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Customs Director arrested on bribery charges

Jan 3 (DM) The Commission to investigate Bribery or Corruption said today it had arrested a Customs Director who heads the Preventive Division on charges for allegedly accepting a bribe of Rs.1 million to issue a certificate for the release of a container carrying spare parts. Bribery Commission Director General Lakshmi Jayawickarama said it had been revealed that initially the customs officer had asked for more..

TRC reduces broadband tax

Jan 3 (GDI) Sri Lanka Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC) has reduced the telecommunication levy on internet broadband connections effective from Tuesday. The Director General of TRC Anusha Pelpita said the telecommunication levy on internet and broadband services will be reduced by 50% from Jan 1, 2013. Accordingly, the telecommunication levy will be reduced from 20% to 10%. The Director General said the tax reduction is implemented under more..

Electric traps to kill animals taboo after the latest human victims

Jan 3 (Island) Tough action would be taken against errant persons who use electricity illegally to set up electric fences and other means to kill animals, the police spokesman said. This decision came following the tragic deaths of a 60-year-old grandfather and his 8-year-old grandson on Dec 31, at Wedamulla Wathuyaya in the Kotmale police area. The old man had put up an electric fence to prevent wild boars from destroying his crops. The police would carry out raids, apart from more..

Mobitel marks 20, geared to develop ICT landscape

Jan 3 (DM) Sri Lanka Telecom Mobitel celebrates 20 illustrious years. Commencing operations in 1993, Mobitel was one of the foremost mobile service providers in Sri Lanka, beginning operations using first generation cellular technology - Advanced Mobile Phone System (AMPS)/ Time division multiple access (TDMA). From these beginnings Mobitel has steadily grown into a leader in the field of ICT, taking the more..

Undergrads dare govt. to pass private university bill

Jan 3 (Island) Undergraduates yesterday challenged Deputy Education Minister Nandimithra Ekanayake to table the private universities Bill in Parliament and get it passed. Convener of the IUSF Sanjeewa Bandara said they would block the govt’s move as they had done previously. Bandara was responding to Deputy Minister Ekanayake’s recent statement that the govt would present the private university bill in parliament with slight amendments. "Our comrades sacrificed their lives several times more..

Sri Lanka gilt yields plunge for second straight day, stocks up

Jan 3 (LBO) Govt bond yields plunged over 100 basis points over two days with active trading in four and five year maturities, and stocks closed up. A 5-year bond maturing on 15 August 18 opened at 11.20/25% levels, moved to 11.35/45 then buying dropped 10.60/65% levels, on top of a drop from 11.80 percent to 11.25/30% levels Wednesday. A 4 -year bond maturing on 15 July 2017 opened around 11.20/25 moved to 11.30/35% levels and closed at around 10.75/85% levels, dealers said. more..

Rotten imported fruits galore

Jan 3 (Island) Public Health and Food Inspectors destroyed a large stock of imported fruits and vegetable found to be unfit for human consumption. They were detected in some wholesale shops down Fourth and Fifth Cross Streets of the Pettah. Chief of the CMC Public Health Department Dr. Pradeep Kariyawasam said the stocks had included 10,000 kilos of apples, 5,000 kilos of oranges, 500 kilos of grapes more..

Met. Dept. warns of bad weather

Jan 3 (DM) A wavy type disturbance in the Easterly wind flow has developed in the vicinity of Sri Lanka, Department of Meteorology said. Under its influence cloudy skies would be experienced over most pats of the island. There would be showers or thundershowers at times with hail falls at some places in the Northern, Eastern, Central, Uva and North-Central provinces and in the Hambantota district, it said. There may be temporary localized fairly strong winds during thundershowers, more..

Ethnic Tamils protest outside SCG, call for Sri Lanka boycott

Jan 3 (PTI) Ethnic Tamils protested outside the Sydney Cricket Ground today demanding Australia boycott Sri Lankan cricket over Colombo's human rights abuses during the civil war. Human rights groups estimate that 40,000 civilians perished in the final months of the government campaign against Tamil Tiger rebels that ended in 2009 and have accused Sri Lanka of suppressing dissent in the aftermath. A small group of Tamils and refugee activists demonstrated and more..

Thirimanne shows the future is not bleak

Jan 3 (CI) From all the innings, shots, wickets and catches Mahela Jayawardene oversaw as captain of Sri Lanka in 2012, his favourite moment was an instance of exceptional gall from Lahiru Thirimanne. Sri Lanka were five runs short of victory in Pallekele in their first Super Eights match of the World Twenty20, but they only had two balls remaining, with Tim Southee at the bowling crease, delivering one of the spells of the tournament. more..

President distributes New Year gifts among kids

Jan 3 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa visited the Mother Theresa Children's Home in Rawathawatte, Wednesday and distributed New Year gifts to the children.Archbishop of Colombo His Grace Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith too was present at the occasion. The programme was organized under the guidance of Rev. sister Mary Cybil Anne, the Chief Warden of the Mother Theresa Children’s Home. Thereafter the President visited the Sarvodaya Suwasetha Poshana Centre in Rawatawatte more..

Principals' and Teachers' union issue ultimatum

Jan 3 (DM) Crises in the education sector seem to deepen as principal and teacher unions vowed to resort to strong trade union action that would cripple the entire education sector if Education Ministry officials failed to provide effective solutions to their grievances by January 15. Principal and Teacher unions, distressed by the Education Ministry’s laxity towards their grievances and their indifference towards the trade union actions carried out so far, said they would more..

'Speaker will make statement on SC ruling'

Jan 3 (DM) The govt said today Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa would make a statement on today’s Supreme Court ruling on the impeachment process by the PSC when Parliament convenes next week. Minister Keheliya Rambukwella told the weekly cabinet news briefing that the govt would announce its stand after a thorough study of the determination. “This is a new development. All previous impeachments against three Supreme Court judges and two Chief Justices more..

Army denies harassing student

Jan 3 (CG) The army has denied reports that a female student had been hospitalized after being allegedly subjected to harassment at the Sri Lanka Air Force Training Centre, Diyatalawa. Army spokesman Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasooriya says no student undergoing leadership training at Diyatalawa or any other camp has been subjected to harassment as alleged. He said that the student in question had been interviewed by the Commanding Officer of the Camp after her father, who is a govt servant, had spoken to more..

Boatpeople rescued after a week adrift

Jan 3 (TA) A GROUP of 46 Sri Lankan asylum-seekers has been rescued after spending Christmas and the new year drifting about 330 nautical miles off Sumatra in a failed bid to enter Australia. Indonesian search and rescue agency Basarnas was first alerted to the disabled vessel on December 23 by Australian authorities after a tip-off from a recently arrived asylum-seeker. But the stranded boatpeople were not picked up until Tuesday by a nearby merchant ship and were transferred more..

CJ trying to destabilise country: Wimal

Jan 3 (DM) Minister Wimal Weerawansa, who was a member of the PSC that probed the charges against CJ Shirani Bandaranayake, said today an acting chief justice, should be appointed until the impeachment process was completed. At a media conference the minister alleged that the Chief Justice was manipulating the entire judicial system to her advantage. “The Appeal Court referring the PSC report to the SC more..

The night before Christmas

Jan 4 (ST) Mrs Anumaana was recovering from the usual overdose of Christmas music that is inflicted on listeners over the airwaves during the festive season. At the same time her head was full of the news that dominated the media these days. Every news broadcast and newspaper was focused on nothing but the impeachment motion brought against the Chief Justice, it seemed. She could not very well be blamed for getting a tad mixed up, as she went about chores in the house with the radio on. more..

On the eve of New Year 2013

Jan 4 (NS) Tomorrow midnight will mark the dawn of the New Year 2013. The paradise island enters the fourth year of peace after winning the three-decade long war against LTTE terrorism. Nevertheless, nature made havoc in many regions of the country a few times during post-war period including the heavy flood prevailing in the country last week dragging it from the journey towards development. However, Govt has succeeded in completing the Hambantota Harbor, the Southern Expressway, more..

Foreigners enter market where locals exit in fear

Jan 4 (LB) The most notable inflow went into John Keells Holdings when Borga Hill Investments, controlled by Malaysian Sovereign Wealth Fund Khazana Nasional, bought an 8.8% stake in the blue-chip conglomerate for Rs 15.5bn. This was followed by Parkson’s of Malaysia writing a cheque for Rs 1.42bn to buy 41.8% of Odel. In the latter part of the year, Softlogic Holdings found investors for minority stakes in Asiri more..

Usher in prosperity to balance people’s austerity

Jan 4 (NS) What a difference a year makes. It would be fair to drink a cup of kindness to Auld Lang Syne as we usher in the New Year. The old year and the two previous ones, more than anything else, was for Sri Lanka a veritable decades-long holiday from its violent history. The country has been experiencing a year of newsworthy events, not all of them palatable by any measure. Nonetheless some of them have been downright sensational. Worryingly, they mostly hold undertones of the country’s deep more..

Editorial: When callousness stinks

Jan 4 (Island) Colombo is being spruced up at a rate after years of neglect. The city now looks like a granny in a beauty parlour! The govt and the UNP, which controls the CMC, have sunk their differences for once to carry out the city beautification programme. Colonial edifices are being refurbished and floodlit; roads are being relaid and sidewalks repaved and roundabouts are being landscaped. Besides, waterways are being cleaned and jogging tracks built. But, ridding the city of garbage more..

Electrifying Jaffna

Jan 4 (CT) A 24 MW heavy fuel thermal power plant was officially commissioned in Jaffna yesterday (1). Built at a total cost of Rs 3,500 million, the power plant is locally funded by Lanka Electric Company (LECO) and owned by the CEB. The plan to establish a thermal power plant in the Jaffna Peninsula was taken in June 2012. "Around 121,000 families will receive electricity round the clock from this power plant, more..

History of Hambantota, mothers who were worried about their sons and now

Jan 4 (CT) On this, the first day of the first month of 2013, readers, in these times of doom and gloom, would without doubt appreciate a success story about a group of determined women from a district far away from the capital city, supported by a group of sensitive bureaucrats, who have successfully built themselves and their institution into a world class micro finance institution. Time was when the Hambantota District was a quiet backwater in Sri Lanka’s Deep South. more..

Two state solution eminently compatible with interests of Tamil and Sinhala people!

Jan 4 (CT) Just as the world is welcoming with hope and aspiration the dawn of the New Year of 2013, it gives me immense pleasure to extend my New Year wishes to the people of Tamil Eelam, those in Tamil Nadu and indeed all Tamils living across the globe. In my New Year message a year ago, I stated that 2012 would turn out to be an important year for all of us. The year 2012 did in fact emerge as the year in which the Govt of Sri Lanka began to encounter challenges and pressures in the more..

Sounds of Sri Lankan Drums in US

A-Z of Sri Lankan English: X is for extralinguistic communication

Jan 4 (GV) You have probably seen the YouTube clips of jehanr, which include How to speak Sri Lankan, Shit Sri Lankan mothers say, Apple iYo, etc. Whatever you think about the humour, one of the things he does well is to capture (and of course to caricature) some of the extralinguistic features of Sri Lankan communication. These include exclamations such as aiyo!, ane!, ado!, sha!, chickay!, as well as gestures, facial expressions, body language, etc. The accompanying drawings by more..

Further observations on impeachment

Jan 4 (Island) Far and away the most impressive feature of the 1977 UNP Govt was the depth of its dedication to injustice. I am not being ironic as the reader might suppose, I am being factual. I note two facts: there is in humanity a thirst for justice; there is also in humanity a thirst for injustice. It pleases us to note that everywhere in the world people think in terms of right and wrong, that they want the right to prevail over the wrong, and they want a just society in which justice reigns supreme. more..

'Central Bank is not Cabraal only'

Jan 4 (FT) Governor Nivard Cabraal said that Central Bank was not only himself, but rich with a team of 656 highly qualified professionals, and wanted critics wishing to throw brickbats however target him than his staff. This remark, perhaps aimed at the Opposition, was made by Cabraal during his comprehensive presentation on the Central Bank’s Road Map for 2013 and beyond. “The Central Bank is not Cabraal only,” the Governor said, more..

Thirimanne gutted at missing maiden Test hundred

Jan 4 (Island) Just nine more runs would have made it a fairytale return to the national side. Only eight Sri Lankans have scored Test hundreds in Australia and Lahiru Thirimanne could have joined that elite club, but he missed out as he was dismissed for 91, after doing the hard work against the Australian fast bowlers in the third and final Test here at the Sydney Cricket Ground. Thirimanne was dismissed by Nathan Lyon when he attempted to hit the off-spinner over cover. more..

FCCISL’s first edition of Differently-Abled Entrepreneur Awards a success

Jan 4 (FT) The Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Sri Lankan (FCCISL) turned a new leaf in recognising entrepreneurial talents by introducing a new awards category, Differently Abled Entrepreneur of the Year, with its flagship event, Sri Lankan Entrepreneur of the Year 2012. The main objective of introducing this category of recognition is to motivate the differently-abled people who have emerged as successful entrepreneurs. A large number of more..

SL unveils first high level JTF with India

Jan 4 (Island) Sri Lanka has unveiled its much awaited team in the high level India-Sri Lanka Joint Task Force (ISJTF) on 03 January. The pioneering team packs not only top officials of some key Ministries but also includes four well-known private sector heavyweights, the Ministry of Industry and Commerce said in a statement. "I wish the Sri Lankan assemblage of ISJTF all success in their efforts. The ISJTF will be a major step more..

Homeopathy hospital completes first decade

Jan 4 (DN) The homeopathy hospital in Welisara completed it's first decade today. A ceremony in this regard will be held under the patronage of Indigenous Medicine Minister Salinda Dissanayake with the participation of Deputy Indigenous Medicine Minister Pandu Bandaranayake. A religious programme and special clinic for testing eyes and blood have also been organized, Indigenous Medicine Ministry spokesperson said. Minister Dissanayake has taken steps to more..

Seven judicial transfers

Jan 4 (CT) CJ Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake has taken steps to transfer seven judges attached to High Courts and Civil Appellate Courts around the country, with effective from 21 January. Accordingly, Gampaha Civil Appeal Court Judge, Shiromi Perera will be transferred to the Kegalle Civil Appeal Court, Ampara High Court Judge, A.D. Anura Kumara will be transferred to the Anuradhapura Civil Appeal Court, Anuradhapura Civil Appeal Court Judge, Nissanka Bandula will be transferred to more..

'CJ is unsuitable': Prof. Vitarana

Jan 4 (FT) CJ Shirani Bandaranayake requested the President to appoint her husband as the Chairman of the National Savings Bank and the President, who did not want to antagonise her, was compelled to accommodate the request, pointed out Minister Tissa Vitarana. “Where in the world does a judge go and make such request?” queries Vitarana, stressing that he personally believes Bandaranayake is not fit to more..

22 Sri Lanka govt sites hacked

Jan 4 (DM) A number of 22 subdomains of the North Central Provincial Council ( owned by the Sri Lanka govt have been defaced by Bangladeshi Grey Hat Hackers (BGHH). The affected subdomains represent the sites of the Public Service Commission, the Department of Sports, the Department of Agriculture, the Ministry of Health and many others. “Some so-called hacker from Sri-Lanka challenged us that their country’s gov sites are too secured and unbreachable. more..

‘Political labourers the bane of health sector'

Jan 4 (Island) Out of 107,000 workers at the Health Ministry, around 35,000 (35%) are minor employees such as unskilled labourers recruited on the basis of their political connections. The selection, recruitment and job placements were done by the Ministry’s Education, Training and Research Uni. The entire govt Health Sector consisted of 1,200 medical specialists, 16,000 MBBS qualified doctors, 220 medical administrators, 30,000 nurses, 5,000 paramedics and 35,000 minor staff. more..

'Some in Opposition backing govt. on impeachment'

Jan 4 (Island) DNA Leader Gen. Sarath Fonseka alleged that some Opposition parties had cooperated with the govt by failing to appear before the Court of Appeal, hearing a petition against the Parliamentary Select Committee which investigated the charges in the impeachment motion against CJ Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake. "Their action was nothing but extending support to the UPFA targeting the Chief Justice," Gen Fonseka more..

University academics tell public : Assess the impeachment critically

Jan 4 (DN) Sri Lanka Open University Senior Lecturer and Lawyer Raja Gunaratne requested the people to view the impeachment motion brought against Chief Justice Dr Shirani Bandaranayake more critically and intelligently, taking into account that it was entirely a Constitutional procedure. Addressing a press conference organized by the People’s Movement for Justice, he said this procedure to remove judges in superior courts is similar to others anywhere in the world. more..

Etisalat Lanka reaches out to underprivileged schools

Jan 4 (DN) Etisalat Lanka continued its quest to uplift the lives of the children of the nation with their latest CSR initiative, the renovation of the library at the Hobariyaawa Junior School in Hobariyaawa, Giranduru Kotte. This initiative is the eighth school library renovated by Etisalat Lanka under their CSR Project “Danuma Pubudana Wiyapruthiya”, which has helped improved the education standards of thousands of less-privileged children across the island. The Hobariyaawa Junior School, more..

Minister Yapa ‘threatened’ by phone over ‘our lady’

Jan 4 (DM) Chairman of the now defunct PSC Anura Priyadarshana Yapa said he had received an intimidating telephone call about which he made a complaint to the Colombo Crimes Division. “There was a call to my wife’s phone at around 3pm yesterday and the person who called had asked to speak to me. When I got on the line he threatened me saying ‘if you do anything to our lady, we will take care of you”, the minister said. more..