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Five SLMC members removed

Dec 29 (SL) Five members of the Local Govt from the SLMC were dismissed from their seats by the Muslim Congress, General Secretary of the SLMC Hasan Ali said. Four members of the Local Govt in the North and one member of the Local Govt in Northwest were dismissed as they had worked with the govt under several circumstances without consulting the party. SLMC has made the decision to contest for the upcoming Western and Southern PC elections as an independent body. more..

Jaffna Hospital workers call off fast

Dec 29 (Island) Minister Douglas Devananda met with the health workers of the Jaffna Teaching Hospital on a fasting campaign for the past 10 days and persuaded them to call it off. It was revealed that those who had been recruited by Sri Lanka Red Cross during the height of the armed conflict were involved in the campaign due to fear of losing their jobs, it said. They workers were told the majority of them did not possess adequate educational qualifications to be absorbed to the more..

PM’s office used by Commerce Minister

Dec 29 (ST) The Prime Minister’s office has been used, this time by a Cabinet Minister, ignoring accepted protocol, to make a direct request to Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif for a housing scheme for the Muslims. Commerce Minister Rishad Bathiudeen obtained the help of PM D.M. Jayaratne to forward an appeal to Premier Sharif through the Pakistan High Commissioner Qasim Quereshi. Whenever a Minister or Ministry was more..

Jayakody removed from service

Dec 29 (SL) The period extended for former Police Spokesman and Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) who was in charge of Ratnapura District, Prishantha Jayakody to return to the country and to produce a statement reasoning his departure from Sri Lanka has now expired, Police Media Spokesperson SSP Ajith Rohana stated. “A period of six months was given to Prisantha Jayakody to produce a statement regarding his departure but he had not responded to the request,” more..

Delay in dissolving PCs

Dec 29 (SL) The Western and Southern Provincial Councils will be dissolved on January 11 and elections will take place towards the end of March, a senior govt spokesman said. Although the two councils were scheduled to be dissolved on January 3 and elections to be held on March 3, it had been delayed due to the Church Festival in Thalavila, which would start on the 8th of March. Ministers have pointed out that if the provincial election also falls on the same day, thousands of voters more..

Blue New Year for the Rajapaksa regime

Dec 29 (ST) A New Year dawns in just two days and the travails for the UPFA Govt seem heavier than those for the opposition. The biggest worry centres on the UNHRC’s 25th sessions which begin in Geneva on March 3. One of the main planks of two successive United States backed resolutions was the issue of reconciliation. This is some four and half years after the military defeat of Tiger guerrillas. The resolutions called upon more..

Committee to probe train engine fire

Dec 29 (NS) Sri Lanka Railways (SLR) has appointed a committee under the supervision of the department’s deputy chief engineer to conduct an inquiry into the fire that broke out aboard the engine of the Matara-Kandy train on Friday evening, Operating Superintendent, Railways, L.A.R. Rathnayake said. The report of the inquiry will be submitted within a week, he revealed. Steps have been taken to bring the train engine, which caught fire, to Colombo from the Rambukkana more..

Search for more skeletal remains continue: Forensic examinations underway in Mannar

Dec 29 (Island) The search for more skeletal remains was continuing at Matota in the Mannar area yesterday. The remains of ten persons have been so far been unearthed, officials said. Workers on a Water Board project digging the area close to the historic Thiruketheeswaram Hindu temple to lay a new pipeline first stumbled on the skeletal remains of two persons last Sunday (22). On the other side of the vast extent, where the discovery was made, is the Purana Raja Maha Viharaya. more..

Talk at the Cafe Spectator

Dec 29 (ST) The Govt will set up a National Food Promotion Board (NFPB) to educate people “on the value of local and traditional food.” It comes on a recommendation by Agriculture Minister Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena and will replace the National Freedom from Hunger Campaign (NFHC). Unlike the NFHC, the NFPB will have new objectives. They will include: Production and promotion of local and traditional food more..

Sri Lanka arrests 22 Indian fishermen

Dec 29 (Xinhua) The Sri Lankan navy on Sunday arrested 22 Indian fishermen for poaching in Sri Lankan waters. Tthe Indian fishermen had been arrested in the northern seas and will be handed over to the local police. The navy said the arrest was made after the 22 Indians refused to adhere to a request that they return to Indian waters when they were spotted by navy boats. Earlier this month over 100 Indian fishermen were more..

Powdered milk crisis exacerbates as pressure builds up for price revision

Dec 29 (Island) Amidst a critical dearth of powdered milk food in the market, the crisis has now come to a head with Consumer Affairs Authority so far declining to accede to repeated requests by importers for a price revision, industry officials warned last week. They (importers) have sought price increases many a time, but there is still no firm decision on giving the go-ahead as any such move should be adequately justified, more..

India-Sri Lanka foundation : Invitation for project proposals

Dec 29 (HCI) The India - Sri Lanka Foundation (ISLF) was established by a MoU between the govts of India and Sri Lanka in 1998 in order to foster India - Sri Lanka relations through the enhancement of economic, scientific, technical and cultural cooperation and to promote greater understanding between the people of the two countries. India- Sri Lanka Foundation now invites project proposals, in the areas of Education, more..

Severe air pollution: Experts propose switch to liquefied natural gas

Dec 29 (ST) An expert committee has recommended to the Govt to switch to the use of LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) for the country’s power generation, transport and industry. This is after findings that 60% of the air pollution in Colombo City was the result of a greater dependence on fossil fuels as a source of energy. The Ministry of Environment and Renewable Energy has also noted that air quality in certain urban areas too more..

Special Project Minister has only kidney, other tasks hazy

Dec 29 (ST) The newly appointed Special Projects Minister S.M. Chandrasena has been tasked with identifying environmental factors that contribute to the increase in kidney patients and initiating action to minimise or eliminate the impact of such factors. It was the only job that S.M. Chandrasena was assigned with some specificity when the President gazetted his duties and functions last week. more..

Sri Lanka's Herath ready for Pakistan test

Dec 29 (AFP) Ace Sri Lankan spinner Rangana Herath is hoping lack of Tests will not affect his bowling in the first of three Tests against Pakistan starting in Abu Dhabi from Tuesday. Sri Lanka have not played the five-day format since beating Bangladesh at home in March this year, but Herath claimed Sunday he would be ready come the first Test. "As a team we played in March against Bangladesh and if you play regular cricket more..

Fishy loss over Rs 600m

Dec 29 (SL) Sri Lanka’s fishing industry is losing over Rs. 600 million as a result of poaching by Indian fishermen and licensed fishing by Chinese trawlers. The convenor of the National Fisheries Solidarity Movement, Herman Kumara said that in addition to the Indian fishing trawlers poaching in Sri Lankan waters, the Chinese trawlers are exploiting local fishing resources with the approval of the govt. more..

Audio: Sirisena says politicians corrupt

Dec 29 (CG) SLFP General Secretary Maithripala Sirisena says some politicians are corrupt and work with the goal of filling their pockets. Minister said that National politics is built upon local council politics and in order to strengthen National politics, local council politics must be strengthened. He noted that local council politicians can only strengthened by local council politicians themselves and not politicians working at National level. more..

Deported Journalist Claims Torture in SL

Dec 29 (ENS) Tamil Nadu journalist Tamil Prabhakaran arrived in Chennai on Saturday after the Sri Lankan Terrorist Investigation Division (TID) handed him over to the Immigration Department for deportation. The TID had apparently concluded after interrogation that he had no terrorist links and had not indulged in terrorist activity, and that the only fault was that he had violated visa regulations. more..

Bickering in the North

Dec 29 (CT) It is possible that the government, when it decided to go ahead with the Northern Provincial Council (NPC) elections, though certain of a Tamil National Alliance (TNA) victory, may not have anticipated or prepared itself for the many surprising curve balls that would be lobbed from the North. What this reveals is a lack of political and governing acumen on the part of the government and woeful inadequacy in handling potentially serious contentious issues. more..

Global economic revolution is overdue

Dec 29 (CT) The venue was a Buddhist temple. On Saturdays, a few parents whose kids take lessons on religion sit around a table until kids finish their classes. Usually on such circumstances they exchange ideas mostly on religion, culture, science and philosophy. But on a recent Saturday their topic was on economics; particularly the topic was about extreme consumerism. It was a suitable topic to be discussed in a temple because Buddhism is not supportive for extreme consumerism. more..

2004-12-26 Tsunami Nine years after

Dec 29 (DM) Since 2004, Dec 26 marks the death anniversaries of two of Nagalakshmi’s children. “I lost my only son and one of my daughters to the atrocious waves. We have not found their bodies to this day,” she says heaving a loud sigh. A resident of Periyakallaru, she was a mother of nine children but only seven survive today. “Everything happened so fast that day. We were inside the house when we heard some of more..

Why 2014 will be a gloomy year

Dec 29 (Island) If your want me to fib you could ask me to affirm that, at last, in 2014 the world and Lanka will turn the corner and happier days will return. If I did, come December, you will sue me for misleading you into an unfortunate financial or matrimonial embarkation. No sir, you had better look after your pocketbook and your urges; I want no part of it. One ominous expectation and dismal prophecy is that Mahinda Rajapaksa, if he calls presidential or parliamentary elections in 2014, more..

Post-tsunami debacle and postwar aggravations

Dec 29 (Island) Nine years ago, in 2004, the day after Christmas, Sri Lanka became one of the major victims of the Asian tsunami. Nature’s fury brought the best and the worst in Sri Lankan society even as it ravaged most of the island’s coastal areas. The best response was from the people who spontaneously stepped up to help one another, humanely crisscrossing ethnic boundaries, with Sinhalese soldiers rescuing Tamil and Muslim victims and Tamil LTTE rescuing Sinhalese more..

Sri Lankan actresses have fond memories of Sivaji Ganesan

Dec 29 (ENS) Tamil and Sinhalese film industries have drifted apart due to the clash of perceptions about the Tamil question in the island nation. But Malani Fonseka and Geetha Kumarasinghe, both leading ladies in the bygone era of Indo-Lankan collaboration in film making, have fond memories of working with the Tamil icon Sivaji Ganesan. Both yearn for the return of the bonhomie of those days. “Sivaji was a great actor and more..

Lankan Tamil held with US currency in TN

Dec 29 (PTI) A Sri Lankan Tamil was today arrested here for alleged illegal stay in the country and possessing US currency, police said. Aboorvanathan was spotted near a TASMAC liquor shop by police Inspector Pon Muniyandi, on a routine patrol, who enquired him on suspicion. He was found carrying over 800 USD without any travel and other necessary document. During questioning, he told the police that he had come to India in 2000 and stayed in Bangalore and Chennai. more..

Matara extension to be opened on 31 January

Dec 29 (CT) The Colombo-Galle Southern Expressway’s 30-kilometre extension to Matara will be declared open by President Rajapaksa on 31 January. Plans are also afoot to extend the highway to Kataragama. “The work of this Rs 18 billion extension, the second phase of the project will be completed end January to be opened on 31 January, Highways Minister Nirmala Kotalawala said. The cost was inclusive of three intersections at Galle, Weligama and Godagama in Matara more..

Milco strike continues: Rs.300m goes down the drain

Dec 29 (DM) The Milco Company said today that it had lost over Rs. 300 million in sales due to the strike launched by a trade union of the Milco Company on Dec 9. Milco chairman Sunil Wickramasinghe said production in the Digana and Narahenpita factories had come to a complete standstill while the Polonnaruwa and Ambewela factories were functioning as usual. “We have lost Rs. 300 in sales due to this strike. more..

Only 400 acres of tea being replanted, 249,600 acres idling

Dec 29 (Island) With only 400 of the 250,000 acres of state owned tea plantations being replanted, the Opposition called for greater funding and the release of more land for cultivation purposes.  National List UNP MP, R.Yogarajan, said that 250,000 acres of tea plantations under govt control was available, but a mere 400 acres was being replanted with the Rs.500 million funding the govt had provided to the state-owned estates managed by private companies. more..

South African envoy to meet TNA

Dec 29 (CT) South African Ambassador in Sri Lanka, G.Q.M. Doidge, is currently touring in Jaffna and he is expected to hold talk with TNA MP and spokesperson, Suresh K. Premachandran. The South African envoy travelled to Jaffna on Friday and he had paid homage at the Nallur Kanthaswamy Kovil, Vallipuram Kovil in Point Pedro and the Hindu and Buddhist shrines in Nagadeepa. According to Premachandran, the South African envoy is expected to discuss the TNA's stance on more..

Sri Lanka to launch Rs. 4 bn campaign to promote tea

Dec 29 (Island) An aggressive campaign to promote Sri Lankan tea in sophisticated global markets will be launched early 2014 with a Rs. 4 billion budget, a senior industry official said. It is true that these plans were in place earlier, but were not activated due to inadequate funds, Hasitha de Alwis, Director Promotions, Sri Lanka Tea Board, said. The primary requirement ‘money’ was a scarce commodity then, but more..

Over 1300 drunk drivers arrested

Dec 29 (CG) The police have arrested over 1300 drivers since Christmas eve, for driving while under the influence of liquor, the police media unit said today. According to data 1305 drunk drivers were arrested between Dec 24 and this morning. Of those arrested 707 are motorcyclists and 438 are three-wheel drivers, the police media unit said. The police have also arrested six passenger bus drivers who were drunk at the time they were behind the wheel. Between 6 last morning and more..

A graduate at 11 years: Incredible but true

Dec 29 (Island) To be a graduate at the age of 11 years is indeed unbelievable. But, Vashinyaa has proven that age is no barrier to reach the apex in term of academic achievements. She is the youngest graduate, according to information available. Vashinyaa has the BCS IT degree from the British Computer Society. The clever girl’s parents, Premanand Nadarajah and Lakshi Shakthiwel of Kandy say their only daughter has created history through her extraordinary more..

CEB profits funnelled to other State institutions

Dec 29 (CT) Consultant to the Lanka Electricity Consumers’ Association, Bandula Chandrasekara, alleged though the CEB has netted an annual operational profit of Rs 21 billion in 2013, it has not been able to offer subsidies to the consumer, as the profit obtained has been funnelled into several State-owned institutions with high expenditures by the Secretary to the Treasury. He said the Treasury Secretary was engaging in more..

Antique cannon released to Archaeology Dept.

Dec 29 (NS) The dispute that arose between the Department of Archaeology and the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) regarding the cannon that was discovered during expansion work on the Colombo port ended this week after SLPA officials handed over the artifact. Director General of Archaeology Dr. Senarath Dissanayake said his officials took charge of the cannon, which is thought to date back to the pre-British era. However, Dr. Dissanayake said the cannon had rusted to more..

Bhikku Front to discuss Sajith’s stand

Dec 29 (SL) The Chairman of the UBF, the venerable Meetiyagoda Gunarathne Thero, said on the statement made by MP Sajith Premadasa on the Leadership Council says he needs to discuss more on the matter with his key members. “Our monks are based in many different parts of the country. Prior to making a comment on that statement, I need to discuss the matter with other monks who are members of the Bhikku Front. We, as an organization, will make a decision on more..

Norochcholai: Indian help put on hold!

Dec 29 (SL) CEB had sought Indian assistance to try and detect the defects at the Norochcholai Coal Power Plant, which has once again broken down due to steam leakages and defects in the condenser. The adviser to the National Electricity Consumer Movement Bandula Chandrasekera said that there are some technical problems that have arisen at the cooling plant at Norochcholai and the CEB had invited more..

50,000 SMS sent to BOI Chief

Dec 29 (CT) Employees of the factories of the Board of Investment’s (BOI) Investment Promotion Zones have started sending text messages (SMS) to Chairman, Dr. Lakshman Jayaweera, demanding that they be given the monthly allocation of Rs 1,200 which was promised by President Rajapaksa through Budget 2014 to the public sector and the Rs 1,500 salary increase that was promised. Over 50,000 messages have been sent to the Acting Managing Director as Dr. Jayaweera is more..

Hantana fire doused

Dec 29 (NS) A major fire that broke out in the Hantana mountain range yesterday was brought under control and finally doused by the combined efforts of the fire brigade, army and the air force by last evening. A spokesman from the Kandy Fire Brigade said it had dispatched one of its fire trucks to fight the blaze, which had broken out at about 2.30pm near the vicinity of the Rupavahini transmission tower and other telecommunication towers situated on the mountain. more..

Excavation at mass grave in Lanka suspended

Dec 29 (PTI) A Sri Lankan court today suspended the excavation at a suspected mass grave found in a former conflict zone where the army battled Tamil Tiger rebels, whose remains will now be scrutinised by archaeologists. "We have found layers and layers of skeletal remains. We now feel that further excavations will not be possible without the expertise of archaeologists," Judicial Medical Officer Dhananjaya Waidyaratne said. more..

Youth stages abduction to gain asylum in Australia

Dec 29 (AD) A 22-year-old youth has been arrested in Mullaitivu for allegedly misleading police by staging his own abduction, with the intention of seeking asylum in Australia. The youth’s father had lodged a complaint with Point Pedro Police on December 26 alleging that his son had been abducted by an unknown group. Following investigations conducted into the complaint, police found the youth hiding at the residence of a friend in Mullaitivu. He was arrested and interrogated, more..