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PMPS to lodge complaint against Minister

Jan 9 (DM) The People’s Movement to Protect Schools (PMPS) will lodge a complaint with the Bribery Commission today against Senior Minister Piyasena Gamage who said earlier that he offered a bribe of Rs.150,000 to a leading school in Galle recently. Mr. Gamage said that he offered this as a bribe to get the child of one of his relatives admitted to this school. PMPS Executive Committee member Dr. Nalinda Jayatissa said that the complaint would be made against the Minister at 10.00am. more..

Mannar joins fashion world!

Jan 9 (FT) Work on the first Board of Investment (BOI) approved project in Mannar region started over the weekend. The US $ 5 million apparel factory complex is an initiative by Timex and Fergasam Group (T&FG), which is responsible for $ 60 million worth of exports out of Sri Lanka. “The new BOI project in Mannar starting has set in motion the process for other industries to enter here,” Minister Rishad Bathiudeen said initiating the T&FG groundwork more..

SEC Director General’s post not lucrative enough?

Jan 9 (Island) The much awaited appointment of the Director General of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has taken a new turn with the favourite who was handpicked rejecting the offer while two insiders who applied for the post following the media advertisement, have also withdrawn. SEC insiders told The Island Financial Review yesterday that the initial panic had been triggered with Varuna Epasinghe, the US based Fund Manager and son of Presidential Advisor and more..

Wealth should not be criteria for school admissions - CM

Jan 9 (DN) Sabaragamuwa Province Chief Minister Mahipala Herath requested school Principals not to consider the wealth of the parents as a relevant factor when admitting new school entrants. The Chief Minister was speaking at a ceremony held to felicitate students who excelled at the A/L examinations at national and district level. The Chief Minister expressed these ideas at a ceremony held at St Joseph’s Girls’ School on January 5. He said that schools in the city as well as more..

FUTA vows to stop private university bill

Jan 9 (Island) Federation of University Teachers Associations (FUTA) yesterday vowed to stop the introduction of an Act to enable the setting up of private universities here and that would be the main demand of their token strike scheduled for Jannuary 17, the Association said. FUTA President Dr. Nirmal Ranjith Devasiri said that according to the agreement entered with the Higher Education Ministry when they suspended their trade union action on more..

President inaugurates Rs 7,307 m road renovation project

Jan 9 (DN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa stated that the government’s aim is to do justice to the people of the hill country by developing those regions, observing that those people have been facing numerous injustices since ancient time. He observed that the duty and responsibility of the younger generation is to support this endeavour and achieve higher positions after receiving a good education. The President made this comment on the occasion of commencing widening and more..

Sailor held following The Sunday Leader editor’s complaint

Jan 9 (Island) The Mirihana police on Saturday arrested a sailor after receiving a complaint from The Sunday Leader editor Frederica Jansz that she was being followed by a person riding a motorcycle. Navy headquarters said that a Leading Stores Assistant stationed at a base in the East had been taken into custody on the basis of a complaint received by police. An SLN official told The Island that the navy would assist the police in investigating the alleged threat to Jansz. more..

Lasantha murder: International probe urged

Jan 9 (BBC) On the third death anniversary of a slain newspaper editor his widow has called on the international community to exert pressure on Sri Lanka government to hold an independent investigation into his murder. Sonali Wickrematunge Samarasinghe, the widow of Sunday Leader editor Lasantha Wickrematunge, says the investigation needed "to bring back the rule of law rather than the rule of one family." In a detailed statement to the media, more..

Cautious optimism in tea outlook

Jan 9 (NS) The outlook for Sri Lanka’s tea industry in the year 2012 is likely to be a ‘cautiously optimistic’ market scenario, projects a top tea brokering firm. According to the recent report titled ‘Tea Industry Overview - 2011’ prepared by Forbes and Walker Tea Brokers, it states that in the backdrop of the uncertain conditions that exists in some of Sri Lanka’s key tea exports destinations, attempting to analyze market prospects could have a strong element of ‘crystal ball’ gazing. more..

Lankan fish: Going, going, gone!

Jan 9 (LB) The 2007 International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) had issued a red notice to Sri Lanka that three fish species, namely schismatogobius deraniyagalai (Red mouth Weligouwa), sicyopeterus halei (Gal Weligouwa) and sicyopeterus griscus (Maha Weligouwa), were in danger of becoming extinct in this country. Of the three, sicyopterus griscus is found only in a single area in the country since 2002. Environmental Conservation Trust (ECT) Director more..

Sajith calls on govt. to quell tension

Jan 9 (Island) UNP Deputy Leader Sajith Premadasa yesterday requested the govt to quell the tension prevailing in the Sri Jayawardenepura University with the Police, the Armed Forces and the Riot Squad present within the university premises. It was most regrettable that the country’s education sector had fallen into an abysmal low and he sees as arbitrary action of the govt which resulted in the threats to the security of the Sri Jayawardenepura University more..

Action against those who fouled up A’ Level results –Minister Gunawardena

Jan 9 (Island) Education Minister Bandula Gunawardena said that the ministry would punish those responsible for the mess up of district ranking of the G.C.E. (A/L) results on the findings of the five–member experts committee appointed by President Mahinda Rajapaksa probe the fiasco. Addressing a media conference at the Ministry auditorium, he said that the committee was recording statements from officials of the Examinations Department and the Education Ministry. more..

Prince and Princess Michael of Kent enjoy private visit to Sri Lanka

Jan 9 (FT) Another Royal visit took place in Sri Lanka recently with the arrival of Prince and Princess Michael of Kent. They were here on a private visit which paved the way for them visit a few tourist attractions in Sri Lanka. Prince Michael was accompanied by Princess Michael during the tour in Sri Lanka. Among the places they visited in Sri Lanka was Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage. Pinnawala officials facilitated the visit with a planting of a tree. more..

JVP picks holes in local government amendment bill

Jan 9 (Island) The JVP said yesterday that the abolishing of preferential voting system was not the solution to intra party crises or spending huge sums of money on election campaigns by candidates. If the system was to be abolished, the executive presidency too should be done away with. JVP MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake said that they would defeat the amended bill to the Local Government Election Act, scheduled to be presented to parliament on Jan. 17. more..

Rajarata first year medicos removed by court order

Jan 9 (Island) The First year undergraduates of the Rajarata University’s medical faculty were removed from the faculty on Saturday after obtaining a court order as they had defied the university administration decision to send them home due to non stop unrest. Vice Chancellor of the university Prof. K. A. Nandasena told The Island that the first year students of the faculty which is located in Saliyapura organized continuous protests disregarding more..

President participates in religious ceremonies in Mahiyangana

Jan 9 (DN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa participated in various religious ceremonies at the Mahiyangana Rajamaha Viharaya yesterday to mark the 2600th anniversary of The Buddha’s first visit to Sri Lanka. The Buddha visited the Mahiyangana area 2600 years ago, where various religious places including historic Mahiyangana Rajamaha Viharaya are situated. Marking this historic event President Rajapaksa took part in several religious programmes at the ancient more..

Tiger stamps: Lanka to defy UPU laws

Jan 9 (DM) Sri Lanka’s postal authorities have decided to defy rules and regulations stipulated by the Universal Postal Union (UPU) when dealing with letters and parcels with stamps bearing the emblem of the LTTE and the image of its late leader, officials said yesterday. Already, there are reports that members of the pro-LTTE Tamil diaspora have issued personalised stamps bearing the emblem of the beleaguered LTTE in France, Britain and Canada. more..

UNP demands immediate release of overdue EPF annual accounts

Jan 9 (FT) The UNP yesterday demanded that the annual accounts of the Employment Provident Fund for 2010 be immediately released. “The Govt has no moral right to bring an amendment to the EPF Act not having submitted its accounts since 2009 and dodged the numerous questions on its questionable investments in the Colombo Stock Exchange,” UNP MP Dr. Harsha de Silva said in a statement. “The Central Bank as the trustee of the trillion rupee fund belonging to more..

'Rethink policy to empower Sri Lankan Tamils economically'

Jan 9 (Hindu) In the present-day world where politics is invariably trumped by economics, India has to have a drastic rethinking of its policy in favour of economically empowering the Tamils in Sri Lanka as a sustainable solution for their rehabilitation, former diplomat G. Parthasarathy said on Sunday. In a lecture on ‘Personal Recollections of Relations with Sri Lanka — the IPKF and Beyond,' hosted by The South India Heritage Programme, Mr. Parthasarathy said while more..

JVP rebels deny receiving foreign funds

Jan 9 (Island) The govt alleges that the JVP rebels receive funding from at least three overseas donors. Authoritative sources said that the govt was concerned about those trying to oust Somawansa Amarasinghe from the party leadership, using foreign funds, to further destabilise the political scene. The so-called JVP rebels had been working closely with some of those supportive of the Eelam project, sources alleged. The allegation was made in the wake of more..

GMOA on warpath over docs being charged for repeat exams

Jan 9 (Island) Controversy surrounds a decision by the Post- Graduate Institute of Medicine (PGIM) to charge Rs. 190,000 and Rs. 140,000 from 30 doctors sitting the Oncology Part 1 and Part 2 of the Doctor of Medicine (MD) repeat examination, to cover accommodation, air fare etc of foreign examiners who will come from Australia and the United Kingdom. The Government Medical Officers Association (GMOA) would meet Secretary to the Health Ministry over this issue today. more..

Sri Pada, first destination of holy mountains expedition

Jan 9 (Island) Adam’s Peak, which is known as Sri Pada, will be the first mountain in the itinerary of 18 mountains to be climbed by a group of Malaysians within the next eight months, Times of Oman reported yesterday. A news report filed by the TO said: For the group of 11, it will be a religious experience as well as a fact finding mission as they scale the mountains which are significant to Muslims and those of Abrahamic and Dharmic faiths. It will be an experience they more..

Callous response by education officials

Jan 9 (SL) The education sector in Sri Lanka is in a state of turmoil. From the confusion and controversy of the Advanced Level results to petrol bombs in the Sri Jayawardenapura University and student unrest, incidents keep making the news. Yet it must be noted that this sector has not been passed over in terms of Government supervision. There are five Ministers who are officially tasked with various areas. There is the Minister of Education, Bandula Gunawardena, more..

Kelaniya mutinies on Mervyn: The worms turn!

Jan 9 (LB) Three members of the Western Provincial Council (WPC), former cronies of Minister Mervyn Silva, have turned sides and are now supporting the action of Kelaniya Pradeshiya Sabha Chairman Prasanna Ranaweera against the minister. The rebels from both the pradeshiya sabha and the WPC are adamant that they will not drop this attempt to oust the controversial minister who operates in Kelaniya as though it was his personal fiefdom, more..

STF mastermind of kidnap drama absconding

Jan 9 (Island) When the kidnapping and ransom demand case involving a juvenile student of Royal College was taken up for hearing on Wednesday, Police informed the Mt.Lavinia Chief Magistrate Nirosha Fernando that the principal suspect, a former STF member is still absconding. The Magistrate rejected the bail application of suspects Rangajeewa Kumarasiri, Aruna Ruwansiri, Upul Ranjith and Suranga Wijesiri and re-remanded them till January 19. more..

Now Dr. JJ blames India for turning a blind eye to ‘KP’ being given refuge in Colombo

Jan 9 (Island) Faulting French, Canadian and British authorities for the recent issue of stamps honouring the LTTE, the UNP yesterday accused the Sri Lankan government of protecting slain LTTE leader Prabhakaran’s successor, Kumaran Pathmanathan alias ‘KP.’ UNP MP Dr. Jayalath Jayawardena alleged that India, too, had turned a blind eye to what was going on in spite of ‘KP’ being one of those wanted in connection with the Rajiv Gandhi assassination. more..

JVP dissident undergrad defy closure order

Jan 9 (Island) University of Sri Jayewardenepura has been closed indefinitely from yesterday except Faculties of Medical Sciences and Graduate Studies. Faculties of Humanities and Social Sciences, Applied Sciences and Management and Commerce closed and students were asked to vacate hostels within two hours. University sources said that the university administration had to close those three faculties to prevent a further intensification of tensions after the bomb attack on more..

'We complained to Bribery Commission against ministers that instigate masses to give bribes'

Jan 9 (LT) The People’s Movement to Protect Schools (PMPS) complained to the Bribery Commission today morning regarding the statement the Minister Piyasena Gamage made that he had given a bribe of Rs.150000 to a principal to admit a child to a school. The Senior Minister revealed this dealing at a ceremony held in Neluwa area and it was reported in newspapers on the 5th. more..

Sri Lanka-China Co-operation on Oceanology research

Jan 9 (GDI) The University of Ruhuna and South China Sea Institute of Oceanology will sign a landmark Memorandum of Understanding to collaborate with each other for further advancement of research and development. South China Sea Institute of Oceanology (SCSIO) is one of the largest marine research institutes in China and a Key State Laboratory of Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS). more..

'Some people go mad during the full moon'

Jan 9 (DM) Public Relations Minister Mervyn Silva who is embroiled in controversy, with many allegations against him, said yesterday that some people went mad during the full moon -but not he. The minister said that he had the blessings of God Kataragama and God Vishnu and, therefore, did not go mad. "Some people in Kelaniya make allegations against me to make me despondent. I am a person hailing from Giruwa Pattuwa in the south. more..

COPE to discuss meaningful use of public funds

Jan 9 (DM) Amid charges about the dismal financial performance at various state institutions, the COPE and the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament will meet the Ministry Secretaries on January 17 to discuss such issues. COPE Chairman Minister D E.W. Gunasekara said that the Ministry Secretaries who are also the chief accounting officers would be apprised of steps to be taken for the meaningful use of public finances. more..

Paying wards at govt hospitals

Jan 9 (DN) Paying wards will be set up at all main govt hospitals within this year, a Health Ministry spokesman said. He said this decision was taken by Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena to earn the income which is being diverted to private hospitals due to the absence of paying wards in govt hospitals. Public servants who are entitled to the Agrahara Insurance Scheme select private hospitals for residential treatment, since paying wards are not available in most govt hospitals. more..

Stocks fall almost one percent

Jan 9 (LBO) Stocks fell for the fifth consecutive trading day Monday, with shares and warrants of a firm which has delayed conversion for the second time coming under selling pressure. The main All Share Price Index fell 0.97 percent to 5,872.94, while Milanka index fell 1.23 percent to 5,020.43. Turnover was 435 million rupees. Shares of Environmental Resources Investments, which last week said it was it was delaying conversion of warrants, were the most actively traded more..

Editorial: A state devoid of thuggery

Jan 9 (DM) Despite the democratic principles dictated and safeguarded by the Constitution, Sri Lankan political culture seems to be one that is empowered by gun-power more than the power of people. As ominous as it may sound, politicians do breed their private underworlds and metamorphose themselves into thugs in the process. This trend however, that passed through many eras, should be discontinued immediately; for it has caused enough damage to the country already. more..

Sri Lanka to establish embassy in Ukraine

Jan 9 (Xinhua) Sri Lanka is to establish a Resident Diplomatic Mission in Ukraine, the govt said. This decision was made following the approval of a proposal made by Minister of External Affairs G.L. Peiris to the Cabinet, and was duly approved at the last meeting. The govt of Ukraine, on a reciprocal basis, will establish a Resident Mission in Colombo. Direct flights started between the two countries last year as a precursor to stronger bilateral ties, more..

Sri Lanka IT industry seeks tariff concessions

Jan 9 (LBO) Sri Lanka's fast-growing information communications technology (ICT) industry is seeking lower tariffs on high-speed communications links the cost of which is still too high, officials said. Accessing reliable and fast Internet links is one of the key problems facing the industry which could constrain growth, according to a recent survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers done for the Export Development Board, the state export promotion agency. more..

I had to close the faculty: Rajarata VC

Jan 9 (DM) The Vice Chancellor of the Rajarata University Prof. K.A Nandasena said that he had no choice but to close down the Medical Faculty of the university by 12 noon today. “The students kept disrupting affairs of the university, all this began with my decision to suspend seven students of the second year for five weeks due to the ragging that takes place in the university. I suspended these students on January 3 and on the next day the second year students who are more..

Missing activists: UN steps in

Jan 9 (CT) Finally, the UNHRC will investigate the disappearance and abduction of Lalith Kumara Weeraraj and Kugan Muruganand, Movement for People’s Struggle (faction of JVP) activists, who are reportedly missing since 9 December. Spokesperson for the UN Secretary-General Martin Nesirky disclosed this information on Friday evening in New York. “After the handover of a petition to the United Nations office in Sri Lanka by the family members of more..

Man admits to calling shop workers terrorists

Jan 9 (CN) A former heroin addict has apologised for calling Indian and Sri Lankan Co-op staff terrorists. Stuart Johnson, 45, pleaded guilty at Cambridge Magistrates’ Court to racial harassment and two counts of assaulting police officers. The court heard Johnson, of Priory Road, Cambridge, had drunkenly gone into Co-op in Chesterton Road on December 22 and accused two employees of being members of the Sri Lankan terrorist organisation Tamil Tigers. more..

Plastic crates to be compulsory for tea transport

Jan 9 (NF) The Govt has decided to make the use of plastic crates mandatory when transporting tea leaves. Deputy Minister Earl Gunasekara noted that this decision was taken to ensure the quality of Sri Lankan tea. He noted that the relevant regulations have been created in this regard. "In the coming months, it will be made mandatory to use plastic crates to transport tea leaves. Through this, the damage caused to tea leaves that result in a lot of wastage more..