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Ousted UC Chairman points finger at Mervyn

Nov 29 (Island) Minister Mervyn Silva was one amongst those who fought tooth and nail to oust him from the post of Chairman of the Peliyagoda Urban Council, ex-chairman Nihal Ananda complained yesterday. Ananda said it was a long planned conspiracy to defeat his budget. Members who voted against it had not even seen the budget documents, he said. Even his intimate friends betrayed him and "a UNP member treated members with arrack to oppose me.", he said. more..

Pushpakumara cold shouldered

Nov 30 (CT) Sri Lanka Cricket on Wednesday named a 23-member pool of cricketers to pick Sri Lanka 'A' to face the visiting England 'A', but missing from the lot is talented left-arm spinner Malinda Pushpakumara. 26-year-old Pushpakumara is the leading left-arm spinner in the domestic circuit, and he has announced his capabilities in no uncertain terms by becoming the best bowler of the Premier club cricket tournament for three years. Pushpakumara, who plays for Moors, more..

15,000 officials to count war victims

Nov 30 (CT) The govt is getting ready to conduct a survey using 15,000 officials, who are expected to visit individual houses to record the number of dead, wounded and missing in its quarter-century civil war, amid international pressure to conduct a credible investigation into war crimes allegations. It comes two years after a local war commission recommended a census to determine the number of civilian deaths in the civil war, more..

2014 Budget passed

Nov 30 (DN) The Second Reading of Budget 2014 (Appropriation Bill 2014) was passed with a majority of 99 votes in Parliament yesterday. 154 members voted in favour, while 55 members voted against. The division was asked by Chief Opposition Whip UNP MP John Amaratunga. TNA, DNF and UNP members voted against. The committee stage debate of the budget will commence on December 2 and will continue until December 20. The final vote will be taken on December 20.

Over 400 AIDS patients detected in Lanka by 2012

Nov 30 (DN) A total of 432 AIDS patients were detected in Sri Lanka by 2012, Deputy Health Minister Lalith Dissanayake told Parliament. He said 1,649 HIV infected persons had also been identified by 2012. He said there was an increase in AIDS and HIV patients in Colombo, Gampaha, Kandy, Kalutara, Galle and Puttalam districts. In 2012, the ministry identified 58 AIDS patients and 186 HIV infected patients. 34 AIDS patients and 146 HIV infected patients were identified in 2011. more..

Tough Australian policy fails to discourage Sri Lankan asylum seekers

Nov 30 (IRIN) Heightened border surveillance in Sri Lanka, as well as recent agreements between Australia and Sri Lanka to divert and deport would-be asylum seekers, have slashed the number of Sri Lankans reaching Australia’s shores by boat, say Australian authorities. Yet these measures have failed to discourage an increasing number – mostly from the island’s former conflict zones in the north and east – from attempting more..

Centre gets time to file response to plea on Katchatheevu

Nov 30 (Hindu) The Supreme Court on Friday granted four weeks time to the Centre to file its response to a writ petition filed by DMK president M. Karunanidhi for a direction to retrieve the island of Katchatheevu. A Bench of Justices B.S. Chauhan and S.A. Bobde granted time after Additional Solicitor General K.V. Viswanathan pleaded for short adjournment to enable the govt to file its reply. The Bench directed the matter to be listed for further hearing in January 2014. more..

Japan pledges to assist Lanka both financially and technologically

Nov 29 (Island) The Japanese Govt would continue to support Sri Lanka technologically and financially in keeping with global technologies by 2016, Japanese Ambassador in Sri Lanka, Nobuhito Hobo said. Ambassador Hobo, speaking at the inaugural Integral Services Digital Broadcasting –Terrestrial (ISDB-T) Seminar in Colombo, said during his visit to Japan in March this year, President Rajapaksa showed a keen interest in adopting the Japanese digital broadcasting system more..

'Those who shed crocodile tears wanted us to finish off Prabhakaran'

Nov 30 (Island) Some countries that shed crocodile tears today for the cause of Tamils wanted Sri Lanka to eliminate the LTTE leader V Prabhakaran during the last days of the North East Conflict, Minister Basil Rajapaksa told Parliament. Minister Rajapaksa, delivering the reply speech, of the second reading stage of the budget 2014, said that there were some countries which acted as if they had forgotten what they did and more..

Talangama businesswoman further remanded

Nov 30 (DM) Businesswoman Himali Karunaratne, who was remanded on charges of abducting and killing her husband in Thalangama, was further remanded till November 13 by Kaduwela Magistrate Wasantha Jinadasa today. Defence Counsel said prison officers had failed to take the accused to a cardiologist as ordered by the Court. Prison officers informed Court that the accused had failed to provide her medical reports and as such the Prison health officer had taken more..

GMOA satisfied with new salary policy

Nov 30 (CT) The Govt Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) today declared that they are ‘happy’ that the govt has finally decided to address their salary issues by revising the basic salary policy. The Association’s Assistant Secretary, Dr. Nalin Ariyaratne, said the doctors are happy about Budget 2014, because what they were demanding concerning salary allowances and increments have been spelled out in the budget. “It clearly mentions that there is going to be a revision in more..

US extends Iran oil sanctions waivers to SL

Nov 30 (DM) The U.S. State Department extended six-month Iran sanctions waivers on Friday to nine countries including Sri Lanka in exchange for their reducing purchases of Iranian crude oil earlier this year. "I am pleased to announce that, based on additional significant reductions in the volume of their purchases of Iranian crude oil, China, India, Korea, Turkey, and Taiwan have again qualified for an exception to sanctions," more..

Editorial: Justice at last

Nov 30 (OT) More than 16,000 officials are fanning out all over Sri Lanka to compile a list of those dead during the ethnic conflict that lasted for about 27 years. This exercise is the result of growing international pressure to order a probe into the killing of Tamils in the last days of the civil war in 2009. This move goes one step further than the demand of Tamil sympathisers as the number of people killed by the Tamil Tigers will also be counted. Allegations have been rife in the last few years that more..

UNP MP urges legalising of Maveerar Day

Nov 30 (Island) UNP MP R. Yogarajan said in Parliament yesterday that the Tamil people should be permitted to commemorate the Maveerar Day. He said the Maveerar Day was held not only to commemorate the LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran but also to remember all those who perished in the conflict. Participating in the Second Reading stage debate on budget 2014, MP Yogarajan said that there should be no hindrance to the commemoration of the Maveerar Day. more..

Sri Lanka axes 100% surcharge that has halted all gold imports

Nov 30 (Reuters) Sri Lanka scrapped a 100% surcharge on gold imports and cut import duty with immediate effect, officials said on Friday, after measures imposed in mid-2013 to curb purchases of the metal from abroad halted them completely in the third quarter. Apart from removing the customs surcharge, the government cut import duty to 7.5 percent from 10 percent, partly to help the island's struggling jewellery industry, officials said. more..

Swamy urges Jayalalithaa to nab LTTE operative

Nov 30 (Hindu) BJP leader Subramanian Swamy on Friday urged Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa to take immediate action on the Home Ministry’s communication to her seeking the State govt’s assistance on the whereabouts of an LTTE operative, a Catholic Christian priest. In a statement, Dr. Swamy said the priest had been named as accused by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in a complaint filed before a court in the United States for terrorist related activities. more..

Sri Lanka detains three for paying tribute to LTTE rebels

Nov 30 (PTI) Three persons arrested in northeast Sri Lanka for commemorating the achievements of LTTE rebels were produced in a court today. Police said they were arrested at Murukkandi in Mannar district on Nov 26. They were presented before a local magistrate. "It is illegal to celebrate a banned terrorist organisation," police said. Nov 26 was celebrated annually by the LTTE as "Heroes' Day" to commemorate those who died in the fight to carve out a separate Tamil homeland. more..

Govt. mulls challenging SC order on 2011 Z-score

Nov 30 (Island) Minister Bandula Gunawardena said that he would consult the AG to ascertain whether it was possible to file a case against the Supreme Court judgment on the 2011 GCE A/L Z-score. He said that the then CJ Shirani Bandaranayake had not allowed any of the five experts who worked out the Z-score calculation to defend their methodology and ordered that the Z-score be recalculated. more..

Slippery bananas

Nov 30 (DM) In the fiery days of the cold war, some South American countries were known as banana republics because of their close links with the United States. That was in a figurative sense, but Sri Lanka appears to be going that way in a literal sense because it may be on slippery ground in view of the growing role being given to certain companies producing genetically modified bananas. On large tracts of land down south and elsewhere such varieties are being cultivated. more..

Murali delivered it to ‘chuck’ Cameron’s cynicism away

Nov 30 (DM) Years after retiring as cricket’s most successful bowler, Muttiah Muralitharan captured headlines recently for different reasons, contradicting British PM David Cameron and the controversial Channel 4 television station and stirring a political storm in the process. Cameron angered many Sri Lankans during his recent visit to the country for the CHOGM by crticising its human rights record and then setting a March 2014 deadline to conduct a ‘credible’ inquiry into more..

Over 800 Inventors at Sahasak Nimevum 2013

Nov 30 (DM) Over 800 Sri Lankan inventors will display their inventions and innovations at the National Invention Exhibition, from Nov 30 to Dec 2 at the BMICH from 10 am to 5 pm. Participating under University, School, Open and Commercialised categories by submitting novel ideas under 12 Technical Fields, they will compete to win the prestigious Dasis Award presented to the best inventor. Organised by the more..

Jayasuriya rules out rift between India-Lanka over CHOGM

Nov 30 (PTI) Former cricketer and Minister Sanath Jayasuriya today ruled out possibility of any rift in the relationship between India and his country in the wake of non-participation of PM Manmohan Singh in the recent Commonwealth summit held in the island nation. "India has always been a good friend of Lanka. The decision to send whom to an international meet is the individual choice of that particular nation. more..

Expat seeks compensation for lost limb in the line of duty

Nov 30 (AN) A Sri Lankan driver here has accused his sponsor of failing to compensate him for losing a limb while on duty. Ruwan Chamara Herath, 29, said he had a serious accident while driving a vehicle without headlights. He claimed his sponsor forced him to drive the vehicle at midnight even though he allegedly knew that the headlights were not working. Herath claimed that the company he works for treats its workers more..

Laptop to journalists: Dinesh criticises Media Ministry

Nov 30 (Island) The failure to provide a reply to a question raised in Parliament, about how many media personnel were provided with laptop computers, by the Media and Information Ministry, was criticised by Minister Dinesh Gunawardena. "This is a simple question. I agree that a reply to this can be provided in a short time. The delay is the fault of the Secretary to the Ministry," Minister said in Parliament. more..

Rs.5000 CoL allowance preferable says Vasu

Nov 30 (Island) The CoL allowance given to public servants in the govt’s 2014 budget is not sufficient and I would reckon an allowance of around Rs. 5000 would have been preferable to the amount granted, Minister Vasudeva Nanayakkara said. ‘Today, a family cannot survive on the bread winner’s salary alone. However, currently, most people are on the lookout for extra sources of income. This is being encouraged by more..

Asanga for Asian rugby body

Nov 30 (CT) Sri Lanka Rugby Football Union president Asanga Seneviratne is in the forefront to take rugby to next level in Asia as he will be uncontested to the post of Secretary General at the Asian Rugby Football Union annual general meeting scheduled to be held in Cambodia from December 6 to 8. Ex-Sri Lanka fly half Seneviratne becomes the first Sri Lankan to hold this respected post in the ARFU and his name for general secretary more..

'Elimination of Kamburupitiya murder suspects very suspicious'

Nov 30 (Island) The UNP said yesterday that the manner in which two of the suspects arrested in connection with the recent killing of a Kamburupitya Police Constable and his wife had been eliminated was very suspicious. UNP MP, Eran Wickremeratne noted that the Police had justified the killing of the suspects alleging that they had tried to harm them, while being taken to identify hidden arms and other suspects. more..

Gotabaya Rajapaksa meets Salman Khurshid during low-key visit to Delhi

Nov 30 (ENS) In an extremely low-profile visit, Sri Lankan defence secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa was in Delhi for a short visit this week, which was largely kept under wraps by the two govts. Gotabaya Rajapaksa called on Minister of External Affairs Salman Khurshid on Friday morning, before he left for Colombo at the end of his trip. He met with his defence ministry counterparts on Thursday. more..

North CM on war path with Sri Lankan govt

Nov 30 (ENS) After a month of cooperation with the Rajapaksa govt, the Chief Minister of Sri Lanka’s Northern Province, C V Wigneswaran, has switched to confrontation. On Thursday, Wigneswaran tried to inspect the Hindu temples and houses allegedly damaged by the Sri Lankan army in the Weligamam North High Security Zone (HSZ) knowing full well that no one could enter the HSZ without prior permission. more..

Fire breaks out at BMICH premises

Nov 30 (AD) The fire which broke out at a temporarily built hall at the BMICH premises has been completely doused with the help of firefighters, Ada Derana reporter said. The fire erupted at a temporary hall built within the premises of the BMICH this morning. Firefighters rushed to the location of the fire and have managed to douse the flames. Meanwhile all exhibitions being held at the BMICH premises are continuing as usual. more..

An inspiring legacy

Nov 30 (CT) “I was born a month premature and it was with great difficulty that I survived,” R.I.T. Alles confided in the very first page of his candidly told autobiography. When he died on Thursday, after 81 long years, of which over five decades he dedicated to educate the nation’s children, he left behind an inspiring legacy, a legacy that would live for many decades to come. D.S. Senanayake College, Colombo, which he built from scratch to one of the best Colombo schools, more..

Mind the Sri Lankan state (of mind)

Nov 30 (CT) Imagine a house with five distinct layers. The outer layer is a veranda and is the first thing you witness on arrival. The second is a living room, where guests are hosted and entertained. The bedrooms are located within the third layer and the kitchen located in the fourth. Finally, the sanitary facilities are found within the outer layer, at the rear of the house. This design is common to many traditional homes in Sri Lanka and may strike some of us as vaguely familiar. more..

‘Rock’: Steady presence in local music

Nov 30 (Island) Mohammed Sally, Mohammed Ghouse, R. Muttusamy and M. K. Rocksamy, all these are well-known names in Sri Lankan music. Maria Kolande Rocksamy —better known as M. K. Rocksamy — died, aged 56, on Nov. 30, 1988. Through 25 years that followed, the name Rocksamy has survived to make a strong impression in the field of music in Sri Lanka. Rocksamy had an ancestry in music, more..

The counter-Robin Hoods

Nov 30 (CT) In her autobiographical-history of Pre-revolutionary China, Han Suyin explains how the country’s incompetent and spendthrift rulers used taxes as a mode of wealth-extraction from ordinary people. Kettle tax, stocking tax, bedding tax, hog tax, wealthy house tax, army mule tax, troop movement tax, soldier reward tax…the list was endless. “There was inaugurated in certain areas a ‘happy tax’ for the purpose of promoting happiness on the day taxes were paid”. more..

Saint Mahinda

Nov 30 (CT) Today, we are going to have fun, get to know each other, and play a game. This is our playground; if you want to play with me, keep on reading. Always, I like to play, both cerebral and corporeal games. My heaven is where I can play tennis; hell is where there is no tennis. All work and no play makes Jagath a dull boy. Before we play our game, I need to tell you why we are going to play this game. It is all about politics, stupid; you cannot escape it; even when you are alone more..

Health workers back at work, but demand their pound of flesh

Nov 30 (Island) All health services which struck work demanding increases in several allowances, returned to their posts yesterday. Convener for the Joint Council of Nursing, Professions Supplementary to Medicine and Paramedics Saman Jayasekara, however, said that the Health Ministry was yet to respond to their trade union demands which include a Rs. 10,000 disturbance, availability and transport more..

Eight fishermen still not found

Nov 30 (DM) The Fisheries Department said today that rescue operations were still continuing to locate the eight fishermen who went missing due to the Lehar cyclonic storm in the Bay of Bengal a couple of days ago. Fisheries Department Director General said that eight fishermen were rescued while another eight fishermen were still not found. “We have informed the Navy, fellow boats, Indian coast guard and vessels in the international waters as this incident happened in International waters. more..

Sara demands apology from Lankadeepa

Nov 30 (CG) Denying the story carried by the Sinhala daily Lankadeepa “Karaliye Perali” Column, Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu says that he was out of Sri Lanka from the 10th to the 17thNovember and never met with any “special representatives” from Canada on the beaches of Koggala before the CHOGM or since. Lankadeepa Columnist wrote; Dr. Saravanamuttu along with former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga and Ms. Sunethra Bandaranaike engaged in a more..

Price controls on private lab tests

Nov 30 (Island) Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena yesterday said that, with the support of all trade unions, a price control mechanism for all laboratory investigations, done by the private sector, would be introduced shortly. He pointed out that many private laboratories, situated in various parts of the country, were exploiting the people. Those labs had been charging different prices for some laboratory investigations. more..

Kabir takes on Budget 2014

Nov 30 (FT) UNP MP Kabir Hashim opened the seventh allotted day for the second reading of the Appropriation Bill 2014 on Thursday, expressing concern on the Government’s ban which prevented the nurses’ trade union continuing an island-wide strike yesterday. “It is in dictatorships that trade union action is banned,” he said, criticising the Rajapaksa regime for diluting the traditions and values of the Budget that needs to be carried inside the traditional wooden case with seals. more..