, and violations of the rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly, as well as intimidation of and reprisals against human rights defenders, members of civil society and journalists, threats to judicial independence and the rule of law, and discrimination on the basis of religion or belief,

Calling upon the Government of Sri Lanka to fulfil its public commitments, including on the devolution of political authority, which is integral to reconciliation and the full enjoyment of human rights by all members of its population,

Expressing appreciation for the efforts of the Government of Sri Lanka in facilitating the visit of a technical mission from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, and encouraging the Government to increase its dialogue and cooperation with the Office of the High Commissioner,

Noting the High Commissioner’s call for an independent and credible international investigation into alleged violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law,

1. Welcomes the report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on advice and technical assistance for the Government of Sri Lanka on promoting reconciliation and accountability in Sri Lanka[1] and the recommendations and conclusions contained therein, in particular on the establishment of a truth-seeking mechanism as an integral part of a more comprehensive and inclusive approach to transitional justice;

2. Encourages the Government of Sri Lanka to implement the recommendations made in the report of the Office of the High Commissioner, and also calls upon the Government of Sri Lanka to conduct an independent and credible investigation into allegations of violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law, as applicable;

3. Reiterates its call upon the Government of Sri Lanka to implement effectively the constructive recommendations made in the report of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission, and to take all necessary additional steps to fulfil its relevant legal obligations and commitment to initiate credible and independent actions to ensure justice, equity and accountability, and reconciliation for all Sri Lankans;

4. Encourages the Government of Sri Lanka to cooperate with special procedures mandate holders and to respond formally to their outstanding requests, including by extending invitations and providing access;

5. Encourages the Office of the High Commissioner and relevant special procedures mandate holders to provide, in consultation with and with the concurrence of the Government of Sri Lanka, advice and technical assistance on implementing the above-mentioned steps;

6. Requests the Office of the High Commissioner, with input from relevant special procedures mandate holders, as appropriate, to present an oral updateto the Human Rights Council at its twenty-fourth session, and a comprehensive report followed by a discussion at the twenty-fifth session, on the implementation of the present resolution

Co-sponsors of the resolution;

Austria, Canada, Croatia, Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, France, Finland, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, St Kitts and Nevis, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and United States of America.

Source :  Asian Tribune -

Sunny Leone Most searched in Google

Thursday, March 7, 2013

 

If google results are anything to go by, India spends a lot of time worrying about entrance exams - and looking up porn stars.
The annual Google zeitgeist report, an annual compendium of the most searched words and the subjects that received the most traffic over the previous year, lists 'IBPS' - a banking sector test - and 'Gate Exams' as the two most searched terms in the country, quickly followed by 'Sunny Leone.'
Further down the list, one can see the country's preoccupation with Bollywood - Ek Tha Tiger, Rowdy Rathore and the late Rajesh Khanna turn up - while studies make another showing at No. 6 with people searching for 'CBSE.'

Rounding up the top 10 list of searched terms for 2012, Google reveals countrywide curiosity for the government's big tech attempt, the Aakash tablet, as well as searches for banking giant HDFC and shopping website 'Jabong.'

India's list has no overlap with the global top 10 terms that read like the highlights of the year's events - Whitney Houston's death, 'Gangnam-style' dancing, Hurricane Sandy and the Olympic Games.
The international list also has some surprises, though, like a slightly morbid preoccupation with Amanda Todd, a Canadian girl who committed suicide shortly after posting a YouTube video about how she had been bullied and assaulted.
Source : dailymail.co.uk


Google pays tribute through doodle on International Women’s Days – 2013




As the world celebrates the International Women’s Day, Google has its way of paying tribute to the fairer sex as it commemorates its 102nd anniversary today. Each year, International Women’s Day is celebrated on March 8.

For this year, the Google has its doodle depicting 27 faces of women from across the world. While, the shape of the Google logo emerges in the gaps between the faces, interestingly, the International Women’s Day doodle has the face of an Indian woman with a little red bindi on her forehead which features in a fascinating way.

Last year, International Women’s Day overlapped with Holi and, hence, the Women’s Day doodle had a Holi-like feel about it.

Bikini in ever seductive poses! - Poonam Pandeys Valentine’s Day gift –

Wednesday, March 6, 2013







Mumbai: The graph of sexiness for Poonam Pandey has moved a notch above after brandishing her extreme seductive poses on the micro-blogging website Twitter. Declaring about selling her two pieces, the ex-Kingfisher girl donned her net based lingerie to fetch maximum buyers. The bikini, Poonam is putting up for grab, is from her upcoming Bollywood debut flick Nasha..Uploading her pictures of her unmatched curves, Poonam said that this is the last time she is wearing this particular sexy bikini. She wrote while uploading one of the picture, “Pic on #grabNASHAbikini Wearing it for the last time lets see who… Wins .. Luv u all muwaaaah.” She said, “Tweethearts thanx a million for loving me so much …Reading all ur tweets on #grabNASHAbikini luv u alll muuuuwaaaah.”

Microsoft 561 million Euros for breaking promise in EU Microsoft has been fined €561m


Microsoft has been fined €561m ($731m, £484m) by the European Commission for breaking an agreement to offer Windows users alternative web browsers to Internet Explorer. A fresh investigation was launched against Microsoft by Brussels’ competition officials in mid-2012 following complaints that the company was still using its Windows operating system to push people into browsing the web with Internet Explorer.

 Microsoft signed a legally binding agreement with the commission that required the firm to display a choice screen in Windows that allowed customers in Europe to pick between using IE, Firefox, Chrome and other browsers on the market. The dialogue box was supposed to remain in the operating system until 2014. But in February 2011, when Microsoft issued its first Windows 7 service pack, the selection screen suddenly vanished from the software.Last year, Redmond told competition commissioner Joaquin Almunia that it hadn’t noticed the browser choice screen had been missing from its operating system for 17 months. This meant 15 million customers were not offered a range of browsers to run on their PCs.The commission said today that it was imposing a half-a-billion-euro fine on Microsoft for failing to comply with its commitment. Almunia said in a statement: Legally binding commitments reached in antitrust decisions play a very important role in our enforcement policy because they allow for rapid solutions to competition problems. Of course, such decisions require strict compliance. A failure to comply is a very serious infringement that must be sanctioned accordingly.
But Microsoft could have been slapped with a much bigger monetary penalty as the commission can demand anything up to 10 per cent of a company’s annual revenue. That means Redmond could have faced a gigantic €7.4bn fine.

In working out how to penalise Microsoft, the commission said it took into account the gravity and duration of the infringement. It also considered imposing a fine large enough to grab the company’s attention so that it would prevent itself from making the same boob again.However, Microsoft’s cooperation with Almunia’s office proved to be a mitigating circumstance that helped keep the fine low in relative terms.


Jordanian King Abdullah moved to tears at Atatürk mausoleum


Jordanian King Abdullah II shed tears today as he visited Anıtkabir, the mausoleum dedicated to Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of modern Turkey.

Turkish Finance Minister Mehmet Şimşek accompanied King Abdullah during his visit to Anıtkabir in Ankara.

After the visit, King Abdullah was welcomed by Turkish President Abdullah Gül with a formal ceremony at the Çankaya presidential palace.

Gül’s wife, Hayrünnisa Gül, accompanied Jordanian Queen Rania Abdullah at the ceremony. Following the ceremony, a commemorative photograph was taken before the Gate of Honor.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, Finance Minister Mehmet Şimşek and Presidential Secretary General Mustafa İsen attended the ceremony. King Abdullah arrived in Turkey’s capital on a two-day official visit and expects to leave Turkey March.6.

Jordan urges inclusive transition in Syria

Jordanian King Abdullah II called on the Syrian regime to move toward an “inclusive transition” to prevent the breakup of the war-torn country.

“Only an inclusive transition will stop sectarian conflict and avoid the fragmentation of Syria,” the king said at a press conference with President Abdullah Gül. King Abdullah said there was an “urgent need” for a political transition to stop the bloodshed and “preserve the territorial integrity” of Syria, where the nearly two-year-old conflict has claimed around 70,000 lives, according to U.N. figures.

Gül said the conflict has sent half a million refugees to neighboring Jordan and Turkey, where leaders frequently call for international aid to cope with an influx that has drained their emergency resources. The United Nations is calling for $1.5 billion to help nearly one million Syrian refugees and four million other Syrians affected by the conflict but who remain inside the country, over the coming months.

ANKARA – Anatolia News Agency

Former far-right Dutch politician converts to Islam


A former member of the anti-Islamist Dutch politician Geert Wilders’ party and personal friend of his, has declared his conversion to Islam.

Arnoud van Doorn was a member of Wilders’ right-wing Freedom Party until the end of 2011.

He said that he had made a fresh start by announcing his decision to the world and taking his Shahadah [Testimony of Faith] on his Twitter account.


Firm sorry for ‘Keep Calm and Rape’ shirts


A t-shirt company has issued an apology for advertising tops with slogans such as “Keep Calm and Rape A Lot” and “Keep Calm and Kill Her,” with its founder saying on March 7 that the firm may go under.

Solid Gold Bomb said the offensive lines were created via an automated computer process which relied on online dictionaries to create the versions of the slogans based on the British World War II motto “Keep Calm and Carry On.”

“I apologize for the offensive response this has created across the world,” Solid Gold Bomb’s Australian founder, Michael Fowler, said on the firm’s website after the shirts advertised on Amazon unleashed outrage. “No words can express how I feel about what has occurred and in no way do I condone or promote this serious issue.”

Fowler told The Sydney Morning Herald that Amazon was his company’s main distribution channel and since the scandal broke, sales had dropped from 300 to 1,700 orders per day to as low as three in a single day. “It’s devastating. The majority of our sales stopped,” Fowler told the paper, adding that he may have to shut down the company. “The only real sales channel we currently have is our own website.”

The firm’s Facebook and Twitter pages have been deleted after a torrent of abuse, he added. Fowler said he had never intended to create offensive t-shirts, but he took responsibility for producing the computer script that harnessed online dictionaries and other resources to generate the slogans.

Source : hurriyetdailynews.com

Michelle Obama launches schools push on obesity



US: First Lady Michelle Obama took her campaign against childhood obesity to a new level Thursday with a $150 million programme to encourage more physical activity in American schools.

Let's Move! Active Schools builds upon the Let's Move! initiative that the mother-of-two and wife of Barack Obama unveiled three years ago during the president's first term in the White House.

“Only one in three of our kids is active every day,” said the first lady in Chicago, the Obama family's hometown.

“That's not just bad for their bodies. It's also bad for their minds, because being less active can actually hurt kids' academic performance.” Funded by a public-private partnership, Let's Move! Active Schools aims within five years to get 50,000 schools across the United States to provide at least one hour of physical activity per day to their youngsters.

Excessive weight is a major public health issue in the United States, where two in three adults -- and one in three children -- are either overweight or obese, officials say.

AFP

International triple exhibition launched

Sara Pathirana
An International triple exhibition in collaboration with CEMS-Global, which focuses on the entire Textile and Garment sector of Sri Lanka, was launched yesterday at the Sri Lanka Exhibition and Convention Centre (SLECC), Colombo and it will conclude on March 2.


Two visitors at the exhibition. Picture by Nissanka Wijeratne

The exhibition is segmented into three, 'Fourth Textech Sri Lanka International Expo 2013'-An International Exhibition on Textile Garment Technology and Machinery along with synchronized exhibitions, 'Dye+Chem Sri Lanka Internationalb Expo 2013-An exhibition on Dyes, Fine and Specialty Chemicals and the 'Fourth Colombo International Yarn and Fabric Show 2013'.

CEMS-Global sees the industry and exhibitors growing and internationally people are showing interest and focus on the industry in Sri Lanka.

Technology and quality are both available in the country and we want to showcase Sri Lanka by helping to attract and invite buyers to explore our resources,” Group CEO-CEMS Global, USA and Asia Pacific, S. S. Sarwar said.

“Through such endeavours, we aim to reach our export target of Four billion USD by 2015, despite the challenges in the export market and promoting our textiles in key markets is essential since the inception of our brand,” Minister of Industry and Commerce, Rishad Bathiudeen, who was the Chief Guest at the event, said.

“In 2012, our apparel exports recorded $ 2.83 billion earnings of which $1.53 billion was from the US and $ 1.86 billion was from the EU despite the challenging global market situation. I am happy to announce that the world’s third largest retail giant TESCO is now purchasing apparels from Sri Lanka to the annual value of $ 100 million” said Rishad Bathiudeen, Minister of Industry and Commerce.

HNB records 37% growth in PAT



In the backdrop of a slowdown in economic growth resulting in reduced credit growth and volatile market conditions, the pre-tax profit of HNB Group improved by 25.5% to Rs 10.65 billion while Group net profit after tax recorded a year on year growth of 32.4% to Rs 8.25 billion.
 






















Dr. Ranee Jayamaha























Rajandra Theagarajah


Commenting on the performance during the year 2012, Dr. Ranee Jayamaha, Chairperson of HNB PLC said “ In the first half of the year, amidst difficulties and challenges brought by the severe and complex international environment and despite volatile domestic markets, Hatton National Bank improved its operating strategies whilst retaining a healthy growth. In the second half, the bank proactively adapted itself to policy changes as well as financial market conditions and moved forward to seize opportunities in the real economy.”

With the new accounting standards (SLFRS / LKAS) issued in line with the International Financial Reporting Standards becoming effective from January 1, 2012 the bank prepared its annual financial statements in line with the new standards as well as the guidelines issued by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka. However, in accordance with the second option under the ruling issued by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka, the interim financial statements have been prepared based on the previous accounting standards that prevailed prior to January 1, 2012 for comparative purposes and the following is based on these previous accounting standards.

The bank's interest income for the reporting period grew by 42.2%, prompted by increase in yields coupled with growth in interest earning assets. Interest cost mirrored this upward movement with a perceptible increase of 58.8%. Higher deposit rates, deposit growth as well as conversion of low cost deposits to fixed deposits at higher rates pushed the interest costs upwards. Nevertheless, the bank witnessed a growth of 25.3% in net interest income amounting to Rs. 20.5 billion during the financial year.

Increase in fee income remained a key strategic priority during the year, as per the bank's 3 year strategic plan. Efforts in this regard yielded positive results with the Bank increasing its commission income by 36.5% in 2012 against that of the previous financial year.

To page iv

SL’s largest shopping mall ready by 2016

H.D.H Senewiratne
Overseas Reality (Ceylon) Plc, together with Bank of Ceylon will construct Sri Lanka’s largest shopping complex/mall as a joint venture project at a cost of US $ 100 million. The project will commence this year and is planned to be completed by 2016.

“This would be Sri Lanka’s largest shopping complex with a 250,000 leasable sq ft area with a higher proposition of food and beverage areas along with a modern amenities within the Havelock City project premises, ‘ Chief Executive Officer Pravir Samarasinghe told Daily News Business .

He said that this shopping complex would have a large dinning area, food court, casual eating area and also an entertainment component will be added to it with a multiplex cinema hall to provide an excellent experience to visitors and people who patronize the shopping complex. Samarsinghe said when the company starts their last phase of the project, it would comprise eight towers altogether with 1,100 apartments in the Havelock City project.

“This would comprise a shopping mall, cinema, hotel & service apartments, restaurants, swimming pool and gym. We are going ahead with the plans and are now in the process of constructing the 280 apartment premier apartment project with 280 units while 60 percent of them have already been sold by now,” Samarasinghe said. He said that with these developments, the land prices of central business district were high due to the disposal of state lands, while the land prices of secondary business district had not increased during the recent past.

"The proposed 100 percent land tax as well as the leasing tax on foreign buying would have an impact on land prices, which would decrease the number of commercial transactions involved in foreign buying," he said. Mireka Capital Land (Pvt) Limited is the developer of Havelock City and is a joint venture between Overseas Realty (Ceylon) PLC (ORCPLC), the owner, developer and manager of the World Trade Center, Colombo and the Bank of Ceylon (BoC), the largest bank in Sri Lanka. ORCPLC owns 60 percent of Mireka, while BoC owns the remaining 40 percent.

Overseas Realty (Ceylon) PLC (ORCL) is a Board of Investment flagship company incorporated in Sri Lanka in 1980 to undertake the principal activities of investment in properties, property development, trading and management. It is a public quoted company with listing in the Stock Exchange of Sri Lanka.

Singapore based real estate specialists, Shing Kwan Group, holds approximately 92 percent of the existing issued share capital of the company. Shing Kwan Group’s portfolio of expertise includes investment, development and management of real estate in China (Nanjing, Beijing and Shanghai), Indonesia (Jakarta) and Singapore.

Source : dailynews.lk 

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