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'Lack of financial and human resources leave Lanka’s heritage vulnerable'

Dec 18 (DM) Against the backdrop of stealing artefacts even at places like Colombo National Museum and vandalising places of archaeological value, National Heritage Minister Dr. Jagath Balasuriya decried the lack of human and physical resources to run the administration of his Ministry and to conserve the heritage sites for the posterity. After an exhibition on May 16, 2012, as many as 221 more..

Sharp increase in HIV cases cause for concern

Dec 18 (ST) A sharp increase in the number of Sri Lankans infected by the Human Immuno-deficiency Virus (HIV) in the third quarter of 2013 as against the second quarter is causing concern in health circles. Sixty-nine HIV cases have been reported in the third quarter (July-August-September) this year when compared to 46 in the second quarter (April-May-June). The total number of cases in the first three quarters of 2013 more..

Kamalendran’s Smoking Gun

Dec 18 (SL) More than four and a half years after the end of war, gunshots are still not a rarity in the North. The latest incident was the shootout which killed the Chairman of Delft Pradeshiya Sabha, Daniel Rexian, a member of the EPDP. Although this can hardly be termed as a political assassination, there is a fair amount of ‘politics’ behind the incident. In connection with the murder, the police have arrested more..

'Providence smiles on white collar criminals'

Dec 18 (DM) Recently, UNP MP Harsha de Silva raised serious questions about the controversial investments of workers’ savings in the Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) and its financial irregularities. DM interviewed Dr. de Silva with regard to the allegations against the EPF and the govt’s misuse and mismanagement of the retirement fund. Q: What exactly is the EPF and what is its objective? more..

Religious leaders rise to PM's defence

Dec 18 (CT) Leaders of the four main religious denominations, rose to the defence of PM D.M. Jayaratne, claiming that he was innocent of charges relating to the container found to contain the single largest haul of heroin in South Asia, and that a conspiracy to oust him was afoot. Addressing a news conference yesterday at the Sri Lanka Foundation Institute, Vice Chancellor of the Sabaragamuwa University, more..

Ravana,Vijaya, Tissa Hindu kings – TNA MP

Dec 18 (Island) TNA MPs yesterday said, in Parliament, that Sri Lanka was originally a Hindu nation and its national anthem should be sung in Tamil. If Lanka’s national anthem could not be sung in Tamil in the North, there was no point in singing it in Sinhala there. "Sri Lanka is a Hindu country. Ravana ruled this land. He was a Hindu king. The Mahavamsa confirms these facts. Therefore, Hindus’ rights should be protected. more..

Heroin haul: PM, former Speaker trade accusations

Dec 18 (Island) Prime Minister, D. M. Jayaratne and former Speaker Joseph Michael Perera, MP traded accusations in Parliament during the budget debate. The words, ‘heroin dealer’ and ‘drug peddler’ were heard. That prompted Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa to say that it was unfair to accuse anyone of wrongdoing without being found guilty by a court. Earlier, Premier Jayaratne had said that the govt could not stop casinos, liquor more..

Deputy Minister Susantha Punchinilame freed in Ellawala case

Dec 18 (CG) Deputy Minister Susantha Punchinilame was today freed in the Nalanda Ellawala murder case by the Ratnapura High Court. High Court Judge Achala Wengappuli acquitted Punchinilame from all charges in the case while 3 others had also been freed. Susantha Punchinilame, former minister I.K. Mahinda Rathnatillaka, Kodikaraarachchige Punyapaala, Sisira Kumara Weerasekara, more..

10,400 New recruits: Golden era to the ‘Free Health Service’

Dec 18 (IL) President Mahinda Rajapaksa said that his govt has established the Golden Era of the "Free Health Service" and honoured the pledges enthroned in the “Mahinda Chinthana- Bright Future” to protect the Health Service. He made these remarks at the ceremony organised by the Ministry of Health to hand over letters of appointment to 10,400 health service personnel at the Sugathadasa Indoor Stadium yesterday. more..

UDA gets ownership of some 55 acres of Colombo land

Dec 18 (DM) In an effort to improve the productive use of lands, the Cabinet has approved a proposal to transfer some 55 acres of crown land within the Colombo City limits to the UDA on the basis of a free grant. The Cabinet memorandum was submitted on Monday by President Rajapaksa in his capacity as Defence and Urban Development Minister. Accordingly, several blocks of unutilized land belonging to govt institutions more..

Soft diplomacy Vs global juggernaut

Dec 18 (CT) With another Geneva onslaught around the corner, the third in as many years, the govt has launched what is being described as a diplomatic offensive, to counter international pressure over alleged rights abuses during the final phase of the war against the LTTE. The bedrock of the offensive is eight audio-visual presentations, giving what the Army calls, "real facts about the true situation with regard to allegations levelled by Channel 4 and others." The videos have reportedly been more..

Extremism might hinder the process of justice in Sri Lanka

Dec 18 (CT) There have been two disturbing developments this month in respect of the accountability issues and the process of justice in Sri Lanka. The first came from the self-made ‘Transnational Govt of Tamil Eelam’ (TGTE) on 8 Dec 2013, during an assembly held in New Jersey, calling for an international inquiry against the Govt of SL on the alleged ‘genocide and crimes against humanity’ in respect of the Eelam Tamils and not on ‘human rights violations or war crimes.’ more..

WikiLeaks: Sri Lanka appreciated US support in the fight against LTTE

Dec 18 (CT) “Blake and S/WCI Ambassador Rapp met later on September 15 with Sri Lankan Ambassador to the U.S. Wickramasuriya and DCM Tissa Wijeratne to inform them about the upcoming report. Like Bogollagama, Wickramasuriya expressed concern about the impact of the report on relations with the U.S., suggesting that the report would be received badly by the media and public. more..

Expenditure heads of all ministries before SSC from next budget

Dec 18 (Island) Minister, Nimal Siripala de Silva yesterday proposed that the expenditure heads of all ministries should be referred to a Special Select Committee (SSC) before they were taken up for debate in the House from the next budget for the year 2015, so that all the matters pertaining to each ministry's expenditure could be amply discussed. Minister de Silva said that he made the proposal to the Special Select Committee that discussed the expenditure heads of 23 ministries more..

Juvenile delinquency and child abuse: Of 2,437 prosecutions, only 517 convictions

Dec 18 (Island) A total of 2,437 cases pertaining to juvenile delinquency and child abuse had been taken before the courts of law, from the year 2009 to 2012, Justice Minister Rauff Hakeem told Parliament yesterday. Last year alone 830 cases of juvenile delinquency and child abuse had been taken before the courts, he added.Of the concluded cases of juvenile delinquency and child abuse, 168 persons had been convicted in 2009, 273 in 2010 and 76 in 2011. Minister was responding to a question more..

Mangala stirs a hornets nest

Dec 18 (CG) UNP MP Mangala Samaraweera stirred a hornets nest in Parliament today by claiming that he had confidential information a VIP delegation from Israel was in Sri Lanka during the CHOGM. Reading out the details of the private flight in the which the Israeli delegation arrived in Sri Lanka, Samaraweera questioned the purpose of the visit. He also alleged in Parliament that several British MPs, including more..

Sri Lanka stocks close flat

Dec 18 (LBO) Stocks close flat Wednesday with diversified stocks losing ground. All Share Price Index closed 0.12 points lower at 5,811.76, down 0.00%. The S&P SL20 closed 2.16 points lower at 3,191.71, down 0.07%. Turnover was 592.56 million rupees, down from 1.27 billion rupees a day earlier, with stocks of 71 firms closing in the red against 77 gainers. Sampath Bank closed 90 cents lower at 168.10 rupees with off market transactions of 222 million rupees contributing to more..

Fake school teacher arrested

Dec 18 (CG) A teacher from a leading school in Nugegoda has been arrested after it was revealed that he had produced fake certificates to be recruited in 2008. The police media unit said that the teacher had appeared for the interview to be recruited as a teacher to St. Joseph’s College in Nugegoda. Investigations had revealed that the man had produced a fake certificate claiming it was from the Kelaniya University. While he had continued to teach at the school for nearly six years more..

Video: UNP LC won’t wait for Sajith: Hashim

Dec 18 (DM) The UNP Leadership Council would continue its activities towards strengthening the party without waiting for the arrival of MP Sajith Premadasa to the Leadership Council, its member and spokesman Kabir Hashim said. “Mr. Premadasa keeps refusing to join the party’s Leadership Council and he was also unable to mention a reason for the refusal. Although we are trying to get him onboard we cannot more..

North pleads for more health cadres urgently

Dec 18 (Island) Minister of Health for the Northern Province, Dr. P. Sathyalingam, appealed to the govt for an increase in the health cadre. He said there had been no revision of the cadre for over a decade and a large number of vacancies still existed. He said that despite Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena having understood that due to the longstanding conflict, the Northern province had not produced sufficient A-L qualified students, from the Bio stream and had thus allowed students qualified in more..

Two PCS to be dissolved soon

Dec 18 (CG) The Govt informed Parliament today that the Western and Southern Provincial Councils will be dissolved within 2-3 weeks. Speaking in Parliament Minister Susil Premjayantha said the ruling UPFA is confident of winning both elections. He challenged the UNP to try and win the elections on the back of its own internal power struggle. The Minister said that a majority of the people support the UPFA and the alliance has been able to strengthen its voter base in all areas. more..

Sri Lanka to intensify tourism promotion in China next year

Dec 18 (Xinhua) Sri Lanka's tourism promotion arm has tied up with China's "Travel Channel," to promote the island aggressively in China starting from next month. "The Travel Channel," which has an audience of 650 million Chinese, will use a mix of both programs and commercials to help promote Sri Lanka. The agreement to start the proposed campaign was also signed between the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau and more..

Video: Arundika admits talking to customs regarding heroin containers

Dec 18 (LT) He took several telephone calls to a customs officer while the investigations were carried out by Customs regarding two containers of ethanol smuggled into the country admits UPFA Parliamentarian Arundika Fernando. At a political programme telecast by ‘Derana’ yesterday (17th) JVP Parliamentarian Vijitha Herath revealed that UPFA Parliamentarian Arundika Fernando had intervened to get the two containers of heroin released from Customs. more..

Joint timetable for private, CTB buses from January 1

Dec 18 (Island) Amidst allegations that some CTB drivers and conductors were in the pay of private bus operators, the Cabinet has decided on a joint timetable for the State and private sector from January 1, 2014. The decision comes despite objections from a section of CTB workers. It followed a meeting between the Private Bus Unions as well as Chairmen of the Provincial Transport authorities. Minister Keheliya Rambukwella, said that the new arrangement would benefit around more..

Sri Lanka: Most child friendly government in the South Asia

Dec 18 (IL) Sri Lanka has identified as the most child-friendly govt in the South Asian region, according to a new groundbreaking report which measures the child-friendliness of the South Asian govts. This fact has been revealed by the South Asian Report on the Child-Friendliness of Govts compiled by the South Asia Initiative to End Violence Against Children (SAIEVAC) with the help of “Save the Children” and other more..

Arson attack: Police still to find clues

Dec 18 (Island) Police have still not been able to find a clue as to the identities of those who carried out Monday night’s arson attack on two excavators and a tipper truck in the Uppaweli police area. The vehicles, which were parked in the Wilgamvehera area, on the Trincomalee-Anuradhapura main road, to be used in the construction of a new reservoir, had been badly damaged. The damage has been estimated at Rs. 9.5 million. A gang of seven had entered the premises, more..

UPFA to remove UPFA PS rebels

Dec 18 (CG) The ruling UPFA has decided to remove UPFA Pradeshiya Sabha members who voted against budgets in councils headed by the UPFA. UPFA General Secretary Susil Premjayantha, in a statement, said that all the alliance members have been notified about this decision. He also said that when selecting the next Chairman of Pradeshiya Sabha’s headed by the UPFA, the party will pick from those who voted in favour of the budgets. more..

SLC plans big to develop domestic cricket

Dec 18 (DM) Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has devised a comprehensive blueprint to bring the standards of domestic cricket to unprecedented heights and ensure a steady supply stream of talent for the national team. Local officials have already put their plans into action by revising many tournament rules and adding features to the domestic tournament with the aim of lifting the standards of local club cricket into international level. more..

Malaysia arrests LTTE supporter

Dec 18 (CG) The Malaysian police arrested a man while six others surrendered over a crackdown on a NGO which had organised an event in support of the LTTE. Chief of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar said the man who was arrested is now being investigated under Section 4 (1) (a) of the Sedition Act 1948, the Bernama news agency reported. He said police investigations revealed that the NGO had invited the public to celebrate the anniversary of LTTE leader V. Prabhakaran. more..

Keheliya mum on next PM campaigning against incumbent

Dec 18 (Island) Minister Keheliya Rambukwella declined to comment on allegations that the person who was aspiring to be the next Prime Minister, was behind the drug dealer assistance accusations against the incumbent D. M. Jayaratne. When journalists asked the Minister if it was true that the person who was aspiring to be the next PM, had hatched a conspiracy against the incumbent, he replied "I don't know who is trying to fix whom. Please tell me if you have any information." more..

New ID law is sign of govt. working against Muslim community - Salley

Dec 18 (AD) UNP Central Provincial Council member Azath Salley stated that laws preventing Muslim men and women from wearing caps and hijabs for their identity card photographs were signs of the government working against the Muslim community of the country. He said that the Muslim community will have no choice but to engage with the international community regarding the continued agenda against the Muslim community in SL. more..

Warning over Muslim IDP issue

Dec 18 (CG) Minister Rishad Bathiudeen has warned that the Muslim IDP issue will get out of control if it is not addressed soon. A statement by the Minister said that 100,000 Muslim IDPs continue to suffer as humanitarian agencies and even the Resettlement Ministry have turned a blind eye to their plight. Bathiudeen said that when he was the Minister of resettlement he gave priority to resettle some 300,000 Tamil war displaced people despite Muslim IDPs remaining in makeshift camps more..

Lankan honoured by The Queen

Dec 18 (DM) The former Head of the Guard Force at the British High Commission in Colombo Tuan Ismail was awarded an honorary MBE by Her Majesty The Queen in the Birthday Honours List of 2013. The British High Commission in Colombo said that his award was presented by The Prince of Wales at a personal and special ceremony during his visit to Sri Lanka this year. Among those present at the investiture ceremony were a number of important British dignitaries, including Her Royal more..

Sri Lanka to implement National Action Plan on Disability

Dec 18 (GDI) The Sri Lankan govt has decided to implement a National Action Plan on Disability to promote and protect the rights of differently ale persons in the spirit of social justice. The Action Plan on Disability was formulated in collaboration with the World Bank based on the UN convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, World Report on Disability and National Policy on Disability. The National Action Plan has been more..

Trouble in B’desh gives hope to local garment industry

Dec 18 (Island) There were around 7,000 vacancies in the garment industry sector, Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena told Parliament. He said that the govt would welcome the assistance of the Opposition if they could help fill those vacancies. Minister Abeywardena responding to a question raised by Senasinghe said that 160 garment factories had been registered under the Board of Investment from 2005 to 2011 and 40 of them had been closed down. more..

SL women's cricket to tour India next month

Dec 18 (PTI) Sri Lanka national women's team will undertake a tour of India next month, Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) announced today. The women's team from the island nation will tour India between January 14 to 27 for three ODIs and as many Twenty20 games. The selectors today named a 23-member preliminary squad from which the final squad of 14 will be picked up. The preliminary squad features all big names in Srilankan women's cricket in captain Shashikala Siriwardana, more..

323 foreigners in Lankan prisons

Dec 18 (CT) According to the Department of Prisons, there are 323 foreign nationals currently imprisoned in Sri Lanka. Of this number, 306 are males and 17 are females. The 306 males include an Ugandan, Maldivian, Liberian, Syrian, German, Jordanian and a Malian, 2 Nepalese, 2 Afghans, two Turkish nationals, 3 Iranians, 3 Chinese, 3 Filipinos, 4 Israelis, four Ukrainians, 5 Bangladeshis, 8 Nigerians, more..

Return of cultural property to countries of origin

Dec 19 (NS) Shenali Waduge in her article in The Nation headlined “The ‘Right Royal’ looting of China” has brought to light China’s very recent request made to visiting British PM David Cameron to return the tens of thousands Chinese cultural property the British had removed from China in the 18th and 19th centuries. The period was when controversial Manchu reigned. It is not for me to discuss the validity of the Chinese claim regarding the manner in which these cultural properties were removed more..

Restorative justice requires mutual commitment

Dec 19 (SL) Restorative Justice, also known as Reparative Justice, was the concept applied by the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) in the post-Apartheid period. The mandate of the Commission was to bear witness to, record and, in some cases, grant amnesty to the perpetrators of crimes relating to human rights violations, as well as reparation and rehabilitation. The TRC approach contrasted starkly with the punitive method applied at the Nuremberg Trials after World War II. more..

Colombo by Jeep, a novel experience

Dec 19 (SO) Touring Colombo city and its suburbs was a nightmare when LTTE terrorism was at its highest. Not only did the tourist arrivals hit an all-time low but even people living in urban areas were reluctant to come to Colombo for employment or day-to-day activities. But the eradication of terrorism has given a new lease of life to people of all walks of life, irrespective of their ethnic and religious affiliations. more..