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Calamander Group increases initial investment to 1.35 Billion LKR

Dec 16 (Island) Unawatuna Beach Resort (fondly known by Sri Lankans as UBR), one of Sri Lanka’s oldest and most popular beach resorts, was re-launched as Calamander Unawatuna Beach at a gala event held yesterday.  The Singapore-based Calamander Group, who bought the hotel in Oct 2011 for close to one billion LKR, has since completely rebuilt the entire set of original buildings, infrastructure, and restaurant; investing a further 350 million LKR in the redevelopment. more..

'Dated ultimatums from EU laughable'

Dec 16 (DN) For 30 years (Sri Lankan) state actors defended the rule of law against non-state actors who terrorized an innocent population, using them at times as human shields, Nirj Deva, member European Parliament told the EU Parliament recently, participating in a debate on Sri Lanka. He added: “Sri Lanka became a universally franchised democratic state far earlier in 1928 than 19 out of the 28 EU member states more..

Executioners deemed to have vacated posts

Dec 16 (CT) The Department of Prisons, which had terminated the services of two recently recruited executioners who had failed to report to duty regularly, is now a dilemma over the vacant positions as it cannot appoint new recruits without the recommendation of the Public PSC. Commissioner General of Prisons, said that the two executioners do not report to work regularly. “We have formally informed them that they are deemed to have vacated their posts,” more..

Leadership Council flayed in Kegalle

Dec 16 (CT) Adding another twist to the crisis in the UNP, a discussion held between the UNP Leadership Council (LC) and the Kegalle District Party activists, was called off, after a heated situation arose. The media had been barred from the discussion which was held at the house of UNP MP, Kabir Hashim, at Ambanpola. The Chairman of the LC, Karu Jayasuriya, had presided at the discussion. United Bhikkhu Front (UBF) Adviser, Ven. Girambe Ananda Thera, MPs Ruwan Wijewardane, more..

'Local govt. budget defeats no swing to UNP'

Dec 16 (Island) Minister Dullas Alahapperuma said that the recent budget defeats in several pradeshiya sabhas were the signs of those local govt bodies becoming more democratic than ever. Minister, participating in the third reading stage, of the Budget 2014, said: "We are injecting democracy to the local govt bodies. The defeats of budgets are the first signs that they are becoming vibrant and more democratic," more..

Three killed in collision with SPs car

Dec 16 (Island) Three persons were killed when the car in which Puttalam SP Sudath Nagahamula was travelling crashed into an overturned three wheeler at Sembetta, Madurankuliya around midnight on Saturday. The deceased were Milan Prasanna (27) Srimal Madusanka (26) and Wayantha Madusanka (26). The police said that the vehicle in which the SP was travelling was moving in the direction of Puttalam and the three wheeler had overturned in front of the car. more..

Price control not enough - GMOA

Dec 16 (Island) Clamping a price control on drugs would not be sufficient. The government should shoulder the responsibility of providing effective, safe and quality drugs to the people at affordable prices, GMOA president Dr. Anuruddha Padeniya said. He pointed out that a majority of poor patients had to bear the brunt of price escalations in drugs created by multinational drug companies. The govt was aware that the present Drug Quality Assurance Laboratory was not in a position to more..

Eight bilateral agreements signed between Kenya and Sri Lanka

Dec 16 (IL) The Sri Lankan delegation, headed by President Rajapaksa, held bilateral talks with its Kenyan counterpart, headed by President Uhuru Kenyatta at the State House in Nairobi on 14 Dec. Earlier Kenyan President warmly received President Rajapaksa upon arrival at the State House for bilateral talks. The two leaders shook hands warmly in a physical and symbolic gesture of friendship between more..

Buddha relics brought from Sri Lanka stolen from Cambodian shrine

Dec 16 (AFP) Cambodian police on Sunday said they were searching for a golden urn said to contain relics of the Buddha -- including hair, teeth and bones -- after it was stolen from a shrine. The theft of several small statues and the urn from a mountain shrine in the former royal city of Udong was discovered on Tuesday, according to national police spokesman Kirt Chantharith. The relics are "very important" to Cambodians -- the vast majority of whom are devout Buddhists, more..

Petroleum Minister says he can’t go by world prices

Dec 16 (Island) Petroleum Minister Anura Priyasharshana Yapa said that though the media had highlighted that oil prices had come down in the world market, the govt was not aware of it. "We cannot control fuel prices as we have signed agreements with the suppliers and even if the prices come down in the world market, we cannot change them at our will," he pointed out. Yapa said that fuel prices were open to fluctuation in the Singapore market but they had signed an agreement more..

Sri Lanka launches diplomatic offensive ahead of UN Rights meet

Dec 16 (PTI) Faced with the prospect of a third UNHRC resolution in as many years, Sri Lanka today launched a diplomatic offensive to counter international pressure over alleged rights abuses during the final phase of the civil war against the LTTE in 2009. Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasooriya said some eight video documentaries produced by the army had been dispatched to Sri Lankan missions overseas more..

O! Justice, what crimes are committed in thy name

Dec 16 (DM) One of France’s kings was once asked about the rule of law. His infamous reply quoted for hundreds of years to define dictatorship, was “I am the state”. It is said that he was executed for his vulgar or extravagance arrogance and he was dumped in the garbage heaps of history. Yet most world leaders, with the exception of the legendary statesman Nelson Mandela, seem to have learnt little or care less about the grim warnings from world history. As 2013 draws to a close, more..

Mandela is no more, his legacy lives on

Dec 16 (DM) Born in Mveso, Transkei, South Africa on July 18, 1918, Nelson Mandela, the human rights activist who fought for the rights of humanity, died at his home in Johannesburg on Dec 5, 2013, at the age of 95. Many people have written about this great man in the past and many more will continue to write about him. He has touched so many people in diverse ways. As a young politician I can learn so much from him - his humility and capacity to forgive, his sense of humour and his passions more..

Who exposed commando turned heroin buster?

Dec 16 (Island) The police suspect the complicity of some law enforcement personnel in the killing of police constable Weligama Liyanarachchi Sunil (PC 4930) and his wife, Apsara Samanmali, on Nov. 16, in the Kamburupitiya police area of the Matara division. Formerly of the elite Special Task Force (STF), police constable Sunil was serving in the Matara Division Anti-Vice Squad at the time of his death. more..

Some medicine overcharged by upto 800-1000%

Dec 16 (Island) In a bid to curb drug importers exploiting patients, the govt has decided to introduce a new price control mechanism from next month. For want of a price control mechanism, drug importers have been over charging patients by as much as between 800% and 1,000%, Health Secretary Dr. Nihal Jayathilaka said. Asked whether the govt was taking action to tackle the situation, he said that price controls on more..

'No restriction to run a Casino in my hotel'

Dec 16 (DM) The proposed Casino enterprise has been gathering momentum and has met with strong protests by various quarters while its main protagonist James Packer has been the talking point. Meanwhile, Chairman of the Ranks Holdings Ravi Wijeratne, who claims to be the prime mover of introducing Casino to Sri Lanka gave an interview regarding the issue. Q: You are Ravi Wijeratne? And what is your profession? more..

An early X’mas for ministers?

Dec 16 (SL) Nearly three weeks before CHOGM, on the sidelines of a parliamentary meeting, a group of ruling party members, including several cabinet ministers, was seen discussing about the super-luxury Mercedes Benz cars that were supposed to be in Colombo for the international summit. They were discussing as to what would happen to the 54 Benz cars after CHOGM and some opined that the vehicles more..

Vasu urges govt. talk with NPC to iron out issues

Dec 16 (Island) Minister Vasudeva Nanayakkara told Parliament that he hoped the govt would commence talks with the NPC to iron out the differences between the two institutions of governance at the centre and periphery. He said that there had been no cutting off of funds allocated to the NPC as alleged by the opposition. "As far as I know we cannot rule a country through authoritarian means but consensual means. more..

Ambitious UPFA rebels wreck council budgets

Dec 16 (ST) Local council members exchanged blows, hurled abuse at each other and offered foreign trips to win votes as a number of UPFA-controlled councils struggled to pass budgets. At least 16 local council budgets have been defeated so far and others hang in the balance. On Friday, the Kesbewa Pradeshiya Sabha (PS) budget was defeated by one vote for the second time, with the Vice Chairman joining the six UNP members more..

Knocking each other for a six

Dec 16 (CT) Taking a refreshing break from exchanging verbal barbs in Parliament, Parliamentarians from both sides of the House settled scores by participating in a cricket match at the Torrington ground yesterday. The match pitted a team comprising Ministers and Deputy Ministers against MPs from both the govt and the Opposition. The MPs beat the Ministers to win the Chamal Rajapaksa Trophy presented by the Speaker. more..

Bizarre vanishing of museum artifacts

Dec 16 (DM) As many as 221 artifacts including old coins dating back to Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa eras, ancient swords and the belt worn by Nugawela Adikaram, had disappeared last year after an exhibition conducted at the Colombo National Museum, Parliament was informed recently. The annual report of the National Heritage Ministry, presented to the House last week, detailed out the items stolen from more..

Quit SLFP-led govt - JVP tells JHU

Dec 16 (Island) In the wake of JHU demanding a full scale investigation to prosecute the alleged culprits, including PM D.M. Jayaratne and his aides over the largest even heroin smuggling attempt into the country, the JVP demanded that the JHU’s resign from the ruling coalition. JVP MP Vijitha Herath said that it was a joke that the JHU is shouting against the PM while they are having ministerial portfolios in the same govt. more..

'We succeeded where the Opposition failed'

Dec 16 (CT) Responding to charges levelled by JVP MP Vijitha Herath, against the JHU, which is a main constituent of the govt, Ven. Omalpe Sobhitha Thera said his Party had succeeded in revealing a huge drug-related scandal in the country, while the main Opposition which should have disclosed this incident had failed to do so. JVP MP Vijitha Herath accused the JHU of not quitting the govt in the face of more..

Taking cover behind figures

Dec 16 (CT) The govt has at various forums proudly proclaimed it has succeeded in reducing poverty and that Sri Lanka is fast reaching the state of Utopia where life will be a bed of roses. It has augmented the proclamation with various projections for 2016, among them earnings by way of tourism, estimated to go up to US$ 3 billion, remittances by expatriate workers to increase to US$ 10 billion, growth rate of the economy to advance to over 8% and the GDP per capita to be boosted to US$ 4,000. more..

Nothing can be achieved without moral authority and profound dignity

Dec 16 (CT) Tributes and eulogies pour in; there is little a humble correspondent in this far corner can add except to speak of what his example can do for us. There is not one lesson but two, one for each side. Madiba was a radical activist, a freedom fighter who said liberation was an ideal he was “prepared, if need be, to die for” (20 April 1964: Rivonia trial speech). Crucially, however, he was a freedom fighter who knew when to bury his gun. At the same time, and equally, this was a man who more..

Daily Mirror Cartoon

John requests govt, not to threaten its own PS members

Dec 16 (Island) Chief Opposition Whip John Amaratunga requested the Govt not to threaten and intimidate ruling party members of Pradeshiya Sabhas who voted against their budgets along with the opposition members as they had acted against corruption and malpractices. Amaratunga, participating in the third reading stage debate, of budget 2014, under the expenditure heads of the Ministry of Local Govt and Provincial Councils, on Saturday, said there were media reports that more..

Sri Lanka Airlines bomb threat: Alan Patey to appear in court

Dec 16 (Independent) A 49-year-old man will appear in court today charged over an alleged bomb threat hoax that led to an aircraft being diverted. Alan Patey, of no fixed address, will appear at Chelmsford Magistrates' Court later this afternoon. A 57-year-old man was also arrested after the plane was forced to land at Stansted Airport in Essex on Sept 20. The Sri Lankan Airlines A330 Airbus, which was carrying 267 passengers and crew, was due to land at Heathrow Airport but was diverted to more..

Sri Lankan Tamils issue dominated Tamil Nadu politics in 2013

Dec 16 (PTI) Failure by political parties and organisations to force the UPA govt to boycott CHOGM on Sri Lankan Tamils issue, acquittal of two Kanchi seers in a murder case, gazetting of Cauvery Tribunal award and end of decade-long alliance between DMK and Congress topped the list of major events in Tamil Nadu during 2013. It turned out to be a celebratory occasion for the AIADMK govt when its Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa snapped up more..

PSUNU accuses govt. of stepmotherly treatment

Dec 16 (Island) The govt was accused of meting out step motherly treatment towards the nursing profession. Public Service United Nurses’ Union (PSUNU) general secretary K. Boralessa accused the govt of not allocating adequate funds in the 2014 budget for the nursing profession. He said that more than 23,000 nurses, who were attached to govt hospitals, were disappointed over the govt’s failure to improve their profession. But, the 2014 budget had allocated funds only to more..

Woman, two children found hanging

Dec 16 (CG) The police say they are still investigating the triple deaths in Gandara of a mother and her two young children. Police spokesman SSP Ajith Rohana said that it is yet to be determined if the three people were killed or if they committed suicide. The 29 year old mother and her 9 and 7 year old children were found hanging by the neck in their house at Sirimedura, Kapugama in Gandara last evening. Initial investigations had revealed that while the woman was staying in more..

Video: 130kg of heroin has ‘evaporated’ in police custody - JVP

Dec 16 (AD) The JVP today stated that several incidents had been reported recently regarding the detection of large quantities of heroin imported to the country and there have been political involvements in all of these cases. Such political involvements were covered up and the responsible people were safeguarded through various interferences, JVP MP Vijitha Herath said. In the end the heroin rackets and culture of more..

'Mahinda opposed North and East demerger'

Dec 16 (LT) When former Chief Justice Sarath Nanda Silva had told President Rajapaksa that a decision would have to be given to demerge the North and the East Mr. Rajapaksa had opposed it. This is revealed when Mr. Sarath Nanda Silva responded to a question posed by a journalist of a weekend newspaper in an interview. Journalist asks Mr. Sarath Nanda Silva whether there was pressure when giving the North and East demerger decision to demerge North and East. more..

Millions worth rare albino turtles stolen

Dec 16 (DM) A rare species of albino turtle claimed to be worth over Rs.35 million had been stolen from a private turtle hatchery and research centre Kosgoda last night. The five year old turtle, weighing 9.5 kg and 60 cm in length and 35 cm in width is one of the four such white turtles housed at the center. Owner of the Center said that there was heavy demand for the animal during the past six months and that when the workers had turned up this morning the turtle was missing. more..

SL is world’s top user of agro-chemicals

Dec 16 (Island) Sri Lanka is the highest user of agro-chemicals in the world. It uses 287 units of agro-chemicals per hectare, whereas Myanmar used only eight units and Bangladesh 144 units per hectare, World Health Organization Non-Communicable Diseases Director, Prof. Mrs. Shanthi Mendis, has declared. GMOA General Committee member Dr. Navin de Soysa said that GMOA had held a comprehensive discussion more..

Exam postponed after papers leak

Dec 16 (DN) The exam to admit students to Grade VI at Royal College, Ranabima, Gannoruwa yesterday, was postponed by the Regional Department of Education, Central Province as several question papers had allegedly leaked and were sold for Rs. 20,000. Investigations revealed that the mathematics and IQ papers had been released before the date of the exam. Police using a decoy obtained four packs of question papers paying Rs. 20,000 to a worker at a more..

UPFA politicians on indefinite fast against Geetha

Dec 16 (AD) Southern Provincial Councilor Ajith Prasanna and four Pradeshiya Sabha members have launched an indefinite fast in front of the Elpitiya Bus Stand demanding that Geetha Kumarasinghe be removed from the post of SLFP Organizer for Bentara-Elpitiya. The five politicians had yesterday climbed on top of a parked lorry in the Elpitiya Town and protested against the popular cinema actress while they are currently engaged in a protest fast demanding her removal from more..

Floral tribute to Kenya’s founding father- Jemo Kenyatta

Dec 16 (IL) President Mahinda Rajapaksa paid floral tribute to the father of the independent Kenya- former President Jemo Kenyatta on 13 December. Jomo Kenyatta, the father of current Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, is considered the ‘Founding Father of Kenya’ due to his leading role in Kenya's independence movement. President Rajapaksa was escorted to the mausoleum at the Parliament building in Nairobi by Kenya's more..

Crocodile in exam hall

Dec 16 (DN) A crocodile that sneaked into a GCE (O/L) Exam Hall in Kilinochchi was removed by the supervisor from the examination hall without causing alarm to the candidates. The supervisor noticed the five foot crocodile behind a blackboard before the commencement of the exam. He allowed the crocodile to remain in the hall for three hours until the paper was over. After the candidates left the hall, the supervisor noosed the reptile and handed it over to Kilinochchi Police.

'Certain countries jealous of SL's progress'

Dec 16 (DN) Some Western countries level various allegations against Sri Lanka, not only because the country has successfully defeated LTTE terrorism, which plagued us for 30 years, but, due to the fact that our country is experiencing rapid development and is on course to becoming the Hub of Asia. Sri Lanka Sinha Regiment Wanni Commander and Competent Authority of the Displaced Maj. Gen. Bonifus Perera said. "These countries are jealous of our progress," he said. more..