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Govt. manipulating economic data to get loans - JVP

Dec 23 (Island) JVP MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake told Parliament on Friday that the govt was manipulating economic data to secure foreign loans. Participating in the third reading stage debate on budget 2014, he said that data pertaining to economic growth rate had been manipulated to produce impressive indices by pressuring the officials of the Department of Census and Statistics to do so. more..

Sri Lanka gets Rs. 15 b loan from Japan to construct 37 bridges

Dec 23 (FT) The Govt has received a Rs. 15.5 billion (Japanese Yen 12.381 billion) loan from the Govt of Japan through the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to construct major bridges on the nation’s roads. The loan will be utilised to construct 37 major bridges on the country’s roads under the Major Bridges Construction Project of the National Road Network. The objective of the project is to construct the major bridges, whose overall length is more than 30 meters, more..

Fishers strike intensifies, 23 women faint on day two

Dec 23 (TOI) The fast unto death in Nagapattinam demanding the release of arrested Tamil fishermen and their boats in Sri Lanka intensified after 23 women, who participated in the strike from the coastal villages, fainted on Sunday evening. They have been admitted to the Nagappattinam government hospital for treatment. As many as 23 women from the fishing community from the coastal villages in Nagappattinam fainted during the indefinite hunger strike. more..

Tamils against ‘Sinhalization’ not against Sinhalese

Dec 23 (CT) Chief Minister of the Northern Province, C.V. Wigneswaran, in a bold statement, said the Tamil speaking people in the North were not against the Sinhalese per se, but were against the ‘Sinhalization’ of the North and East. He said it was the duty of the Sinhalese in the South to raise their voice against the presence of the military in the North. “We have no doubt that the Army is stationed in the North with ulterior motives. more..

80th Birthday of A Vinayagamoorthy

Dec 23 (DM) Mr. Appathuray Vinayagamoorthy, who is at present a Member of Parliament for Jaffna District, an Attorney-at-law by profession, was born on 19TH December 1933 at Sarasalai. He turned 80 years old on 19th Dec 2013 while his well-wishers wished him good health and long life to enable him to serve national reconciliation. Sarasalai is a suburb of the then Chavakachcheri Electorate. Vinayagamoorthy received his primary education at Sarasalai Vidhiyalayam and more..

Tweaking economic data

Dec 23 (CT) The media highlighted a stunning disclosure made in Parliament by JVP MP, Anura Kumara Dissanayake, that statistics pertaining to the economy of the country had been falsified. The MP had made this allegation, which is a serious indictment on the govt, while speaking during the committee stage of the Budget on Friday. According to the legislator, the figures relating to the country’s economic growth during the second quarter this year had been altered from 5.5% to 6.6% more..

'Steps to be taken to ease Colombo traffic'

Dec 23 (DM) Defence Secretary Goatabaya Rajapaksa said that studies being conducted with a view to easing traffic congestion in the Colombo city, with the introduction of a mass transit system being seriously considered as a solution. Speaking at the inauguration of Work in Sri Lanka Conference today, he also said that much work is also being done to regain Colombo’s former reputation as the Garden City of the East. more..

Land; On the path to reconciliation…

Dec 23 (SL) The problems pertaining to the IDPs is no longer a matter of infrastructure, basic living conditions, giving them relief or ensuring livelihood. Everyone knows that infrastructure has been developed, living conditions have been improved and employment opportunities have been created and there is immense progress. But, it all narrows down to one pertinent question. Is the excessive military presence in the North more..

Biggest drug haul: Kick the habit, no more political chits

Dec 23 (ST) What is described as Asia’s biggest heroin haul is continuing to rock the UPFA Govt. Despite repeated calls by one of the ruling coalition allies, the JHU, that PM D.M. Jayaratne should resign, the 82-year-old veteran hill country politician has dug in his heels to stay. Known popularly as Dee Moo after his initials, Mr. Jayaratne told colleagues in Parliament this week, “I have no plans to go. I have done no wrong.” more..

'Section of media contracted by King to destroy UNP'

Dec 23 (Island) Accusing a section of the media of carrying out a contract from the ‘king’ to destroy the UNP, the party’s National Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe appealed to UNPers not to fall for the trap. Some journalists had been mobilised by the Rajapaksa regime to create dissension and division in the UNP through their writings, fearing that it would soon return to power, he told the party’s 55th Convention held at Sirikotha. more..

Expatriates urged to return

Dec 23 (CG) The Govt today urged expatriate Sri Lankans from all communities to return to Sri Lanka now that the country has overcome the problems it faced in the past and is poised for rapid and equitable growth. Speaking at the ‘Work in Sri Lanka Conference 2013’ today, the Secretary of Defence and Urban Development Gotabhaya Rajapaksa said the Govt is very keen on creating an environment conducive for more..

Unashamed luxury!

Dec 23 (LT) The UNP that boycotted President Rajapaksa’s budget speech in Parliament did attend the post budget dinner hosted by the Speaker and had very cordial conversations with the President despite appearing to oppose the budget in public. A political analyst said the opposition of the UNP is but a deception to deceive the general public. UNP leaders that criticize the Rajapaksa regime and its administration in Parliament more..

Shehzad fined 50% of fee for pushing Dilshan

Dec 23 (AFP) Pakistani opener Ahmed Shehzad has been fined 50 percent of his match fee for pushing Sri Lankan opener Tillakaratne Dilshan during the third one-day game, the sport's governing body said Monday. Pakistan beat Sri Lanka by 113 runs on Sunday to go 2-1 up in the five-match series, with the last two games in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday and Friday. The ICC said Shehzad pleaded guilty to the offence. more..

'Lanka’s population ageing rapidly'

Dec 23 (DN) Over the past several years, the Lankan population’s structure age wise has witnessed a significant change and the policy-makers will be really worried about the rapid aging of the country’s population since this will weigh heavily on the country’s economy, Senior Professor of Demography Department of the University of Colombo, Prof. Lakshman Dissanayake said. “As a result of that the govt has wisely more..

Sri Lanka, India attempt to resolve fishery dispute

Dec 23 (Xinhua) Sri Lankan fisheries minister is to visit India in the coming weeks to hold discussions on spiraling tensions over illegal poaching with over 400 fishermen estimated to be jailed in both countries, local media reported here on Monday. Sri Lanka's Fisheries Minister Rajitha Senaratne is to hold discussions with India's Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar who is in charge of fishing but dates are yet to be finalized. more..

Sri Lankan workers recalled as violence in South Sudan increases

Dec 23 (Xinhua) Sri Lankan govt is taking steps to immediately recall Sri Lankan migrant workers as violence increases in South Sudan, an official said here on Monday. Sri Lanka's Foreign Employment Bureau has decided to evacuate some 75 workers from South Sudan and insisted new workers will not be deployed in the politically troubled country. "At the moment we are working with the Sri Lankan embassy in Egypt to more..

Did an email stop the completion of the river for Jaffna project?

Dec 23 (CT) If NPCM Wigneswaran and TNA members want to help Jaffna famers there is an unusual book that they should read. The principal author of this book of collection of essays, “Community based water conservation and development: two contrasting examples from Sri Lanka and from Russia” is the well-known engineer D.L.O. Mendis. With names and dates, he alleges, that the River for Jaffna project was derailed half-way from its completion by two or three more..

Cheap politics of TNA MP Premachandran

Dec 23 (CT) I experienced a very serious illegal land grabbing endeavour by a group of Tamils on my visit to Jaffna on 6 Dec 2013. This is part of much wider land fraud perpetuated by the Tamil criminals in the north. One has to experience the scandalous culture practiced widespread by Tamils against the fellow Tamils to understand the seriousness of the fraud that has become endemic in the Tamil areas of Sri Lanka. This appalling criminality is the product of the three decades old war that more..

'My dream is to create a harmonious political culture'

Dec 23 (DM) At a time when one section in society is rather opposed to film stars entering politics, others believe that their star status is a stumbling block to serve the people. Sri Lanka’s political history has evidence of top film world heroes playing heroic roles in politics too. But the next question that arises is the problem of beauty and brains? Some question the rationale behind voting and electing movie stars to parliament more..

All-Island Poultry Association head resigns in protest against cartels

Dec 23 (Island) President of the All-Island Poultry Association (AIPA) Dr. D.D. Wanasinghe has resigned, citing that large scale industrialists have created a cartel which will badly affect the medium and small scale poultry farmers and consumers. He said that those big industrialists did not support the activities of the AIPA and were responsible of forming separate groups within it. Six of those groups looked after only their own interests and would harm the growth of the industry, more..

UNP reformists hit ball into Mangala’s court

Dec 23 (Island) The UNP reformists are prepared to take up the challenge to contest the Southern Provincial Council (SPC) elections early next year (2014) and will do their utmost to steer the party to victory. Southern Provincial Councillor Maithri Gunaratne told The Island yesterday that it was the ideal time for UNP Matara District MP Mangala Samaraweera to show his capabilities if he can bring the UNP victory by contesting as the Chief Minister candidate. more..

Full list of the Free Laptop Journos

Dec 23 (CT) Journalists from virtually every mainstream media in the country with the exception of the Sunday Times newspaper have accepted laptops and car loans or both from the Rajapaksa regime. According to statements made by Minister Keheliya Rambukwella in Parliament during the budget debate, 496 journalists have been awarded laptops by the Govt, proof that the regime is ‘media friendly’. more..

Sri Lanka stocks end weaker

Dec 23 (LBO) Stocks close in the red Monday with tobacco and diversified stocks falling. All Share Price Index closed 10.94 points lower at 5,846.42, down 0.19%. S&P SL20 closed 0.57 points higher at 3,228.74, up 0.02%. Turnover was 267.84 million rupees, down from 1.05 billion rupees last Friday, with stocks of 103 firms closing in the red against 65 gainers. Commercial Bank closed 1.90 rupees higher at 121.90 rupees with market transactions of 66.13 million rupees contributing to more..

Hafeez drop was crucial, says Mathews

Dec 23 (CI) Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews said that the dropped catch off Mohammed Hafeez was just one instance of the side's poor fielding that played a big part in their 113-run loss to Pakistan in the third ODI. Hafeez was dropped in the 19th over by Lasith Malinga at long-on off Seekkuge Prasanna's bowling. The batsman was on 26 at the time and went on to score 140 off 136 balls to guide Pakistan to 326 for 5. In reply, Sri Lanka could only muster 213. more..

Uncapped quartet in Sri Lanka Test squad

Dec 23 (CI) Wicketkeeper-batsman Prasanna Jayawardene will return to Sri Lanka's 16-man Test squad for the upcoming series against Pakistan, after being left out for the home series against Bangladesh in March. The squad features a raft of young and inexperienced places, as Sri Lanka work towards replacing its seniors over the next 18 months. Kaushal Silva has also been named, ostensibly as a replacement for the retired more..

Spurt in Omani visitors to Sri Lanka

Dec 23 (TOO) Growing trade and tourism links between the Sultanate of Oman and Sri Lanka have forced the SriLankan Airlines, to introduce daily flights between Muscat and Colombo. The SriLankan Airlines' Manager for Oman, Lakshman Weerasooriya, said the new flights started on Saturday. "By increasing the frequency, we extend to Omanis an invitation to travel to Sri Lanka for an ideal holiday getaway or to find an investment opportunity. With the latest addition, more..

Fishermen representatives meet Jayalalithaa

Dec 23 (PTI) Representatives of fishermen from three districts today called on TN Chief Minister Jayalalithaa to discuss issues such as release of their counterparts detained by Sri Lankan Navy. A state govt release here said representatives from Nagapattinam, Pudukottai and Rameswaram met Jayalalithaa and thanked her for her efforts for the welfare of the community including ensuring the release of fishermen languishing in Iranian prison and providing them with financial assistance. more..

'Rajapaksa regime will never increase wages'

Dec 23 (AD) Opposition Leader Ranil Wickramasinghe today stated that the ruling govt under President Rajapaksa will only continue to decrease the salaries of workers in the country and that it will never increase them. Public servants and private sector employees expect to have some money in their hands at the end of the year, due to expenses during the holiday season and for the new school term starting the following year, more..

Prof. Peiris highlights need for goodwill and fellowship in Christmas season

Dec 23 (Island) An event to celebrate Christmas was held at the Ministry of External Affairs on Friday organised by the Welfare Society and Seva Vanitha Unit of the Ministry. The First Lady, Madam Shiranthi Rajapaksa graced the occasion as Chief Guest. Religious dignitaries, members of the diplomatic corps and consuls attended the event. The celebrations began with the lighting of Christmas candles by the First Lady; Prof. G.L. Peiris, Minister of External Affairs; Neomal Perera, more..

GMOA frowns on supernumerary specialists’ appointments

Dec 23 (Island) GMOA President Dr. Anuruddha Padeniya said that the supernumerary specialists appointment scheme had been prepared improperly. It lacked transparency. He said that the supernumerary specialist transfer scheme had caused more problems. Many consultant pathologists, paediatricians, anaesthetists and eye surgeons had complained to the GMOA about the existing transfer scheme. Scheme was meant to help the consultants to get sabbatical leave more..

Emergency meeting in Colombo to decide Asia Cup fate

Dec 23 (DM) The fate of the Asia Cup cricket tournament will be decided at an emergency meeting of the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) Executive Board to be held in Colombo on Jan 4. Tournament featuring India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh was originally scheduled to be played from Feb 24 to Mar 7 in Bangladesh but the increasing domestic unrest and violence has forced the ACC to convene an emergency meeting to decide the future of more..

PMK wants Jayalalithaa to lead all-party team on fishermen issue

Dec 23 (PTI) PMK on Monday alleged Centre was not paying heed to the concerns of Tamil Nadu on the issue of arrest of Indian fishermen by SL navy and suggested that CM Jayalalithaa lead an all-party delegation to meet PM Manmohan Singh to press for a solution. Referring to the recent arrest of around 140 fishermen, besides some 200 of them languishing in Sri Lankan jails, party founder S. Ramadoss said Ms. Jayalalithaa had written to PM 35 times on this matter but it was of “no use.” more..

National Drug Policy to be implemented in March

Dec 23 (Island) Health Secretary Dr. Nihal Jayathilaka yesterday announced that the long-awaited National Drug Policy would be introduced with effect from March 2014. He pointed out that the Health Ministry had completed its final observations on the Draft Bill of the Policy and it would be submitted to the Chief Legal Draftsman after December 31 at a meeting. Dr. Jayathilaka said that a few vital provisions had to be incorporated into the draft bill. more..

Court restrains 3 directors of Serene Pavilions

Dec 23 (AD) The Commercial High Court of Colombo today made an order restraining 3 directors nominated by Mr. Anura Lokuhetty and South West Holdings, a company controlled by Mr. Lokuhetty, acting as directors of Serene Pavilions, a luxury hotel management company situated in Wadduwa. The court also reinstated Chart Business Systems as the Secretaries of Serene Pavilions. more..

Bodies of two miners found

Dec 23 (CG) The bodies of two miners who were buried in sand after a mine in Ratnapura collapsed last evening, were found this morning, the police media unit said. According to the police the gem mine had a licence to operate and both men got trapped when they went inside to search for gems. Rescue operations had continued till this morning when the two bodies were found. The victims are aged 39 and 40 and their bodies have been taken to the Ratnapura hospital. more..

Rs. 125 million swindle prevented

Dec 23 (Island) Police nabbed four persons who tried to sell five fake gemstones with a statue of Lord Ganesha for a sum of Rs. 125 million to a son of a businessman at Anuradhapura on Friday by claiming that they had been recovered from a treasure trove. Police nabbed the fraudsters and a car they had used at the Kada Panaha market complex in the Anuradhapura town. The suspects were from Dehiatthakandiya, Anuradhapura, Nachchdoowa, Maradankadawala, Piththla Konderuma, more..

No crisis in Fund: EPF Superintendent

Dec 23 (DM) Superintendent of the Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) P.W.D.N.R. Rodrigo in response to reports regarding the losses amounting to Rs. 8.1 billion suffered by EPF said there was “no crisis” in the Fund and they had distributed Rs. 115.7 billion in profits at an interest rate of 11.5 per cent in 2012. With regard to EPF stock market transactions he said: “The EPF’s stock market transactions have been carried out more..

CMC sets aside much for welfare

Dec 23 (Island) The Public Health Department of the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) has been allocated nearly Rs. 500 million from the Budget 2014 presented on Tuesday by Mayor A.J.M. Muzammil. Rs. 120.7 million has been allocated for pest control, Rs. 179 million for maternal and child welfare, Rs. 61.2 million for health education, Rs. 146.9 million for cemeteries and laundries, Rs. 109.4 million for City Micro Laboratory, Rs. 27.7 million for Municipal Analyst Unit and more..

Female anaconda vomits dead male anaconda

Dec 23 (DM) The 15.5 feet long female anaconda at the Dehiwela Zoo that swallowed a 12 feet long male anaconda on Thursday, vomited the male anaconda on Saturday, official said. Premasiri Peries, officer in charge of reptiles at the Zoo confirmed yesterday that the male anaconda had died and the female anaconda was in good health. He also said that the body of the dead anaconda would be handed over to the Zoo Museum for keeping. Last Friday, the female anaconda more..

Sri Lanka Tourism Promotional Song ‘Paradise Calling’ launched

Dec 23 (DN) Sri Lanka Tourism’s promotional song titled “Paradise Calling” was ceremoniously launched at a function held at “Ape Gama” in Battaramulla in the presence of M.L.A.M Hizbullah, Deputy Minister of Economic Development, Dr. Willie Gamage secretary to the Ministry of Botanical Gardens and Public Recreation. Bhashwara Gunarathna Chairman of Sri Lanka Tourism, Rumy Jauffer more..