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Radioactivity data map of SL ready soon

Dec 19 (Island) The first ever marine radioactivity data map of Sri Lanka would be ready within six months, the Atomic Energy Authority (AEA) said. National Project Coordinator of the AEA’s Life Sciences Division Vajira Waduge said that the AEA had already completed more than 80% of the total project. He added, "We have to complete only around seven places." Waduge said, "Once the sea is calm we will collect the rest of the data more..

LSSP Leader rises in defence of PM

Dec 19 (Island) Lanka Sama Samaja Party (LSSP) Leader and Scientific Affairs Senior Minister Prof. Tissa Vitarana yesterday defended Prime Minister DM Jayaratne, claiming that he was innocent of charges relating to the container found to contain the single largest haul of heroin in South Asia. Addressing the media, he said that a group of people was trying to sling mud at the PM and ruin the country’s image in the international arena. more..

Subway to make Lankan entry in 2014

Dec 19 (DM) The Subway restaurant chain, the largest submarine sandwich chain in the world, will launch its first restaurant in Sri Lanka in 2014. The leading quick-service restaurant (QSR) brand is committed to a rapid growth plan in the island nation and will see restaurants open across the country, giving legions of local entrepreneurs the opportunity to own and operate their own business. “Sri Lanka is a growing market for food more..

UPFA’s support for budget thrills mayor

Dec 19 (Island) The UNP-controlled Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) saw its budget for 2014 approved by a majority of 40 votes at Tuesday’s meeting. Colombo Mayor A.J.M. Muzammil was in a jubilant mood when told The Island that he was very happy that the Opposition UPFA Councillors, too, had voted for the budget with only the JVP voting against it. 49 out the 53 Councillors were present at voting time with 22 UNPers, more..

Resolution on Sri Lanka at UNHRC

Dec 19 (CG) The British Govt says it is looking at co-sponsoring a resolution on Sri Lanka at the UNHRC in March next year. The UK Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office Hugo Swire said that Britain regularly discuss Sri Lanka, including accountability, with a range of other EU, Commonwealth and international partners. He said that in those discussions they are exploring options, including the contents of a more..

Colonization schemes: What did the B-C pact say?

Dec 19 (CT) I am happy to follow the Minister, the Hon. Janaka Bandara Tennakoon, who, I think, in the course of his statement referred to the multifarious problems that exist in the North and the East pertaining to State land. I will be dealing with some of these issues in the course of my speech. Lands, Sir, is a fundamental issue. It has enormous influence on vital aspects of human activity and it is crucial, particularly from the point of view of the affected people, like persons displaced more..

Expulsion is not the answer

Dec 19 (CT) In an effort to rein in the UPFA representatives in the various Pradeshiya Sabhas and Urban Councils who have until now proven to be intractable over the budget votes, the SLFP, the principal partner of the Alliance, on Tuesday warned that all 'nay' saying members would be expelled from the party membership. Barely 24 hours later, five UPFA members of the Dompe PS, in what was a clear case of 'thumbing the nose' at the warning, voted with the opposition, more..

Video: Ravi asks Sajith to join hands for PC elections

Dec 19 (DM) UNP MP Ravi Karunanayake said today he was prepared to contest the elections to the Western Provincial Council (WPC). He urged UNP front-liner Sajith Premadasa to take over the leadership of the Southern Province and pose a challenge to the Govt at the upcoming Provincial Council Elections. “We are having discussions with all political parties on the possibility of contesting the upcoming more..

More business tycoons to be arrested over narcotics

Dec 19 (Island) Investigations have revealed that a gang arrested in connection with a large haul of narcotics at Hikkaduwa has smuggled in around 400 kg of heroin during the last few months. Police sources said that the value of the smuggled heroin was about Rs. 4,000 million. It has been revealed that drugs were smuggled via the southern seas and among those responsible is a key heroin dealer in the country. "Some millionaire businessmen in the country have been involved more..

Sri Lanka stocks close 0.9% higher

Dec 19 (LBO) Stocks close up 0.9% Thursday with tobacco and diversified firms gaining, brokers said. All Share Price Index closed 55.24 points higher at 5,867.00, up 0.95%. The S&P SL20 closed 32.75 points higher at 3,224.46, up 1.03%. Turnover was 567.36 million rupees, down from 592.56 million rupees a day earlier, with stocks of 41 firms closing in the red against 137 gainers. Chevron Lubricants closed 4 rupees higher at 267.20 rupees with an off market transaction of 99 million rupees more..

Sri Lanka exports up 27% in November

Dec 19 (LBO) Sri Lanka's exports rose 27% in November 2013 from a year earlier, with revenues during the first 11 months growing 5.1%. In October 2012, Sri Lanka earned 827.6 million US dollars from exports and revenues for the 11 months were down 6.6% at 8,991.4 million US dollars. The commerce ministry quoting Sujatha Weerakone, director general of EDB said it was talking to the tea industry to take forward a 'tea hub' concept. more..

Lokuge cautions Sri Lanka against blindly adopting treaties

Dec 19 (Island) Minister Gamini Lokuge cautioned the country against the country ratifying all treaties introduced by the International Labour Organization (ILO) without studying them thoroughly. He pointed out that Sri Lanka was still a developing country, which was interested in accepting conventions or treaties introduced by the ILO or other international organisations. The country was in trouble as a result of ad hoc acceptance of so-called conventions and treaties, he said at a media Conference more..

WikiLeaks: Gota requests US law enforcement assistance

Dec 19 (CT) “Highlighting a reduction in civilian casualties as ‘the one thing to improve,’ Sri Lankan Secretary of Defense Gotabaya Rajapaksa requested U.S. law enforcement assistance to address civilian-military issues and improve communication. The GSL has taken measures to reduce civilian casualties in the fight against the LTTE, he stated.” US Embassy Philippines informed Washington. Classified diplomatic cable which details a meeting the US Deputy Secretary more..

Sri Lanka denies buying UK MPs

Dec 19 (CG) The Sri Lankan Govt has denied allegations that it had bought over some British MPs to back the Govt. Making a statement in Parliament, Minister G.L Peiris said that several British MPs had visited the country to see for themselves the actual ground situation in the country. However he insisted that they were not bought over as alleged by the main opposition UNP but were only on a familiarisation tour more..

Sharp rise in early teen pregnancies

Dec 19 (Island) Medical officers of Health, serving in difficult areas, have reported a sharp increase in early teen pregnancies. Health Ministry sources told The Island that in fairly recent times, girls, under the age of 15, were getting pregnant in those areas. Most MOHs had reported a dramatic rise in teen pregnancies, they said. The MOHs had no alternative but to implant the birth control device capable of stopping pregnancies for five years, in those young girls. more..

Parliament fraud mastermind has skipped the country

Dec 19 (Island) Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa told Parliament that the treasurer of the Parliamentary Staff Thrift Society was responsible for a fraud running to millions of rupees and the members of the society were to be blamed for keeping him in that post for nine consecutive years. An investigation was in progress with regard to the fraud, the Speaker said. Speaker made the revelation after UNP MP Thalatha Atukorale made a statement that a fraud running to millions of rupees more..

Sri Lanka to appoint special commission to investigate 11,000 war-disappeared

Dec 19 (Xinhua) An independent committee is to be appointed to investigate the fate of nearly 11,000 people who disappeared during Sri Lanka's brutal three-decade war. The special commission will be headed by a retired High Court judge. Once the investigations are completed the findings will be presented to the Presidential Commission to Investigate Complaints Regarding Missing Persons, its Chairman more..

BJP cadres protesting against attack on Tamil Nadu fishermen arrested

Dec 19 (TOI) As many as 70 Bharathiya Janatha Party (BJP) cadres were arrested in Chennai when they staged a road roko on the Anna Salai protesting against the attack on Tamil Nadu fishermen by the Sri Lankan navy. The Chintadripet police arrested the protesters for blocking the arterial road for about 10 minutes from 10.50am to 11am. The police said the BJP cadres had not obtained permission to stage the protest. BJP members led by its fishermen wing secretary Satish Kumar more..

Fertiliser subsidy cost govt. Rs.36.5 bn last year

Dec 19 (Island) Providing subsidised fertiliser to farmers had cost the govt coffers Rs. 36,456.4 million last year, Parliament was told. Agriculture Deputy Minister YG Padmasiri said that the highest amount of Rs. 5,290.69 million had been spent on providing the fertiliser relief to farmers in the Anuradhapura District, followed by Rs. 3,889.67 million in the Amapara District, Rs. 3,616.81 million in the Kurunegala District and Rs. 3,470.13 million in the Polonnaruwa District. more..

Video: Govt. run by cartel: JVP

Dec 19 (DM) Although previous govts in the country were only aided by drug traffickers, Casino and distillery merchants in past, the present govt was administrated by them, the JVP charged. “The Customs officials nabbed only few kilogrammes of heroin or one barrel of ethanol from govt helpers in past but large number of heroine hauls and many containers with ethanol barrels are detected constantly today proving that this more..

Mitsubishi to supply Sri Lanka’s first HTMS

Dec 19 (TCT) Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd (MHI) has received an order for a highway traffic management system (HTMS) for Sri Lanka, which will be the country’s first, and will also be MHI’s first installation of its full-scale traffic management system for expressways. The system on order is due to be deployed by the end of 2014. The HTMS will be installed on Sri Lanka’s Southern Expressway between Colombo and Galle, a distance of approximately 95km (59 miles). more..

Health Ministry to amend the Quarantine & Diseases Prevention Act

Dec 18 (CT) The Ministry of Health is to amend the Quarantine and Diseases Prevention Act in order to reduce threats posed to public health by persons, goods and animals arriving to Sri Lanka. Minister of Health, Maithripala Sirisena today instructed the officials of the ministry to take necessary measures to amend the Quarantine and Diseases Prevention Act as soon as possible. Siresena noted, the prevailing Quarantine and Diseases Prevention Act has loopholes and it does not give more..

Sri Lanka hosts 'Trilateral Tabletop Exercise 2013'

Dec 19 (MoD) Representatives from Indian and Maldivian Coast Guard along with their Sri Lankan counterparts are attending the Trilateral Tabletop Exercise (TTEX) 2013 currently in progress in Trincomalee. The TTEX began on Wednesday at the Naval complex in the eastern port city. Director General of Coast Guard Rear Admiral Ravindra Wijegunaratne participating as the Chief Guest delivered the key note address. more..

Sri Lanka rupee near 2-month high on remittances, exporter dollar sales

Dec 19 (Reuters) The Sri Lankan rupee rose on Thursday to its highest level in nearly two months on inward remittances and exporter dollar sales, dealers said. The spot rupee ended at 130.70/75 per dollar, its highest close since Oct. 25 and firmer than Wednesday's close of 130.80/85. "There was mild demand for dollars from importers. A state bank bought dollars, but we did not see it as a measure to defend the currency from appreciation," a currency dealer said. more..

Cardinal frowns on external celebration of Christmas

Dec 19 (Island) Head of the Catholic Church in Sri Lanka, Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith said on Sunday he was happy that the people had realised the birth of Christ was a spiritual experience. He said so while observing the cribs on display at a Crib Competition, under the theme ‘If Jesus is born among us today …’, to propagate the correct catechism about Christmas, held at St Peter and Paul Church, Ragama on Dec 14 and 15. The Cardinal said: "Christmas is not an external celebration but more..

Lankans on strike in Saudi return to work

Dec 19 (CT) Around 130 Sri Lankan construction workers, who had stayed away from work for around a week in Saudi Arabia demanding that they be paid the agreed salaries in their contract, are back at work following mediation by the local agent. It is learnt the local agent, who was responsible for sending them to Saudi Arabia, has requested them to get back to work on the premise that they will be paid the agreed salaries. more..

Dy Minister calls for ban on TNA

Dec 18 (Island) Deputy Minister Sarath Weerasekera told Parliament that the govt should ban the TNA, which was propagating the LTTE ideology of separatism even after the defeat of the terrorist organisation. The deputy minister said that the govt should have banned the LTTE proxy party soon after the war ended. "We are paying the price for not banning them then and we made a mistake by not doing so as can be seen clearly now," he said. more..

Get used to flats says Wimal

Dec 19 (CG) Minister Wimal Weerawansa says the public must get used to living in flats owing to the limited land area in the country. Responding to a comment made by UNP MP R. Yogarajan in Parliament today, Weerawansa said that willingly or unwillingly the public, even those in villages, must get used to that lifestyle. Yogarajan said that while there are housing issues faced by the estate community they are not prepared to live in flats as they prefer single housing units. more..

Video: I am innocent -- Amal Perera

Dec 18 (DM) Singer Amal Perera, who was summoned to the police station to give a statement in connection with the missing albino turtle, said that he was innocent and that he had undergone much inconvenience due to this false allegation. “I and my family including my school going daughter have undergone much inconvenience due to this incident. Chandrasiri who is the owner of the turtle hatchery must more..

Some home truths about Grassroots level agriculture

Dec 19 (NS) Two weeks ago, I described some of my experiences as a small farmer in the dry zone, and of the many valuable lessons we (my wife and I) had learnt by interacting with peasant farmers. Today, we focus our attention on bureaucratic impediments stifling small farmer agriculture. Marketing bottlenecks We were perhaps the pioneer soybean farmers in the Mahiyangana area. Our first crop of soya covered a mere half acre of land. It was grown as a rain-fed crop during the Maha more..

Nelson Mandela: Terrorist turned Santa Claus or Liberator of the Oppressed?

Dec 19 (GV) Despite his lifelong commitment to Non-Violence (except briefly against unmanned institutions such as power stations) Mandela was proclaimed a Terrorist by President Reagan, and remained on the Terrorist Watch List under successive Presidents till 2008. Mandela was released from prison in 1990, won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993, and was elected President of South Africa in 1994 while yet on the Terrorist Watch List. In the mean time a process described by more..

Rough landing

Dec 19 (NS) For several years now, the Govt has been undertaking a massive development drive in Colombo and suburbs. Part of this development drive includes moving people from slums and shanties in the city and providing them with permanent housing at apartment complexes nearby. While the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development and the UDA, which are spearheading this drive, are touting this program as a more..

‘Tissa…Tissa’ stopped in the tracks

Dec 19 (NS) Tissa Abeysekara’s biography ‘Tissa…Tissa’ was not launched as scheduled during Tissa Abeysekara’s felicitation ceremony. It was pulled off the press by Tissa Abeysekara’s wife Asanka Abeysekara. Dr. Tissa Abeysekara was a director, actor, script writer, critic, essayist and academic. Coming from the bilingual generation, Abeysekara began his artistic career as a Sinhala short story writer, when he was still a teenager. But he is better known to the English conversant public for more..

Can a single-issue platform win the next Presidential Election?

Dec 19 (CT) Many moons ago, this writer in his column dated 28 September 2012 wrote thus: "However much the Opposition in general or the United National Party in particular, tries to dislodge the present incumbent regime they will not succeed unless and until they find a game-changing issue. If an issue is found that has the potential for changing the game, the issue itself will find a leader to lead the followers towards the change that is so desired." Nothing has changed in substance since more..

NAQDA to promote domestic level aquaculture exports

Dec 19 (SO) The National Aquaculture Development Authority (NAQDA) plans to promote shrimp, sea cucumber and ornamental fish farming in domestic level targeting export market, NAQDA Chairman Jayantha Chandrasoma said in an interview. Farming of these pieces will help improve the economic standard of rural community, Chandrasoma said. Chandrasoma said that NAQDA did not fail to address the protein shortage more..

The coming of the Indian Army

Dec 20 (CT) There is still a lack of clarity about the arrival of a large contingent of the Indian Army in Sri Lanka. Mrs. Bandaranaike, the SLFP, MEP and their extremist allies held that the arrival of the Indian troops was an attack on Sri Lanka’s sovereignty and a manifestation of Indian expansionism. In theory, the implementation of the Accord only required a small contingent of Indian troops as observers to oversee the surrender of arms by Tamil groups and the setting up of the Interim Council. more..

Reconciliation and the role of India

Dec 20 (CT) I must admit to being deeply worried about the current state of relations between India and Sri Lanka. I contrast this with the excellent situation that obtained in 2009, when India was the chief component of the protective barrier against efforts to stop us eradicating terrorism from our shores. One might have thought that this was a goal the whole world would have supported, but sadly this is not an ideal world and countries will naturally put their own self interest first. more..

'We've become an opposition within govt'

Dec 20 (CT) Speculations are ripe in the political arena that the JHU has undertaken an assignment to oust the Prime Minister by levelling accusations at him. In an interview, JHU Legal Adviser and Western Province Minister, Udaya Gammanpila, responded to these allegations. Q: Are you trying to make hay while the sun shines? A: What do you mean by that? Q: Has the JHU undertaken an assignment to oust the Prime Minister? more..

Editorial: Drug dealers as lawmakers

Dec 20 (Island) Covering fire for a beleaguered Prime Minister D. M. Jayaratne under pressure to resign over a letter issued from his office seeking a demurrage waiver for an importer who turned out to be a heroin smuggler has come from unexpected quarters. No sooner had Chief Opposition Whip and UNP MP Joseph Michael Perera hurled abuse at him in Parliament than UNP MP Mangala Samaraweera defended him in the House. The UNP seems divided over the issue. more..

Global Compact Network Lanka amongst the world’s best

Dec 20 (ST) Global Compact Network Sri Lanka was recognised as one of the Top Ten local networks from over 100 local networks worldwide. The Local Network Award was presented at the Global Compact Leaders Summit in New York recently by the UN Global Compact Office. The award recognises the contribution of networks to the development of others through communication and collaboration and to sharing and replication of best practices and knowledge amongst networks. more..