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Arrests carried out under repealed Penal Code provisions – Mangala

July 8 (LB) The 10 reporters who were arrested recently by the CID in relation to the two websites that they were operating are planning to file 10 fundamental rights petitions against the CID for arresting them on spurious charges, UNP MP Mangala Samaraweera said. The reporters of Lanka X and Lanka Mirror websites were taken into custody on June 29 by the CID on charges of spreading ‘scurrilous stories’ and character assassination of govt ministers, MPs and more..

Sri Lankan Airlines to run daily flights to Beijing, Shanghai

July 8 (Xinhua) Sri Lankan Airlines will expand its services to Beijing and Shanghai, with daily flights to the two cities running from July 15, to serve the increasing number of Chinese travelers to Colombo, Male, Bangkok and other points on its global network. The additions will take the airline to 21 flights per week to four cities in China, including four to Guangzhou and three to Hong Kong. Nishantha Wickremasinghe, chairman of Sri Lankan Airlines, said, "Sri Lankan Airlines has made more..

Central Bank to investigate secret bank accounts

July 8 (SL) An investigation is to be launched to see how over 85 million Swiss francs was invested by Sri Lankans in secret Swiss bank accounts last year. A Swiss franc is equal to around US$ 1.048. The Exchange Control Dept of the Central Bank said that currency to that value cannot be deposited in foreign bank accounts without clearance from the Central Bank. The official also said that there are no records of money to the more..

Health activists on hunger strike in Jaffna

July 8 (ST) Two health activists staged a 12-hour hunger strike in Jaffna on Thursday to protest alleged corruption and fraud in the Jaffna Teaching Hospital and the recent attack on a medical specialist. They called on the government to expedite inquiries into these allegations and the attack. The activists V. Kanthevel who leads the Jaffna regional group of the People’s Movement for the Rights of Patients (PMRP) and M. Chandrapalan, inquirer into sudden deaths, staged the strike outside the hospital director’s room. more..

Expenses of six top COs more than their income - Bribery chief

July 8 (NS) The Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption has established that the expenses of six top Customs officers being probed for accumulation of wealth had in fact being higher than their income, the Chairman of the Commission, Jagath Balapatanendi told The Nation. “We have found that the six customs officers’ expenses had been higher than their wealth and accordingly we are quizzing them and recording statements how they had done so,” more..

Drastic changes in Ministry Secretaries on the cards

July 8 (Island) Heads are expected to roll with drastic changes on the cards in govt ministries where top slot secretaries will be reshuffled amidst assertions largely attributed to "gross under-performance" and "inertia" which had led to a slow-down in administrative functions. "The ineptitude on the part of some of secretaries who head key ministries under which vital state institutions function has contributed towards more..

Relatives of ministers apply to contest poll

July 8 (SL) The relatives of several govt Ministers have submitted their applications to contest the upcoming Provincial Council elections under the UPFA ticket. This comes after Minister Maithripala Sirisena had said at a press briefing last week that the govt will not approve relatives of Ministers contesting the polls. The UPFA conducted interviews last Friday to select candidates to contest the elections in the Eastern, Sabaragamuwa and North Central Provinces. Held at the Mahaweli Center the interview process was more..

Sweeping tax concessions for massive project in Fort

July 8 (ST) A five-acre extent of land has been allocated to operate a mixed utility complex including a luxury hotel in Colombo Fort under the Strategic Development Project initiated by the Govt. The project will be operated by the WelcomHotels Lanka. under an agreement entered into by the Board of Investment in May this year. The total investment on the project is US$ 140 million. It has been identified as a project of national interest that will bring economic and social benefit and more..

Diplomats told to go beyond cocktails and play crucial role

July 8 (ST) The journey in search of a new foreign policy for Sri Lanka appears to have begun on Friday. It was only a fortnight ago that President Mahinda Rajapaksa met Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad, the leader designate of the Non Aligned Movement (NAM), on the sidelines of the Rio+20 Earth Summit in Brazil and spoke of the need for a “new international order”. Heads of Sri Lanka’s overseas diplomatic missions and more..

NBTS bags top global accolade for Developing Countries - 2012

July 8 (Island) The National Blood Transfusion Service (NBTS) in Sri Lanka has clinched the top accolade for developing countries 2012 awarded by the International Society of Blood Transfusion (ISBT). The certificate will be awarded today at the 23rd International ISBT Congress which will be held in Cancun, Mexico. The honours will be officially received by the Sri Lankan team headed by Dr. Ananda Gunasekara, former Director NBTS and incumbent more..

Buddhist relics worth millions seized in Pakistan

July 8 (Island) Pakistani officials say police have seized a large number of ancient Buddhist sculptures smugglers were attempting to spirit out of the country. A Pakistani police official inspects ancient statues at a police station in Karachi. Pakistan authorities seized dozens of precious antiquities that smugglers were attempting to spirit out of the country. Salimul Haq, who is a director of the government’s archaeology department, said on Saturday the artifacts more..

Ranil motivated attack

July 8 (CT) Beruwala UNP Urban Councillor J.M. Arafat has lodged a complaint with the Police alleging that Leader of the Opposition, Ranil Wickremesinghe, had motivated a group of people to assault him by saying he should be removed from a UNP meeting held at a hotel in Beruwala, on Friday. Police spokesperson SP Ajith Rohana said that no decision has been taken so far on whether to record a statement from Wickremesinghe over more..

Talk at the Cafe Spectator

July 8 (ST) It was a day when Uva Province Chief Minister Shashindra Rajapaksa met members of his electorate. There he listened to the grievances of his supporters and directed officials what action to pursue. After a long wait, a school teacher managed to meet the chief minister. She was asked what her problem was. She told him she wanted a transfer. The reason – at the rural school where she taught, her mobile phone did not receive any signals. more..

Sri Lanka earns in excess of rs. 18.4 billion from peace keeping

July 8 (SL) Sri Lanka has earned in excess of Rs. 18.4 billion from its peacekeeping operations around the world since 2004. Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasuriya, said that there are over 1,200 Sri Lankan military personal currently engaged in peacekeeping operations around the world. “There are 1000 peacekeepers in Haiti and a further 200 in Lebanon. There are also military observers posted with the UN in 8 African nations,” more..

Tangalla-type toughs go on rape spree

July 8 (LB) The Akuressa police recently nabbed the chairman of the Akuressa Pradeshiya Sabha, Liyanage Sunil for allegedly having raped an under-aged girl. Sunil, who is reportedly a strongman of the UPFA in the Akuressa area had allegedly committed the crime between May 23 and 30 this year, at a lodge that he owns in Akuressa town. There are also many ruling party politicos who continue to rule the roost having committed a plethora of crimes due to the clout they wield, more..

WHO report on kidney disease in NCP a farce, say experts

July 8 (LB) The results of an investigation carried out by the World Health Organization (WHO) into the mysterious kidney disease syndrome in the North Central Province (NCP) are confusing, it is revealed. Some experts who spoke to LAKBIMAnEWS on condition of anonymity were of the view that the WHO inquiry had been conducted with the sinister aim of protecting and safeguarding pesticide sales -- and not with more..

TNA claims several prisoners abused

July 8 (Xinhua) A minority Tamil political party in Sri Lanka claimed on Sunday that several prisoners had been assaulted and abused following a recent hostage drama at a prison in the northern Vavuniya town. The TNA met officials from foreign embassies in Sri Lanka and discussed the issue, TNA legislator Suresh Premachandran said. Tamil Tiger suspects detained at the Vavuniya prison took three prison guards hostage late last month in protest over moves to more..

Police get tough with rent-a-car companies

July 8 (SO) The police will come down hard on Rent-a Car service companies whose vehicles are involved in serious crime. Police have issued a stern warning to Rent-a Car service companies to be vigilant when renting out vehicles to strangers without checking their identity. It has come to light that Rent-a Car vehicles had been involved in various crimes in the recent past, Police Media Spokesman, SP Ajith Rohana told the Sunday Observer. more..

Illicit passage to Australia isn’t plain sailing

July 8 (ST) Two boats packed with medicine, dry rations, food and water were set to sail off to Mankerni, a coastal village north of Batticaloa on Thursday night. They were waiting to transport some 41 would-be illegal emigrants to another trawler waiting in mid-sea. Two crew members were onboard each boat, to receive the passengers, but instead, it was policemen in uniform and civvies who turned up. The crew members were taken into custody. more..

Lankan mission slams false report on jailed maid

July 8 (AN) The Sri Lankan Embassy has rejected reports in Colombo claiming yesterday a Sri Lankan domestic worker has been arrested in Saudi Arabia for worshipping a statue of the Buddha. According to the Bodu Bala Senaa, a Buddhist organization based in Colombo, it was alleged the youth, identified as Premanath Pereralage Thungasiri, was arrested by Ummul Hamam police for worshipping the statue more..

Museum robbery: 4 months on mystery deepens

July 8 (ST) Hours before the National Museum in Colombo was robbed, nearly four months back, several luxury vehicles were seen in the area, according to a statement made by a security officer of the Art Gallery situated nearby. Stanley Liyanage, 40, was on duty at the Art Gallery on March 16 – the night the museum was burgled. Liyanage himself underwent an ordeal last month at the hands of an unidentified group more..

Sri Lanka state airlines get Rs2.38bn handout

July 8 (LBO) Sri Lanka's loss-making state-run airlines have been given 2.28 billion rupees in tax payer money during the first half of 2012. The tax payer money has been channeled into SriLankan Airlines and Mihin Lanka, through a 'contingent liability' fund of the finance ministry. In the budget for 2012, a 100 million US dollar injection for Sri Lankan airlines was outlined. In the year to December 2011, 3.43 billion rupees was provided from the same fund to Mihin Lanka, the finance ministry's annual report said. more..

Jordan NGO gets over 100 complaints from Lankans

July 8 (SL) A Jordan-based NGO said they have recorded around 110 complaints from Sri Lankan migrant workers from January to June this year. According to Madhu Shanika Liyanage, a social worker attached to Jordan’s Tamkeen for Legal Aid, the complaints received from Sri Lankan domestic migrant workers usually range from unpaid salaries, to physical or sexual abuse. Liyanage also said that these domestic workers sometimes ran away from their homes due to several other reasons, more..

Match even after bowlers dominate

July 8 (CI) The SSC and Pallekele could well be on two different continents, such was the contrast in the nature of their pitches. After the highway at the SSC last week, the moisture in the Pallekele pitch - increased by the rain before the Test - and a hint of grass gave Sri Lanka's attack early encouragement that lasted into the final session, justifying the home team's decision to bowl first. The new ball was a powerful weapon, employed expertly more..

‘Dengue has not reached epidemic proportions’

July 8 (SO) Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena said that the Dengue epidemic has not reached high proportions as made out by certain sections of the media. A continuous program is being implemented by the Health Ministry to combat Dengue. As a result, there is a significant drop in the spread of Dengue, the Minister said. He said 74 persons had died due to Dengue during the past six months. There is a decline in the percentage of Dengue related deaths compared to more..

Left allies of Lanka's govt press for resolving Tamil issues

July 8 (PTI) Tamil minority issues could only be settled through devolution of power, Sri Lanka's leftist parties have said, as they announced to break away from the ruling alliance and contest the upcoming eastern province elections independently. The leftist allies of the ruling UPFA are to go independent in the upcoming eastern province election as means to underline the importance of devolution of power to the Tamils, Raja Collure, secretary of the Communist Party said more..

Another asylum boat reaches Cocos Island

July 8 (Age) Another boat of asylum seekers has arrived at the distant Cocos Islands, chugging into the lagoon around mid-morning Sunday. The boat - understood to be carrying 28 Sri Lankan males - is the fifth to arrive since May at the Australian territory in the Indian ocean. A formerly abandoned quarantine station on the main island has been refurbished with fridges, washing machines and linen to accommodate new more..

Sand dunes of Deduru a mounting problem

July 8 (ST) The formation of sand dunes with the onset of the off-season at the mouth of the Deduru Oya in Chilaw has been causing problems to fishermen in the area. Among the problems they face has been that of launching their boats as well as guiding them through the dunes. Instances of fishermen losing their lives while attempting to guide their boats through the dunes have been recorded. Around 3,000 fishing boats and 50 trawlers operating in the area are affected by more..

Duty-free mobikes, laptops for over 11,000 GNs

July 8 (SO) Over 11,000 Grama Niladaris of 14,000 Grama Seva Divisions will be given duty-free motorcycles and laptop computers at concessionary rates under a scheme to be implemented by Minister W.D.J. Seneviratne on August 1. The motorcycle distribution will be initially launched in the Mullaitivu Divisional Secretariat Division and thereafter in selected Divisional Secretariat divisions, in the North-East, Uva and Sabaragamuwa provinces where Grama Niladaris face difficulties more..

'GSK’s controversial medicines not listed here'

July 8 (ST) As a drug-giant pleaded guilty and agreed to pay massive fines amounting to US$ 3 billion in one of the “largest healthcare frauds” in history, the local drug authority assured that the three controversial medications are not registered in Sri Lanka. Paxil, an anti-depressant, Wellbutrin used in smoking-cessation treatment, and Avandia, an anti-diabetic medication, which were at the centre of the storm in the U.S. involving GSK more..

SLCC Chairman Resigns

July 8 (SL) Sri Lanka Cement Corporation (SLCC) chairman Sisira Paranagama tendered his letter of resignation last week following a controversial incident. Paranagama claimed that there was an attempt to tarnish his image by blaming him over the incident. “There is a conspiracy against me. There has never been a complaint against me during my career. I have been mentally affected by this incident,” he said. A new Chairman is to be appointed to the SLCC with effect from more..

CAA awaits “Request” to reduce gas price

July 8 (SL) The Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) says it needs a request to be made for gas prices to be reduced, to even consider such a move. World gas prices reduced last week but prices in Sri Lanka still remained high. CAA Chairman Rumy Marzook said that so far there has not been a request to reduce the price from anyone. When contacted the Secretary to the Ministry of Consumer Affairs Sunil. Sirisena he said that it was up to the CAA to decide on the gas price revision. more..

Speeding jeep kills jungle cat

July 8 (ST) A jungle cat was killed by a hit-and-run Jeep in the Yala National Park early morning on June 26. The incident occurred near Gonalabba and Madapara. Eyewitness Hansa Premakumara, who sent in the photograph of the dead animal, said the safari jeep was being driven at high speed. He recognized a tracker among the passengers in the Jeep, which did not even stop after hitting the jungle cat. Mr. Premakumara and others with him made a desperate but more..

Mothers with young children to be prohibited from leaving for foreign jobs?

July 8 (NF) The govt is considering forming laws to prohibit mothers with children under the age of 18 years leaving for jobs in foreign countries. Minister of Child Development and Women's Affairs Tissa Karaliyadda said that such measures have to be taken when considering the harm done to young children whose mothers work abroad. The Minister said that steps will be taken to inform the public - while kindly requesting mothers not to leave their children if they can't guarantee more..

Education Ministry to recruit more trained teachers

July 8 (SO) The Education Ministry will recruit more trained teachers for subjects such as Science, Mathematics, Accountancy, Economics, English and Information Technology. Education Minister Bandula Gunawardane has directed heads of District Educational Zones to look into the number of trained teachers required for these subjects in their respective schools.The Minister assured that teacher vacancies for other subjects will be filled before the end of this year. more..

Dr. Geethanjana Mendis passes away

July 8 (AD) Prominent Neuro Physician, Dr. Geethanjana Mendis, who headed the Sports Medicine Unit of the Ministry of Sports for numerous years, has passed away today morning. He had been suffering from a heart condition and had passed away at the Nawaloka Hospital in Colombo, hospital sources said. Dr. Mendis was the former chairman of the Sri Lanka National Anti Doping Organisation (NADO), Chairman of Medicina Alternativa (MA) as well as more..

44 die at rail crossings

July 8 (SO) Unprotected railway crossings have become the most hazardous path for motorists, motorcycle riders and even for those who walk along railway tracks where several have died due to being knocked down by trains while some have sustained serious injuries and maimed for life, the Police Media Spokesman SP Ajith Rohana said. He said 44 persons have died while 26 have been injured while attempting to cross unprotected railway crossing without paying attention to on coming trains. more..

Christians defend Buddhist professor after he receives death threats

July 8 (AN) Lay and religious Christian activists have called on President Mahinda Rajapaksa to protect the life of Nirmal Ranjith Devasiri, a Buddhist and a senior lecturer in the Department of History at the University of Colombo as well as president of the Federation of University Teachers' Association (FUTA). In the past few days, he has received threatening phone calls and death threats from persons unknown for criticising govt. funding of education. more..

FUTA launches website, collects signatures as TU action continues

July 8 (ST) The Federation of University Teacher’s Association (FUTA) will continue with their trade union action as discussions with the Govt have not yielded satisfactory results, FUTA President Dr. Nirmal Dewasiri said.A FUTA delegation held discussions with President’s Secretary Lalith Weeratunga last Tuesday. Dr.Dewasiri said the talks were ‘cordial and held in an encouraging manner.” more..

'Child abuse:Govt. responsible'

July 8 (DM) The govt is responsible for making Sri Lanka the country where the most number of child rape cases are reported, the joint opposition alliance led by the UNP said. UNP MP Mangala Samaraweera told a news conference of the joint opposition that it was the govt which was responsible for the 700 child rape cases that had took place during the past six months. “The govt had therefore had made Sri Lanka the wonder in Asia according to the pledge it gave during the elections,” Mr. Samaraweera said. more..