Daily Archives: February 6, 2007

UAE to sign agreement to prevent exploitation of Sri Lankan workers


By Walter Jayawardhana


United Arab Emirates will sign a memorandum of understanding with the government of Sri Lanka that would prevent employers in the country from inhumanely treating Sri Lankan expatriate workers and exploiting them illegally, the UAE government said.

The MOU into this effect will be signed during a visit by UAE labor Minister Dr. Ali Bin Abdullah Al Ka’abi to Colombo.

An official website quoting Nabavi Junaid the Sri Lankan Ambassador said the MoU with the UAE to streamline exports of manpower to the UAE will be signed this month between the two countries when the UAE Minister visits for an official trip to Sri Lanka this month.

The ambassador said the agreement aims to eliminate exploitation of workers by unauthorized job agents and unscrupulous recruitment agencies.

Under the agreement signed between the two countries the working conditions of the expatriate Sri Lankan workers will be alleviated, the ambassador said.

Under the new conditions the workers should be provided with provisions of proper accommodation, welfare, health, safety, and guarantee all rights under the UAE labor law, the ambassador said.

The UAE labor ministry has signed similar agreements with India and Pakistan already. A similar agreement is also scheduled to be signed with Bangladesh, the UAE government has announced.


Jayawardene leads Lankans to easy win

Tillakaratne Dilshan (L) and Marvan Atapattu run between wickets during a practice match against Mumbai XI in Mumbai, on Sunday. Sri Lanka will play a four match One Day International (ODI) cricket series against India from February 08 – 17.

Mumbai, Feb 4: The visiting Sri Lankan cricketers warmed up for the four-match one-day international series against India in style, thrashing Mumbai xi by 156 runs with 12 overs to spare in a practice encounter at the cricket club of India.

Skipper Mahela Jayawardene led the way with a punishing knock of 91, after opening the innings, which included 18 fours and a six in Lanka’s total of 318 for 8 against a team that had a fair sprinkling of players who have been turning out in Ranji Trophy for Mumbai over the last two seasons.

Fellow-opener Upul Tharanga made 48 while Marvan Atapattu (52) and Tilekaratne Dilshan (57) made important contributions in the middle to ensure the visitors did not waste the flying start given by Jayawardene and Tharanga who put on a century stand.

At one stage they seemed to be cruising past the 350 mark before the brakes were applied by young left-arm spinner Iqbal Abdulla who secured three wickets for 38 in his ten overs.

In reply, the hosts were shot out for a paltry 162 runs in 38 overs with Paul Valthaty and Praful Waghela showing some fight with knocks of 36 and unbeaten 28 respectively.

Pacer Farvez Maharoof picked up four wickets while leg spinner Malinga Bandara and left arm speedster Nuwan Zoysa claimed three and two wickets respectively to stop Mumbai XI firmly in its tracks.

The visiting team rested veteran opener Sanath Jayasuriya, sling-arm pacer Lasith Malinga and leg spinner Upul Chandana for the match.

The Lankans are slated to rest for a day here tomorrow before departing for Kolkata on February 6 ahead of the opening ODI at the Eden Gardens on February 8. via .. The Island

Brief scores:

Sri Lanka 318 for 8 in 50 overs (Mahela Jayawardene 91, Upul Tharanga 48, Marvan Atapattu 52, Tilekaratne Dilshan 57; Iqbal Abdulla 3 for 38, Murtaza Hussain 3 for 57)

Mumbai XI 162 all out in 38 overs (Paul Valthaty 36; Praful Waghela 28 not out; Farvez Maharoof 4 for 28; Malinga Bandara 3 for 55, Nuwan Zoysa 2 for 23).


New Tyre Factory to produce all steel radial tyre requirements for Sri Lanka


By Walter Jayawardhana



The Tire Review online, the industry website based in the United States called the upcoming Ceat radial tyre plant as the first Sri Lankan factory that would produce steel belted radial tires and said it would be a major import substitution project that would save millions of Rupees for Sri Lanka.

“The output from this plant will meet,” the Tire Review said, ” both the domestic and export requirements. The plant targets to export almost 40% of its production, which will bring in significant foreign exchange revenue.”


The domestic tyre industry of Sri Lanka has come of age with the launch of a sophisticated new facility by top tyre maker Ceat Sri Lanka for the local manufacture of steel-belted radial tyres for cars and vans, it further said.

Ceat’s new radial tyre plant in Sri Lanka, set up with an initial investment SLR 350 million, was inaugurated by the prime minister of Sri Lanka on Sept. 8, 2006. The grand inauguration ceremony was attended by cabinet ministers, the deputy high commissioner of India, the managing director of Ceat (India), the MD and CEO of Ceat (Sri Lanka), the members of the board of directors as well as bankers, suppliers and guests from India.

The radial tyre factory was started with an initial annual production capacity of about 312,000 tyres. The output from this plant will meet both the domestic and export requirements. The plant targets to export almost 40% of its production, which will bring in significant foreign exchange revenue.

This project is a major import substitution initiative, aiming to give the customers tyres that match the best in each class. Initially, the company will produce two types of radials “one for cars and the other for vans” in the most popular sizes in the local market.

Ceat’s range of steel-belted radials for cars will be branded “Formula 1 Steel” while the van tyre range will be branded “Rhino” in line with the depiction that accompanies all Ceat signage and the Ceat slogan “Born Tough.”

The main features of Ceat’s new radial tyres are safety, better road handling capabilities, good riding comfort, low noise levels and superb appearance. The radials for vans will have the additional capability to carry extra heavy loads, a requirement dictated by practices in the region.

Tyres manufactured in Sri Lanka have been designed and tailor-made in their tread patterns, to cater to the country’s requirements of all imported vehicles like Toyota, Nissan, Mitsubishi, Hyundai, etc., giving the motorist comfort, safety and satisfaction on the road. Sri Lanka is totally dependent on imports for radial tyres.

Latest technology

Ceat’s radial plant has been set up with the latest machinery, complete with the latest tyre production technology. The fully-automated, high-productivity plant, operating in controlled temperature and humidity conditions, will produce steel-belted radial tyres with high-durability polyester carcass and unique tread patterns designed for Sri Lankan roads.

The imported tyre-making machines are very sophisticated, with high-precision mechanical parts/tooling and onboard computer for programme logic and control. The superiority in Ceat’s radial technology is achieved through a holistic combination of design, materials and manufacturing. The design is unique in profile, aspect ratio and tread/side-wall patterns.

The raw materials and compounds are very different as also the manufacturing process, requiring designated machinery for steel-cord processing (Steelastic) and tyre-building (2-stage building) in order to maximise output in terms of productivity, quality and uniformity. The other areas of radial manufacturing like mixing, calendaring and tyre curing follow processes quite similar to bias tyre. But, still these equipment also have been upgraded, as higher accuracy and precision are required for the radial components.

A team of employees who will handle the manufacture of radial tyres have already been sent abroad for specialised training.

This is the most important expansion plan ever undertaken by Ceat Sri Lanka. Ceat, a well-known and respected brand in Sri Lanka, is the first international tyre company to set up a radial tyre plant in the country. In its existing business segments, Ceat is the market leader, with market shares in excess of 50% in segments like truck, light truck, agriculture and three-wheeler.


Adele Balasingham would not become public face of the LTTE , she says

By Walter Jayawardhana


ADELE Balasingham, the Australian widow of a senior leader of the Tamil Tigers terrorist group, has announced that she will not replace her husband within the organisation, reported the Telegraph of Australia reproducing the item from Australian.

“There’s absolutely no truth in the story that I am to assume my husband’s role in the LTTE (the Tamil Tigers),” she said in an email to The Australian, which was her first comment on persistent reports that she was to be the new international “voice” of the Tigers, the news item said..

The diplomatic pressure by the Sri Lankan government to arrest her if she starts to play the role of her dead husband in the now banned LTTE organization in Britain is beleived to have led to her refusal, diplomatic sources say.

Sri Lankan diplomats have urged Britain to arrest the London-based former Victorian country nurse if she does replace husband Anton as the Tigers’ chief negotiator and spokesman, following his death from cancer in December, the newspaper said..

The newspaper further said, ‘Close observers of the Tigers and their three-decade fight for an autonomous Tamil state in northeast Sri Lanka say Ms Balasingham, 57, is still likely to have a significant role as one of the few Tiger activists with long international experience and the confidence of the group’s leader, Velupillai Prabhakaran.

‘The Tigers run a de facto government in northern Sri Lanka but been losing momentum in recent years, with little sign of military or diplomatic progress.

‘Ms Balasingham lives in a large double-storey home in a quiet street in New Malden, a middle-class residential suburb in southwest London.

‘The home is believed to be paid for by Tiger supporters but has none of the security one might expect for leaders of a group that has been banned as a terrorist outfit by the US, Britain, India and the European Union because of its role in a civil war that has claimed more than 70,000 lives.

‘Friends say Ms Balasingham is still distraught over the loss of her husband, a charismatic ideologue. Her mother, Betty Wilby, a former shop assistant from Warragul, in Gippsland, has been staying with her since his death.

‘Ms Balasingham, who left Australia as a 21-year-old nurse in 1971 to work in London and travel around Europe with two girlfriends, is now the centre of diplomatic speculation from Sri Lanka to Norway because she is seen as a potentially crucial link between the jungle fighters and the international community.

‘One British diplomat said: “It is crucial that somebody replace Anton Balasingham. Whether it will be her, we don’t know, but there are very few suitable candidates. Without him, both sides are going to find it harder to get any sort of progress going. There is a next generation of intellectuals and people familiar with foreign politics but they are not close to the military leaders or ready to take on his mantle at defining strategy.”

‘Priyath Liyanage, the editor of the BBC’s Sinhalese service, said Ms Balasingham “could be a good go-between with the West but notthe leader of negotiating delegations”.

“Her big asset is that she is trusted by Prabhakaran, who makes all the big decisions and trusts very few people to represent him abroad,” he said.

“Her weakness is that she’s not a Tamil and her spoken Tamil is not good enough for serious political discussions.

“She’s actually a more fiery character than Anton and could be more aggressive – she’s less diplomatic than him by nature.”

‘In her 2003 autobiography, Will to Freedom, she recounts that after a couple of years of backpacking and nursing she became a community health worker in London, then at 27 signed up for a social sciences degree at a left-leaning London university faculty.

‘That was where she fell in love with her husband, a left-wing activist who was tutoring and studying for a doctorate.

‘Twelve years her senior, the former journalist and translator at the British high commission in Colombo had come to London with his first wife to seek medical treatment for the kidney disease that eventually killed her.

‘The widower and the young Australian married in 1978. He developed some early Marxist-influenced theories on the Tamil fight for independence and the couple were invited to India in 1979 to meet Prabhakaran.

‘The guerilla leader came to rely on Anton Balasingham as his main ideologue, negotiator and spokesman.

‘Ms Balasingham, dubbed “Auntie” by Prabhakaran, was also called “the White Tamil” by her Tiger colleagues.

‘The couple was not active in Tiger military affairs but Ms Balasingham recounted in her book that in 1981 Prabhakaran personally taught her how to use a revolver and an automatic rifle.

“I viewed weapons as a necessity for self-defence and an instrument for liberation,” she wrote. “Ultimately, years later, carrying an automatic rifle and sleeping with one in my room became the norm.”

‘She became an official member of Tiger delegations to peace talks and the most prominent woman in the organisation.

“In 2001, the British Government outlawed the Tigers and shut down their international secretariat in London but the Balasinghams continued to operate from there despite “British laws making it illegal to be a member of the Tigers or to “provide or show support” for them.

‘Sri Lankan diplomats say they often complained to the Government that police and prosecutors were turning a blind eye to their activities.

‘Gareth Price, an analyst at the Royal Institute of International Affairs, said Britain “seemed to allow Anton Balasingham to keep operating for expediency reasons – if he wasn’t here, nobody else would have been negotiating.”

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Sri Lanka to take bold steps to cut funding lines of the LTTE

By Walter Jayawardhana


Sri Lanka’s Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama told Gulf Times that the government is determined and taking bold steps to cut the funding lines of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) which is engaged in an insurgency against the government of Sri Lanka.

Bogollagama was passing through Doha in Qatar in transit with his Foreign Secretary Palitha T. B. Kohona when the newspaper’s Ramesh Mathew interviewed him. They were returning home after having deliberations with leaders in India and Germany in a four day trip.

Further adding to his Foreign Minister Kohona told the newspaper that the LTTE was collecting funds from all possible channels in the world including the Gulf Cooperation Council states. Qatar is a Gulf Cooperation Council state.

“We had extensive deliberations with foreign ministers of Germany and India and the two countries have promised their continuous support to Sri Lanka in fighting those engaged in a violent struggle for statehood on our soil,” Bogollagama was quoted having told the newspaper.

Speaking about his talks with German Foreign Minister Frank Walter Stein Meier, Bogollagama Gulf Times his visit had helped change certain misconceptions that many European Union (EU) members, including Germany, had about Sri Lanka’s fight against terrorism.

He described the talks with Germany as extremely fruitful. “We conveyed to the German government the clarity and transparency in which Sri Lanka is combating those waging the armed battle against the country.”

Terming Germany as a country with which Lanka had longstanding relations, Bogollagama told the Middle Eastern newspaper with its present position as the president of the EU Germany would be able to communicate to other EU members the urgency of disarming organizations like the LTTE. “Once their funding lines are effectively cut, the LTTE would not be able to continue its armed struggle,” the minister reiterated.

In the absence of any financial aid, the LTTE would not be in a position to wage a war against the state anymore, he further told the newspaper.

Bogollagama said Germany had promised to continue its financial aid for development projects.

Recalling that the United Nations had termed LTTE as perpetrators of violence in a number of its resolutions in the last few years, he said one of the resolutions had termed the outfit as a violator of norms on the issue of recruitment of child-soldiers.

“UNICEF had also expressed concerns over the forcible recruitment of children by the LTTE in the last few years,” said the minister.

Contrary to the undertaking it had given to UNICEF against enlisting children for combat, the LTTE is still going ahead with their recruitment, the minister pointed out.

The minister said according to UNICEF reports, months succeeding the signing of ceasefire the outfit had enlisted 5,700 child volunteers.

He applauded Qatar’s contribution to the Lanka’s exchequer and said his country was looking forward to the proposed visit of the Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani in December.

“Hopefully, our president would visit Qatar shortly,” said Bogollagama.

Kohona said the LTTE is forcibly collecting funds from all possible channels worldwide, including the Gulf Cooperation Council states, and this money was being used for buying weapons.

The foreign secretary, who is also an adviser to President Mahinda Rajapaksa, said over 1.3mn Tamils have already migrated to the west and Australia and now only 4% of the Sri Lankan population is Tamil.

The official also claimed that 54% of the Tamil population has already moved to areas where Sinhalese are in majority.

Kohona recalled that when the ethnic conflict began in 1983, at least 12.5% of the Lankan population was Tamil. Most of the migrations, he said, were to the UK, Germany, Switzerland, France, Australia and the United States.

Queried if Sri Lanka was looking forward to any negotiator other than Norway in the peace talks, the official said he did not see any need for any other negotiators in settling the ethnic issue.

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