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Govt. move to abolish scholarship exam: Teachers to take legal action

Dec 24 (Island) The JVP-led Ceylon Teachers’ Service Union (CTSU) yesterday said it would file legal action against the Education Ministry’s decision to put an end to the Grade V scholarship exam from 2016. CTSU General Secretary Mahinda Jayasinghe told The Island that they would also launch a protest against stopping the Scholarship exam, which was the only chance rural students had to enter popular schools. more..

Clearing Vanni or corruption cause for debt to rise by Rs.4.8 trillion? – Ranil

Dec 24 (Island) The Rajapaksa govt had to clear only the Vanni after 2005, since the UNP and UPFA under Chandrika Kumaratunga had defeated the LTTE in the East and Jaffna, but national debt as at 2005 beginning from 1948, stood at only Rs.1.8 trillion, the UNP said. Leader of the UNP Ranil Wickremesinghe noted that the UNP had also a fought a war, while implementing massive projects in the hydro, power, garments and more..

CEB fails to deliver N’cholai phase II

Dec 24 (Island) The CEB has failed to connect the Second Phase of the first coal fired power plant, at Norochcholai, to the national grid this month, despite repeated assurances given to Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi and Secretary M.M.C. Ferdinando. As a result the CEB has had to spend millions of rupees more on expensive thermal power (300 MW), especially at a time when the hydro capacity level is shrinking. more..

1,200 FB-related complaints in 2013

Dec 24 (CT) Sri Lanka Computer Emergency Readiness Team Coordination Centre (SLCERTCC) stated that they had received information about 1,200 Facebook-related incidents thus far in the year 2013. From the majority of the incidents reported, around 80% to 90% revolved fake Facebook accounts. Unauthorized access by way of hacking, pictures being posted on Facebook pages without authorization and more..

Sri Lankan Lifeguard accused of molesting teenage swimmer in Dubai

Dec 24 (GN) A lifeguard has been accused of molesting a 14-year-old teenage swimmer inside the women’s changing rooms at a residential tower in Jumeirah Village. The 23-year-old Sri Lankan lifeguard, M.S., was said to have lured the Indian teenager in to the changing room and molested him on May 28. Due to translation issues, the suspect did not enter a plea when he showed up before the Dubai Court more..

Petition against CMC file burning

Dec 24 (CT) Files belonging to the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) were secretly burnt at the Borella Kanatte on 17 August 2013, at the insistence of certain top officials in the CMC, to ensure the elimination of evidence of malpractices, corruption and irregularities, including in the recruitment of security guards to the CMC in March 2012, a petitioner has alleged in a Writ Application filed in the Court of Appeal. more..

'UN works towards measures to eliminate int'l terrorism'

Dec 24 (Xinhua) Sri Lankan UN Ambassador Palitha Kohona faced diplomatic tests on a variety of topics including on "measures to eliminate international terrorism" in the outgoing year in his capacity as the chair of the Sixth Committee of the UN General Assembly (UNGA). "We knew that there were difficult resolutions," Kohona, who heads the UNGA committee in charge of legal affairs, said. more..

Sri Lanka bars Australian luxury hotelier in flag spat

Dec 24 (AFP) Sri Lankan authorities barred the Australian owner of one of the world's most exclusive hotels from returning to his adopted homeland Tuesday for flying the national flag upside down. Geoffrey Dobbs, who is also the organiser of an international literary festival in the tourist city of Galle, was turned back at Colombo airport for the second time in five days, officials said. "He tried to enter the country this morning, more..

Show true spirit of invitation and acceptance!

Dec 24 (DM) A window of opportunity seems to have been opened, at least partly, for another round of bipartisan effort to bring in peace and reconciliation after President Rajapaksa invited the TNA leaders R. Sampanthan and the Chief Minister of the NPC C.V. Wigneswaran for talks on the national question, during the final day of the budget debate in Parliament. The optimism of this window of opportunity was underlined as Mr. Sampanthan responded to the invitation somewhat more..

CMC returns to brutality of colonial era

Dec 24 (DM) As reported in the media the Chief Veterinary Surgeon of the Colombo Municipal Council (CVS - CMC) states that the city must be rid of rabies and its dog population, controlled. In saying this he is creating a wrong picture of the position with regard to both rabies and the dog population, while people cannot be better informed as they have little or no access to statistics and data regarding rabies. The fact is that rabies and the dog population of the city has been more..

Daily Mirror Cartoon

Sri Lanka stocks close flat

Dec 24 (LBO) Stocks close flat Tuesday with hotel and plantation stocks falling. All Share Price Index closed 0.49 points lower at 5,845.93, down 0.00%. The S&P SL20 closed 0.89 points higher at 3,225.13, up 0.03%. Turnover was 246.38 million rupees, down from 267.84 million rupees a day earlier, with stocks of 75 firms closing in the red against 75 gainers. Commercial Leasing and Finance closed 10 cents higher at 3.90 rupees with an off market transaction of 61.00 million rupees more..

Slight drop in dengue admissions at LRH

Dec 24 (Island) The Lady Ridgeway Hospital for Children (LRH) yesterday said the hospital had treated over 3,500 dengue patients from the beginning of the year to date. LRH Director Dr. Ratnasiri Hewage said that 489 of them had suffered from dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF). The dengue death toll at the hospital within the period had been 15, he said. A majority of the patients who suffered DHF were from Colombo and its surrounding areas. However, most patients that more..

‘Picking of coconuts a crime while possessing heroin isn’t’

Dec 24 (DM) According to the latest news circulating in the country, ten kilograms of heroin has been seized from Hikkaduwa area. The police say it is the largest haul of heroin seized from the South. It is as if a competition is being held just like competitions for ‘Super Star’, ‘Reality Star’ or ‘Mega Star’ to find a ‘Heroin Star’. Heroin is found not in ounces or grams but in kilos. The biggest haul of heroin seized in Asia was seized more..

Health Ministry raids food outlets

Dec 24 (Island) The Health Ministry yesterday launched raids on food outlets, as the highest number of food poisoning cases are reported during the festive season year in year out. The raids which commenced from Maradana would be continued for the next seven days, Director General of Health Services Dr. Palitha Maheepala said. He said that inspectors had visited nearly 150 food outlets around Maradana and found that 99 percent of them sold food items unfit for human consumption. more..

Police warn drunk drivers

Dec 24 (CG) The police today warned that tough action will be taken against drunk drivers during the Christmas and New Year season. A police statement said that a special operation was launched this evening to nab drunk drivers and the operation will continue for two weeks. The police said that over the past couple of years there has been an increase in the number of drunk drivers during the Christmas season and as a result the special 24 hour operation was launched more..

A Christmas reflection: Rule of Tyranny and reign of God

Dec 24 (DM) Jesus was born under the rule of tyranny. Absolute power was held by the Roman Emperor who ruled conquered regions through local agents. Herod was one such agent. So long as he ensured that Roman supremacy and interests were not challenged in Judea and the Roman coffers were filled; no questions would be asked. The combined oppression of the dominant and their pathetic agents imposed more..

Scars of Sri Lanka

Dec 24 (AJ) The civil war in Sri Lanka ended in 2009 with the victory of President Rajapaksa's forces over the LTTE, but there are claims that abduction, torture and even rape of suspected former fighters or sympathisers continues today. In Nov 2013, Commonwealth leaders, including British PM David Cameron, converged on Colombo for the bi-annual heads of government meeting. It was a big moment for Sri Lanka, signalling its emergence from post-war turmoil and acceptance as a functioning more..

Peradeniya U’grads protest

Dec 24 (Island) Several hundred undergraduates of the Peradeniya University joined a demonstration organised by the students’ council yesterday, to protest against the pruning of Allied Health Sciences faculty degree period by one year. Demonstrators carrying placards and posters demanded that the degree should remain a five-year course in keeping with the original arrangement. The protesters also called upon the Higher Education Ministry to increase the Mahapola scholarship more..

Sri Lanka tops Google’s 2013 ‘sex’ search list

Dec 24 (DM) Sri Lanka topped the list of having searched for the word ‘sex’ in 2013, while India followed at the second spot, Google reported. According to statistics issued by Google, Sri Lanka came first for the third consecutive year since 2011 in the internet ‘sex’ search category. When it came to the breakdown of data by cities, Nugegoda, Homagama and Colombo topped the list of people Googling the term ‘sex’ in 2013 in more..

Alleged jumbo broker remanded

Dec 24 (DM) A man who allegedly posed as a broker who supplied elephants and tuskers to the President was ordered to be remanded till January 3 for allegedly cheating a businessman of Rs.3.3 million by promising to bring him a baby tusker from Myanmar. The suspect was arrested by a Special Investigations Unit attached to the Colombo Crimes Division based on a complaint lodged by a businessman in Minuwangoda. The complainant had told police that the suspect promised him to more..

A chilly X’mas predicted

Dec 24 (Island) The current chilly weather which has hit most parts of the country, including Colombo would continue till the end of January, the Meteorology Department predicted. Duty Meteorologist K. D. Sujeewa said that the North Easterly wind had caused the current chilly weather countrywide but it would change slightly during the next two days as more easterly wind was on the way. Sujeewa said that the possibility for rain in the Eastern parts of the country was more..

Nishantha Ranatunga defends SL's new stadiums

Dec 24 (CI) Sri Lanka Cricket secretary Nishantha Ranatunga has responded to criticism of the board's financial management, saying expensive stadiums in Hambantota and Pallekele were built with the wider national economy in mind, and not simply with a view to making a profit for the board. The two new grounds and extensive renovations for the Premadasa Stadium condemned SLC to a debt of almost $70 million. more..

Citrus Leisure to open five-star hotel in Waskaduwa

Dec 24 (FT) Added luxury, new facilities and higher material prices have pushed the cost of upcoming Citrus Waskaduwa resort by an extra Rs. 902 million as opposed to Rs. 1.8 billion stated in the IPO prospectus, the company has disclosed. The company said Citrus Waskaduwa is well on the way to start operations ahead of schedule in early 2015. Although it was originally planned to be marketed as a four star property, Citrus Waskaduwa will now be marketed as a five star property. more..

'Joint timetable, kiss of death for SLTB'

Dec 24 (Island) A joint timetable for the Sri Lanka Transport Board (SLTB) and the private bus industry scheduled to be implemented from January 01 would lead to bigger losses to the state-run transport board, a JVP-led transport trade union claimed yesterday. General Secretary of the All Ceylon Transport Workers Union (ACTWU) Sepala Liyanage told The Island that according to the timetable, the ratio of private to SLTB buses had been put down as 60:40. more..

Dobbs given temporary visa

Dec 24 (CG) The Australian owner of one of the world’s most exclusive hotels has been given temporary permission to return to his adopted Sri Lankan homeland after being barred in a spat over the national flag, the AFP news agency reported. Geoffrey Dobbs, who is also the organiser of an international literary festival in the tourist city of Galle, was initially turned back at the Colombo airport for the second time in five days. more..

Wild jumbo kills final year university girl

Dec 24 (Island) A final year external undergraduate of the University of Kelaniya was killed by a wild elephant while she was cycling to the Kanuketiya bus stop, at Malpathawa, to reach Kurunegala, in the early hours of yesterday. The victim was Nirmala Madhubashini Adhikari (23) of Halambe, in Nikaweratiya. She was on her way to sit for the final year exam in Management Studies. Nirmala was attacked by a lone wild elephant in the Malpathawa area. The elephant had grabbed both bicycle more..

SLMC to go solo at PC polls

Dec 24 (DM) SLMC, an ally of the govt, will go solo at western and southern provincial council’s election as they did at the previous elections, party officials said today. The government is planning to dissolve the western and southern provincial councils on Jan 12, to have elections in March. The alliance partners of the ruling coalition are busy again with their politburo and central committee meetings to decide on the fielding of candidates under the betel symbol. However, SLMC General Secretary M.T. Hasan Ali said, more..

Chief Justice orders transfer of 19 judges from Jan. 1

Dec 24 (AD) The Chief Justice, Mohan Peiris has ordered the transfers of 19 High Court and Civil Appeals High Court judges with effect from January 1. The transfers are as follows, - Colombo High Court no.1 judge, Kumudhini Wickremasinghe to be appointed Mount Lavinia Civil Appeals High Court judge. - Mount Lavinia Civil Appeals High Court judge Rohini Walgama to be appointed as judge of Colombo High Court no.1. more..

Pakistan awards higher education scholarships to Sri Lankan students

Dec 24 (PHC) The Government of Pakistan has awarded fully funded higher professional education scholarships to five Sri Lankan students in Medicine and Dentistry in top Pakistani Medical Schools under the Higher Education Scholarship Programme for 2013. The High Commissioner of Pakistan in Sri Lanka Maj Gen Qasim Qureshi met the selected students at the High Commission of Pakistan and congratulated them on their selection for higher education in Pakistan. more..

Mathews tells Sri Lankan team-mates to remain positive

Dec 24 (AFP) Captain Angelo Mathews urged his team to remain positive in their quest to level the one day international series against Pakistan when the teams meet in the fourth match in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday. The Islanders trail 2-1 in the five-match series after Pakistan won the third match by 113 runs in Sharjah on Sunday. Pakistan had also won the first match in Sharjah by 11 runs last week before Sri Lanka tied the series by winning the second by two wickets in Dubai. more..

Why concern shown to Devyani missing in Tamils’ case, asks Karunanidhi

Dec 24 (PTI) DMK chief M Karunanidhi on Monday said it was frustrating to note that the Indian government was “screaming restlessly” over the Devyani Khobragade arrest episode, while no similar concern was shown over the deaths of Tamils in Sri Lanka, including that of a woman news presenter. The diplomat’s arrest was being discussed inside and outside Parliament with reports of Indian govt’s swift action more..

The chains we love too much to lose

Dec 25 (NS) ‘How is your brother?’ I asked a friend who is now domiciled in Canada and was here in Colombo for a few days. ‘He’s a glorified slave!’ my friend retorted with his signature and infectious guffaw. My friend, whom I’ve known since I was in the 7th Grade, is an academic. He is one of the most articulate of my school friends and has one of the keenest minds I’ve encountered. He is a professor in Urban Planning and Design, and is well-versed in cultural and political studies. more..

Draining brain to solve a kidney issue

Dec 25 (NS) A cross-section of the nation’s scientists gathered at Galadari Hotel, Colombo, on Dec 10, to discuss Chronic Kidney Disease of Uncertain (CKDU) Aetiology – a major health problem afflicting farming communities in the ‘dry zone’. The event was organized by the National Academy of Sciences of Sri Lanka with the specific objective of arriving at a scientific basis for future action. In this article we bring you the summary of the discussions at this symposium. more..

Seven wetlands in East under Environment Protected Areas

Dec 25 (SO) The Central Environment Authority (CEA) recently concluded a research on wetlands in the Eastern Province to detect changes taking place in the wetlands in the recent past on par with various development activities that have been initiated. After studying 42 wetlands, CEA officials have identified seven wetlands in the East to be declared as Environment Protected Areas. more..

Axing the scholarship exam and the Rajapaksa-war on middle classes

Dec 25 (CT) Social mobility is a capitalist thing. During the much eulogised feudal past, men and women were prisoners of the geographical and social loci they were born into. Capitalism liberated them from that servitude, even though the break happened as a brutal wrench which created its own particular miseries and discontents. In Sri Lanka, the Grade 5 Scholarship Exam has played a socially-progressive and politically-stabilising role as a key enabler of intergenerational social-mobility. more..

The politics of TNA

Dec 25 (Island) It is said that the TNA is getting ready to remove the name of V. Anandasangari from its membership list. It is true that Anandasangari did not poll enough preferential votes at the Northern Provincial Council elections to be elected as a member of the provincial council. The TNA received more than seventy percent of the vote of the people in the province, and it was clear that they voted under instructions from the dispersed Tamils who now reside in the western countries. more..

Five of my favourite Christmas carols

Dec 25 (DBS) It’s Christmas season again! An integral part of Christmas is the singing of Christmas carols in churches as well as at events celebrating Christmas. There was a time when carolling was an important part of Christmas. 'Carol parties' including someone dressed as Santa claus would visit the homes of church members during night and sing carols.Refreshments would be served at each and every home. more..

The Jayalalithaa factor

Dec 25 (CT) None would blame her for harbouring ambitious political dreams, or her so-in- your-face approach coupled with strategic constituency-building that continues in her political home. When it comes to the CM of Tamil Nadu, Jayalalithaa Jeyaram – a politician whose own reactionary nature reflects the volatility of Indian politics but not entirely the India's Tamil community's response to Sri Lanka – even when her vitriolics and the strong sense of drama are overlooked, more..

And a Merry Christmas to you too!

Dec 25 (CT) Being a glutton for punishment from the usual sources of racist rhetoric, I thought I’d take a short jog down memory lane to provoke them into another frenzy of bad grammar and syntax! Since my return to Sri Lanka a few years ago, my partner and I have chosen to celebrate the festive season with a little get-together with our neighbours in the (spacious) premises that we occupy. We only have one couple and their children resident on our land now and depend for workers, more..