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Sri Lanka stocks close higher

Dec 9 (LBO) Sri Lanka stocks end greener Monday with index heavy stocks gaining amid a broad sell-off in the overall market in thin trade, brokers said. Turnover was 332.30 million rupees, down from 779.81 million rupees last Friday, with stocks of 87 firms closing in the red against 79 gainers. All Share Price Index closed 11.06 points higher at 5,821.30, up 0.19%. The S&P SL20 closed 11.21 points higher at 3,194.30, up 0.35%. An off market transaction of 77.92 million rupees in John Keells Holdings more..

New UK visa application rule

Dec 9 (CG) From Monday, 16 Dec, all visa applicants for the UK will have to pay their visa fees online in US dollars via Visa or MasterCard debit or credit cards or e-wallet (Skrill), the British High Commission in Colombo said today. As is the current practice, applications will also continue to be completed online with printed copies submitted to the Visa Application Centre in Colombo, along with biometric data. Appointments to hand in the more..

'Intl. mediation in selected nations not bad'

Dec 9 (Island) UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, on Saturday, told Parliament that the international mediation in internal politics of selected nations was not always a bad thing. Wickremesinghe, while condoling on the demise of South African leader Nelson Mandela, said the struggle led by the Mandela for emancipation of black people in his country was amply backed by the international community and its pressure had resulted in changing the apartheid regime there. more..

Cannabis using bus drivers and conductors arrested

Dec 9 (CT) The Kandy Anti-Vice Squad has arrested five employees of a private transport service in Kandy for allegedly using cannabis while on duty. The suspects were arrested at a temporary bus stop under the Central Province Transport Authority in Bogambara, Kandy. 2 drivers and 3 conductors were arrested while using cannabis, while Police also seized 5 cannabis cigarettes from their possession. The arrested persons were employed in buses plying in Diyana and Theldeniya. more..

IMF expresses concern over income tax reduction

Dec 9 (DM) IMF expressed concerns over the recent budget proposal to reduce personal income tax rates, and described it as an act of giving away the money govt badly needed. The outgoing IMF Resident Representative Dr. Koshy Mathai said the govt could have brought more administrative measures to increase taxation revenue through professionals instead of cutting the income tax rates. “We fully agree with the idea of retaining more..

Sri Lanka rupee steady at over six-week high

Dec 9 (Reuters) The Sri Lankan rupee ended steady on Monday at more than a six-week closing high, surrendering early gains as late importer dollar demand outpaced greenback inflows from inward remittances, dealers said. The spot rupee ended at 130.80/81 per dollar, hovering near its highest close since Oct. 25 and hardly changed from Friday's close. It has gained nearly 0.4% in six straight sessions though Friday. Currency dealers said trading was dull as most of the traders more..

Notice issued to Neththikumara

Dec 9 (CG) Vajira Neththikumara, the owner of the Union Place premises where an illegal betting center was operating, has been given notice to appear in Court, the police said today. The police said that a case was filed against Neththikumara over the illegal betting center and the Fort Magistrate had issued notice for her to appear in Court on Jan 13 next year. The illegal betting center operating at Slave Island was raided last month and twelve had been arrested. more..

Ududumbara PS budget also defeated

Dec 9 (AD) Adding to the growing list of UPFA controlled local govt bodies where the budgets have been defeated this year, the budget of the Ududumbara Pradeshiya Sabha has also been defeated by a majority of 1 vote today. The Chairman of the Ududumbara PS, Gamini Bandara presented the budget to the council and the voting was held afterwards. 4 members voted in favor while 5 including a UPFA member voted against more..

Politico’s son-led gang assaults army major

Dec 9 (Island) An army major attached to the artillery school at Minneriya has been admitted to the Anuradhapura Hospital after being assaulted by a drunken gang of seven including the son of a former UPFA member of the North Central Province, on Friday night. Maj. Ruwan Gunaratne was taking his daughter home on his motorcycle from a private tuition class when the suspects were consuming liquor on the road obstructing his path at the Pulleyar Junction/Saliya Mawatha more..

'Good Market' celebrates first anniversary

Dec 9 (GDI) Secretary Defence and Urban Development Gotabaya Rajapaksa visited the 'Good Market' at the Diyatha Uyana on December 05, which celebrated its first anniversary. Good Market' is a weekly event that highlights Sri Lankan products and services including chemical free organically grown fruits and vegetables, artisan food and snacks, fair trade crafts, original art and handmade crafts, natural health and beauty products, non toxic home and garden products, more..

SL draw on World T20 win over Pakistan

Dec 9 (GN) Sri Lanka’s veteran batsman Kumar Sangakkara hopes the memories of his side’s Twenty20 World Cup semi-final win over Pakistan last year will inspire them to victory in the upcoming series in the UAE. The 36-year-old was a member of the Sri Lanka side that beat Pakistan by 16 runs, successfully defending a total of just 139 at the R. Premadasa Stadium last October. The two teams meet again in the UAE for two T20 more..

North PC Minister snubs lion flag

Dec 9 (CG) Northern Provincial Council Minister P. Ingaranesan has decided to snub the National flag saying it does not represent the Tamil people in Sri Lanka. At a function held over the weekend the Provincial Minister of Agriculture, Livestock and Water Supply, who was the chief guest, refused to raise the National flag. Ingaranesan was invited by the organisers of the event at a school in Mannar to raise the lion flag before the rest of the events continued. more..

'Jayalalitha snag in fishermen release'

Dec 9 (DM) The influence of Jayalalithaa Jayaram, the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu was clouding the bilateral discussions between Sri Lanka and India to release Sri Lankan fishermen and their vessels from Indian custody, the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development said today. Deputy Minister Sarath Kumara Gunaratne said discussions were ongoing to release those 207 Lankan fishermen and 39 fishing vessels in the Indian custody for allegedly fishing in Indian waters. more..

Akashi, MR discuss LLRC and reconciliation

Dec 9 (DM) Yashushi Akashi, special envoy of the Japanese govt called on President Rajapaksa a short while ago at the Presidents House. The President's media unit said that the duo discussed a ‘number of matters’ including the LLRC recommendations and the reconciliation process in the country. Following is the full text: Mr. Yasushi Akashi called on President Mahinda Rajapaksa this morning at the President’s House. more..

National Integrity Award completes ten years

Dec 9 (Island) Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL) celebrates the Tenth Anniversary of the presentation of the National Integrity Award today, a press release issued by the TISL said. It said: The event is held every year to coincide with the UN Anti-Corruption Day which is today. The award ceremony will take place at BMICH at 4pm. Through the National Integrity Award, TISL honours and recognises the inspirational efforts of many an unsung hero who work silently and more..

'No practical educational development plan for NCP'

Dec 9 (DN) No practical educational development plan has been implemented in North Central Province except for launching educational programs and various projects to spend the allocations being allocated to the provincial education.Due to this situation the provincial education system has broken and stagnating, North Central Provincial Education Minister K.H. Nandasena said. He said so at a media conference on December 7 at the Anuradhapura National Holiday Resort. more..

‘Muslim students not banned from wearing Niqab’

Dec 9 (CT) The Higher Education Ministry states that there are no rules or regulations prohibiting female Muslim students from covering their faces, despite the Moratuwa University’s recent ban on the Niqab. “Legally, there is nothing against it, so I cannot say what the Moratuwa Uni authority’s reasons for banning it. There is definitely nothing against Muslim students wearing the face-cover as you know- even more..

View from Ritigala - by mahasona

Dec 10 (NS) It was one of the more creative demonstrations organized by a party that appeared to have lost its colorful edge. The JVP’s ‘govi balakaaya’ shall we call it, seemed thin and nothing like the braggadocio indulged in by Tilvin and Co., at Hyde Park the other day. Talk about dressing down. Talk about declining fortunes. Talk about trying to stop diarrhea with a loin cloth, or amude. Lakshman Kiriella says ‘genocide legitimizes separation’. That’s neat. more..

‘Extremism or moderation?’

Dec 10 (NS) On 26th of Nov. my colleague Hon. Sritharan, made a speech in this House. He made certain remarks in his speech and for the next two days running almost every Member who spoke referred to his speech as they started speaking. I could sense the sense of aggression in their voices in retaliation to perhaps some of the sentiments expressed. But what bewilders me is that the Hon. Member from Jaffna was allowed to speak without any interruption. more..

A hands-on monk recalls

Dec 10 (ST) He is the Loku Hamuduruwo of the temple. He is the Sangha nayaka of the Malwatte Chapter of the Siyam Nikaya in the Western Province. He has been conferred the title ‘Darshana Visharada’, equivalent to a doctorate, by the Asgiriya Chapter. Yet to everyone he is Podi Hamuduruwo. That is how the ‘dayakas’ started addressing him 59 years ago when he was ordained. He was then 11. On Dec 14, he reaches 70. more..

Regime change not a viable solution ?

Dec 10 (CT) The 1987 Indo-Lanka accord recognized the North East of the island of Sri Lanka as the hereditary land of the Tamil people. Under internationally agreed arrangement, the North and Eastern provinces were merged as one administrative unit. Unfortunately less than a year after Mahinda Rajapaksa was elected as President, the merger of the North and Eastern provinces was brought to an end on 16 October 2006, after systematic manipulation. more..

Mandela, ethics and emancipation

Dec 10 (CT) The great Sri Lankan editor Tarzie Vittachi, who preferred Jung to Freud, used to say that “everything is about something else”. So it is with the obituaries of Nelson Mandela. What is said by the western liberals and their pro-western Lankan epigone is not as important as what is left unsaid. The eulogies for Mandela have gutted him and turned him into a stuffed figure. What has been gutted is everything that goes against the Western liberal cosmopolitan consensus. more..

Why dig into bitter past, says KP

Dec 10 (SO) Kumaran Pathmanathan alias KP the chief arms procurer of the defeated LTTE outfit now leads a life with children affected in the conflict in the centre of Kilinochchi. He established the Chencholai children's home in January this year to look after war affected children in the North. In an interview, the soft spoken KP exchanged views about the situation in the North and the various attempts to make political more..

Let freedom reign; death of a truly great man

Dec 10 (ST) Touching the bars of the cell within which the late Nelson Mandela, who passed away this week aged ninety five years, was imprisoned on Robben Island was an unforgettable experience some years ago. The claustrophobic spaces within which Mandiba, as he was known to his people, spent years unjustly confined by a racist white apartheid regime, spoke to his endurance and most of all, his incomparable humanity. Unsullied by this torment, he led his beloved country more..

In search for that elusive solution

Dec 10 (SL) For weeks on end the cry of ‘CHOGM’, ‘CHOGM’ has been assailing our ears and annoyingly it is continuing. In the mornings as we wake up, those glib news readers on TV are working themselves up to a high pitch on CHOGM, probably under the delusion that the very existence of the Sri Lankan nation hangs on this CHOGM. As we open the morning’s newspapers, in the inside pages, patriotic defenders of the nation and of course, the Rajapaksa faith, lambast Harper, Cameron, more..

NOC turmoil: Are individuals holding sports to ransom?

Dec 10 (ST) Could sports survive without politics or if one looks at the equation from another angle, could sports be entirely void of politics – well the answer could be quite tricky. Just delve into the past and the very Olympic philosophy. Take for instance, Marathon, an integral part of the modern day Olympics. The legend says the name Marathon is derived from the story of Pheidippides, the Greek messenger. It says he was sent from the more..

South African assistance is best alternative to international investigation

Dec 10 (Island) There has been speculation that the govt will soon be setting up a Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) on the lines of the one made famous by South Africa after its transition from apartheid to democratic governance. Government sources have disclosed that the possibility of South African assistance to Sri Lanka was discussed by President Mahinda Rajapaksa and South African President Jacob Zuma on the sidelines of the CHOGM last month. more..

Johnson & Johnson expands Business

Dec 10 (Island) Johnson & Johnson Sri Lanka recently announced the relocation of its business premises to No. 46, Vauxhall Street, Colombo 2. The company has been operating from its offices located at CIC House for the past 40 years and is now moving to a larger space in order to prepare for the expansion of its product portfolio. Varun Das, Country Manager for Johnson & Johnson Sri Lanka and Maldives said, "We have been providing the Sri Lankan population with a variety of more..

Pak v SL: Friendly foes await Sri Lanka

Dec 10 (CI) In Sri Lanka's fickle cricketing landscape, Pakistan have lately been viewed as one of the friendliest foes. Sri Lanka fans' admiration for Pakistan's cricket has been founded on shared ground. Most obviously, there is resemblance in cricketing philosophy; Lasith Malinga and Sohail Tanvir are products of their unique milieu, but it is not difficult to imagine a round-arm slinger emerging from Rawalpindi, more..

Sylvester Dias: Laughter always surrounded him

Dec 10 (Island) Sylvester Dias (1937–2013) was always known as Sylvester, or simply Dias, and there wasn’t a more lion-hearted cricketer in his time be it with ball or bat. He gave his all to the game. His recent demise would be mourned by all who knew him, and especially with whom he played cricket with or against. A medium fast right-arm bowler he had a long-run up and slung them down with all the energy and spirit at his command. As a batsman it took some digging to prise him out. more..

LAUGFS introduces electronic Gas injection technology

Dec 10 (Island) LAUGFS Holdings recently introduced a new Petrol-Gas bi-fuel injection technology, which could be installed in any Petrol vehicle which would reduce more than 40% of fuel expenses, through ‘EGI Hybrid’. The world renowned Electronic Gas injection (EGl) System or Sequential Gas injection system, one of the most state-of-the-art developments achieved in the alternative fuel industry giving owners of Petrol vehicles the choice of running on LPG, more..

Health, insurance sector whistle blowers recognised at National Integrity Awards

Dec 10 (FT) In the land of rising corruption, there were no winners of the National Integrity Awards 2013 edition, though Special Mention Awards were presented to two spirited champions for transparency. This year’s awards ceremony, marking a decade, recognised its past winners of the previous nine years and presented them with tokens of appreciation. The ceremony comes hot on the heels Transparency International last week more..

ATLAS partners University of Moratuwa, invests Rs. 20 mn

Dec 10 (Island) Atlas recently, signed an MOU with the University of Moratuwa to set up a Rs. 20 million research and development laboratory at the University. The decision to set up the R&D laboratory at the University rather than within the company premises was made with the intention of enhancing the opportunities and resources available to local academia in order to encourage, develop and nurture local engineering talent, to compete regionally said Nirmal Madanayake, CEO more..

MRL Corporation starts exploration for graphite in Sri Lanka

Dec 10 (PI) MRL Corporation has started field exploration on initial targets at Wallagala in Its Warakapola graphite project, after executing land access agreements. It has also started a preliminary environmental impact statement on the initial exploration target areas, which cover about 42 hectares. The company is undertaking a Very Low Frequency Electromagnetics survey at 25 metre centres along transverse lines over the initial area of interest. more..

Monetary Board says “all is well” in X’mas review

Dec 10 (FT) Perhaps enhancing cheer for the festive season, the Monetary Board yesterday indicated “all is well” with the economy prompting unchanged policy rates scenario following the December review. “Several noteworthy, positive macroeconomic developments were reported during the past month indicating that the monetary policy decisions implemented throughout 2013 were timely and appropriate,” the Central Bank said. more..

Editorial: Terrorism isn’t dead

Dec 10 (Island) The govt never misses any opportunity to boast that it defeated Tiger terrorism. It, no doubt, deserves the credit for that feat which, many thought, was unattainable. The war is a thing of the past. But, terrorism is far from dead. The crime rate remains alarmingly high and there is nary a house that hasn’t been burgled. Hardly a day passes without several, if not many, rapes, armed robberies and murders being reported. Prabhakaran may be pushing up daisies, more..

Wigneswaran presents NPC’s maiden budget

Dec 10 (Island) Northern Province Chief Minister C. V. Wigneswaran would present the Council’s maiden budget, when the NPC meets on Tuesday, Council Secretary G. Krishnamoorthy said. Budget debate would take place on Wednesday and Thursday. As the Leader of the Opposition in the NPC, K. Kamalendran of the EPDP, had been remanded and UPFA Member Angajhan Ramanathan was on leave, the Council would be without an Opposition leader to debate the Budget. more..

Launch of the Indian Gallery at Sri Dalada Maligawa, Kandy

Dec 10 (HCI) The Indian Gallery at the International Buddhist Museum, Sri Dalada Maligawa, in Kandy was inaugurated by the Prime Minister D.M. Jayaratne and the Indian High Commissioner Y.K. Sinha on Sunday. The Gallery was inaugurated in the presence of the Most Venerable Mahanayaka Thero of Asgiriya and the Venerable Anunayaka Thero of Malwatta. The inaugural ceremony was also attended by the Deputy Minister for more..

After Terrorist, Santosh Sivan steps into LTTE territory again

Dec 10 (Rediff) 15 years ago, cinematographer-filmmaker Santosh Sivan made a haunting film called The Terrorist, a film about a female human bomb, who sets off to kill Rajiv Gandhi. The director returns to LTTE territory with his upcoming film, an English-Tamil bi-lingual called Ceylon (Inam in Tamil). Didn’t Shoojit Sircar’s Madras Café recently visit the same territory? Says Santosh, "I had done The Terrorist much earlier. It had got an international release, with John Malkovich and more..

Sri Lanka govt turns schools to ICT centres to close digital gap

Dec 10 (FG) Telecommunications Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka (TRCSL) and ITU have initiated a digital inclusion project to transform 33 schools into community ICT centres. The ‘Connect a School, Connect a Community’ project will benefit over 8500 students from remote areas with low connectivity and digital literacy. The project aims to close the digital divide between rural and urban communities, and open up more economic opportunities to the poor and disconnected. more..