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Divi Neguma Bill withdrawal, a victory for Samurdhi employees -SDOU

Sept 24 (Island) The govt’s withdrawal of the controversial Divi Neguma Bill, which sought to covert the Samurdhi Authority along with several other authorities into a department, was a victory for the united attempts of Samurdhi employees, the Samurdhi Development Officers’ Union said. The union also salutes the Supreme Court decision which informed Parliament last week that the Divi Neguma Bill had to first go through more..

CMC to reward loyal rate payers

Sept 24 (Island) Rate payers who make use of the 10 per cent discount offered by the Colombo Municipal Council and pay their rates on time for all four quarters of the year will be further rewarded. The CMC announced that it would initiate a scheme where, in January each year, 100 loyal rate payers will receive a special card which will entitle them to free parking in the CMC’s approved parking lots within the Colombo city limits, parking within the Town Hall premises when arriving for more..

No more displaced people in Sri Lanka from today

Sept 24 (DM) With the resettlement of the last group of IDPs in the Northern region’s Mullaitivu district the Menik Farm in Vavuniya would be closed today, a top military official said yesterday. “A total of 1,186 people from 361 families --the last of a group of more than300,000 displaced during the war in the north -- will leave theVavuniya Manik Farm to their original places of residence in the Mullaitivu district today,” Security Forces Commander more..

Construction to commence on Jaffna cancer hospital

Sept 24 (DN) Construction activities of the special cancer hospital in Jaffna will commence next month, a Health Ministry spokesman said. Annually, over 5,000 cancer patients are reported from the Northern Province and the government will establish a special cancer hospital in Jaffna. It will be attached to the Thellippallai Hospital, he added. The MoU regarding construction of the cancer hospital had been signed recently between the Health Ministry and Colors of Courage Trust. more..

Alarming increase in cancer patients

Sept 24 (Island) The number of patients affected by various types of cancers had risen alarmingly since 2009, Health Ministry said. Upto 2009 around 14,000 cases had been detected annually but it had reached an annual figure of 20,000, it added. 10 types of cancers—oral, cervical, thyroid, esophagus, lung, womb, breast, rectum, brain, blood, and prostrate—were common in Sri Lanka. National Cancer Control Programme Director Ms. Dr. Neelamani Paranagama said that more..

Radiation detectors at airport on the cards

Sept 24 (ST) The Ministry of Civil Aviation is considering purchasing radiation detectors to be installed at the airport to prevent radiation contaminated goods entering the country. Minister Priyankara Jayaratne said that discussion will be held this week with the Civil Aviation Authority Chairman on the possibility of installing radiation detectors. “With the recent detection of contaminated stainless steel kitchenware more..

North and East get administrative officers

Sept 24 (DN) The Public Administration and Home Affairs Ministry will recruit over 300 administrative officers, including 88 Assistant Divisional Secretaries to the North and East. Minister W D J Seneviratne and ministry Secretary P B Abeykoon will hand over the letters at the ministry on Monday. The officers have passed the open competitive exam gazetted by the Public Administration and Home Affairs Ministry and completed a special training at the Sri Lanka Institute of Development Administration. more..

Speedy translation of vital legal documents in Tamil

Sept 24 (DN) Minister Vasudeva Nanayakkara has taken swift action to deal with the non-availability of the Tamil versions of legal documentation. According to a Ministry release the non-availability of Tamil translations of the Civil Procedure Code, Code of Criminal Procedure Act of 1979, Evidence Ordinance and Penal Code has hindered to a great extent the conducting of legal proceedings in the courts of the Northern and Eastern more..

NCP: Berty throws in the towel

Sept 24 (Island) Former Chief Minister of the North Central Provincial Council Berty Premalal Dissanayake said that he was ready to serve the people of the NCP as an ordinary member of the council. The veteran SLFPer said he would not oppose the appointment of S. M. Ranjith, younger brother of former Minister S.M. Chandrasena as the new CM. Dissanayake said that he would abide by the party’s decision as regards the appointment of more..

Sri Lanka’s housing market remains healthy

Sept 24 (IBT) Sri Lanka's house price rises continue, as security issues get sorted out. There's no official house price data in Sri Lanka, but developers and homebuyers confirm there have been double-digit property price rises. The Valuation Department's Former Chief Valuer, W. Seniviratne has said that the noteworthy upward trend in 2010 and after was made possible not only due to restored peace, hut by govt policies to attract investors, which had a huge impact in the tourism sector, more..

SC inquiry into alleged rights violations of SLMC members

Sept 24 (ST) The Supreme Court decided to fully inquire into the alleged rights violations of the SLMC MP and two of its members during the Eastern Provincial Council (EPC) election campaign due to the unfair conduct of SSP Premalal Ranagala. The Bench fixed the hearing for March 25, 2013. SLMC General Secretary M.T. Hassan Ali, SLMC High Command member and Akkaraippattu Municipal Councillor Moulavi S.L.M. Hanifa and SLMC Ampara District candidate more..

Govt. feasts on EPF, ETF, NSB

Sept 24 (Island) Around 96% of the govt’s total borrowing requirement via Treasury bonds in 2011 came from captive sources such as the EPF, ETF and National Savings Bank, the Central Bank says. "The high interest rates and the tight liquidity condition which prevailed in the market towards the latter part of the year made the T-bonds market illiquid. Hence, there had been less demand for T-bonds in latter part of 2011. Consequently, only Rs. 514.6 billion or 95.5% of initially more..

Military romance and rising suicides...

Sept 24 (NS) Nearly 120 soldiers have committed suicide during the past three years, military officials said. Military Spokesperson, Brig. Ruwan Wanigasuriya told The Nation that 400 military personnel had died during the said period due to various reasons, ranging from illness to homicide. The latest incident was reported when Major Nalin Sampath Kumara (37) attached to the 8th Gajaba Regiment, Saliyapura Army Camp, committed suicide following a personal dispute. more..

Private lawyers as judges: BASL says ‘no’

Sept 24 (ST) The Bar Association of Sri Lanka has unanimously rejected a move by the Colombo Law Society to call on the President to appoint members of the “unofficial bar” as judges of High Courts, the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court. The Council of the BASL took the decision after the Society informed it that the resolution itself was being “kept in suspense” by the Law Society. A BASL spokesperson said yesterday, “We were informed that they (the Society) were more..

Politicos build hotels in Elephant Reserve

Sept 24 (NS) North Central Province political stalwarts of the ruling party, Berty Premalal Dissanayake and S.M. Chandrasena are accused of constructing hotels in the Kala Wewa elephant reserve, environmentalists have charged. Former Chief Minister Dissanayake and Minister Chandrasena (who claims to have tendered his resignation as minister) vehemently denied their personal involvement in such constructions, but environmentalists claimed more..

Govt. teachers asked to join FUTA protest march

Sept 24 (Island) The pro-JVP Ceylon Teachers’ Service Union has requested all teachers in govt schools to join a march organized by the FUTA, scheduled to start from Galle today, to exhort the government to sort out the crisis in country’s education sector. STSU General Secretary Mahinda Jayasinghe says, in a media release, that the teachers must join in force and extend their fullest support to the FUTA march from today to September 28 from Galle to Colombo. more..

Major Prasanna accuses Malaka of defaming President

Sept 24 (CT) UPFA Southern Provincial Councilor, Major Ajith Prasanna accused Minister Mervyn Silva and his son, Malaka of behaving in an unruly manner, defaming the President. He warned the father- son duo to refrain from humiliating the war heroes in the future. He said if the minister and his son continue to act in this manner, he is willing to take to the streets in protest. Provincial councilor Major Ajith Prasanna made this remark at a press briefing held at the more..

EPC: SLMC endorses Mahinda-Hakeem pact

Sept 24 (Island) The SLMC yesterday declared that its decision to support the SLFP-led UPFA to form the Eastern Provincial Council (EPC) was a collective decision taken by the party in the best interests of the Muslim community. SLMC General Secretary Hassen Ali and MP M.S.M. Aslam strongly countered allegations that SLMC leader Justice Minister Rauff Hakeem had taken a unilateral decision against the wishes of some members of the party. more..

Editorial: The answer script logjam

Sept 24 (DM) This year’s A/L exam was concluded on August 30. Almost a month has passed; the answer scripts are still bundled together and left in a corner. Anyone who has been subject to the minute horrors of national exams would know that even a tiny delay of a few minutes could leave one desperate. Unfortunately, the university lecturers who were supposed to be on evaluation duty, are very much alien to the stark fact that the students who sat the exam this year, more..

There are no half hearted dictators

Sept 24 (CT) Dictators do not believe in half hearted measures. This is an essential lesson that Sri Lanka is now learning at a painful cost. We were immeasurably too ignorant, too consumed by self interest or too stubborn to realize this until it was too late. This week, as President Mahinda Rajapaksa locks horns with the country’s Judicial Service Commission (JSC) over a few incredibly minimal demonstrations of judicial independence, these lessons assume great significance. more..

‘Sri Lanka should devolve power at the centre’

Sept 24 (SL) International defence expert Prof. Rohan Gunaratne tells The Sunday Leader that rather than trying to breakup the country by region, ethnicity and religion, the strategy should be to unite the different communities, by devolving power at the centre by having a prime minister, several cabinet and other ministers, permanent secretaries and even a chief of the security forces from the Tamil and Muslim communities. more..

SL's first national DNA analysis lab soon to be a reality

Sept 24 (DM) The present conviction rate of 4% in the country is a repetitively highlighted fact whenever a debate emerges pertaining to the judicial process. During the year of 2010 alone, Police Department statistics revealed over 91% of homicides and over 96% of rape and incest cases reported to the Police are in limbo due to pending investigations or delays in the judicial process. The judicial sector experts often attribute more..

‘Judiciary under siege,’ lawyers up in arms

Sept 24 (LB) The Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) passed two strong resolutions. One resolution condemned interference in the work of the Judicial Service Commission (JSC), Bar Association President Wijedasa Rajapakshe said. The other resolution was to appoint a team of senior lawyers to see if there is enough material to file contempt of court papers to charge the people involved in certain SLBC and ITN programmes. Rajapakshe said these persons had been more..

Road killers: Will point system apply brakes?

Sept 24 (ST) The last few weeks have once again seen a spike in the number of accidents with one tragedy claiming the lives of a mother and daughter duo as they crossed the road in Ja Ela. In this instance, according to police, reckless driving not by the driver but the conductor who did not have a driving licence in addition to being drunk, snuffed out the lives of Gangodage Shriyani (42) and her daughter, Imara Meepe (17) two weeks ago. more..

SRI LANKA: Child abuse cases stalled

Sept 24 (IRIN) In Sri Lanka it is taking as long as six years to prosecute criminals who abuse children, a delay that threatens to further traumatize thousands of children whose cases are stuck in the courts, according to experts. Officials from the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in Sri Lanka told IRIN as many as 4,000 child abuse cases are before the country’s 34 high courts (the second highest level of courts). The average wait time for a ruling is six years based on more..

Academics holdout

Sept 24 (CT) A request made by the Examination Department to university dons to take part in assessing answer scripts of the GCE A/L exam, was refused by the FUTA. FUTA President, Dr. Nimal Ranjith Devasiri said they have informed all academics to not engage in such action until their demands are granted unconditionally. “Since, we have been involved in trade union action, the professors, doctors and lecturers will be not participated for the purpose,” more..

Attempt to legalise Divi Neguma Bill through NP Governor

Sept 24 (Island) The govt was attempting to legalise the Divi Neguma Bill, which the Supreme Court ruled has to be passed by all Provincial Councils, by asking the Northern Province Governor to endorse it, the main Opposition UNP charged yesterday. Lakshman Kiriella, Vice President of the UNP, told The Island that the Government knew very well that it would lose the Northern Provincial Council Election, if and when it is held. more..

Govt., TNA agree to meet for talks

Sept 24 (Island) The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) yesterday said it was ready for talks if invited by the govt. The TNA and all minority parties were always welcome to return to the talks, Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said. "We will welcome the TNA and all other stakeholders with open arms for talks which will lead to the appointment of a Parliamentary Select Committee. It is important that they return to talks as they have a pivotal role to play in evolving a solution." more..

US Embassy to close early due to Muslim protest

Sept 24 (AD) The United States Embassy in Colombo will close to the public early today in anticipation of protests in Colombo by Muslims against the anti-Islam movie. The Embassy has notified U.S. citizens visiting Sri Lanka that it will be closed at 9:30 a.m. on Monday, September 24, due to planned demonstrations in the city. The Embassy has said that it received reports of a planned substantial protest in the immediate vicinity of more..

Malaka Case: Court of Inquiry finds major guilty

Sept 24 (DM) The army said yesterday that the Court of Inquiry appointed to investigate the assault on the army intelligence officer by a group of people allegedly led by a son of a prominent politician had been concluded, and the intelligence officer (a major) was found to be guilty of an offence as he was not on official duty at the time of the attack. According to the findings of the court, the major was not on official duty although more..

Sri Lanka marks its presence at Int'l French Travel Market

Sept 24 (GDI) Sri Lanka participated to the annual IFTM Top Resa (International French Travel Market) that was held in Paris from September 18th to September 21st, 2012. Flagship fair for the tourism sector, IFTM Top Resa brings every year thousands of travel agents from across the world who come to present their products and services to the industry’s production and distribution professionals. 18 Sri Lankan tour operators were present at this more..

UPFA Parliamentarian injured in an accident

Sept 24 (AD) UPFA Vanni District MP Hunais Farook and five others have been admitted to the Chilaw base hospital following an accident in the Mundalama Police area this morning. According to initial reports the Vanni District MP has received minor injuries in the accident. The accident had occurred at around 6.30am in Battuluoya on the Chilaw-Puttalam road, and that the group was traveling towards Mannar from Colombo. Eyewitnesses said the speeding Jeep had more..

Work on Veyangoda new flyover begins

Sept 24 (GDI) Heavy traffic jams at Veyangoda which have been causing severe inconvenience to the people of Veyangoda will come to an end within the next 12 months, said Minister Basil Rajapaksa on Sunday. A flyover is to be constructed to overcome the daily eight-hour delay caused to road transport by movements of trains along the town’s level crossing. The minister was addressing a meeting held in connection with the more..

TN fisherman serving life term dies in Lanka

Sept 24 (PTI) A 62-year old Tamil Nadu fisherman, undergoing life imprisonment in Sri Lanka for alleged smuggling of brown sugar in 2004, has died of heart attack, police said. Thangaraj of Perungulam in the district, lodged in a prison in Colombo, died last evening, according to official information received by his family members and state Marine Police. The family members appealed to the district administration to arrange for bringing Thangaraj's body to his native village. more..

Dissanayake promoted as Admiral

Sept 24 (CG) President Mahinda Rajapaksa, as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, has promoted Commander of the Sri Lanka Navy Vice Admiral Somathilake Dissanayake to the rank of Admiral. The Sri Lanka Navy accorded a 48-member Guard of Honour to the newly-promoted Admiral upon his arrival at the Naval Headquarters in Colombo today. Admiral Dissanayake is the 17th naval officer to reach the helm of the Naval Service. He assumed Command of the Sri Lanka Navy on 15th January 2011. more..

Sri Lanka and China to cooperate in developing sports

Sept 24 (Xinhua) Sri Lanka and China on Monday agreed to cooperate in developing sports between both countries. The agreement was reached during bilateral talks held between the President of the Chinese Olympic Committee and Minister of the General Administration of Sports in China, Liu Peng and Sri Lanka's Minister of Sports Mahindananda Aluthgamage. Liu noted during the more..

Sri Lankan citizen held under NSA

Sept 24 (PTI) Police arrested a Sri Lankan citizen, Suresh, under the National Security Act (NSA), for landing in the mainland without possessing proper documents here recently. The public noticed a mysterious fibre boat on Kuravanthoppu area with the engine removed. The local people had also noticed some persons alighting from the boat on July 23. They informed the police, who launched a search operation to nab the strangers. However they were unable to trace the persons. more..

'In a volte-face, Jayalalithaa started supporting Tamil Eelam'

Sept 24 (Rediff) The issue of discrimination against Tamils in Sri Lanka has recently led to strong protests against Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa as well as some pilgrims from the island nation. India and Sri Lanka will be able to tide over the current wave of protests and manage to maintain their friendly ties, believes Colonel R Hariharan. He is a former Military Intelligence officer and an expert on Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Bangladesh. more..

Malini Fonseka resigns from parliament

Sept 24 (CG) Veteran actress Malini Fonseka resigned from her parliament seat today, the govt information department said. A UPFA National list MP, Fonseka handed over her resignation letter to the Elections Commissioner. Reports said that Fonseka had been requested to resign from parliament to pave the way for former Chief Minister of the North Central Province Berty Premalal Dissanayaka to enter parliament through the National list.

Vaiko flays Congress, BJP on Sri Lankan President visit

Sept 24 (ENS) Launching a scathing attack on both the BJP and Congress for their “insensitivity” towards sentiments of Tamils, MDMK general secretary Vaiko, on Sunday, said if Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksha is invited to the country one more time, he would besiege the residence of the Prime Minister in New Delhi. Addressing a 1,500-strong crowd at the Anna Memorial here after returning from Madhya Pradesh, where he was arrested and later released more..