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UNP women MPs to the fore in Parliament against abuses

Dec 10 (FT) Four female warriors of the opposition, MPs Chandrani Bandara, Anoma Gamage and Thalatha Athukorala led by Rosy Senanayake shook the house standing for women’s rights and justice. “Poverty, lack of education, poor living standards, collapse of the economy and failure to uphold the rule of law” were identified by these four MPs as key reasons for the increase in violence against women and children and for the more..

Man attempts suicide over FEB failure

Dec 10 (DM) A person from Anuradhapura attempted suicide by taking poison in front of the Sri Lanka Foreign Employment Bureau at Battaramulla. He had a grouse against the authorities for ignoring his requests to get his foreign-employed wife back to Sri Lanka. He was admitted to the Thalangma Hospital and transferred in critical condition to the Colombo General Hospital. His sister said that about four months ago her brother informed the Foreign Employment Bureau that more..

Sri Lanka tourist earnings up 26% to October

Dec 10 (LBO) Sri Lanka has earned 996.2 million US dollars from tourism services in the ten months to Oct 2013, up 26% from a year earlier. Tourism arrivals rose 16.8% to 904,015 in the same period. Last year Sri Lanka was estimated to have earned 1,038 million US dollars from tourism up 25.1% from a year earlier with 1,005,605 tourists coming to the island. This year Sri Lanka targeted 1.2 million tourists with an ambitious 1.5 billion US dollars in revenues. more..

Ahoy Achchuveli!

Dec 10 (FT) Come early 2014, the former combat zone Jaffna is likely to be economically vibrant when the first phase of the fully fledged and landmark Achuchuveli Industrial Zone opens for business. Ministry of Traditional Industries and Small Enterprise Development along with the Industrial Development Board (IDB) yesterday extended an open invitation to interested investors and industrialists to benefit from the new more..

Triple murder case: All 8 accused acquitted

Dec 10 (DN) Panadura Provincial High Court Judge concluded the trial of the Horana triple murder case and acquitted all eight accused who stood indicted with committing a triple murder at Illembe area in Horana on April 20, 1995. Kudamannage Premadasa alias Raala, Kudamannage Dharmadasa, H. Kumaradasa alias Jamthuwa, Wannige Dharmadasa alias Burubande, Dhammika Pushpakumara, Wannige Sirisoma and Wannige Julliyas were the accused in this case. more..

Colombo night races take place on Dec 15

Dec 10 (GDI) The 2013 edition of the highly-anticipated Colombo Night Races, the premier event in Sri Lanka’s racing calendar, will take place on 15th December 2013 with the qualifying rounds to be held on 14th December 2013. The Colombo Night Races 2013 is organised by the Carlton Motor Sports Club in conjunction with the Asian Motor Racing Club (AMRC) and Sri Lanka Racing Riders Associations (SLRRA) and Sri Lanka Association of Racing Drivers & Riders (SLARDAR). more..

Parliament finds cause for presence of snake

Dec 10 (Island) A parliamentary investigation into an incident where a reptile was found in the Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe’s office has concluded that the snake had arrived inside a flower pot and recommended that a suitable chemical be used in the plants nursery regularly to keep away insects and reptiles. The report compiled by Sergeant-at-Arms of Parliament Anil Samarasekera was submitted to the more..

Ven. Sobhitha Thera says I'm no common candidate

Dec 10 (CT) Chief Prelate of the Kotte Sri Naga Viharaya, the Most Ven. Maduluwawe Sobhitha Thera, denied that he was the common Opposition Presidential candidate at the next Presidential Election. He was responding to a question posed by this newspaper yesterday, following speculation via the electronic media, that he would be the Opposition Presidential candidate. "There is absolutely no truth in any of the news reports which had appeared in any of these websites," more..

Mandela, an example for leaders of countries divided by conflict: TNA

Dec 10 (FT) Mourning the passing of former South African President and freedom fighter Nelson Mandela, the TNA Leader R. Sampanthan said the iconic leader was a source of strength and inspiration to all oppressed people all over the world. “He sacrificed his entire life to achieve equality and justice for everyone in South Africa, irrespective of colour, race or creed. He liberated his people and achieved for them the true benefits of genuine democracy,” Sampanthan told Parliament more..

Police draw blank on Noori terror inquiry

Dec 10 (DM) A solitary Police constable was interdicted and 13 other police officers including a chief inspector charge-sheeted at the conclusion of the investigations into the conduct of police officers of the Deraniyagala Police Station during the alleged ‘era of terror’ unleashed by former Deraniyagala PS Chairman and his political cohorts. Not a single senior police officer who was in charge of the area during the past decade had more..

Police to gather evidence on extortion gangs

Dec 10 (Island) The police were scheduled to record a statement from Ven. Uvathenne Sumana Thera, who revealed that a gang in the Pettah had been demanding protection money from the Bodhirajaramaya, in the Pettah, which was engaged in chanting ‘Seth Pirith’. Thera revealed the details about the extortion racket at a press briefing. SSP Ajith Rohana said that after recording the Ven. Sumana Thera’s statement, the police would act to bring the extortionists to book. more..

Pettah fire: Sabotage ruled out

Dec 10 (DN) Officials investigating the fire at several shops along Bodhi Raja Mawatha, Pettah on Friday evening, ruled out sabotage. Officers of the Govt Analysts Department and Police expressed this view after conducting investigations. SSP Ajith Rohana said the fire gutted over 100 shops while officers of the Pettah Police and the Colombo Criminal Investigation Department recorded statements of about 60 persons. Govt Analyst Sarath Gunathileka also visited the scene. more..

LPL Chairman Sandagiri removed

Dec 10 (Island) Retired Navy Commander Admiral Daya Sandagiri has been removed from the Chairmanship of Lanka Phosphate Ltd. (LPL) over the controversial purchase of a phosphate fertilizer grinding machine from China at a cost of Rs. 560 million. The UNP recently claimed, in Parliament, that LPL had imported a paddy milling machine from a mill in China at a cost of Rs. 560 million and commissioned it at the more..

Corruption in education sector

Dec 10 (DM) There is a vast gap between popular schools in major cities and small schools in remote villages in the country, with some popular schools having even swimming pools while the children of remote schools don’t even have access to drinking water to quench their thirst. This was why the late C.W.W. Kannangara as Education Minister started 54 Central Colleges around the country in 1940s with a view to absorbing at least the cream of those underprivileged schools more..

Water-tight patriotism

Dec 10 (DM) Most people today appear to have taken fresh water for granted despite the continuing crisis over drinking water in many parts of the country including Ratupaswala. In some other parts of the country also people struggle or walk several kilometres to get some fresh drinking water while cultivators in some parts of the country are often without water for cultivation. The water situation in the Northern Province is reported to have reached a crisis point with tens of thousands of more..

'Budget is just a piece of paper'

Dec 10 (DM) Tilvin Silva, the General Secretary of the JVP, discusses the future political challenges of his party and preparations to counter them in the aftermath of an electoral setback. Also, he foresees an international crisis triggered by what he called the govt’s shortsighted and immature way of handling foreign relations. Q: What are your views on the annual budget being debated in Parliament these days? more..

CEB on a coal spree

Dec 10 (SL) It is highly strange that at a time when much of the world is now switching to renewable and other clean energy options on a vast scale, and to increased energy efficiency, the CEB apparently continues to propose increased dependence on coal through to 2030. With the proposal to build more coal power plants, Sri Lanka will no doubt face many environmental implications in time to come. more..

Questions mount over felling of trees to pay EPF, ETF dues

Dec 10 (ST) Environmentalists and trade unions are concerned over proposed plans to fell over 60,000 trees for timber to raise funds for the outstanding EPF, ETF and gratuity payments in state run plantations. The three state sector plantations, Sri Lanka Plantations Corporation (SPC), Janatha Estate Development board and Elkaduwa Plantion, in the central highlands border the main watershed areas of the country. more..

MR accommodates Paba’s circuit bungalow proposals

Dec 10 (DM) Actress turned Parliamentarian Upeksha Swarnamali told Parliament that President Rajapaksa accepted two of her three budgetary proposals including the one to establish five circuit bungalows in the country for the benefit of artistes. Speaking during the debate on the expenditure head of the Women’s Affairs Ministry, Ms. Swarnamali, who crossed over from the UNP and is better known as ’Paba’, more..

Lankan worker rejects paltry compensation

Dec 10 (AN) A Sri Lankan worker who lost his leg while working refused Monday to accept SR5,000 as compensation from his Saudi sponsor. Ruwan Herath, 29, suffered a serious accident while driving a vehicle without headlights. He claimed his sponsor forced him to drive the vehicle at midnight even though he knew that the headlights were not working, Herath alleged. The worker said that the sponsor wants to more..

India continues secret military ties with SL

Dec 10 (ENS) India’s diplomatic relations with Sri Lanka may face rough weather due to pressure from political groups in Tamil Nadu, but its defence ties would continue as usual through joint training, sharing of warfare expertise and military exchanges. Indian Defence Ministry sources say that “political diplomacy with Sri Lanka may go through its pulls and pressures from political parties in Tamil Nadu, but military ties would not more..

EU calls for more progress

Dec 10 (CG) The European Union (EU) Delegation in Sri Lanka today urged the Govt to take further action to implement the recommendations in the LLRC Report in order to ensure justice and meaningful reconciliation. Issuing a statement in agreement with the EU Heads of Mission in Sri Lanka to mark world human rights day, the EU said that in Sri Lanka, there have been significant improvements since the end of the conflict, more..

Canada assures justice on Lanka

Dec 10 (CG) Canada says justice will be served in Sri Lanka over allegations of human rights abuses and the Canadian Govt will look to work with the Tamil community in Canada to achieve that goal. Canadian ruling party Brampton-Springdale MP, Parm Gill, said the Sri Lankan government has failed to uphold the Commonwealth’s core values, which he says are cherished by Canadians. more..

Thavisha Peiris killing: 'World destroyed' by stabbing

Dec 10 (BBC) Six weeks after Thavisha Peiris was stabbed to death in Sheffield on his final shift as a pizza delivery driver his mother Sudarma Narangama is a long way from coming to terms with his death. "I feel like the whole world has been destroyed," Mrs Narangama told me. "It was hard bringing him up, it was a lot of love and sacrifice, all wiped out, now we have no hope for the future." Mr Peiris, 25, had studied at more..

US to keep close watch on Lanka's Human Rights record

Dec 10 (PTI) The US is keeping a close tab on Sri Lanka to see that it develops a credible justice mechanism to address allegations of violations of international human rights and humanitarian law, a top American official has said. "We do also continue to be concerned about on going issues regarding restrictions on freedom of the press and expression, on the erosion of the rule of law and violence against religious minorities," more..

PAFFEREL requests for PC elections on same day

Dec 10 (CT) The People's Action for Free and Fair Elections (PAFFEREL) says it has made a written request from all political parties and the Election Commissioner to take necessary action to hold the forthcoming Western and Uva Provincial Council Elections on the same day as it could save a considerable amount of money for the govt. It could also minimize the waste of manpower which could be also a loss to the govt, its executive Director Rohana Hettiarachchi said. more..

Who is the King: A few episodes from Fransisco-sization

Dec 10 (CT) Governor in the Sri Lankan Provincial Councils (PCs) structure is a much respected personality. Governor DB Wijetunga elevated from the Governorship to Prime Minister and finally to Presidency. In recent times Governor GA Chandrasiri, a king-pin in eliminating terrorism has been in the news more than others. At the inception of PCs Parliamentarians were chosen to become Chief Ministers (CMs) but later locally emerged leaders succeeded. more..

Daily Mirror Cartoon

Senasinghe denies plans to join govt

Dec 10 (Island) Amidst speculation that Colombo District UNP MP, Sujeeva Senasinghe was planning to cross over to the government, he said that it would not happen even over his dead body. Senasinghe, when asked about the rumours that were circulating told The Island last night that he was in politics because he loved the UNP and not politics. "I have a good future in the UNP and will not join the Rajapaksa regime; it will not happen even over my dead body," he stressed. more..

Contaminated petrol damages 19 vehicles

Dec 10 (DM) At least 19 vehicles experienced technical problems resulting from the petrol pumped at the newly opened Menikhinna filling station, police said. The CPC Area Manager said the stock of petrol might have been mixed with water and measures were being taken to remove the water from the petrol. He confirmed that the petrol issued by the Corporation was in keeping with the accepted quality standards and that the contamination had occurred at the filling station. more..

Salvatorian Sisters celebrate 125 years of service

Dec 10 (AN) The Sisters of the Divine Saviour serve in Sri Lanka and around the world in different capacities. Some are nurses or teachers; others are school administrators and catechists and much more. Yesterday, the feast day of the Immaculate Conception, the congregation celebrated 125 years since its founding, and 60 years since the first Salvatorian Sisters arrived in the island formerly known as Ceylon. more..

Sri Lanka rupee slips from over 6-wk high on importer dlr demand

Dec 10 (Reuters) The Sri Lankan rupee ended slightly weaker on Tuesday, slipping from a more than six-week high on mild importer dollar demand, dealers said. The spot rupee ended at 130.80/85 per dollar, a tad weaker from Monday's close of 130.80/81, which was near a level last traded on Oct. 25. "There was mild importer demand. But overall, the market saw dull trade," a currency dealer said. The currency has gained nearly 0.4% in seven straight sessions through Monday. more..

Sri Lanka mourns and it is for real

Dec 10 (CT) Today and tomorrow, the national flag would fly at half mast in all ministries, govt departments and offices, as the nation mourns the passing of probably the greatest statesman of our time, Nelson Mandela, who died last Thursday. President Rajapaksa will fly to Johannesburg in the coming days to pay his last respects to the anti-apartheid icon and the first democratically-elected President of South Africa, whose fortitude and magnanimity in the face of oppression, more..

UNP doubts PM involvement

Dec 10 (CG) UNP today raised doubts over Prime Minister D.M Jayaratne being involved in drug smuggling in Sri Lanka. Speaking in Parliament, UNP MP John Amaratunga said that the PM is known to be a respectable politician and so it is hard to imagine him being involved in such activities. He also raised concerns over calls by the JHU to arrest the PM over an alleged letter said to have been sent by a close associate of the PM more..

Akashi to meet TNA for talks

Dec 10 (CG) Representative of the Govt of Japan for Peace-Building, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction in Sri Lanka, Yasushi Akashi, who met President Rajapaksa yesterday will meet the TNA today. Akashi will meet the TNA delegation led by R. Sampanthan for talks tonight at the official residence of the Japanese Ambassador in Colombo. The TNA delegation is expected to raise concerns with the Japanese envoy over issues faced by Tamils in the North, particularly land issues and more..

'Struggle for 6% has not been abandoned'

Dec 10 (LT) “As university teachers we requested 6% of GNP for education. We carried out struggles for this for years. We have not given up this struggle. The struggle is still going on,” said Senior Lecturer of University of Ruhuna and Committee Member of Federation of University Teachers’ Associations (FUTA) Jinasena Hewage. He said this participating at a meeting held by the organization to protect external graduates at Matara. Speaking under the theme ‘Protect External Degree’ more..

Katunayake-Colombo Expressway: SLTB pricing itself out of competition

Dec 10 (Island) Those travelling in SLTB buses operating via Katunayake-Peliyagoda expressway are forced to pay extra. SLTB buses operating between Negombo and Colombo charge Rs. 35 extra from each passenger while those travelling from Katunayake to Colombo are compelled to pay Rs. 20 extra. SLTB passengers leaving Negombo and Katunayake are charged Rs. 150 and 130, respectively while more..

'Not only engines, the who department runs without a driver'

Dec 10 (LT) The Department of Railways is in a sorry state due to politicians and their henchmen, who have no knowledge or ability, taking decisions regarding all affairs of Railways in the country states the General Secretary of All Ceylon Railway General Employees’ Union Sumaathi Pala Manawadu adding that administration, financial discipline and operations in the Department have been subjected to a severe breakdown. General Secretary of the All Ceylon Railway General Employees’ Union more..

UNP rebels want Mangala as UNP CM candidate

Dec 10 (Island) Matara District UNP MP Mangala Samaraweera should contest the next Southern Provincial Council (SPC) Elections as the UNP’s Chief Ministerial Candidate, a spokesman for the UNP rebel group said. Maithri Gunaratne said that Samaraweera, who was a member of the Leadership Council and UNP District Leader for Matara, should be the candidate for the CM post if he wanted to help his leader Ranil Wickremasinghe increase the vote base in the South. more..

Sri Lankan-based app for children finds a home in Kitchener

Dec 10 (TR) Using three small plush toys — a cow, a rabbit and a duck — young children enter a magical world on their parents' tablets and learn about rational thinking, problem solving, numbers, colours and shapes along the way. Welcome to Qboo — the brainchild of a startup called Kreyonic, which has roots on the other side of the globe. Lahiru Priyadarshana and his co-founders, Dasun Kulathunga and Amani more..