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Bus owners warn govt. against bluff tactics

Dec 3 (Island) The Lanka Private Bus Owners Association (LPBOA) yesterday warned the govt against taking it for a ride to prevent a planned strike by giving false promises. Association President Gemunu Wijeratne said that if the government takes action to grant the privileges and subsidies, enjoyed by the SLTB to the Private Bus Industry, as enjoyed by the SLTB, to the Private Bus Industry, they would operate buses at half rate and the minimum bus fare would be Rs.3.00. more..

Number of monks had disrobed-UNP

Dec 3 (DM) As many as 728 Buddhist monks who obtained higher ordination and 940 novice monks had disrobed themselves last year posing a threat to the existence of Buddha Sasana, and the government should take serious note of this situation, the UNP said in Parliament. Speaking during the debate on the committee stage Buddha Sasana and Religious Affairs Ministry, UNP MP Gamini Jayawickrama Perera said that though the govt spent millions of more..

Masked thugs assault suspended school child and her parents

Dec 3 (Island) A nine-year-old child and her parents, who recently complained to the media about her being suspended from school, by the principal because they could not afford to pay the annual fee to pay the salaries of school security guards, had been brutally assaulted by a group of masked men at Ketagal Ara in Embilipitiya yesterday. Susili Sandamali, a grade four student of Ketagal Ara Vidyalaya, had been suspended from the school about four months back as her parents who more..

Parliament to investigate violation of Buddhika’s privileges by Ranil

Dec 3 (Island) Parliament would investigate whether UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe had violated UNP MP Buddhika Pathirana’s parliamentary privileges by denying him an opportunity to attend Thursday’s parliamentary group meeting, the House was told. This assurance was given by Deputy Speaker Chandima Weerakkody. He was responding to UPFA National List MP A. H. M. Azwer. MP Azwer: "MP Buddhika Pathirana participated in his parliamentary group meeting on Thursday. more..

BASL heading for keen contest

Dec 3 (DM) A keen contest is emerging in the soon to be held election for the Presidency of the Sri Lanka Bar Association (BASL) with constitutional lawyer and UNP MP Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe and well-known criminal lawyer Tirantha Walaliyadda announcing their candidature. Both candidates have publicly announced their intention to contest with the safeguarding of the independence of the judiciary being their main slogan. more..

NPCA ordered to submit report to Court on Jan 15

Dec 3 (Island) Colombo Additional Magistrate Yvonne Fernando yesterday ordered the National Probation and Childcare Authority (NPCA) to submit a report, on Jan 15, on the progress of investigations into the allegations of child trading levelled against the Moratuwa Rawathawatte ‘Prem Children’s Home’. The magistrate also prohibited inmates from being given for adoption to foreigners. Acting on a complaint that child inmates of the home are sold to outsiders, more..

Two new Auxiliary Bishops for Colombo

Dec 3 (Island) The Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI has appointed Rev. Fr. Fidelis Lionel Emmanuel Fernando and Rev. Fr. Maxwell Grenville Silva, as Auxiliary Bishops of the Archdiocese of Colombo. Bishop-elect Emmanuel Fernando was born on 20th May 1948 in Jaffna, but grew up in Colombo. After completing his studies at St. Benedict’s College and in Saint Aloysius’ Minor Seminary, Colombo, he entered the National Seminary, Ampitiya (Kandy), where he studied Philosophy. more..

Lanka law student 'assaulted again'

Dec 3 (BBC) International human rights organisations have expressed serious concern over the safety of a Sri Lanka law student who has previously complained about alleged malpractices of the Law College (SLLC). DM Thushara Jayaratne, the whistleblower of alleged exam malpractices by Namal Rajapaksa, MP, says he was assaulted by a group of assailants on Thursday at a safe house. Though he was not physically injured, say activists, he is suffering from more..

Chancellor Ruhuna University passes away

Dec 3 (DN) Chancellor Ruhuna University and Viharadhipathi Sri Subhadraramaya Dodampahala Dickwella Most Ven Attudawe Sri Rahula Mahanayaka Thera of the Rohana Chapter of the Shyamopali Maha Nikaya passed away on Tuesday at the Dickwella District Hospital. He was 92. The Mahanayaka Thera’s remains are lying at the Sri Subhadraramaya, Hiriketiya Dodampahala for the public to pay respects. After religious rites performed at the temple on December 3 morning the remains more..

‘Govt aware that religious background is necessary for spiritual development’

Dec 3 (DN) Deputy Speaker Chandima Weerakkody presided, when Parliament met at 9.30 am yesterday. After the presentation of papers and oral questions, the House took up the Financial Heads of the Buddha Sasana and Religious Affairs, Culture, Arts and Ports and Highways, for debate during the committee stage of the Budget 2012. The railway line from Medawachchiya railway station to Madhu is being reconstructed spending about US$ 81.3 million, more..

SC orders full probe on websites

Dec 3 (DN) The Supreme Court yesterday ordered the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC) to conduct a full inquiry into websites operating in Sri Lanka and register them with the Mass Media and Information Ministry. The TRC was also ordered to look into the possibility of removing the difficulties to log into the six websites which have already been blocked, after this inquiry. The Supreme Court made this order when a fundamental rights more..

Magistrate refuses bail to alleged sexual abusers

Dec 3 (Island) The Anuradhapura Chief Magistrate Dharshika Wimalasiri recently refused bail to two suspects who were charged with sexually abusing a New Zealand national, in the premises of the Mihintale Raja Maha Viharaya, after showing her pornographic material loaded in a mobile phone belonging to them. The attorneys-at-law appearing for the suspects, Chandana Weeraratne Waduge alias ‘Kudu Ukkuwa’ and Warnakulasuriya Ruwan Kumara Medis alias ‘Kaha Ruwan’ told more..

UNP’ers demonstrate opposite Grero’s Ratmalana office

Dec 3 (Island) A large number of UNPers demonstrated opposite the Ratmalana office of Mohan Lal Grero yesterday protesting against his decision to cross over to the government during the budget debate in parliament on Wednesday. Grero was appointed a Monitoring MP of the Education Ministry, by President Mahinda Rajapaksa, but he has yet to obtain SLFP membership. The UNP members in the Dehiwela-Mount Lavinia Municipal Council, were joined by a large number of their supporters more..

JVP Union sees gradual elimination of free health care

Dec 3 (Island) All Ceylon Health Services Union (ACHSU) President Gamini Kumarasinghe accused the govt of gradually eliminating the free health service. The 2012 budget had allocated Rs.500 million for the construction of a new Out Patient Department (OPD) at the Colombo National Hospital and only public servants who had been contributing Rs.75 to the National Trust Fund (NTF) would be permitted to receive treatment there. more..

President gets tough with coastline polluters

Dec 3 (DN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa directed Sri Lanka Coast Conservation Department officials to take legal action against persons polluting the coastline and constructing unauthorized buildings along the coastline. The President made this observation during a discussion on coastal zone management and development at Temple Trees yesterday. Coast Conservation Department officials pointed out to President Rajapaksa that the coastline is at a risk of being polluted, more..

Dengue continues spreading

Dec 3 (Island) The total number of dengue cases, from the beginning of January up to the end of November stood at 23,524. Health Ministry sources said yesterday that that 1,880 cases had been reported by the Unit last month. A majority of cases have been reported from Colombo (8,606), Gampaha (3,597), Kalutara (1,203) and Kandy (1,271). The extensive mosquito control programmes, carried out by the government and the community, were able to control the disease. more..

Search warrant for Interpol against KP?

Dec 3 (DM) A court in Chennai has issued a search warrant to Interpol against LTTE’s chief arms procurer Kumaran Pathmanathan alias KP in connection with offences such as crimes involving the use of weapons, explosives, criminal conspiracy and terrorism, a document tabled in Parliament reveals. UNP MP Dr. Jayalath Jayawardane tabled a copy of this search warrant in Parliament on Thursday during the budget debate. Dr. Jayawardane said that he informed the more..

Johnny assures no shortages, but warns traders against exploiting the situation

Dec 3 (Island) Minister Johnston Fernando yesterday assured that there would not be any shortages of essential food items and warned that he would take stern action against hoarders during Christmas and New Year season. He told The Island that there was no need for importing essential food items enough stocks were available. He had instructed Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) and the Weights and Measures Department to conduct raids on unscrupulous traders

WP probation and child care commission defends accused home

Dec 3 (Island) The Prem Niwasa Children’s Home in Moratuwa, where the alleged child farm racket had been operated, has been registered with the Western Provincial Probation and Childcare Department (WPPCD) and it had given children for adoption to local and foreign people, following the normal procedure for adoption under the adoption ordinance, WPPCD Commissioner, G.P.D. Somarathne said. The National Child Protection Authority (NCPA) and the police raided the more..

Voluntary retirement programme to reduce excess staff

Dec 3 (NF) The Committee On Public Enterprise (COPE) has recommended a voluntary retirement programme to reduce excessive staff at state institutions which are making losses. Submitting the COPE report the committee recommends that a radical restructuring process should be initiated in these loss-making institutions. According to the report presented by the committee on public enterprise, forty eight state institutions have suffered losses during more..

A long road ahead for family reunification for Sri Lanka’s missing children

Dec 3 (SOS) In the final months of 2009, Tamil families found themselves separated from each other in the heat of battle. Two years later, Sri Lanka’s missing children are still struggling to find their families. During the final Months of conflict in 2009, while the Sri Lankan military and the LTTE rebel group experienced the final showdown in the contested north of the small island nation, frightened civilians escaped the embattled north in an attempt to find safety in govt territory. more..

Former Dutch Hospital: Colombo's new Shopping Precinct

Dec 3 (MoD) A new shopping precinct at the former Dutch Hospital of Colombo opened for public today, (2) as the latest tourist attraction in the city. An effort of Tourism Development Authority and UDA has resulted in much awaited launch of the former Dutch Hospital of Colombo as a shopping precinct. The opening ceremony was graced by the Minister Basil Rajapksa and Secretary to the Ministry of Defence Gotabaya Rajapaksa. more..

GL briefs Akashi on reconciliation process

Dec 3 (Island) Minister Prof. G.L Peiris recently held bilateral discussions with Yasushi Akashi, the Special Representative of the Japanese Govt. Having thanked Akashi for attending the opening ceremony of the Southern Expressway, which was built with financial assistance from the Japanese Govt, Prof. Peiris briefed the veteran diplomat on the developments in Sri Lanka, particularly on the reconciliation process that is currently underway. more..

Huyton shop murder 'looked like professional hit' says shop owner

Dec 3 (LE) A huyton shopkeeper today described the chilling moment when a killer walked into his store and stabbed his assistant Mahesh Wickramasinghe to death. Dr Gunapala Welhengama has seen grim CCTV footage of the attack on his 30-year-old Sri Lankan staff member. The ECHO can today name the victim of Tuesday night’s murder as Mahesh Wickramasinghe. He died from a stab wound to the neck. more..

Rs. 6.7 M earned from new Southern Highway

Dec 3 (DM) The Government had earned Rs 6.7 million from the 25,000 vehicles that had travelled along the Southern Highway to date, Deputy Minister of Ports and Highways Nirmala Kotelawala informed Parliament yesterday. The Deputy Minister said that both private busses and those belonging to the CTB would be allowed to travel on this highway shortly. He said that the construction of the Colombo Katunayake Highway, more..

Sri Lanka cricket body has Rs 3bn hole in balance sheet

Dec 3 (LBO) Sri Lanka Cricket, the islands' governing board for the sport where state intervention has increased over the years, has a three billion rupee hole in its balance sheet, a parliamentary committee on state enterprises has found. A report by a committee on public enterprises (COPE) said SLC had 6.1 billion rupees in debts and only 3.1 billion rupees in assets. more..

First post-war national census hits a snag

Dec 3 (Island) Sri Lanka’s first post-war census is in jeopardy due to a technical glitch forcing the Census and Statistics Department to explore ways and means to overcome the difficulties. Authoritative sources told The Island that the much talked about 2011 countrywide census was unlikely to be completed before end of this year due to failure on the part of the private firm involved in the operation. more..

'Finance Ministry and Central Bank in tug-of-war'

Dec 3 (DM) UNP MP Ravi Karunanayaka charged that the Central Bank and the Finance Ministry are in conflict with each other and it was apparently with regard to the devaluation of the rupee recently. He claimed that even though the finance ministry devalued the rupee through the 2012 budget, the Central Bank had bought 2 Billion U.S Dollars by selling state assets two months ago with the aim of strengthening the rupee. more..

'I sacrified my self-respect for the children'

Dec 3 (DM) Recently appointed Monitoring MP Mohan Lal Grero spoke to the Daily Mirror on his reasons for crossing over to the side of the government, his vision for the educational system of this country and the issues of the university lecturers. Q: Can you start by explaining your reasons for crossing over? A: Well actually I entered politics because of my experience and knowledge in the education sector and I thought that I could do some service to this country, more..

Editorial: Bring the poor into social business

Dec 3 (DM) When Chandrika Kumaratunga was elected as Executive President in 1994 with a historic majority, she pledged in her manifesto she would transform society by giving the market economy a human face and build a multi-ethnic, multi-religious country through unity in diversity. Unfortunately as in the case of most political leaders, the election manifesto pledges remain largely in the manifesto. When she stepped down or was legally forced to step down in Nov 2005, more..

Girl shot and injured at Tissamaharama Police Station

Dec 3 (DM) A shooting incident took place inside the Tissamaharama Police station today, which resulted in a 19-year–old female being critically injured. The suspect is said to be an army soldier, police spokesman SP Ajith Rohana stated. The police spokesman stated that the Tissamaharama Police had summoned two parties involved in a complaint and the complainer produced a fire arm and shot the female youth. The girl was critically injured and taken to the Karapitiya Hospital. more..

Trilingual website to fight violence against women

Dec 3 (SM) The Centre for Women's Research, a leading women's research organization in Sri Lanka, will be launching ACT NOW, a website developed with support from Women Defining Peace, dedicated to information and resources on eliminating violence against women and girls in Sri Lanka. The launch will take place on December 8 during the “16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence” campaign, with Attorney General Eva Wanasundera as more..

US Senator Robert Casey wants human rights in Sri Lanka: But supports indefinite

Dec 3 (AT) The Democratic Party US Senator Robert P. Casey has become a well known champion of human rights, rule of law and justice in Sri Lanka. His voice, in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in which he is a member, petitioning to Secretary Clinton and President Obama, is well heard in the diplomatic corridors in Washington stretching through the American Embassy in Colombo to Sri Lanka govt power centers. more..

Churches look to develop common bonds

Dec 3 (UCAN) Leaders of several denominations met for a joint Advent prayer service earlier this week aimed at overcoming conflicts, misunderstandings and doctrinal differences that have plagued the Christian community for years. The service at All Saints Church in Borella, near Colombo, on November 28 was the first of its kind in over a decade, which in itself underscored the need to come together to forge a better understanding, many of the participants said. more..

'Dehiwela flyover needs urgent repairs'

Dec 3 (DM) Cracks have already begun to appear in the Dehiwala flyover though it is guaranteed for 20 years, UNP MP Ravi Karunanayake told Parliament yesterday. Mr. Karunanayake who was speaking during the debate on the committee stage of the budget, said these damages could be seen on the Southern part of the fly over. “No vehicle will be able to travel on it if it is not attended to immediately,” Mr. Karunanayake said. more..

South Africa cricketers condemn Sri Lanka salary delay

Dec 3 (CI) South Africa's cricketers have lent their support to the Sri Lanka players, who have not been paid their salaries for eight months, saying it was a credit to the Sri Lanka team that they had kept going but the issue needed to be resolved soon. South Africa are set to host Sri Lanka for three Tests and five ODIs, but Graeme Smith and AB de Villiers, the Test and ODI captain respectively, chose to speak out against the Sri Lankan board, who have withheld their players' salaries more..

UK based Sri Lanka Media Watch lodges complaint against ABC

Dec 3 (MoD) On 18 October 2011, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's 7.30pm news broadcasted a programme entitled "Sri Lankan President Under Investigation". This programme has made number of very serious allegations against three Sri Lankan officials, Sri Lankan High Commissioner to Australia, Admiral Thisara Samarasinghe; Dr Palitha Kohona, foreign secretary of Sri Lanka during the final years of the war; and Sri Lanka's president, Mahinda Rajapaksa. more..

WikiLeaks: Americans didn’t believe Mangala’s version of Fonseka

Dec 3 (CT) “We assume that at least some of Samaraweera’s claims about Fonseka’s ‘liberalism’ are exaggerated and meant to impress us.” the US Embassy Colombo informed Washington. The cable classified as “CONFIDENTIAL” recounts details of a meeting Ambassador Patricia A. Butenis has had with General Sarath Fonseka’s chief campaign strategist Mangala Samaraweera on Jan 6, 2010. more..

Grace period for expressway ends, stringent law enforcement from today

Dec 3 (ST) A stringent enforcement of road rules on the Southern Highway has come into effect from yesterday, Police Media spokesman SP Ajith Rohana said. Speaking to a local radio station SP Rohana said since the opening of the highway last Sunday, a grace period of 5 days had been extended to motorists to familiarise themselves with the road rules pertaining to the use of the expressway. He added that with the ending of the 5-day grace period, more..

Additional requirements to run for UNP leadership

Dec 3 (SM) The UNP leadership has decided to introduce additional qualifications and requirements that candidates should meet to contest as office bearers of the party. The new party constitution, introduced earlier this year, requires that the leader, deputy leaders, chairman and national organizer positions should be appointed with general consensus. If not, they should be elected in a secret ballot among members of the UNP’s working committee and the parliamentary group. more..