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'Cancel semi-luxury bus service'

Dec 19 (CT) The Lanka Private Bus Owners’ Association (LPBOA) insisted the semi luxury bus service should be cancelled. Addressing the media yesterday, LPBOA President Gamunu Wijeratne said the National Transport Commission (NTC) needs to take steps to cancel the semi-luxury bus services, as it is an ineffective service. “Even though the semi luxury buses charge 150% more than the normal bus fare, many passengers are standing in those buses. According to the rules and more..

Establishment of diplomatic relations between Sri Lanka and Haiti

Dec 19 (AT) Sri Lanka and Haiti has established formal diplomatic relations on 14th Dec 2012. Dr. Palitha Kohona, the Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations, signed the MoU on behalf of Sri Lanka, while Mr. Jean Wesley Cazeau, the Permanent Representative of the Republic of Haiti to the UN, signed on behalf of Haiti. Dr. Kohona noted that Sri Lanka and Haiti have shared common goals more..

Complaints about beggars and vendors in buses go unheeded

Dec 19 (CT) Complaints made by the public about beggars and vendors in buses have fallen on deaf ears with Police reluctant to take action against any culprits. Even though the Motor Traffic Act, prohibits begging and engaging in business inside buses and trains, the public continues to be harassed. With no other alternative, the lower and middle income groups have to resort to public transport. Lanka Private Bus Owners’ Association (LPBOA) Chairman, Gemunu Wijeratne told more..

Nurses to strike today

Dec 19 (CT) The nurses attached to State hospital will launch a strike today in response to the continued negligence of their demands by health officials and the Treasury Secretary. President of the Government Nursing Officers’ Association (GNOA), Saman Ratnapriya, said every effort will be taken to assist those affected by the natural disasters due to the inclement weather. The strike action will be taken as a means to fortify a number of demands made by the GNOA, namely; more..

Lanka textiles pushing beyond ODM ranks

Dec 19 (DN) Encouraged by world’s third largest retailer TESCO’s direct sourcing as well as recent backing from the Govt of India for its revival, Sri Lanka’s textile and handloom sphere is now stepping beyond its ‘ODM supplier tag’ in the global market. From January to September this year, Sri Lanka exported $ 2,789 million of apparels. This is a 16% increase compared to 2008 exports in the same months. Sri Lanka’s apparel sector more..

Seven more sports schools

Dec 19 (ST) The ministry of education and the ministry of sports have launched a joint plan to increase the number of Sports Schools from 18 to 25. Within the next 2-3 weeks, the Principals of the sports schools which are now in operation will be called upon to hold a special discussions with regard to this matter at the Ministry of Education. Minister of Education Bandula Gunawardena, Minister of Sports, Mahindananda Aluthgamage, Secretary, Ministry of Education Gotabaya Jayaratne more..

Prisoners are not write-offs - Gajadeera

Dec 19 (Island) Rehabilitation and Prison Reforms Minister Chandrasiri Gajadeera revealed yesterday that of those held in prisons, 4,000 had passed GCE Ordinary Level and 2,000 had qualified at the GCE Advanced Level. The minister said that the government was in the process of building a special school at Watareka for the benefit of those with GCE (O/L) and GCE (A/L) qualifications. The project would be implemented in collaboration with the Education Ministry, Gajadeera said. more..

'CSD a leading player in development drive'

Dec 19 (DN) Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa said yesterday that war heroes attached to the Civil Security Department (CSD) were rendering yeomen service in the country.’s development drive. He said the govt did not decommission war heroes attached to the CSD following the war, but made use of their contribution in the country’s development efforts. The Defence Secretary was addressing a ceremony to more..

Hulftsdorp circus with public funds

Dec 19 (DN) Those who put on a circus around Hulftsdorp recently brining down the estimations of the law courts in the eyes of the people, used state money to do so, observed some legal experts and independent observers of events, who advisedly chose to remain anonymous. They said that those who put on a veritable ‘circus’ around the Supreme Court premises and said they were doing so on behalf of the ‘judiciary’, were conducting all of these activities that more..

Attack on HR lawyer an attempt to silence Govt’s critics – CaFFE, HRC

Dec 19 (Island) The Campaign for Free and Fair Elections (CaFFE) and the Centre for Human Rights (CHR) Sri Lanka yesterday jointly claimed that the attack on human rights defender Gunaratne Wanninayaka was an attempt to silence civil society opposing the govt’s moves. They said: CaFFE and CHR Sri Lanka are deeply concerned about an attempt made on the life of Gunaratne Wanninayaka, an outspoken lawyer, on December 17, 2012. Mr. Wanninayaka actively more..

Prisons Minister says those in high places take bribes

Dec 19 (Island) Rehabilitation and Prisons Reforms Minister Chandrasiri Gajadeera alleged that those in high places took bribes, whereas some sections of the public sector, particularly prison employees, were branded as the worst culprits. Minister Gajadeera emphasized that corruption was rampant at the highest levels of government, though some conveniently pointed the finger at the prisons employees. more..

'Stark drop’ in average household size

Dec 19 (ST) Sri Lanka’s most recent census showed a “stark drop” in average household size, to 3.9, from 4.1 in 2001, according to Shaheen Cader, Managing Director of the local unit of international marketing research agency Nielsen. The number of local households was stated as being 5.2 million. Further, this “stark drop” also signalled the emergence of more households of just three persons, which would likely significantly impact a number of consumer demographics, more..

Police urge public to use IGP’s help desk

Dec 19 (Island) The Police have once again urged the public to seek support from the ‘IGP’s Help Desk’ to solve their problems. This follows the desk receiving a poor response from the public since its inauguration on Nov. 1, 2012. SSP Prishantha Jayakody said that the public should make use of the ‘IGP’s Help Desk’ to complain against police officers failing to carry out their duties or to seek advice on how to obtain assistance from the police to solve their problems. more..

Kaldemulla deaths probe takes new turn

Dec 19 (Island) Investigations into Monday’s deaths of a mother and two children at Kaldemulla, Mount Lavinia, took a new turn yesterday following the post mortem conducted by JMO of Kalubowila. The victims were Sandamali Fernando (31), Sandaru de Silva (3) and Bhanuka de Silva (one month). The JMO revealed that the deaths of the mother and three-year-old child were due to strangulation. more..

Three more arrested

Dec 19 (OU) Three persons were arrested on 14th and 15th, by the Terrorism Investigation Unit (TIU) in the Jaffna peninsula. The relations of the arrested persons had made complaints to the Sri Lanka Human Rights Commission Jaffna Regional Branch office yesterday. From Nov 30th, TIU have arrested Jaffna university students and former rebels including many in the Jaffna peninsula. Last week, arrests were not taken place, but 3 persons were arrested at the end of week. more..

Rights activist furious over deportation of Brian Senewiratne

Dec 19 (AN) An elderly doctor and human rights activist will complain to the Australian govt, saying he was detained and deported from Singapore for political reasons. Brian Senewiratne, 81, a long-time critic of the Sri Lankan government over its treatment of Tamils, is also threatening legal action against Singapore's immigration authorities. "It's not surprising, but the audacity is staggering," Dr Senewiratne said, following his detention and deportation more..

Disasters kill 16: Seven missing, 6,000 displaced

Dec 19 (Island) As heavy rains lashed all parts of the country, claiming at least 16 lives and affecting more than 21,120 civilians, 6,312 people had been left displaced in nine Districts by yesterday. Rains, accompanied by strong winds, hampered all day-to-day activities and GCE O/L candidates in some areas were unable to reach their exam centres as roads were inundated. 16 deaths had been caused by more..

Editorial: Organic farming -The harvest is rich

Dec 19 (DM) Despite all the marvels of modern technology, agriculture has been and will always be the root of Sri Lanka’s economic development because it is part of our culture and hallowed three thousand-year civilisation. Yet in the past few decades and mainly after Sri Lanka, in 1978, swallowed what is good and bad, the wheat and the weeds in the globalised capitalist market economy, agriculture to a large extent has found itself rotting in a mud hole. more..

Fear the power of people

Dec 19 (DM) The Rajapaksa regime is a quasi-dictatorship based on southern chauvinist Sinhala petty bourgeois. The latter was in the forefront of the war of Mahinda against the Tamil insurrection. It supplied man power and the engine of political campaign. The so-called Sinhala Buddhist ideology of war developed within these social strata. In the course of time it has negated itself to become an intellectual disease affecting the entire structure of the Mahinda regime. more..

Angoda! The slow walk to sanity

Dec 19 (SL) Research reveals that out of the country’s population, 30% are suffering from psychiatric disorders and out of them, 1% suffer from Schizophrenia, 1% -2% from Bipolar (high and low stages of Mino Maniac condition), 6% -10% from depression and 20% from minor psychiatric conditions. These segments of people are not to be sidelined, taken for amusement or not to be robbed but to be treated and properly looked after. more..

Kahawatte: Fear is the key

Dec 19 (ST) Despite the killing of a man, believed to be the main suspect in the spate of murders in Kahawatte, a fear psychosis still grips the residents. Ukwattage Abhaya Priyantha, 32, was found stabbed or chopped to death on December 7. According to Police, he was one of the main suspects in the 15 unresolved murders that have taken place in the area since 2008. Priyantha had been in custody since July 18 last year. more..

Power generating reservoirs filled to 78% of capacity

Dec 19 (Island) The water levels in the country’s hydropower reservoirs have increased to 78 per cent of their full capacity thanks to heavy rains experienced over the past few days. CEB Deputy Chairman, Anura Wijepala said that the heavy rainfall had made it possible to meet 50% of the country’s electricity needs with hydro power. "Still, we are using furnace oil, coal and diesel for the other half of the power requirement," more..

'Some trying to rewrite country’s history for dollars'

Dec 19 (DN) No amount of money or might can change a country’s history President Rajapaksa said, adding that we are living in an era in which certain elements were trying to rewrite the history of a country through money power. He said that certain elements are trying to remove all traces of Sri Lanka‘s history by bulldozing places where historical artifacts are located. The President stressed the importance more..

North gets two sea food factories

Dec 19 (DN) Creating a major economic land mark in the Northern Province a crab and prawn processing factory was opened in Kilinochchi and Jaffna last week. Taprobane Seafoods (TSF) a relatively new company in Sri Lanka invested Rs. 40 million to launch this project which has created over 600 direct and indirect employment opportunities. Director,TSF Timothy O’Reilly said that this investment would help more..

'Declare a state of national emergency'

Dec 19 (DM) UNP Deputy leader Sajith Premadasa called on the govt to declare a state of national emergency, in view of the catastrophic situation faced by many citizens resulting from the floods that had affected 10 districts across the country. “There are over 30,000 families and over a 100,000 civilians who have been affected by the floods. Of course neither the govt nor the opposition could fight against nature, but it’s the norm for any govt more..

Minimum broadband speeds in 2013

Dec 19 (DM) Minimum broadband speeds are expected to be imposed and strictly monitored for both fixed and wireless operators from next January, Sri Lanka’s telecom regulator said. The TRCSL, the regulator for the telecommunications in Sri Lanka, informed that starting from January 2013, the mandatory minimum broadband speeds maintained by fixed operators and 3G operators should not be below 70% and 30%, more..

Where is the alleged massacre report?

Dec 19 (DM) While the Human Rights Commission said they were awaiting the report of the Commission appointed to inquire into the alleged massacre at the Welikada Prison on Nov 9, opposition parties yesterday said many questions had been raised as to the progress of the report. The Commission appointed by the Minister of Prison Reforms Chandrasiri Gajadeera initially told the media the report would be released within more..

SLC rejects Mahela request

Dec 19 (DM) Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has decided to reject a request from Sri Lanka team captain Mahela Jayawardene to pay a part of the guarantee fee due to the players from the concluded ICC World T20 to the support staff and nominated coaches. Jayawardene had submitted a list of names that included some team officials apart from the 15 Sri Lanka squad players to the SLC Finance Manager with a request to distribute the more..

Sri Lanka mass grave unearths ghosts from troubled past

Dec 19 (Reuters) A mass grave unearthed in Sri Lanka has stirred memories of the country's bloody insurgencies and sparked calls for an official inquiry in the island nation that has drawn global scrutiny for its chequered human rights record. At a building site near a hospital in Matale, a central town 142 km from Colombo, excavators have found the skeletons, or parts of the skeletons, of at least 59 people. more..

Editorial: Going back to pre-’77 era!

Dec 19 (CT) The great mis-managers of the economy have shown us once again, how skilled they are in that trade: mismanagement of a country’s economy. JVP MP, Anura Kumara Dissanayake rendered credence to this fact, when he, pointing out an obvious fact – that 2013 would be the eighth year of the Rajapaksa regime and that the UPFA has ruled this country for 16 years – said, what the masses are receiving now are the returns of 16 years of SLFP-led UPFA administration and more..

The politics of commemoration

Dec 19 (CT) Sometime in the mid 1980s, the students of Peradeniya University put up a statue, a memorial of sorts. It was of a young man, book in hand and his foot on a gun. I am not sure if the statue resembled him in any way, but it meant to commemorate a Medical Faculty student, Padmasiri, who was shot dead on June 19, 1984 in the course of an altercation between officers manning the Police Station that was at the time located on campus and some medical students returning more..

Last-day pitch a 'minefield' - SL coach

Dec 19 (CI) Given Sri Lanka's history in Hobart, a target of 393 in the first Test was not out of reach in the four sessions available to them. In 2007, Kumar Sangakkara's 192 had propelled the visitors to 410, but in 2012, chances of an upset win evaporated soon after Sri Lanka's openers took guard on the fourth day. A fissured pitch spat up steepling brutes and ankle-high shooters with equal abandon making even survival a daunting prospect. more..

Moneragala has become a major IT Centre

Dec 19 (GDI) Uva Province which consists of Moneragala and Badulla districts was a totally neglected area until 2005. The Moneragala district was the poorest district in the country. Under Mahinda Rajapaksa administration this status has been completely changed and Uva is becoming a role model and a major Information Technology Centre in the country, which was a luxury enjoyed only by the elite class in Colombo in the past. With several programs launched since 2005, more..

SriLankan Cargo appoints Expolanka as its agent in Galle

Dec 19 (GDI) SriLankan Airlines Cargo in a bid to make available their services at regional level appointed Expolanka Freight (Pvt) Ltd as their new Cargo Authorized Agent in Galle. Accordingly new office was jointly declared open at a simple ceremony held recently under the patronage of Director/CEO of Expolanka Freight (Pvt) Limited Jagath Pathirane,and Senior Manager Cargo (Worldwide Sales & Marketing) SriLankan Airlines, Ali Kamil. Ali Kamil, addressing the more..

Rice shortage looms

Dec 19 (Island) The country would experience a rice shortage until next February due to the severe drought experienced during the past 14 months, Agriculture Ministry Secretary W. A. Sakalasooriya said yesterday. He said that the private mill owners might hoard rice expecting a shortage to earn a fast buck by exploiting the situation. "A rice shortage in the next few weeks and a steady increase of prices are unavoidable under more..

Private bus operators threaten strike

Dec 19 (Island) Private bus operators yesterday threatened to strike if the price of diesel was jacked up. Lanka Private Bus Owners’ Association (LPBOA) President Gemunu Wijeratne warned that his association would launch a country-wide strike if the govt increased the price of diesel. The LPBOA was under the impression that a diesel price revision would come into effect following the petrol price hike. Instead of cleaning up the highly corrupt National Transport Commission (NTC) more..

Kenya nominates Asoka De Silva to judges board

Dec 19 (CG) The President of Kenya Mwai Kibaki has nominated former Chief Justice Asoka De Silva to the Kenyan Judges and Magistrate Vetting Board. The objective of the board is to vet the suitability of all the Judges and Magistrates. The board operates for one year from the date of operationalization. Asoka De Silva is one of three foreign judges nominated to Board. The others are Justice (Rtd) Barnabas Albert Samatta from Tanzania and Justice A.E.M Mpagi Mahigeine from Uganda. more..

President patronizes SLBC’s Abhiman Rathriya

Dec 19 (GDI) Under the series of programmes being organized by the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation to commemorate the 87th anniversary of radio broadcasting in Sri Lanka, the "Abhiman Rathriya" musical pageant was held at the Ananda Samarakoon studio of the SLBC Tuesday evening under the patronage of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. The event was attended by politicians, musicians, literati, and past and present employees of the SLBC. more..

Increased costs hurting Sri Lankan media houses

Dec 19 (CG) The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) says financially vulnerable media houses in Sri Lanka have been subject to further pressures as increased costs passed on from banks and financial institutions threatens their sustainability. A report by IFJ on the state of the media in Sri Lanka said that change of ownership has often resulted in rapid changes in editorial policies and personnel in the Sri Lankan media. The report highlights some of more..

Sri Lanka tourist arrivals overtake Maldives

Dec 19 (LBO) Sri Lanka's tourist arrivals which rose 16.5% to 883,353 in the 11 months to November 2012 from a year earlier, has outstripped that of Maldives which welcomed 866,310 tourists up only 2.4%. Sri Lanka has experienced a tourism boom since the end of a war in 2009, while the Maldives has seen political turmoil and also a more up market model dependent on Europe which has taken a hit with economic troubles in the region. Analysts say Sri Lanka has an inclusive more..