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Eran alleges Govt. passing laws on majoritarianism; Basil rejects

Dec 5 (FT) UNP MP Eran Wickramaratne charged the govt was enacting new legislation based on “majoritarianism” that were detrimental to the country’s economic health. Opening the Committee Stage Debate of the 10th allotted day of the Appropriation Bill 2014, MP Wickramaratne took on the Ministry of Economic Development and Investment Promotion. He accused govt of twisting economic statistics more..

Ministry denies delays in testing milk powder

Dec 5 (Island) Ministry of Technology Research and Atomic Energy (TRAE) denied claims made by a certain milk powder importer that several tonnes of milk powder were stuck at the Colombo Port due to delays in conducting tests on dicyanamide (DCD). Media spokesman for TRAE said that uninterrupted testing was being done on milk powder samples sent for testing by the Health Ministry. The Ministry has stressed the need for carrying out tests for DCD following the detection of the agro chemical more..

Seychelles: Great Opportunity for Mihin

Dec 5 (Island) Mihin Lanka is making headway on the Colombo–Mahe sector flying twice weekly with a load factor of around 45% and the airline’s Head of Commercial, Rohana Perera expressed confidence that it would reach 55% or more during the season. Perera said that the airline was already transporting perishables with a load of three to four tonnes to the Seychelles and the number would see an increase once the quarantine issues were sorted out by the authorities of both countries. more..

Sri Lankan HR situation like ‘elephant in room’ – Canada

Dec 5 (Island) SLAF Chief Air Marshal Harsha Abeywickrama rejected allegations that foreign delegates who were here to attend the CHOGM last month, had been deprived of the opportunity to fly to Jaffna citing security reasons. He insisted that the govt had ensured swift transportation of all those who sought to visit former operational areas. Among those who had availed themselves of the facility were the British more..

Expert: CEB can’t settle old debts at the expense of consumers

Dec 5 (Island) With hydro power generation increasing, the need for importing fuel for thermal generation has been reduced. The Ceylon Electricity Board has utilised the savings on imports to settle its outstanding debts to the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) and Independent Power Producers (IPPs), CEB Deputy General Manager, Senajith Dassanayake says. He said in a statement that electricity tariff was determined by the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka. more..

All fishermen required to wear life jackets

Dec 5 (CT) The Ministry of Fisheries has made it compulsory for all fishermen to wear life jackets when they are out at sea; the rule will be enforced from 1 Jan 2014. Deputy Minister of Fisheries, Sarath Gunaratne said, "This is not a move to punish the fishermen but to ensure their safety. We have had several incidents of fishermen drowning at sea and yet no preventive measures had been taken to guarantee their safety. Many fishing vessels out at sea do not have even the minimum more..

Harsha exposes booms and busts!

Dec 5 (FT) Massive tax concessions for the project approved under the Strategic Development Act are set to legally expire by mid 2014, the UNP warned yesterday, after the Shangri-La resorts deferred its Colombo opening till 2017. Speaking during the debate on the Economic Development Ministry in Parliament, UNP MP Harsha De Silva said the 25-year tax break for the resort project lapses if it is not operational more..

Lanka can become an open source software hub in Asia: ICTA CEO

Dec 5 (DN) ICT Agency of Sri Lanka (ICTA) CEO Reshan Dewapura said Sri Lanka can also be known as an Open Source Software Hub in Asia. "The Software Product Engineering niche of Sri Lanka can be greatly fuelled by sectors such as Open Source Software development. While we become globally recognized as a centre of excellence for Product Engineering, we can also be known as an Open Source Software Hub in Asia". The ICTA CEO said so while participating more..

Ports Minister outlines threats to Lanka from nine regional ports

Dec 5 (CT) Minister of Ports and Shipping Rohitha Abeygoonawardena yesterday outlined in Parliament, the threats to Sri Lanka's shipping from nine regional ports and added that the method to counter the competition was to increase the capacities and the other infrastructure of the local ports. He was responding to a question from UNP MP Ravi Karunanayake as to whether he was aware of five countries posing a threat to Sri Lanka's shipping business. more..

Heroin scam hits office of PM Jayaratne

Dec 5 (BBC) Sri Lanka's prime minister has ordered staff not to write letters in his name, after drug traffickers obtained a letter written by a secretary in his office to authorise a heroin shipment. DM Jayaratne said that action would be taken against the sender. At least 131kg (288lb) of heroin worth millions of dollars was seized on 30 August. Heroin was hidden in cans packed into a container sent from port of Karachi. more..

Decline in Lankan boat people

Dec 5 (CG) The flow of boat people from Sri Lanka and Iran has reversed for the first time in three years, with more being sent back than arrive. The net decline in asylum-seekers from two of the biggest source countries in the past three years coincides with the lowest November total for asylum-seeker arrivals since Kevin Rudd repealed the Howard govt border-protection laws. Last month, there were 207 arrivals and 66 people were sent back, including more than 40 Iranians. more..

Central Bank: Sri Lanka disputes IMF projections, concerns

Dec 5 (CT) The Central Bank earlier this week disputed the IMF economic projections and countered concerns raised by its Executive Board. "The Sri Lankan authorities note with satisfaction that the Executive Board of the IMF has welcomed the strong growth performance of Sri Lanka in recent years with inflation contained at single digit levels, after the review of the IMF staff reports on Post-SBA Programme Monitoring (PPM) and Ex-Post Evaluation (EPE) on 27 Nov 2013," more..

Tar turns into ethanol: Customs detect 74,480 litres of spirits

Dec 5 (Island) A consignment declared as tar turned out to contain more ethanol than the declared item when examined by Customs yesterday. Seven containers, which had arrived from Malaysia on Friday, declared as containing tar or bitumen. Checks conducted at the Rank Container Terminal in Orugodawatta, revealed the seven 20-foot containers carried 74,480 litres of ethanol valued at Rs. 82 million. more..

Innocent patients in grave danger

Dec 5 (DM) Medicinal drug prices are rising day by day with more and more people being unable to buy them due to increasing prices as there is little or no price control, monitoring or regulation. In some instances people are known to buy only one or two drugs when about five are prescribed and as a result, their ailments take a long time to heal or they never heal. Even in public hospitals many of the drugs prescribed are not available and patients are forced to buy them from private pharmacies more..

Petite bourgeoisie mindset from any quarter amounts to radicalism

Dec 5 (DM) There is a discussion on the question of the commemoration of the Tamil liberation struggle and those killed in the war. Extreme views were expressed by the Bodu Bala Sena and other such organisations. While claiming that TNA MP S. Sridharan should be arrested over the speech he made in Parliament glorifying the LTTE leader, the Bodu Bala Sena accused the Parliamentarians present in the house during the speech, for not immediately reacting to it. more..

Public concerns debated in political humour

Dec 5 (DM) The question time began on a parliamentary day last week with Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa flexing his muscles on the MPs who tried to take a lot of time during the period allotted for questions and oral answers. On one occasion, the Speaker repeatedly ordered UNP MP Sajith Premadasa to raise his supplementary questions in a simple and short form so that the allotted time could be used productively by more..

CEB still staggering the dark

Dec 5 (SL) When the fuel adjustment charge was added onto the electricity bill in 2012, it was on the understanding that once the drought that prevailed at the time had passed and the reservoirs filled up, the fuel surcharge would be removed. This was also introduced in 2012 as a result of the rise in costs of thermal fuel. However now with the commissioning of the coal power plants and the reservoirs at almost full capacity, more..

Brutal crimes on the rise

Dec 5 (ST) It was a grey morning that promised rain later on when the 49-year-old housewife-Anula Herath along with her 10-year-old daughter left their home in Kahatuduwa and headed for the Dhaham Pasala at the local temple last IL Poya Day little realizing that it would be her final moments. The woman dropped her daughter at the Dhaham Pasala and began her return journey home when she was confronted by her estranged husband. more..

Mahela wins ICC Spirit of Cricket Award

Dec 5 (DM) Former Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene has won the ICC Spirit of Cricket Award for this year for walking before being given out while he was on 91 in a Test match against New Zealand. Interestingly Jayawardene had been nominated for the award by a rival New Zealand player. The ICC media release described Jayawardene’s award this way: “Mahela, batting on 91 with SL on 229-7, more..

Crop insurance a boon to farmers – Basil

Dec 5 (CT) "The Govt took steps to ensure food security and raise the living standards of farmers, who were made to suffer, because of the UNP regime discontinuing all programmes which previous govts introduced to protect the local farmer," Minister, Basil Rajapaksa said. He was addressing a meeting held in connection with the payment of compensation under the Crop Insurance Scheme of the National Insurance Fund more..

Is James Packer more powerful than Parliament? –Anura

Dec 5 (LT) "What is this amazing power that James Packer has in this country, and is James Packer more powerful than the Parliament of Sri Lanka?" asked JVP MP Anura Dissanayaka in Parliament. He said sweeping tax concessions have been afforded to Packer when the masses were not afforded any benefit or tax concessions. Showing a report to the House on Packer's proposals he asked the House how Packer could produce more..

Law Students Fume at UPA's Stance on Lanka, Seek Eelam

Dec 5 (ENS) Final-year BGL students of the Law College burnt an effigy of External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid in the city on Wednesday and urged the Centre not to train Sri Lankan Navy personnel anywhere in the country. The protestors also demanded a UN referendum on the formation of separate Eelam. They also criticised the Centre for its inaction when the war was at its peak during May 2009. more..

Docs accuse govt. of running down free health service

Dec 5 (Island) The All Ceylon Medical Officers’ Association (ACMOA) General Secretary Dr. Jayantha Bandara accused the govt of running down the free health services to promote the private health care provision. He said free health service provided by the govt was facing a crisis due to inadequate allocation of funds, drug shortages, the non-implementation of the National Drug Policy, insufficient staff, high incidence of more..

US must pay for loss says Vasu

Dec 5 (CG) Minister Vasudeva Nanayakara says the US Govt must pay Sri Lanka for the losses the Sri Lankan Govt is suffering as a result of the US sanctions imposed on Iran. He said that Sri Lanka could have spent less on oil if crude oil was purchased from Iran and then refined in Sri Lanka since Sri Lankan refineries are built for Iranian oil. However as a result of the US sanctions the Govt is compelled to seek refined oil from more..

Sri Lanka in the dark on Jaffna visit

Dec 5 (CG) The Sri Lankan Govt says it has not been informed about a potential visit to Jaffna by Indian PM Dr. Manmohan Singh. Indian finance minister P. Chidambaram had last week said that Singh will undertake the visit following an invitation extended by Northern Province Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran. However Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner in India Prasad Kariyawasam said the Govt was not aware of such a visit, more..

Sauce for gander is sauce for goose: State media bought out with laptops

Dec 5 (CT) Daily Noise is spewing out venom on Tamils commemorating their dead in the war. Rajpal Abeynayake, the new editor of CDN (Ceylon Daily News) who was quick to grab a laptop from the President is forever indebted and the only way is to return the favour with honeyed editorials. Abeynayake has not a single shred of self-respect and he is too imbibed to make rational use of his talents as writer. His only crutch is cowing down to the govt in power. more..

'Second-hand Chinese paddy milling machine to grind Eppawela Phosphate'

Dec 5 (Island) A paddy milling machine installed in a mill in China had been imported at a cost of more than 560 million rupees and commissioned at the Eppawela Phosphate Fertilizer Deposit, UNP MP P. Harrison said in Parliament. He said that the machine brought in for producing fertiliser but had been put aside for more than one year. MP Harrison said that Sri Lanka’s annual phosphate requirement was around 50,000 MT and before the Chinese machine had been imported, more..

Ansell Lanka sacks hundreds of workers

Dec 5 (wsws) The Ansell Lanka Company in Biyagama free trade zone (FTZ) last week terminated the jobs of nearly 300 workers who were on strike for nearly two months over speed-up and a witch-hunt against the trade union. The Free Trade Zone and General Services Workers Union (FTZ&GSEU), led by Anton Marcus, isolated the strikers and strengthened the hand of the company to sack them. Ansell Lanka is a branch of the more..

Sri Lanka stocks end lower

Dec 5 (LBO) Stocks closed lower Thursday with diversified stocks losing ground despite strong foreign buying. The All Share Price Index closed 2.34 points lower at 5,780.58, down 0.04%. The S&P SL20 closed 3.43 points lower at 3,161.62, down 0.11%. Turnover was 1,321.58 million rupees, up from 794.49 million rupees a day earlier, with stocks of 75 firms closing in the red against 79 gainers. Commercial Leasing and Finance closed 10 cents higher at 3.90 rupees more..

Killed in dodgy circumstance

Dec 5 (CT) The alleged architect of the horrific double-murder of a police officer and his 30-year-old wife in Kamburupitiya was shot dead during a confrontation with officers of the Special Task Force (STF), late Monday night, in what is fast becoming a trend of 'Mafia-style' elimination of suspects who could potentially end up as inconvenient whistleblowers. It is the standard practice of the 'Mob' to bump off weaklings in the chain of crime in order to conceal and safeguard more..

Ghost train reaches Ratmalana

Dec 5 (DM) A train engine, which was at the Demtagoda Railway Yard had automatically started at around 1.45 am today and preceded without a driver before it was stopped between Ratmalana and Mt. Lavinia, railway authorities said. No one was injured in the incident and the train engine is parked at the Ratmalana railway station now. Meanwhile, the driver and assistant of the train engine have been interdicted with immediate effect more..

Hotel workers FR case against police fixed for March 24

Dec 5 (Island) Justice Eva Wanasundera yesterday relisted a fundamental rights violation application, filed by five employees of the Sunhill Hotel, Colombo 3, for support, on March 24, 2014, before Chief Justice Mohan Pieris. At a previous hearing, when the petition was called before the Supreme Court, the CJ had suggested that the OIC of the Crimes Division, of the Kollupitiya police station and the Officer-in-Charge of the station, should tender a public apology, in open Court, more..

Ada Derana launches Sri Lanka’s first official Windows 8 news app

Dec 5 (AD) Ada Derana, Sri Lanka’s premier news provider today announced the launch of Sri Lanka’s first official news app for Windows 8 connected devices. The innovative app is aimed at users of both the PC and mobile versions of Microsoft Windows namely Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 app. Users can download the app for free from the Windows Phone Store and Windows Store. Ada Derana has over the years become a household name in Sri Lanka by offering Sri Lankan more..

Censor board bans Pusswedilla

Dec 5 (CG) The censor board has refused to permit the latest edition of the popular political satire ‘Pusswedilla’ from being staged. The Director of Pusswedilla, Feroz Kamardeen, said that the censor board had refused permission for the stage play on the premise that it criticizes the Commonwealth summit. Kamardeen said that ‘Pusswedilla Part 4.1 The Comon Welthings Summit’ was to go on boards at St. Thomas College, more..

Milk powder worth Rs 80mil recovered

Dec 5 (AD) The Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) today recovered 257,658 packets of 400g milk powder worth around Rs 80 million from a private warehouse in Seeduwa. The latest discovery comes just a day after the CAA found 13.5 tonnes of hidden milk powder stocks at a prominent milk powder factory in Welisara. The milk powder stocks were hidden away instead of being released into the market, Gampaha District CAA chief Ranjith Weerawardena told Ada Derana. more..

Setting up satellite kidney dialysis units mooted to ease congestion

Dec 5 (Island) The Kidney Transplant Unit of the Kandy General Hospital has initiated a programme to set up satellite dialysis units at regional level to ease the increasing congestion. According to specialist surgeon Dr. P.K. Harischandra, Head of Kidney Transplant Unit of the hospital, nearly 1,000 patients have undergone kidney transplants since the opening of the unit in 2000 and at least 60 patients turn up for treatment. He said satellite dialysis units at regional level was more..

Japanese grant to improve educational environment

Dec 5 (GDI) The Govt of Japan has provided US$ 104,835 grant for the ‘Project for Improving Educational Environment of Mannar North Echchalawakkai Primary School in Mannar district’ under its Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Project (GGP). ‘The Project for Improving Educational Environment at Mannar North Echchalawakkai Primary School’ will be implemented by Plan Sri Lanka in Manthai more..

SL asks Indonesia to cut wheat import tariff

Dec 5 (LBO) Sri Lanka has asked Indonesia to relax a tariff on wheat flour imports, the commerce ministry said, in a move that can help make food cheaper for poorer Indonesians. Minister Rishad Bathiudeen was quoted as saying to Indonesian vice minister for trade, Bayu Krisnamurthy, wheat flour export represented Sri Lanka's efforts in diversifying its export basket and market base. "In this context, safeguard measures, recently imposed by Indonesia on wheat flour imports have affected more..

Strong winds, heavy rain likely

Dec 5 (CG) The Early Warning Centre of the Department of Meteorology says the low pressure area still persists and is located to the South-east of Sri-Lanka. It said that under the influence of the system, showers or thundershowers may occur at times in the Eastern, Northern, North central and Uva provinces over the next 24 hours. The Department of Meteorology says thundershowers will develop at most places elsewhere particularly during the afternoon or night. more..

No Training Should be Imparted to Lankan Military: Vasan

Dec 5 (PTI) Joining the chorus against India's offer to train SL Naval personnel, Minister G K Vasan said the Centre should avoid such taking such policy decisions. Indicating that he had opposed any such initiative in the past also, Vasan said he had conveyed to Defence Minister A K Antony that no training should be imparted to Lankan military personnel. "An announcement (in this regard) has come now. more..