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CMC embarks on housing for low income earners

Dec 21 (Island) An essential and important development project, to solve the housing problem of low income earners, will be undertaken by the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) in 2014. Colombo Mayor A.J.M. Muzammil said that an action plan had already been framed and work had commenced on the construction of a new housing complex, in the Laundrywatte area, of Slave Island and another is to be built next year. more..

GCE A/L best performers: Galle, R’pura, Gampaha and C’bo district top results

Dec 21 (Island) The Examinations Department released a list of candidates who secured the top positions in the maths, bio science, commerce and arts streams in the recently concluded GCE A/L. Adhitha Weerasiri Dias of Richmond College, Galle obtained the best results in the Maths stream, while Amaya Mahatanthila of Eheliyagoda Madya Maha Vidyalaya secured the top position in Bio Science. In Commerce stream, Erandi Kanchana of Ratnawalee Balika Vidyalaya, Gampaha more..

Ethanol scandal: Johnny offers to resign if allegations are proved

Dec 21 (Island) Minister of Trade Johnston Fernando said yesterday that allegations were made against him, over the past year or more that he was behind the import of ethanol into the country, but those allegations had not yet been proved. Speaking at the opening of a Building Material Corporation (BMC) branch, at the Narahenpita Economic Centre, Minister Fernando said that if anyone could prove those allegations made against him, he was prepared to resign. more..

Pakistan lauds efforts of Sri Lankan govt for combating terrorism

Dec 21 (AAP) Speaker of the Pakistani National Assembly Sardar Ayaz Sadiq lauded efforts of the Sri Lankan govt in defeating the menace of terrorism from its soil. In a courtesy call on with Sri Lankan President Rajapaksa in Colombo, the Speaker said Pakistan and Sri Lanka are historically bonded in a relationship of trust, mutual respect and deep friendship which is manifest at all the phases of their histories. more..

Thalassaemia on the rise

Dec 21 (ST) The number of thalassaemia patients in the country is on the increase with the latest statistics showing 4,924 carriers of this disease, according to details submitted to Parliament. In 2005 there were 2,094 patients on record but since then the number has increased to 4,924 by 2010, Deputy Health Minister Lalith Dissanayaka said. The disease is most prevalent in the Kurunegala, Kandy, Puttalam, Badulla, Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Matale and Nuwara Eliya districts, more..

Ankutta join list of endemic fish

Dec 21 (ST) Sri Lanka is home to four species of Ankutta or catfish. One, scientifically classified as Mystus keletius, has been identified as a species native to both Sri Lanka and India, but new analysis by Dr. Heok Hee Ng and Rohan Pethiyagoda on this species has confirmed the Sri Lankan species is different from the Indian fish and found only in the streams of this island. Mr Pethiyagoda said the new species was widespread in both the wet and the dry zones and found in rivers and reservoirs more..

Rajapaksa calls for home-grown solution for Tamils issue

Dec 21 (PTI) President Rajapaksa has invited main Tamil party leaders, including Chief Minister of the northern province C V Wigneswaran, to join hands with him for national reconciliation rather than looking for a solution from a “foreign nation”. “I invite Mr R Sampanthan (TNA leader) and northern chief minister Mr Wigneswaran to join hands for the sake of peace and national reconciliation,” Mr. Rajapaksa said more..

Keheliya complains of One Shot’s mudslinging during live telecast

Dec 21 (Island) Minister Keheliya Rambukwella requested Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa to bring in provisions to sue MPs who abuse the live broadcast of parliament proceedings to sling mud at fellow MPs. Making a special ministerial statement, the Minister said he appreciated the decision of Speaker Rajapaksa to telecast parliament proceedings without editing. Making use of the opportunity and privilege extended for the people to know what happened in parliament, more..

Pakistan fined for slow over-rate in 2nd ODI

Dec 21 (AFP) Pakistan had salt rubbed into their wounds when they were fined for their slow over-rate during a narrow two-wicket defeat against Sri Lanka on Friday. Pakistan looked on course to win after posting a healthy 284 in their innings in the second one day international in Dubai, but the Sri Lankan tail-enders saw their team home with just two balls to spare. And on Saturday the ICC said Misbah-ul-Haq's team were one over short during the time allotted for the 50 overs. more..

Proud industry collapses

Dec 21 (ST) Nihal Mendis, 47, hangs around the shop of a large-scale furniture dealer who buys his furniture, hoping for a loan to buy necessities for his household. He along with four other carpenters stands there, all waiting for buyers who don’t come to Moratuwa to buy furniture anymore. Less than a year ago business was thriving and Nihal made good money at the trade his family has practised for generations. more..

Scrooge rules Christmas sales so far

Dec 21 (ST) With fewer than 10 days to Christmas, shoppers are mostly keeping a tight hold on their wallets, burned by a barrage of price increases from the Budget. Sales in the last two weeks have been slow although some shops put up “Sale” signs well ahead of the Christmas season for electronic items and household goods. Shop managers are hoping sales will increase next week. Discounts of up to 50 per cent in addition to other promotions are on offer for electronic items, shoes, clothing and toys. more..

Faulty aircon cause of Edu. Ministry fire?

Dec 21 (Island) Initial investigations have revealed that the fire that erupted in the Education Ministry building at Isurupaya, Pelawatte yesterday morning, was caused by a fault in an air conditioner, the police media unit said. The fire broke out, around 8.35 a.m., on the fourth floor where the pensioners’ unit is located. The plastic curtains of the building, where the air conditioner was located had been burnt, but no documents had been damaged, police said. Blaze had been brought under control more..

Rajitha to India soon for talks on nagging issue

Dec 21 (Island) Fisheries Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne will visit India, soon to hold discussions with India’s Union Minister for Agriculture Sharad Pawar. Dr. Senaratne has been invitated by the Indian Central Government to discuss the nagging issue of fishermen, from both sides, crossing into each other’s territories. Dr. Senaratne said, "Once the Indian and Sri Lankan High Commissions make the arrangements for the visit I’ll leave." more..

Protection money for chanting pirith: Extortionists assault Buddhist monk

Dec 21 (Island) Ven. Uvathenne Sumana Thera, Chairman of the National Organisation of Three Wheeler Drivers and the Pavement Hawkers’ Association, has lodged a complaint, with the Police, that an armed gang of extortionists broke into his temple, Bodhirajaramaya, at Maligawatta and assaulted him and members of his society around midnight on Thursday. Ven. Thera said that reason for the assault was his refusal to pay the Rs. 4,000 per day demanded by the extortionists. more..

Albino turtle stolen was to be used for “black magic on a Maldivian politician”

Dec 21 (MN) A Sri Lankan residing in Maldives offered more than US$ 26,000 to buy an albino turtle to use it in a black magic ritual on a Maldivian politician, popular Sri Lankan singer Amal Perera has told Sri Lankan Police. The rare albino turtle had disappeared from the Kosgoda Sea Turtle Conservation Sanctuary on Dec 18. According to Sri Lankan media, the police questioned Perera for three hours after the sanctuary’s owner alleged Perera’s involvement in the turtle’s more..

Int'l drug cartel busted, heroin from Afpak to India, Lanka

Dec 21 (PTI) An international drug cartel was smashed by the Special Cell of Delhi Police with the arrest of three of its members and recovery of nine kg of heroin with street value of Rs 30 crore. Venugopal Reddy (29), a resident of Cuddapah district of Andhra Pradesh, Ragmeet Singh (25) and Shurbir Singh (28), both residents of Delhi were arrested recently. Under the racket, several conduits based in Afghanistan and Pakistan push more..

West can’t expect SL to perform miracles

Dec 22 (SO) The SLFP-led coalition govts have ruled the country for almost two decades. The resounding victory of the SLFP-led People's Alliance at the 1994 Presidential election marks its 20th anniversary next year. Sri Lanka has been governed by Executive Presidents from the SLFP completing almost four successive terms. The SLFP-led PA recorded a landslide victory at the 1994 Presidential and General Election the same year, ending 17 years of successive UNP regimes. more..

The many dimensions of artifact theft

Dec 22 (NS) The Archaeological Department has a splendid history. The work of the Department has gone a long way in tracing the history of this nation, piecing together the many story-strands, corroborating the narratives embedded in the less tangible such as folklore and those that are hotly contested such as the written word. Glorious as this history of excavation and scholarship is, what happened to that which was recovered from various sites is a sad story. more..

'Govt can compete with the strongest Opposition'

Dec 22 (SO) Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said the Govt has the capacity to compete even with the strongest Opposition. The Govt's victory does not depend on the weaknesses of the Opposition, but is based solely on its strength and vote base. He said the Govt has expanded its vote base among all communities. In addition, its vote base in the villages and cities have also shown significant improvement. more..

Magnanimity and contriteness essential for national unity

Dec 22 (SL) Reconciliation of estranged couples is quite a formidable task. Reconciliation between estranged communities would be infinitely more difficult. Nonetheless it has been accomplished in the not too distant past between hostile nations after World War II. The reconciliation between the one time aggressor Germany and Western European nations was remarkably quick but reconciliation between the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe took quite a long time. more..

Casino hypocrisy

Dec 22 (Island) We are sorry to say that the govt has been less than transparent about its plans on the mega casinos that, despite all opposition from well-intentioned religious leaders and social activists as well as not so well-intentioned opposition politicians, appear to be going through. A few days ago the Ministry of Investment Promotions published some gazette notices on three mega-projects under the Strategic Development Act entailing investment of US dollars 1.2 billion which is certainly not more..

'Extremists rule the roost'

Dec 22 (SL) Professor Rajiva Wijesinha, who is a national list MP of the ruling party, is a strong opinion-maker in the govt where reconciliation is concerned. He strongly backed the govt’s move to appoint a Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), following the South African model. He termed that such an effort can be construed as part of implementing LLRC recommendations. more..

Heroes, heroines and heroin

Dec 22 (ST) Last Wednesday was the International Day of the Migrant Worker. Sri Lanka has more than a million migrant workers, many of them women, toiling mostly in West Asia, but also in countries like Italy and South Korea. They must surely be the unsung heroes and heroines of this country today. Their foreign exchange remittances total a staggering average of Rs. 785 billion annually, which is as much as 65% of the total foreign exchange earned by this country. more..

The three sisters of the South

Dec 22 (ST) Dear Geetha, Anarkali and Nadeesha, I thought I must write to you when I heard that all three of you were planning to contest the Southern provincial council elections that are to be held soon. I was told that two of you would be running for the Blues while the other would be contesting from the Greens-and what exciting news this is. Of course, some may find it strange that the elections haven’t even been formally announced; someone has only hinted that they will be held soon. more..

'We remain hopeful': GTF

Dec 22 (SL) With the idea of a South African style Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) being proposed for Sri Lanka, the Tamil Diaspora is keen to see how far such a process will go – if implemented. The Global Tamil Forum (GTF) has been very active on the Sri Lankan issue and has even had talks with the ruling African National Congress (ANC) in South Africa regarding Sri Lanka on many occasions. more..

Social Irresponsibility of tobacco industry

Dec 22 (NS) Recently newspapers reported that the tobacco industry in Sri Lanka was placed fourth among the top 25 Corporates by Business Today Top 25 Awards. It was mentioned that it has contributed significant revenue to the nation, acted responsibly towards the people, environment and the country. Their consistent and substantial investment in social and economic advancement of rural communities was also highly praised and recognized. more..

Political voices of dissent deafen Premier Jayaratne

Dec 22 (NS) Budget 2014 was passed in Parliament on Friday with the govt defeating the Opposition by 95 votes. The entire Budget debate was a winning affair for the govt, from beginning to end. After President Rajapaksa in his capacity as the Minister of Finance presented the Budget in Parliament on Nov 21, it had been debated for seven days from Nov 22 for its second reading. The vote on the second reading was taken on Nov 29 evening and it was passed with a majority of 99 votes. more..

‘Shortsightedness, false accusations are of no use’ – NOC chief

Dec 22 (ST) Hemasiri Fernando, the incumbent President of the National Olympic Committee of Sri Lanka (NOC) reiterated and warned the authorities to fall in line with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) charter or face the consequences. He made it clear that his era in sports administration has definitely come to an end. He expressed his concern on how political interference could ruin sports, more..

UPFA’s local govt. debacle

Dec 22 (Island) The string of budget vote defeats in many local govt institutions controlled by the ruling UPFA has become one of the main political talking points today. Even a statement issued by the ruling party to the effect that those who vote against the budgets of their institutions will be sacked from the party did not halt the trend. The opposition has been hailing this as the beginning of the end for the govt which seems to be falling apart as we watch. To be sure this is a crisis for the govt. more..

Star studded elections

Dec 22 (SL) The SLFP Organizer of the Bentara-Elpitiya electorate, Geetha Kumarasinghe found herself at the heart of a fresh controversy with a group of local govt members of the same party launching a hunger strike demanding her removal. This hunger strike came in the wake of a Coordinating Committee meeting of the electorate where Kumarasinghe was also present amidst the pressure mounted by other members of the committee. The two parties quarrelled more..

Does Sri Lanka need a TRC?

Dec 22 (SL) The Truth and Reconciliation Committee (TRC) established in South Africa, after abolishing apartheid, to heal the country and its people, is generally considered as one of the successful reconciliation process. Of late, the Govt of Sri Lanka (GoSL) has taken interest in studying the recovery process of South Africa, leading many to believe that GoSL is being considerate of TRC approaches in its own national more..

Umar Gul joins ODI squad in UAE

Dec 22 (CI) Umar Gul, the Pakistan fast bowler, will return to international cricket following a nine-month injury layoff, after the selectors included him in the squad for the remainder of the ODI series against Sri Lanka in the UAE. He will join the squad on Sunday, ahead of the third of five matches. "The national selection committee in consultation with the tour selection committee has decided to send Umar Gul to UAE as part of national ODI squad," PCB said. "He will join the team on Dec 22." more..

Battered attacks under scanner

Dec 22 (CI) Two matches into the series, there is little to pick between the sides. As clashes between these two often go, the cricket has been as entertaining as it has been tense. Both innings in the last match ebbed, flowed, stagnated and resurged. In the end, Angelo Mathews' mettle was the difference. Two largely new trends have also emerged. Pakistan have been adept at constructing one-day innings. Since the new rules only allowing four men outside the 30-yard circle was more..

Five SDPs including Krrish still at ‘identification’ stage

Dec 22 (ST) Though Sri Lankans can challenge strategic development projects (SDPs) which include Shangri La, Crown (Casino project) and Krrish when the first gazette is issued, there hasn’t been any such opposition. People are not exercising their right of making written objections or representations regarding such projects due to lack of awareness or apathy, a top govt administrator said, adding that there is transparency in more..

'Skill shortage may impede growth'

Dec 22 (NS) Shortage of skills among Sri Lanka’s labor force is a major bottleneck in the country which, if not addressed, will hamper the economic growth in years to come, the President of the National Chamber of Commerce of Sri Lanka (NCCSL), Sunil G Wijesinha cautioned. Speaking at the AGM of the chamber, he further emphasized on the importance of identifying and fostering new skills, if the country was to enter the efficiency-driven phase of economic development. more..

Open Palaly airport to import trade

Dec 22 (ST) Northern traders are to request the Govt to open the military-controlled Palaly airport and the KKS harbour for trading purposes particularly import export activity. The request was made during a discussion held at the chamber of commerce, in view of the need to speed up economic activity in the north in the post-war development phase. The Chamber of commerce – Jaffna representatives, bank employees and the Northern Province Trade Minister participated more..

British Sri Lankan Forum protests against Cameron’s interference

Dec 22 (Island) The British Sri Lankan Forum - UK has accused Britain’s PM, David Cameron of becoming a ‘virtual representative for the Tamil Diaspora at the Colombo CHOGM conference". Following Cameron’s interference with Sri Lanka’s internal politics during CHOGM, the Forum handed over a petition to the British PM last week. Cameron’s interference in the domestic affairs of another democratic nation was a more..

Govt to reject resolution

Dec 22 (SL) The govt says it will reject any resolution put forward by Britain on Sri Lanka at the UNHRC. British govt said last week it was looking at co-sponsoring a resolution on Sri Lanka at the UNHRC in March next year. UK Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office Hugo Swire said that Britain regularly discusses Lanka, including accountability, with a range of other EU, Commonwealth and international partners. Swire recalled that UK previously co-sponsored more..

Look for those labels - CAA warns consumers

Dec 22 (SO) With Christmas shopping now in full swing, health and consumer authorities have reiterated their warning to the public to pay close attention to labels when they purchase food products to ensure safety and reliability. "This is the time when consumers are at risk of being duped into buying sub quality items sold by unscrupulous vendors. Consumers must check the labels of all items they buy. In the case of food items, they should see if they carry labels that more..

Pettah businessmen accuse Mahinda Kahandagamage of extortion

Dec 22 (NS) Pettah traders lament that all vendors and pavement hawkers in Pettah are forced to pay protection money to extortionists deployed by Colombo Municipal Councilor Mahinda Kahandagamage, who is also the President of the Federation of Self Employed Associations. A vehicle industry businessman in Pettah said that Kahandagamage is responsible for a number of extortion rackets. more..