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100 more CCTV cameras in Colombo

Jan 18 (DM) The Police Department is to install a 100 more closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras in Colombo to enhance surveillance, prevent crimes and detect persons who violate traffic laws. 108 CCTV cameras worth Rs.350 million were installed in 2010 in 28 locations and it is monitored by a special unit from the Mounted Police Division building situated in Olcott Mawatha. The CCTV cameras will be modernised to the level where they can identify individuals more..

Local Authorities amendment bills held back for inclusion of further changes

Jan 18 (Island) The govt did not present the Local Authorities (Amendment) Bill and Local Authorities Elections (Amendment) Bill to parliament for approval yesterday. At the commencement of Notice of Motions and Orders of the day, Leader of the House and Irrigation Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva informed the House that the bills would not be presented since some proposals for further amendments had been received and the bills would be taken up for the more..

No need for PSC as not a single A/L candidate victimised - Bandula

Jan 18 (Island) None of the candidates who sat the GCE A/L Exam 2011 had been victimized therefore no need to appoint a parliamentary select committee to satisfy political needs of the Opposition, Education Minister Bandula Gunawardena told Parliament yesterday. Replying to a special statement made by the Leader of the Opposition Ranil Wickremesinghe who accused the Government of adopting a lackadaisical attitude towards an important matter which more..

Second wellness resort for disabled soldiers

Jan 18 (DM) The Sri Lanka Army is planning to set up its second wellness resort at a cost of Rs.240 million to look after totally disabled war heroes before the end of the year after gathering the sufficient funds from the public and various other donors as a “Brave Hearts” fund project of the Army. The resort is named Abhimansala-2 and it is to be built in ten acres in the Wilpitatawatta area in Udumulla, Matara. The first such wellness resort more..

Lanka's first monorail in H'tota

Jan 18 (DN) South Asia's first monorail track will be built in Hambantota linking the new Hambantota Airport and the Suriyawewa International cricket stadium. The project is expected to get off the ground next year. MP Namal Rajapaksa said that this would be a three kilometre stretch and they are currently talking to several investors in this regard. He said that one of the main aims of this proposed rail track is that it would link key development projects that more..

President tells parents: Don't isolate teens

Jan 18 (DN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa told parents not to isolate their teens, but to take care of them with the same attentiveness which they displayed when they were in their formative years. He said that there was a tendency for parents to relax their attention towards their children when they reach adolescence. President Rajapaksa urged parents not to isolate teenagers but provide the same attentiveness they had for their siblings in their early stages. more..

End taxation on EPF earnings: Employers body

Jan 18 (FT) As opposition political parties ready to do battle over the proposed amendments to the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) that will be presented in Parliament today, a labour industry expert is calling on the Govt to end taxation on pension funds. Employers Federation of Ceylon President Ravi Pieris said that if the Government was serious about upgrading pension funds for workers, then it should first stop taxing the earnings of more..

Dons’ strike paralyses universities

Jan 18 (Island) Universities all over the country were paralysed yesterday due to a token strike launched by the Federation of University Teachers Associations (FUTA) against the proposed private university bill, the delay in rectifying their salary anomalies, etc. The academic calendar of the universities came to a standstill and some examinations were postponed. FUTA President Dr. Nirmal Ranjith Devasiri said that their trade union action had been very successful and more..

Dengue hit 130 sailors in 2011

Jan 18 (Island) 130 Navy personnel, attached to the Camp situated near the Colombo Harbour, had contracted Dengue fever in 2011, a steep rise from 11 in 2010 and seven in 2009 reported from that location, Parliament was told. This was revealed in response to a query by UNP Gamini Jayawickrema Perera who said that large number of the Navy personnel had contracted the disease due to mosquitoes breeding in water that gets collected on top of the containers piled up more..

GCE A/L fiasco: President orders immediate implementation of recommendations

Jan 18 (FT) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has instructed the Ministries of Education and Higher Education, the Department of Examinations and the UGC to immediately implement the recommendations made by the Committee appointed by him to report on the issues relating to the results of the GCE A/L Exam. The committee headed by Secretary to the Ministry of Technology and Research more..

Cabraal blames AG for delay in auditing EPF Accounts

Jan 18 (Island) Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal had blamed the Auditor General for the delay in scrutinising the 2009 EPF accounts, Harsha de Silva MP said. The MP told The Island that when he had questioned Cabraal at the first Consultative Committee Meeting on Finance for this year on why there was a delay of nearly 24 months in submitting the EPF’s 2009 financial statements, the reply had been that it was up to the Auditor General to expedite the process. more..

Complaints of land grabs on the rise - Weeratunga

Jan 18 (Island) There had been an increase in the number of complaints pertaining to persons pretending to have political backing and illegally grabbing other people’s properties, President’s Secretary Lalith Weeratunga disclosed yesterday. He said that following an appeal made by Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa for the public to reveal instances of illegal land grabbing, the police had received a great deal of information. Things had deteriorated to more..

Tight Duckworth-Lewis win gives South Africa series

Jan 18 (CI) South Africa took an unassailable 3-0 lead after the most closely fought game of the five-match series thus far, with the result settled in anticlimactic fashion by the Duckworth-Lewis method. Thundershowers interrupted play at the end of 34 overs of South Africa's chase, at which time the teams were on even terms but the hosts just four runs ahead mathematically. more..

SB defends Z score formula

Jan 18 (Island) Higher Education Minister S. B. Dissanayake yesterday told Parliament that the Z-score formula was only a mathematical formula and not an invention by Prof R. O. Thattil. In reply to a statement by Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe that the creator of the Z- score formula Prof Thattil, too, was against the way the formula had been distorted by the Department of Examinations causing a mess-up in the GCE (A-Level) results, Minister Dissanayake said the more..

Scrap Z-score: Ranil

Jan 18 (DM) Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe today in Parliament stressed the need to scrap the Z-score system for the admission of students to universities. Mr. Wickremesinghe, in a statement to the House, said that the UNP government led by him during the 2002/2004 period had plans todo away with this system. However, he said that he could not take any step because of what he termed as the undemocratic act of dissolution of his government in 2004. more..

Full implementation of 13th Amendment plus, MR tells Krishna

Jan 18 (DM) President Rajapaksa has promised Indian External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna the full implementation of the 13th Amendment plus. President Mahinda Rajapaksa has promised visiting Indian Minister of External Affairs S.M Krishna that the government will deliver on its promise to implement the 13th Amendment plus, Krishna told a press briefing today. “I discussed this matter with His Excellency the President. more..

Norwegians here on fact finding mission in April

Jan 18 (Island) The Norwegian govt has decided to send a team of officials from its aid agency NORAD and the Fisheries and Maritime Institute Department to Sri Lanka at the end of April on a fact finding mission. The logistics of the reconstruction of fisheries harbours in the North and East with Norwegian funds were discussed by Norwegian Ambassador Hilde Haraldstad when she called on Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne at his ministry last Wednesday. more..

Five Indo-Lanka MoUs signed

Jan 18 (Island) The governments of Sri Lanka and India yesterday finalized five agreements at the External Affairs Ministry, Colombo. MoU for Housing Project: An MoU specifying the modalities for the next phase of the Housing Project being implemented with India’s assistance of approximately $ 260 million was signed by Indian External Affairs Minister S. M. Krishna and his Sri Lankan counterpart Prof. G. L. Peiris. The MoU involves the construction of 49,000 houses, more..

SO LITTLE LAND up for grabs – or grabbing?

Jan 18 (LB) Control over territory was central, to the LTTE’s futile battle for a separate homeland. Now, nearly three years after the war ended, ownership of land in the north and east remains a complicated, controversial and tangled mess. Two new reports shed light on serious disputes related to property throughout the north and east. Much of these issues are results of the protracted war and are so overwhelming that govt agencies seem unable to deal with them. more..

Stamp sized issue causes international fiasco

Jan 18 (SL) In just three years, the island nation of Sri Lanka has emerged from a civil war eagerly anticipating a future free of bloodshed and loss. The country is already experiencing a period of economic development, tourism is expected to soar and smiles are slowly returning to people’s faces as they rebuild their lives in peace. Yet, as the people of Sri Lanka enjoy a much needed break from the violence which spanned more..

UNP’s call for PSC, Speaker agrees

Jan 18 (Island) Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa yesterday told Parliament that the appointment of a parliamentary select committee to look into the A/L results mess up could be done if the House saw a need for that. If there was a need for that the matter could be brought up at the party leaders’ meeting and a decision could be taken there, he said. Once the decision was intimated to him, he would take action to appoint members of the PSC, he said. more..

Cabraal blames AG for delay in auditing EPF Accounts

Jan 18 (LBO) Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal had yesterday blamed the Auditor General for the delay in scrutinising the 2009 EPF accounts, Harsha de Silva MP said. The MP told The Island that when he had questioned Cabraal at the first Consultative Committee Meeting on Finance for this year on why there was a delay of nearly 24 months in submitting the EPF’s 2009 financial statements, more..

Sri Lanka's Galle literary festival starts today

Jan 18 (LBO) Sri Lanka's HSBC Galle Literary festival kicks off Wednesday with award winning writers, historians and poets from Canada, England, Germany, India, Ireland, Palestine, Singapore, United States and Sri Lanka taking part. A this year's festival, the sixth year it is being held, Joanna Trollope, DBC Pierre, Tom Stoppard and Shahi Tharoor are on the program. Author and scientist Richard Dawkins will bring questions of faith and science and more..

India backs PSC on ethnic issue

Jan 18 (Island) Sri Lanka’s efforts to launch the much delayed Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) to recommend a lasting political solution to the national issue received a boost yesterday with India pledging support for it. Visiting External Affairs Minister Krishna yesterday afternoon declared India’s support for the proposed PSC, at a media briefing following discussions with President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Premier D.M. Jayaratne and External Affairs Minister G.L. Peiris more..

Govt. walks out of talks with TNA

Jan 18 (CT) Govt yesterday boycotted the scheduled meeting with the TNA, party leader and MP Rajavarothiam Sampanthan told Ceylon Today. “We were ready for the meeting, and the government delegation didn’t show up for the meeting yesterday,” Sampanthan said, despite assurances mere hours earlier by Minister of External Affairs, Prof. G.L. Peiris during a shared media brief with his visiting Indian counterpart. more..

Sri Lankan doctor who helped Tamil Tigers wants UK job back

Jan 18 (AFP) A Sri Lankan doctor who admitted aiding the South Asian nation's Tamil Tiger separatist group began his appeal on Tuesday to be allowed to resume work in Britain. Murugesu Vinayagamoorthy spent almost five years in a US jail for providing material support to the rebels, who were defeated by Sri Lankan troops in 2009 after decades spent fighting for an independent homeland. more..

25% pay hike for CEB, CPC and NWSDB

Jan 18 (DM) The government decided yesterday to give a pay hike of 25 percent to the employees of the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB), the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) and the National Water Supply and Drainage Board (NWSDB), said Minister Champika Ranawaka. At the last Cabinet meeting however, the government had announced a pay hike of 18 percent plus a monthly allowance of Rs.2500. Several trade unions attached to these institutions had rejected the salary increase and more..

India undertake construction of a Cultural Centre in Jaffna

Jan 18 (GDI) The Govt of India, as part of its development partnership with Sri Lanka and in response to the request by the Govt of Sri Lanka, has undertaken a Project to construct a Cultural Centre in Jaffna at an estimated cost of SLR 900 million. S.M. Krishna and Basil Rajapaksa presented awards to the top three architects whose entries were selected by a jury after the completion of the National Design Competition for the Jaffna Cultural Centre, more..

Editorial: SLMC must play proactive role

Jan 18 (DM) The Sri Lanka Medical Council (SLMC) is like the supreme court for health services, the medical and paramedical professions. It has powers to enforce ethics and lay down guidelines for medical doctors and can even take action in cases where doctors are found to have violated ethics, acted irresponsibly or negligently. Unfortunately over the past few decades, the SLMC often played a reactive role and even then did not take effective action when there was more..

Korean Buddhist Delegation to fund construction of religious institutions

Jan 18 (GDI) A Korean Buddhist delegation headed by Ven Ilseob Shin, Executive Chief of the Korean Buddhist Yeo-Rae Order, paid a courtesy call on the Acting Minister Neomal Perera recently. The delegation visited Sri Lanka to participate at several religious ceremonies in and around Colombo including the opening ceremony of the Korean Language Centers in Panadura, Mount Lavinia and Alpitiya. The delegation also included three prominent business leaders more..

'We did not have a hidden agenda in our engagement' -Norwegian Ambassador

Jan 18 (DM) In an interview with the Daily Mirror, Norwegian Ambassador to Sri Lanka Ms. Hilde Haraldstad discusses Norway’s role in post-war Sri Lanka, the LLRC report, the Norwegian govt-commissioned report evaluating Norway’s peace efforts in Sri Lanka, and responds to allegations that Norway’s role in Sri Lanka’s peace process was not driven purely by altruistic considerations. more..

Sri Lankan shares slump 1.3-pct

Jan 18 (LBO) The slide in Sri Lankan shares deepened Wednesday, despite the regulator allowing brokers to lend more money to buy stocks, brokers said. The main All Share Price Index closed down 1.32 percent at 5,846.41, while the more liquid Milanka index fell 1.66 percent, slumping below 5,000 points, to close at 4,929.13. Turnover was 1.4 billion rupees. PC Pharma which was heavily traded accounting for the highest turnover and was also the top gainer, rising 41.60 rupees to more..

Heavy vehicles permitted on Southern Expressway

Jan 18 (GDI) Heavy Vehicles are to be allowed to ply on the Southern Expressway from next week. Accordingly, Trucks, container careers, Lorries, and other heavy vehicles will be allowed to use the Expressway and they will have to pay between Rs. 1,500 and Rs. 2,000. The Director of the Southern Expressway said that permission will be given only to suitable heavy vehicles and the vehicles will have to pay service charges in case of removal from the expressway due to breakdown. more..

Eight students injured in accident in Mt. Lavinia

Jan 18 (CT) Eight school children sustained injuries while two were critical after the school van they were travelling in collided with another private bus this morning in Mount Lavinia. The two students who were critical were admitted to the Kalubowila hospital along with the driver of the vehicle. According to Director Kalubowila Hospital Anil Jayasinghe the two students were out of danger. This accident occurred at around 6.30 am opposite “Odeon” cinema more..

Reveal govt’s solution for national question – JVP

Jan 18 (LT) The JVP in a media release states people in Sri Lanka should come to know regarding the solution for the national question put forward by the President and the Govt not through the foreign minister of India. It states the President and the govt had made irresponsible statements at various instances regarding the national question and demand the President and the govt to put before the people in this country immediately if they have any permanent solution for more..

SLFP union at Lake House warns of fast unto death

Jan 18 (SM) The SLFP trade union branch at Lake House warns of making their ongoing sit-down protest into a fast-unto-death if govt authorities disregarded its requests. The Satyagraha by Sri Lanka Nidahas Sevaka Sangamaya is continuing for the second day today against the management’s violation of an 2009 agreement, curtailment of the cost-of-living allowance and the authoritarianism of chairman Bandula Padmakumara, said its secretary Dhammika Kulasinghe. more..

'I used the most amount of helicopter rides'

Jan 18 (DM) Prime Minister D.M. Jayaratne said in Parliament that he was the politician who took the most number of helicopter rides in recent times to attend meetings all over the country despite his doctors not approving of such air travels due to ill health. Mr. Jayaratne said that he is sometimes compelled to attend six or seven meetings a day in different parts of the country. “One meeting is in the north and another in the south. more..

Buddhika’s statement is a lie - Chandrika

Jan 18 (SM) Former president Chandrika Kumaratunga says she is not so imprudent to discuss toppling governments with an opposition MP, whom she barely knows. In a statement, Mrs. Kumaratunga says she regretted that MP Buddhika Pathirana had made false remarks with regard to her. The ex-president is referring to media reports that claimed that she had told the UNP MP that she could teach him how governments are toppled if there is a good leader to succeed. more..

No fuel shortage due to U.S. oil sanctions on Iran

Jan 18 (Xinhua) Sri Lanka's government has assured that there will be no fuel shortage as a result of U.S. sanctions on Iran's fuel imports, a minister said here on Wednesday. Sri Lanka's Petroleum Minister Susil Premajayantha told media that the government has already begun discussions with Oman and Saudi Arabia as well as stockpiling fuel to ensure that there will be no shortage if the country falls under U.S. sanctions for importing oil from Iran. more..

WikiLeaks: Gota scared of JVP, JHU and NFF

Jan 18 (CT) “Ambassador asked whether this message had been widely communicated to LTTE fighters at the front. Rajapaksa said that such offers had been quiet and implied that Sinhalese nationalist parties (JHU, NFF and JVP) would react loudly if such offers were publicized too widely” the US Embassy Colombo informed Washington. Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa offered amnesty to all LTTE fighters. The cable, written on April 15, 2009 recounts more..