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Sharp increase in income from national parks

Dec 29 (DN) The income of all functioning national parks in the island has shown a sharp increase this year, a spokesperson for the Wildlife Conservation Department (WCD) told the Daily News yesterday. She said the peaceful environment in the country, and improving tourism sectors have led to this achievement. She said a record income has been made in Galoya, Kumana, Maduru Oya and Lahugala national parks this year compared with the statistics of past years. more..

How the accident was originally played out

Dec 29 (CT) Hours before the truth about who was driving the ill fated lorry that struck down Ceylon Today journalist, Amila Jayasinghe, came to light, its driver Ranasinghe Arachchige Somasiri (54), falsely accepted blame for the fatal mishap and told the magisterial inquiry on 25 Dec, that he had stepped on the accelerator instead of the breaks, which caused the vehicle to hurtle towards the victim. “The victim, who was about to cross the road saw the speeding lorry and turned back. more..

Call to probe law entrance exam

Dec 29 (DM) Opposition political parties and lawyers’ associations yesterday called for a CID investigation into the alleged manipulation of the law entrance exam results in 2012. The UNP said it was clear that some powerful person was behind the alleged fraud with regard to the law entrance exam paper-marking. UNP MP Ajith P. Perera said that the party suspected a fraud after it was found a group of influential more..

To prorogue or not?

Dec 29 (CT) The topic of the prorogation of Parliament, as a means to end the stalemate between the Legislature and the Judiciary, has come to the fore once again, at the insistence of the three Leftist parties in the ruling coalition. Ministers, Prof. Tissa Vitarana, D.E.W. Gunasekara and Vasudeva Nanayakkara, have strongly recommended to the govt to prorogue Parliament, thereby rendering the Order Paper null and void, and putting an end to the impeachment proceeding against the CJ. more..

Around 550,000 grads recruited in eight years

Dec 29 (DN) The number of govt employees has increased to 1.4 million under the Mahinda Chinthana future vision. The number of govt servants in 2004 was only 800,000 due to privatisation of state institutions and other assets, Minister W D J Seneviratne said. "President Mahinda Rajapaksa put a stop to the privatization of state institutions and assets, which was the trend between 1977 and 2005. State institutions were made more people friendly, efficient and more..

In face of mounting losses, CPC to jack up furnace oil prices

Dec 29 (Island) The cash strapped Ceylon Petoleum Corporation has proposed an increase in the price of a litre of furnace oil by Rs. 25 to cut down on mounting losses due to the supply of fuel to the CEB. A spokesman for the CPC said that it could no longer supply furnace oil at subsidised rates to the CEB and the private sector engaged in power generation, hence an immediate increase was necessary. CPC has proposed to increase more..

Editorial: How the sacred cow was sacrificed to TNC demigods

Dec 29 (DM) The Daily Mirror, in its Editorial yesterday, spotlighted the grave economic crisis Sri Lanka is facing. The Central Bank, in a rare instance of transparency, revealed that Sri Lanka’s per capita debt had soared to more than Rs.308,000. Instead of surviving on loans taken at commercial interest rates, we need to take the more difficult path to sustainable development and more national production, so that we could significantly reduce the import bill and the balance of payments more..

Parliamentary Select Committees : Integrity etc

Dec 29 (DM) An article in a state-run newspaper conveyed the impression that Neville Samarakone resigned when the Impeachment Motion was moved against him. My recollection was that he boldly appeared before the PSC, had his say, and was unanimously exonerated. He had retired after a ceremonial sitting of the Supreme Court on the 21st of Oct 1984, the day before his birthday. My recollection was confirmed as being correct by the then secretary of the Judicial Service more..

In Sri Lanka, new steps target mysterious kidney disease

Dec 29 (PI) The Sri Lankan govt is vowing to impose tighter controls on pesticides and fertilizers amid growing concern the chemicals are helping fuel a mysterious epidemic of chronic kidney disease devastating its north central region. In September, in Mystery in the Fields, the Center for Public Integrity explored how a rare form of chronic kidney disease is killing agricultural workers in Sri Lanka, India and Central America. more..

Taking Jaffna University back to where it all began?

Dec 29 (SL) As coincidence would have it, the TNA could not have chosen another day for protesting the alleged security forces’ excesses on the Jaffna University campus on the extinct LTTE’s “Heroes’ Day” observances on November 27. Friday, December 21, when the TNA observed a day-long protest at the foot of the late Tamil leader, S.J.V. Chelvanayagam, was the perceived ‘Doomsday’, purportedly under the Mayan more..

Foreign reserves at US$6.54bn in Nov

Dec 29 (LBO) Sri Lanka's official reserves fell 56.9 million US dollars to 6,490 million US dollars in November 2012 from a month earlier, but is still up 968 million US dollar from a February low of 5.52 billion US dollars. Sri Lanka floated the currency in February 2012 ending contradictory monetary and exchange rate policies leading to the rupee falling from around 110 to 118 to the US dollar. Sri Lanka steadily lost more..

The law has become a dead letter

Dec 29 (ST) Recently police introduced a new law, making it compulsory that three-wheelers carry a maximum of no more than three passengers. Despite being punishable by law, overloaded three-wheelers are a common sight in Colombo and its suburbs. SSP Preshantha Jayakody has pointed out that there have been 176 fatal accidents this year involving three-wheelers. Another 467 serious accidents involving more..

Pressure on opposition to boycott impeachment debate

Dec 29 (Island) Ten trade unions and several other organizations have banded together and written to all Opposition MPs, Provincial Councils and Local Govt bodies to influence and convince their party leaderships to represent the citizens’ political aspirations by refusing to collaborate with the govt. They have urged the Opposition to boycott the proposed debate in Parliament on the impeachment report, more..

University Education: Standards have dropped due to privatization mania - UNP

Dec 29 (Island) The UNP said that the quality of students passing out of the universities had dropped drastically, since the govt had treated education as a commodity and palmed it off to the private sector. Senior UNP MP Kabir Hashim said that churning out graduates for the sake of it was not the answer to improving the education system. He said that standards in the universities had declined as a direct result of more..

Jaffna students deny “supporting the cause”

Dec 29 (DM) A special meeting will be held between Faculty Deans and Jaffna University Lecturers, sequent to a meeting with the four students detained at the Welikanda rehabilitation camp before deciding on the future course of action. The Jaffna University has come to a standstill after the students began boycotting lectures urging that the four students still under detention since the time they were arrested more..

'Inflammable liquid used in Kachcheri fire'

Dec 29 (DM) Colombo Kachcheri building had been kept on fire with a highly inflammable liquid, Police said citing the Govt. Analyst’s report. Govt. Analyst’s final report on the Colombo Kachcheri building fire of November 27 was handed over to the Colombo District DIG yesterday. The fire had broken out at the right side of the upper floor of the Kachcheri building, according to the report, Police further said. No one was taken into more..

Tony Greig dies aged 66

Dec 29 (CI) Having exerted an influence on the game every bit as imposing as his 6 foot 6 inch frame, Tony Greig died too swiftly and too soon. Battling lung cancer since he was diagnosed in October, Greig's familiar presence on television screens was missed greatly at the outset of the Australian summer. The heart attack that claimed him, aged 66, about 1.45pm on the day after the Boxing Day Test, arrived as a shock to the more..

'Elements using judiciary to destabilize SL'

Dec 29 (DM) Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa said yesterday various foreign and local elements were attempting to destabilize Sri Lanka through the judiciary. “When carrying out his work the President has been faced with various challenges. Everyone knows that school children, university students, university lecturers and trade unions were used to create trouble. But because of the confidence the people had more..

Editorial: State propaganda Vs reality

Dec 29 (CT) The Department of Police is the country's chief law enforcement authority. When its spokesperson comes each and every day before the mass media and relates the numerous activities and their surrounding circumstances to the public, he is taken at his word. For, the word of the Police is the ultimate. Yet, what seems to be happening is just the opposite. In the follow up to the recent shooting incident outside the house of the President of the BASL, MP Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe, more..

Sri Lanka releases 27 Tamil Nadu fishermen

Dec 29 (PTI) The 27 fishermen, who were taken into custody by the Sri Lankan Navy recently and later released by a court, arrived here on December 29. A court at Trincomalee had on Dec 26 ordered their release and their four boats seized by the Lankan Navy. The fishermen, who belonged to Karaikal and Nagapattinam, were arrested on Dec 23 when they were fishing reportedly in the Lankan maritime area. Navy spokesman Kosala Warnakulasuriya had said on Dec 24 that the Indians were arrested for more..

On current mess and the opposition

Dec 29 (CT) As I concluded last week, it is the failure of the Opposition that has put Sri Lanka into its current mess. This political system requires competition between the two main parties, since it is only fear of being thrown out of office that limits the behaviour of the Govt. When the Opposition is weak, the Govt doesn’t take it as an opportunity to solve the long-term problems of the nation, free from the compulsions of electoral more..

Growth with foreign markets in sight is needed to reduce poverty

Dec 29 (CT) The Sri Lankan born economist of international repute, Professor Premachandra Athukorala of the Australian National University, advised Sri Lanka’s policy makers to accelerate economic growth to reduce poverty but with foreign markets in sight because such ‘outward-oriented economic growth’ is more friendly to the poor. He did so in delivering the keynote address at the inauguration of the Network of Asia Pacific Schools and Institutes of Public Administration and more..

Govt accused of taking prisoners’ signatures on blank paper

Dec 29 (Island) An organization calling itself the movement for People’s Struggle yesterday accused the govt for forcing the inmates of the Welikada prison to sign blank papers which is a serious human rights violation. A spokesman for the movement, who did not want to be identified alleged that the govt had used officers of the TID, CID and Colombo Crimes Division on December 27 in a joint operation to obtain their signatures on blank papers with an ulterior motive. more..

'Worst Test I've been involved in'

Dec 29 (CI) Graham Ford was coach of South Africa when his team subjected Sri Lanka to their worst Test defeat ever, in Cape Town, vanquishing the visitors by an innings and 229 runs. He now finds himself with the team he helped demolish at Newlands on the other end of a one-sided result. The disappointment feels worse than any game he has ever been involved in, he said. Sri Lanka avoided beating their own worst loss at the more..

Over 300 000 still affected by floods

Dec 29 (Xinhua) Sri Lankan authorities are still struggling to assist over 300,000 people affected by floods and repair vital infrastructure to provide relief efficiently, an official said here on Friday. According to the DMC 342,810 people from 93,435 families have been affected since December 18 when torrential rain caused flash floods and landslides in many parts of the country. At the height of the crisis 16 out of the 24 districts in the country were affected. "There have been 42 deaths while more..

'Education sector should meet job market demands'

Dec 29 (DN) The education sector needs radical changes to meet the present day job market requirements and demands, Parliamentarian Namal Rajapaksa said. He was addressing a scholarship awarding ceremony for university students organised by the Education Department Cooperative Society (EDCS) at Temple Trees yesterday. One thousand undergraduates were granted a Rs 10,000 scholarship each for an academic year until the completion of higher studies. more..

Thirimanne and Lakmal added to SL Test squad

Dec 29 (CI) Batsman Lahiru Thirimanne and right-arm fast bowler Suranga Lakmal have been called up to Sri Lanka's squad for the third Test in Sydney, after two players suffered series-ending injuries and two more remain in doubt after the Boxing Day Test. Kumar Sangakkara's fractured hand and Chanaka Welegedara's torn hamstring have ruled them out for the remainder of Sri Lanka's tour of Australia, while Prasanna more..

Sri Lanka mourns the death of top cricket commentator

Dec 29 (Xinhua) Sri Lanka on Saturday mourned the death of a leading international cricket commentator, who had been seen as a promoter of Sri Lankan cricket. Former England cricket captain and veteran commentator Tony Greig died aged 66 after being diagnosed with lung cancer. Former Sri Lankan captain and leading batsman Sanath Jayasuriya said that the he was saddened by the news of the death of Greig. Jayasuriya said that Greig was a big supporter of Sri Lanka cricket more..

Pradeshiya Sabha Chairman forcibly unseated

Dec 29 (NF) Opposition Members of the Welimada Pradeshiya Sabha forcibly unseated the Chairman of the Pradeshiya Sabha on Friday. The meeting to pass the 2013 budget of the Welimada Pradeshiya Sabha was to commence at 10 a.m However, as the Members did not take their seats on time the chairman had to sound the bell twice. The Pradeshiya Sabha meeting then convened at 10.30 Friday morning. The Pradeshiya Sabha consists of thirteen members from the UPFA including more..

Disenchantment against the Govt. growing, reveals BT-RCB Poll

Dec 29 (ST) With the impeachment of the chief justice wheeling out of state control, a Business Times (BT)-Research Consultancy Bureau (RCB) poll conducted on the eve of Christmas and the New Year shows that disenchantment against the govt is growing. “At the current rate progress is a dream only,” noted one respondent during street interviews by the RCB, while another added: “Many in parliament are allegedly involved in more..

4 year old girl raped and murdered in Mandatheevu

Dec 29 (OU) A four year old girl had been raped, strangled and killed. Her body was found yesterday, from a well located in a garden was stated by police. This gruesome incident had occurred at Mandatheevu, 2nd division area. The area was severely tensed after this incident. Some persons had gone to clean the tobacco garden well located at Mandatheevu 2nd division and found a body and had informed to the Kayts police. Police had brought this to the attention of Kayts Magistrate more..

72 persons arrested last week

Dec 29 (OU) Jaffna Regional Senior Police Superintendent M.M.Jeffry at the weekly media briefing held in his office yesterday said, 72 persons were arrested in the Jaffna district last week for various crimes. The arrest was some were those issued summons by the courts and others connected with different charges. He said, 18 persons issued summons by the courts were arrested. 10 persons were arrested for charges after consumption of liquor for driving vehicles. more..

'Rehabilitation illegal'

Dec 29 (OU) At a situation emergency regulation is not in practice, and without court order, in which category of law, university students were transferred to rehabilitation camp was queried by former military commander Sarath Fonseka. He said, Defense Secretary and Criminal Investigation unit should not exploit the powers given to them. Rules and regulations in this country should be equal to everyone and he urged, more..

Tanks overflowing due to torrential rains

Dec 29 (OU) Due to torrential rains in the north, tanks and rivers are overflowing and people normal lives have got drastically affected. Tanks and rivers located in the Kilinochchi, Mullaitheevu, Vavuniay and Mannar districts are overflowing. Rivers are overflowing and many roads have got closed down owing to floods. Approximately 12 thousand families from five districts in the north are affected due to floods is according to district secretariat assessment. more..

Slackers face the axe

Dec 29 (CT) The Ministry of Public Administration and Home Affairs is expecting a comprehensive report from the Ministry of Disaster Management and the District Secretaries, on public officials who had neglected their responsibilities, when 18 districts in the country were affected by natural disasters due to inclement weather. Minister of Public Administration, John Seneviratne told Ceylon Today, he had heard about some officials who had intentionally neglected relief work. more..

Greig stood by Sri Lanka, says Ranatunga

Dec 29 (PTI) Remembering Tony Greig, who passed away after losing his battle with lung cancer, Sri Lanka's World Cup winning skipper Arjuna Ranatunga said that former England captain and celebrated commentator stood by Sri Lanka when most others did not. Referring to the controversy over Muttiah Muralitharan's no ball in Australia in 1995 and 1999, Ranatunga said, "He was very forthright in his support over more..

SLMC delegates’ conference tomorrow

Dec 29 (CT) The 24th Delegates’ Conference of Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) is to be held at the S. de S. Jayasinghe Hall in Dehiwela on 29 December at 10:00 a.m. Over one thousand delegates from all over the country are expected to attend the conference, which will be held in two sessions. Introduction of the new office bearers, nominations to the Working Committee, presentations of the annual report of the Secretary General and the Treasurer, address of the more..

Businessman allegedly abducted in white van

Dec 29 (AD) A businessman living on Malaba street in Gampola was allegedly abducted by a group of people who arrived in a white van according to a complaint made to the Civil Monitoring Commission. The victim was 56 year old Govinda Sami Arunachalam Prabhakaran, a father of three children. The abduction allegedly took place last night at around 9.40pm, the Convener of the Civil Monitoring Commission, Mano Ganesan stated. He said that the victim who is runs a business more..

'CJ impeachment to be used to move anti-Lanka resolution'

Dec 29 (PTI) A top minister on Saturday claimed the dispute over the impeachment of the nation's first woman chief justice is likely to be used to move an adverse resolution against the country at the next UN rights session. "There will be a resolution at the UNHRC in March against Sri Lanka. They will say that independence of the judiciary is in the breach," Minister Wimal Weerawansa said. "They (international more..

Editorial: Renewed hope in the New Year

Dec 30 (SO) The New Year is almost upon us. There will be a myriad of New Year greetings with inspiring verses as the 2013 New Year dawns at midnight tomorrow. But could those wishes be made a reality? It has been customary, over the years, to extend New Year greetings. However, the time has now come for us to ponder whether these greetings are confined to mere words. In the New Year, people across the globe would wish one another happiness, peace and prosperity. more..