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Douglas concerned over land

Nov 4 (CG) Minister Douglas Devananda has written to President Rajapaksa raising concerns over reports that private property and Hindu temples in Valikamam North in Jaffna are being demolished by the military. Devananda says in his letter if the reports are true it must be stopped and people who own lands in those areas must be allowed to resettle. Devananda said that the EPDP position has been that the war displaced must be resettled in the original land even in high security zones. more..

Japan-SL Parliamentary Friendship League conducts the general meeting in Tokyo

Nov 4 (IL) The Japan-Sri Lanka Parliamentary League conducted its General Meeting at the Diet [Parliamentarians] Members Office Building on 4th December, 2013. Approximately, 30 Members of Japan-Sri Lanka Parliamentary League, both from the House of Councillors [Upper House] and from the House of Representatives [Lower House], were present at the Meeting. The League has a total number of 81 Members more..

Construction sites the biggest mosquito breeding culprits

Nov 4 (Island) From January 2013, to beginning of this month, around 28,225 dengue cases were reported. About 50% of them were from the Western Province. Colombo District accounted for 9,001 cases, Gampaha district 3,363 and Kalutara district 1,651, Health Secretary Dr. Nihal Jayathilaka said. He said construction sites were the biggest dengue mosquito breeding grounds in the Western Province. An inter-sectorial committee, appointed by the President had met last week to take more..

'Prasanna's city is but a garbage pit'

Nov 4 (LT) The Chief Minister for Western Provincial Council Prasanna Ranatunga who came to power stating he would turn Gampaha into a serene (prasanna) city has left the people in Gampaha a massive garbage pit says the leader of the JVP team for Gampaha District Mahinda Jayasingha. He said this when he went on an observation tour in response to a large number of complaints he had received from people in Gampaha regarding the massive garbage pit at Ja-ela. more..

Sri Lanka seeks joint mechanism to assess and monitor Sethu Samudram project

Nov 4 (ENS) Sri Lanka has sought a joint Indo-Lankan mechanism to assess the Sethu Samudram Canal Project (SSCP) and continuously monitor its implementation and operation. On Nov 25, Colombo announced that it had shared with India a Lankan expert committee’s report which had pointed out several flaws in the project and suggested a joint mechanism to assess it, monitor its execution, and continually keep an eye more..

Join us says Basil Rajapaksa

Nov 4 (CG) Minister Basil Rajapaksa invited political parties who have failed at past elections to join the govt and support its policies. Speaking in Parliament, he noted that some political parties have ended with almost zero support. He said that if those parties join the govt they maybe able to see a turnaround in their support base. The Minister also said that President Rajapaksa has always depended on public support and has had several elections to seek a mandate from the people. more..

Bindu-Saman incident amicably settled

Nov 4 (DM) The incident where popular Singer Saman De Silva was allegedly assaulted by Southern Provincial Council Minister Bindu Weerasinghe during a musical show in Borella last Saturday night was amicably settled at the Borella police station today. Just before leaving the Borella police station, Saman De Silva told the media that they arrived at a compromise through the mediation of Senior DIG Anura Senanayake. “DIG Senanayake asked us not to drag this matter any further more..

'TN politicians responsible for poaching in Lankan waters'

Nov 4 (Island) The majority of Indian fishing boats that entered Sri Lankan waters thrice a week, were owned by politicians in Tamil Nadu, Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne said yesterday. He said more than 1,000 fishing boats, which crossed the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) engaged in illegal fishing adopting Illegal, Unreported, Unregulated, (IUU) fishing practices, deemed as illegal by the United Nations. more..

Docs have no faith in cancer drug probe

dec 4 (Island) The Government Medical Officers’ Forum (GMOF), a rival of the Government Medical Officers; Association (GMOA), yesterday accused the Health Ministry of conflict of interest by appointing Deputy Director General Dr. Jayasundara Bandara (DDG Dental Services) to investigate the one-day registration of a certain drug company by Cosmetic Devices and Drug Regulatory Authority (CDDRA). The Forum said that the CDDRA Director was a batch-mate of Dr. Bandara. more..

Govt. to complete slain cop’s partially built house in three months

dec 4 (Island) The partially built house of Matara anti-vice squad constable Weligama Liyanaarachchige Sunil and his wife, Udupitiya Appulage Apsara Samanmali, killed by a criminal gang at Ullala, Masmulla in Kamburupitiya, would be completed before their three-month’ alms giving, Minister Wimal Weerawansa assured yesterday. He told The Island that the policeman had acted without fear or favour in combating the drug menace setting an example to all others. more..

Protecting local industries from FTA: Govt. to discuss with India

dec 4 (DM) Despite the removal of ten varieties of Indian goods from the negative list under the Indo-Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement (ISLFTA) enabling unrestricted access to the local market, Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardana said discussions had been started to add more products to the negative list of the ISLFTA to protect the local industry. While admitting that the ISLFTA had done more harm to SL’s local industry than good, more..

Maithree too, against Hadda's dirty talks

dec 4 (SM) Prof. Maithree Wickremesinghe, wife of opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe too joined a protest held in front of the SLBC on Dec. 02. The protesters deplored the recent mudslinging campaign by the SLBC Chairman against activist Nimalka Fernando. In protest, the activists had questioned whether the ethics of Hudson Samarasinghe was saying filth on public radio and urged not to take the public radio to its destruction. Police had dispersed the crowd after more..

Video: Women are the worst affected: Rosy

dec 4 (DM) While claiming that the 2014 budget was an attempt to please the IMF, the UNP MP Rosy Senanayake said the women were the most affected from the budget. “Women constitute the majority in Sri Lankans. But the budget has neglected them, especially female employees who work overseas and in the state sector,” she said. She said the govt should have paid more attention to these women and should take ample measures to improve the well-being of their families. more..

Jaffna Uni. students protest over continuing closure

Dec 4 (CT) Students at the University of Jaffna protested on Monday over the continuing closure of the university by the Ministry of Higher Education. Lectures remain at a standstill at the Jaffna University, with an extended vacation, while other universities across the island have recommenced on 18 Nov, after a break. The Jaffna University Student Union began the demonstration at 8.00 a.m. on Monday with students more..

Sri Lanka bans terminal-handling fees and surcharges

Dec 4 (SG) Sri Lanka is banning container lines from levying terminal handling charges (THCs) and other surcharges from next year. In a victory for the Sri Lankan Shippers’ Council (SLSC), which has lobbied for the abolition of THCs since the late 1990’s, Sri Lanka’s president Rajapaksa announced in his recent budget speech to the country’s parliament that THCs would be banned from January 2014. “In order to prevent the monopoly of pricing in the shipping trade, no shipping line more..

EPC to establish separate Housing Development Authority

Dec 4 (CT) The Eastern Provincial Council (EPC) has decided to create a separate Housing Development Authority for the province and the Provincial Cabinet has drafted a proposal in this regard. This draft proposal was submitted at the EPC monthly meeting on Monday 2 December. M.S.Uthumalebbe, Provincial Minister of Road Development, Housing and Construction, Rural Electrification and Water Supply, said the Housing Development Programme could be more..

Karunanidhi takes a dig at UPA for hosting Lankan leader

Dec 4 (PTI) With instances of Indian fishermen being apprehended by Sri Lankan navy continuing, DMK chief M Karunanidhi today took a dig at Congress-led UPA government for hosting a key Sri Lankan leader in Delhi last week, albeit in a low-key affair. Responding to a set of questions in party mouthpiece 'Murasoli,' Karunanidhi said there were reports of arrested Indian fishermen being chained while being produced in Lankan courts while more..

Understanding the psyche of LGBT Community

Dec 5 (NS) There was a time when HIV/AIDS was unheard of in Sri Lanka. However, the situation is changing drastically, which could be due to an increase in awareness of the virus. It could also be due to the society being more aware of sex and sexuality.Years ago sex wasn’t a topic that was discussed. It was assumed that what happened between two people was none of society’s business. Sex and gender were assumed to be synonyms. However, people gradually realized that more..

Looking back at six decades of Lankan journalism: What went wrong?

Dec 5 (GV) Edwin Ariyadasa, who completed 91 years on 3 December 2013, is one of two grand old men of Lankan journalism still practising their craft (the other being D F Kariyakarawana, also 91). The veteran journalist has been active in his profession for nearly all of Sri Lanka’s post-independence years. During that time, he has played a variety of complementary roles: feature writer, newspaper editor, columnist, radio and TV host, journalist trainer, author and translator among others. more..

'Sritharan sabotages reconciliation efforts'

Dec 5 (SO) The speech that glorified the LTTE and its leader by TNA Jaffna district MP S.Sritharan on Tuesday was condemned by members from both sides of the House including the TNA which disassociated itself saying they were Sritharan's personal sentiments that 'transgressed the definite policy of the Party'. Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe said it breached the law of the country and merited tough action by more..

A poet with ‘blurred’ vision

Dec 5 (NS) There was a man - an innocent man - who left the shores of Sri Lanka following the 1983 riots. He was Tamil and happened to be a poet. In fact he was considered as one of the brilliant Tamil poets ever to be born in Sri Lanka. He sought refuge in Norway and became a Norwegian citizen. Then he came to India and became an actor – an award winning one. After two decades this man returns to his homeland; Sri Lanka. He comes under tourist visa and visits Jaffna, once his hometown more..

Will MR pit India against South Africa?

Dec 5 (CT) Mahinda seems to have hit upon the idea of a new strategy to counter the looming threat of the UNHRC, adopting another damaging resolution at its upcoming March 2014 sessions. This new strategy is to accept the involvement of South Africa in the reconciliation process, as it had evidently shown much interest in it from about 2012. South African Ambassador in Sri Lanka at the time was the key player in setting the diplomatic ball rolling in that direction, by encouraging more..

Ariya Rubasinghe reveals all

Dec 5 (CT) Former Director General of Information, Ariya Rubasinghe, recalling the days of the People's Alliance Govt, said that the minister in charge of media at that time was Mangala Samaraweera, and that it was he who ordered the Sunday Leader be shut down. I sent the letter giving the order to the IGP and went home. Within half an hour, the press was sealed. Not only the Sunday Leader, but all the other publications of more..

Tax-free designer ties planned in 2013 budget

Dec 5 (ST) The removal of import duties on designer brands of apparel including footwear and neckties and designer pens had been planned for inclusion in the 2013 budget presented in Nov 2012, but was missed out. It was included in next year’s budget in an effort to promote international shopping, according to Treasury officials. They said that with Sri Lanka steering towards becoming an international shopping hub with many international clothing brands vying for several landmark more..

What happened to the Muslims in the name of the Tamil people was an injustice

Dec 5 (CT) Thank you Hon. Deputy Chairman for the opportunity to speak on the second reading of the budget proposal made by the Hon. Minister of Finance. Before I start speaking on the proposals themselves let me with your permission say that today’s proceedings started on a very auspicious note. My good friend the Hon. A.H.M Azwer made a clarification with regard to his conduct in this House yesterday. We welcome the clarification he made and we hope that that spirit will prevail more..

UNP is prepared for any challenge: Karu

Dec 5 (FT) 50% of the Budget is allocated to the Rajapaksa family, stresses Chairman of the Leadership Council of the UNP Karu Jayasuriya, adding that it is a casino and Rajapaksa friendly but anti-people Budget. Jayasuriya points out that there are price hikes all around the Budget and as a result the cost of living will go up by at least Rs. 3,000. “We oppose the present prioritisation of expenditure. Look at what is allocated to more..

Editorial: Cajoling wild jumbos

Dec 5 (Island) The last few months have seen several protests in different parts of the country against the govt’s failure to prevent wild elephant attacks on far-flung villages. Affected people demand electric fences and the immediate translocation of wandering jumbos to wildlife parks. Effective as these measures may seem in the short run, they won’t help solve the problem once and for all. So long as villages and cultivations sit on elephant migration paths and forest cover more..

Sri Lanka rowing to achieve international recognition

Dec 5 (Island) Sri Lanka has made a remarkable progress in the development of rowing. Although the modern version of rowing started by the British in 1864, the sport has been practised here even during the ancient times. Competitions of paddle boat racing in Sri Lanka and Thailand have been documented in the Olympic records as the earliest form of rowing in the world. The recent progress of the sport with the fullest backing from the World Rowing Federation (FISA) has more..

Sri Lanka opposition calls for independent electoral commission

Dec 5 (KSA) The Sri Lankan govt is facing calls from both home and abroad to establish an independent electoral commission. In the wake of a Commonwealth report on elections in northern Sri Lanka, leading opposition parties joined a call by Commonwealth election observers for the island-nation to create such an impartial body. Opposition leaders say the govt should re-instate the SL constitution's 17th Amendment, which more..

SL Treasuries yields hit 22-month lows

Dec 5 (FT) Substantial demand in terms of total bids received, which totaled up to a 10 month high of Rs. 55.8 billion saw weighted averages (WAvg) plunge at yesterday’s weekly Treasury bill auction, reflecting its eleventh consecutive week of declines. Wealth Trust Securities said once again it was the 364-day bill which reflected the sharpest decline of 19 basis points (bp) to 9.50%, while the 91-day and 182-day bills dipped by 9 bp and 15 bp respectively to 7.97% and 8.65%. more..

Necromantic Politics

Dec 5 (CT) The state-owned ITN devotes one segment of its main Sinhala news telecast to remembering the Tiger. Evening after evening, the viewers are reminded of some long ago LTTE-deed, in lurid detail. There are political forces, in the North and the South, who want ordinary Lankans live forever in the shadow of the Tiger. Sinhala and Tamil extremists need to keep the memories of the war vividly alive, because that is their only escape from the looming wilderness of more..

'Samurdhi funds misappropriated by govt'

Dec 5 (CT) The JVP, charged in Parliament yesterday that the govt has misappropriated Samurdhi funds to the tune of Rs 1,387 million, which should have gone to the savings accounts of Samurdhi beneficiaries but had instead used them for Divi Neguma projects. Participating in the Third Reading stage on the Budget 2014, under the Expenditure Heads of the Ministries of Economic Development and Investment Promotion, more..

LTL spreads its wings to Africa

Dec 5 (Island) Uganda President Yoweri Museveni officially commissioned a part of a 33kV Power Distribution Line, which connected districts of Rakai and Isingiro. The section is a 150km stretch and is part of 330km 33kV Power Distribution Line Project, funded by NORAD which was completed by LTL Projects (Pvt) Ltd for its Client the Rural Electrification Agency in Uganda providing access to tens of thousands of clients all across many regions of Western Uganda. more..

Poultry producers concerned over pricing formula proposed in 2013 and 2014 budgets

Dec 5 (ST) Despite the government’s move of introducing a pricing formula replacing price control on chicken through a 2014 budget proposal, the viability of poultry industry is at stake due to its dependency on feed prices, as it is the dominant production cost, leading poultry industrialists said. The very same proposal of a pricing formula was made in the 2013 budget but it was not properly implemented as the complicated formula involves so many sectors, they revealed. more..

ICTA and Intel take digital literacy to the grassroots

Dec 5 (FT) As part of its efforts to spread technology education through the Nenasala network, knowledge centres established under the e-Sri Lanka initiative, the Information and Communication Technology Agency of Sri Lanka (ICTA) together with Intel Sri Lanka commenced Intel Easy Steps Senior Trainer training for Nenasala operators recently. The first set of 50 candidates was trained at the National Institute of Education more..

Unfair impeachment of the CJ? - AHRC

Dec 5 (Scoop) The most astonishing, outrageous and mysterious aspect of the Impeachment proceedings is: How? The entirety of the 'actual Inquiry proper' of examining and recording of all the evidence of several witnesses, producing and marking enormous amount of complicated documents, was speedily and hurriedly rushed, in about Five Hours, of one continuous sitting, on the 7th and the deliberation, preparation? consideration and approval the final Report, more..

Police Dept. promotions will be effected

Dec 5 (CT) Secretary to the Ministry of Law and Order, Maj. Gen. Nanda Mallawarachchi, said he is aware of the delays involved in granting police promotions, and added he would take early action to sort out whatever problems there may be, which lead to such delays. He also said that, he will take early action to fill all the existing vacancies in the Department. In addition, the 100 vacancies to the post of ASP will be filled from among the present cadres serving the Police force. more..

Australia announces tough new measures for illegal boat arrivals

Dec 5 (IBP) The govt has acted swiftly to ensure that none of the 33 000 people who arrived in Australia illegally by boat under Labor's watch and were yet to be processed will be granted a permanent visa, despite the Greens and Labor disallowing temporary protection visas, Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, the Hon Scott Morrison said today. 'Unlike Labor and the Greens, the Coalition will never act to honour more..

Law on accessibility to come into force in a month’s time

Dec 5 (ST) The deadline for state and private sector to ensure accessibility to the disabled is just a month away, Social Services Ministry Secretary Emelda Sukumar said. “All persons with disabilities have the right to file fundamental rights petitions if they are not provided with access by 2014,”she said. Ms. Sukumar said that the Supreme Court had ordered that the disabled should have access to all places and services by 2014. “Although most new buildings comply with this ruling, more..

About 2,000 people admitted to hospital with spinal cord injuries annually

Dec 5 (Island) Between 1,500 and 2,000 people were admitted to hospital for spinal cord injuries each year in Sri Lanka, Consultant Spinal Cord injury surgeon Dr. Narendra Pinto said. Addressing the media on the International Day for Persons with Disabilities at the Health Ministry, Dr. Pinto identified occupational hazards and domestic accidents as the main causes of spinal cord injuries. Dr. Pinto pointed out that due to lack of awareness victims were not dispatched to hospital properly. more..