TORONTO — Corus Entertainment Inc. says the Competition Bureau has cleared it to buy the remaining half of Teletoon and other specialty TV interests from Astral Media Inc.The asset sale was a condition of the Competition Bureau’s approval of Astral’s takeover by BCE Inc., a $3.38-billion deal that would combine two of Canada’s largest television and radio businesses.Toronto-based Corus — which has been Astral’s partner in several specialty channels — has conditionally agreed to buy the remaining 50% of Teletoon, which includes the main channel, Teletoon Retro, their two French-language counterparts as well as the Cartoon Network (Canada).Corus played a key role in helping Bell and Astral get Competition Bureau approval for their friendly deal by agreeing to $494-million in acquisitions.They include the French language channels Historia and Series+, currently owned 50-50 by BCE and Shaw Media, a division of Shaw Communications.The various transactions also require approvals from the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission.The Canadian Press read more

OTTAWA — An alliance of First Nations leaders is preparing to fight proposed new pipelines both in the courts and through unspecified direct action.Native leaders from both Canada and the United States were on Parliament Hill on Wednesday to underline their opposition to both the Northern Gateway and Keystone XL pipelines.[np_storybar title=”With First Nations envoy, Tories aim to divide and conquer on energy projects” link=”″%5DThere is no deadlier combination for resources developers than opposition from a joint front of environmentalists and First Nations.In what appears to be a divide-and-conquer strategy, Prime Minister Stephen Harper named a special representative Tuesday to investigate first hand why First Nations in British Columbia are so opposed to energy infrastructure projects, including the controversial Northern Gateway pipeline.Continue reading . . . [/np_storybar]The first would tie the Alberta oil sands to the West Coast, while the second would send bitumen to refineries on the American Gulf Coast.Some of the chiefs brushed off the federal government’s appointment this week of a special envoy to look at tensions between natives and the energy industry.Vancouver-based lawyer Doug Eyford is to focus on energy infrastructure in Western Canada, but some native leaders say he has no credibility.He is to examine First Nations concerns about the troubled Northern Gateway proposal, as well as the development of liquid natural gas plants, marine terminals and other energy infrastructure in British Columbia and Alberta.He will discuss environmental protection, jobs and economic development, and First Nations rights to a share of the wealth from natural resources.Some native chiefs, however, said Eyford has already failed. Although he is also the federal government’s chief negotiator on comprehensive land claims, they said he hasn’t accomplished much on that file.Chief Allan Adam of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation said natives are determined to block the pipelines.“It’s going to be a long, hot summer,” he said at a news conference.“We have a lot of issues at stake.”Phil Lane Jr. of the American Yankton Sioux, said native groups south of the border will stand with their Canadian cousins.“We’re going to stop these pipelines on way or another,” he said.Chief Martin Louie of the Nadleh Whut’en First Nation in northern B.C., said the pipeline opponents will never back down.“If we have to keep going to court, we’ll keep doing that,” he said.He said the stakes are high and go beyond native issues.“We’re the ones that’s going to save whatever we have left of this earth,” he said.Chief Reuben George of the Tsleil-Waututh First Nation on Vancouver Island said it’s time to act against the federal government’s resource development agenda.“We, as a nation, have to wake up,” he said. “We have to wake up to the crazy decisions that this government’s making to change the world in a negative way.” read more

According to the report the TNA delegation is to call on India to exert pressure on the government to address Tamil concerns. External Affairs Minister G.L Peiris is already scheduled to visit the U.S next month for talks with U.S Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.The U.S Embassy in Colombo had earlier said there were no scheduled meetings with the TNA and Clinton in the U.S so far. A Tamil National Alliance (TNA) delegation headed by party leader R. Sambanthan is to visit India at the end of next month, reports said today.The Jaffna based Uthayan newspaper quoted TNA sources as saying that the TNA delegation will brief the Indian government on the current situation in the country. The TNA delegation is also expected to visit the U.S in June for talks with the U.S State department, the Uthayan newspaper report said. read more

Furthermore, according to the Asian Tribune, Ambassador R.K.M.A Rajakaruna has been nominated as the Ambassador designate for the new Sri Lankan Mission in the Kingdom of Bahrain. He has already left Chennai where he was Deputy High Commissioner succeeding Ambassador V. Krishnamoorthy. Asian Tribune learnt that he is waiting for the final clearance from Bahrain and it is expected that the new Sri Lanka Mission in Bahrain will be opened up shortly no sooner Mr. Rajakaruna takes up the appointment.In the meantime Ambassador V. Krissnamoorthy has been nominated as Ambassador for Saudi Arabia and this was confirmed by Mr. Karunatilaka Amunugama, Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs. He succeeds Ambasssador Ahamed A. Jawad, who has been recalled immediately after the beheading of the Sri Lanka House Maid Rizana Nafeek. Sarath Dissanayaka, the former Director General of the Publicity Division of the External Affairs Ministry, has taken up the appointment as Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to Cuba and also accredited to Argentina.Sri Lanka’s former Permanent Representative to Geneva Ambassador Tamara Kunanayakam had earlier been appointed to the post but according to the Asian Tribune website she has now been “thrown to the wolves”. She was supposed to take over as Ambassador to Cuba but Asian Tribune learnt that for reasons not explained, she did not take up that appointment and she has faded off from the limelight. Already External Affairs Ministry has decided on the nomination A. L. Sabarullah Khan, as the Deputy High Commissioner to Chennai. He was formerly the Consul General for Jeddah and presently the Director of the Economic Affairs Division in the Ministry. read more

He said that Pillay now had the opportunity to see for herself the ground situation and reach a conclusion accordingly. Addressing the media today the Minister said that several allegations had been raised against the government but the government was not shaken. The government says it has nothing to hide from the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay and it was fully transparent in dealing with her during her ongoing visit.Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said that she was given all that she asked for during her visit and the government hopes the visit will be an eye opener for her. The Minister also said the government hopes Pillay will give a fair and balanced report on Sri Lanka to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva following her visit to Sri Lanka.He was of the view that her impression on Sri Lanka should be positive from what she sees on the ground. Pillay was invited to visit Sri Lanka by the government and following a tour of the north yesterday she traveled to the east today and will be having meetings in Colombo tomorrow and on Friday. (Colombo Gazette) read more

The Prime Minister, who is on an official visit to Sri Lanka, said that today both countries comprehensively reviewed the whole range of the multifaceted bilateral relationship, in the fields of political interactions, trade and commerce, defence, education, science and technology, culture and agriculture etc.He said the talks were held in a warm friendly and cordial atmosphere and were marked by full trust and complete understanding. The Prime Minister said that both sides reached broad consensus on ways and means to further strengthen our bilateral cooperation in a comprehensive manner. “They are marked by cordiality and commonality of views on major regional and global issues and close cooperation in the multilateral forums. Both sides wish to further deepen and broaden these ties through regular high level contacts and exchange of visits,” he said. The Pakistan Prime Minister said that Pakistan and Sri Lanka enjoy excellent relations, based on mutual respect and shared interests. Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif today thanked Sri Lanka for the support extended during Pakistan’s most difficult times.He also invited President Maithripala Sirisena to visit Pakistan at an early date so that the relations of mutual trust and confidence can be further enhanced. “We have agreed to hold frequent summit level meetings, promote parliamentary exchanges and enhance the process of consultations, cooperation and coordination between our respective institutions. We also discussed the issues related to the implementation of the Pakistan-Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement. The two countries have agreed on the inclusion of Services and Investments chapters in the bilateral FTA. This would enable our companies to form joint ventures for export to third countries. Sri Lanka enjoys exceptional position of being the first country with which Pakistan entered into a Free Trade Agreement (FTA). The present volume of trade (approx. US $325 million) does not reflect true potential. We have agreed to re-invigorate our efforts to realize the goal of achieving US $1 billion bilateral trade target at the earliest. I re-iterated Pakistan’s offer to setup Cement and Sugar Plants in Sri Lanka, on mutually agreed terms, for the long term benefit of Sri Lankan economy. We have also conveyed our readiness to welcome Sri Lankan investment in Pakistan. We have also expressed satisfaction on the work of Pakistan-Sri Lanka Joint Economic Commission in promoting bilateral trade,” he said.The Pakistan Prime Minister also said that both sides expressed their satisfaction at the existing bilateral cooperation in the field of Defence. He conveyed his desire for more frequent port calls, participation in military exercises and fence seminars and training of military personnel.Both sides also agreed to give further impetus of their cooperation in the fields of education, science and technology, healthcare, agriculture, tourism, sporting contacts, cultural exchanges and people to people contacts. (Colombo Gazette) read more

Swaminathan told the former LTTE members that some Tamil and Sinhalese groups are attempting to scuttle the peace in the country. He urged the rehabilitated LTTE members to live peacefully with all communities, including the Sinhalese communities.The educational tour is organised annually to promote reconciliation among the communities by bridging the gap between the North and the South. An event was held at the ‘Ape Gama’ premises in Battaramulla under the patronage of Minister of Prison Reforms, Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Hindu Religious Affairs D.M Swaminathan, to welcome the rehabilitated ex LTTE members. A group of 34 rehabilitated ex LTTE members from the Poonthottam Rehabilitation Centre in Vavuniya participated in the tour. They arrived in Colombo today after visiting Kandy, Nuwara Eliya and Kegalle.Commissioner General of Rehabilitation, Major General Janaka Rathnayake, Minister Swaminathan’s Private Secretary Shane Dullewe and the officials of the Rehabilitation Ministry participated in the event. (Colombo Gazette) The Government today told a group of former LTTE cadres that the time has come to move forward following the end of the war.A group of rehabilitated former LTTE members visited Colombo today concluding their annual educational tour. The tour was organised by the Ministry of Prison Reforms, Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Hindu Religious Affairs. read more

Some leftist political parties are to form an alliance with the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna, the new political party chaired by Professor G.L Peiris.Lanka Sama Samaja Party leader Tissa Vitharana said that his party will join the new political party at the next election. He said the expectation is that former President Mahinda Rajapaksa will lead the new party.Our Sri Lanka Freedom Front’ led by Wimal Geeganage was recently renamed as the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna. Professor G.L Peiris was named Chairman of the new political party. (Colombo Gazette)

Just this week it was revealed in court that Wickremetunga had told his family that the MiG deal exposé could harm his life. The case is to be taken up for hearing once again on March 20.Wickremetunga had exposed the controversial deal surrounding the purchase of MIG aircraft when the former government was in power. Lasantha Wickremetunga’s death anniversary was commemorated this month and the authorities were accused of attempting to stall investigations into the murder.Attorney-at-Law Athula S. Ranagala, who has been appearing in the case, told a gathering on January 8 at Lasantha’s graveside, that much progress was made in the fresh investigations launched after the new government took office.However he said investigations had later stalled and he urged the authorities not to pull back the progress made in the case. (Colombo Gazette) The CID told court that Wickremetunga’s family had told the CID that Wickremetunga feared his life could be under threat over the MiG deal story. Minister and former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka was questioned by the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) today on the murder of journalist Lasantha Wickremetunga.He was questioned for several hours in connection to the January 2009 murder. Fonseka was the Army Commander at the time. read more

The Qatar Foreign Ministry in their tweet said that the Sri Lankan official authorities have confirmed the spread of swine flu (H1N1) in Sri Lanka. Many people are infected with the disease and also many deaths are reported due to the flu. The Qatar Foreign Ministry has urged nationals not to travel to Sri Lanka due to health concerns. They have put out a travel warning on their official Twitter page urging people not to visit the island country as H1N1 is reportedly spreading throughout the Central province, which includes Kandy, a favourite tourist spot.Central Provincial Health Service Director Shanthi Samarasinghe was quoted on a local website as saying that H1N1 virus is spreading fast in the province. 17 persons including 2 pregnant women have died during the last 3 months in the province, the website reported. A leading university in the province, Peradeniya University, has shut down indefinitely due to the spread of the viral flu. The ministry urged nationals not to travel to Sri Lanka except in cases of extreme necessity until health conditions improve. (Colombo Gazette) read more