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Expressway tolls to be reduced for New Year

Apr 11 (AD) reduced fee will be charged from all categories of vehicles on the country’s Expressways from midnight today (10) to April 25, on a directive by President Mahinda Rajapaksa, the Government Information Department said. The Road Development Authority (RDA) said that a reduced fee of Rs 200 will be charged from Colombo to Katunayake, Rs 400 from Matara to Kaduwela, Rs 350 from Kottawa to Matara and Rs 300 from Kottawa to Galle.

New engineering faculties to be opened in Colombo, Jaffna, Kelaniya, J’pura uni

Apr 11 (Island) New engineering faculties would be opened in the Colombo, Jaffna, Kelaniya and Sri J'pura universities in the coming years to cope with the engineers shortage in the country, UGC Chairperson, Prof. Kshanika Hirimburegama said. Addressing an MoU signing ceremony to introduce a local engineering degree under the newly founded Sri Lanka Technological Campus (SLTC), she said that Sri Lanka more..

Pavitra avoids debate as House goes into holiday mood

Apr 11 (DM) Parliamentary proceedings came to an abrupt end at 2.25 pm today since there was no quorum in the House to carry out the day’s business. Soon after statements made under the Standing Order 23/2 and ministerial responses, UNP MPs moved an adjournment motion on the crisis in the energy sector. Shortly after he started his speech, ruling party MP A.H.M. Azwer rose on a point of order and said there was no quorum for the day’s business to proceed. more..

Rape on the rise

Apr 11 (CT) Rape cases are on the rise, Minister Tissa Karaliyadda, said. In reply to a question raised by UNP MP Rosy Senanayake in Parliament, he said that in 2008 there were 914 rape cases of victims under the age of 18 reported while in 2012 it had risen to 1,808 cases. The total number of rape cases of victims under 18 from the year 2008 to 2012 was 6,195. Meanwhile, Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa said that due to the delay in conviction procedure regarding rape cases, more..

Docs give notice of indefinite strike

Apr 11 (Island) The GMOA gave notice of an indefinite countrywide strike commencing April 22 in protest against an alleged delay on the part of the Public Service Commission (PSC) to issue a gazette notification in respect of the doctors’ service minute. GMOA committee member Dr. Navin de Zoyza confirmed that his association had decided to launch a strike. Although the Cabinet had approved the service minute submitted by Minister more..

Healthy New Year gift for the people

Apr 11 (DM) If health is wealth, then the govt’s healthiest and most generous national New Year gift to the people is the presentation of legislation to the Cabinet to implement the National Medicinal Drugs Policy (NMDP) based on the revered Professor Senaka Bibile’s essential medicines concept. Essentially, the legislation, when approved by the Cabinet and probably unanimously by Parliament, will make provision for all people to have access to quality medicinal drugs at affordable prices. more..

When will this lawlessness end?

Apr 11 (DM) An excerpt from the speech delivered by the President of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) Upul Jayasuriya at the Convocation where he was inducted for the year 2014-2015. I shall quote the Former CJ of India, His Lordship CJ Altamas Kabir, when he addressed the Supreme Court a few days ago. I quote: “It is the duty of the legal fraternity upon its corporate social responsibility to give something back to society in return for the benefits we have received. more..

Eyes left, eyes right, purses out: Avurudu shopaholics hit the streets

Apr 11 (ST) A woman clad in a pale green skirt and blouse rushes through garment shops amidst the large crowds in Maharagama. Her companion is also eagerly looking at the clothes displayed. Both are carrying bulging bags. With the Sinhala and Tamil New Year around the corner this is not a rare sight. The festival, the only event in the country to be celebrated by both Sinhala Buddhists and Tamil Hindus, has finally come and more..

Paid NGO professionals, volunteer activism and Rajapaksa’s advantage in South

Apr 11 (SL) In Southern Sri Lanka, the Resolution adopted at the 25th Session of the UNHRC in Geneva on 27 March, was positioned as against the whole nation (Sinhala by default), by not only this regime, but also those who believe the war ended a 30 year period of ruthless terrorism and rightly so. Any attempt now in trying to dig up skeletons from that war, is anti-SL, pro-LTTE and an attempt to change the regime by more..

'Rajapaksa regime is sponsoring extremist groups for its survival'

Apr 11 (FT) BBS and SLMC are extremists sponsored by Rajapaksa regime to create tension among communal groups for survival of the Govt, says Mujeebur Rahman, Member of the WPC. “These extremist groups don’t care about the Sinhalese or the Muslims and their existence is purely for political benefit. Now that the war is over, they want to create tension in order to keep the extremist votes with the govt” more..

UNP blames fund cuts for doctors, nurses leaving country

Apr 11 (Island) The curtailment of funds for the health sector had resulted in a severe brain drain of doctors, acting Opposition Leader John Amaratunga told Parliament. Amaratunga said the govt hospitals were without facilities to carry out even medical tests. That situation had caused dozens of private laboratories and pharmacies supplying those services and medicines to mushroom around govt hospitals. more..

SL set to host Pakistan for Tests in August

Apr 11 (CI) Pakistan will play two Tests and three ODIs in Sri Lanka in August, officials from both boards have confirmed. No tour dates have yet been set in stone, but Pakistan is expected to arrive in Sri Lanka in late July for a tour match before the internationals begin early in the following month. For Sri Lanka, the tour will be the third in quick succession, following an away tour of England, and the home series against South Africa. more..

Big jump in coconut product exports

Apr 11 (Island) Sri Lanka coconut related exports had increased 94% at the beginning of this year compared to the same period last year. In January this year, Sri Lanka earned Rs. 4,768 million from coconut related products, 94% increase from the same period in 2013. In January last year it was Rs. 2463.43 million. The total coconut related products export revenue in 2013 stood at Rs. 44,952 million. more..

Speaker rules Bill duly passes despite lack of quorum

Apr 11 (Island) Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa yesterday announced to Parliament that Medical (Amendments) Bill to provide for the setting up of a Medical Faculty at the Sir John Kotelawala Defence University had been legally passed despite the fact that there was no quorum in the House. Speaker said that he had studied the point of order raised by MP Ajith Kumara on March 21, pertaining to the passing of the more..

Ten persons convicted of harassing Rukantha granted Presidential pardon

Apr 11 (AD) Ten former PSD personnel in prison for harassing Rukantha and Chandralekha were released from prison following a Presidential pardon, the Commissioner General of Prisons stated. Rukantha Gunathilake earlier decided to pardon the former PSD officers who were convicted and sentenced for breaking into his residence in Mattegoda and harassing his family. The persons responsible for ordering them to more..

Muslim MPs consider boycotting parliament

Apr 11 (CG) Several Muslim MPs are considering boycotting Parliament sessions if action is not taken to control the “terror” activities of the BBS. Minister Rishad Bathiudeen said that the proposal to boycott Parliament is still being discussed and a final decision has not been reached. The police have already summoned BBS General Secretary, the Venerable Galaboda Aththe Gnanasara thero, to give a statement over more..

Gobi killed in army and LTTE clash

Apr 11 (CG) Former LTTE member Gobi and two others were killed following a confrontation with the army in Vavuniya late last night, the army said today. Army spokesman Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasooriya said that an exchange of gun-fire had taken place at Nedunkerni when soldiers had confronted Gobi and two other former rebels who were armed. 3 former rebels, including another suspect identified as Appan, more..

Indian elections and beyond

Apr 11 (CT) India, the world's largest democracy early this week embarked on what is being deemed both a mammoth and epic battle of democracy that could well change the nature of Indian society. Critics have dubbed the polls a Hobson's choice between the old dynastic India of patronage politics and a political upstart driven by Hindu chauvinist ambitions, but the writing it appears is literally on the wall for the ruling Congress Party. Unlike in most democracies, Indian General Elections more..

Baby J found in Kandalama Walauwa

Apr 11 (CT) Plight of the elephants is getting to a very grave stage indeed. Today, to be an elephant and walk from Dondra to Point Pedro is far more risky than a woman wearing jewellery and walking on her own as the old saying goes. In fact the jumbo will be stolen before going even a kilometer. This is driven by greed and prestige, when a German Shepherd dog is no longer sufficient as a status symbol. Now every temple and every politician, every businessman must have a JUMBO. more..

Daily Mirror Cartoon

Sri Lanka stocks close up 0.3%

Apr 11 (LBO) Sri Lanka's stocks close up 0.28% higher with index heavy stocks gaining amid net foreign buying. All Share Price Index closed 17.29 points higher at 6,092.34 up 0.28%. The S&P SL20 closed 1.92 points higher at 3,346.92, up 0.06%. Turnover was 540.86 million rupees, up from 359.25 million rupees a day earlier with 96 stocks close positive against 61 negative. John Keells closed flat at 238.00 rupees with two off market transactions of 75.27 million rupees contributing to more..

Milco factories back at full production

Apr 11 (Island) Milco (Pvt) Limited is functioning at its full capacity, following a recent labour dispute, and producing 165,000 litres of liquid milk a day at factories in Ambewela, Digana, Polonnaruwa and Narahenpita. Liquid milk under the Highland brand had become very popular and steps were being taken by the Ministry of Livestock and Rural Community Development to increase production to make the country self-sufficient in liquid milk in a few years. more..

Hiding behind ‘full face helmet’

Apr 11 (CT) Police have failed to suppress the increasing wave of bank and finance company robberies taking place island-wide. Police, as well as bank managements, have been compelled to rethink about their security since six major bank robberies have taken place within a brief period of just two months. They say that it is not easy to arrest the culprits since most of them hide their faces using 'full face covered' helmets. more..

Sri Lankan rupee ends steady on state bank dollar buying ahead of holidays

Apr 11 (Reuters) Rupee closed flat at 130.59/61 per dollar as a state bank bought U.S. currency to offset upward pressure resulting from greenback inflows from worker remittances and exporter dollar sales ahead of the festive season. One of the two state banks, through which the central bank usually directs the market, bought dollars at 130.59. An official at the central bank's International Operations Department said the bank had bought dollars in the three sessions through Thursday. more..

More than 100 traders nabbed for selling rice above controlled prices

Apr 11 (Island) Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) apprehended 123 traders yesterday for selling rice above the controlled prices announced by the Ministry of Cooperatives and Internal Trade on Wednesday. Minister Johnston Fernando said that countrywide raids would be conducted by the CAA to apprehended unscrupulous traders who attempted to take advantage of the New Year to fleece consumers. He said his ministry had decided to go flat out to bring errant traders to book. more..

Controversial UK MPs trip to Sri Lanka cancelled at 11th hour

Apr 11 (C4) An all-expenses-paid trip by five UK MPs and their partners, including business-class travel to and from Sri Lanka, is cancelled amid cross-party recriminations - hours before departure. Timing of the trip was controversial – coming just two weeks after UN launched an investigation into alleged war crimes and continued human rights abuse in SL. This week, Sri Lanka said it would refuse to cooperate with UN inquiry. more..

GNOA suggests alternative ways of running MOH offices

Apr 11 (Island) The Govt Nursing Officers’ Association (GNOA) on Wednesday appealed to all MoH Officers to conduct their clinics usual with the help of PHIs and Public Health Sisters (PHS) without disrupting the primary health care services. GNOA President, Saman Ratnapriya said there was no need for the disruption of services at MOH offices. Ratnapriya alleged that even the medical officers of health were on an unofficial strike in support of midwives. more..

Cabinet committee appointed to help drought hit farmers

Apr 11 (Island) Minister Maithripala Sirisena said that President Rajapaksa had appointed a special committee to protect the farmers affected by drought. The committee comprises senior Cabinet ministers. Farmers in several districts were without adequate water for their cultivations, especially paddy and the President had appointed the committee to look after the farming community, Minister Sirisena said at the Aluth Sahal Mangallaya held in Polonnaruwa on Wednesday. more..

Nekath Seettuwa (New Year auspicious times) presented to President

Apr 11 (IL) In keeping with age old customs and traditions, the document containing the auspicious times for the traditional New Year has been handed over to President Rajapaksa. Presentation of the Sinhala and Tamil New Year rituals time table known as 'Nekath Seettuwa' to the President took place at Carlton House, Tangalle on Thursday. Event took place under the guidance of the Cultural Affairs Ministry. more..

SLBC prohibits airing of Wijayadasa’s songs!

Apr 11 (SM) Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation chairman Hudson Samarasinghe has ordered that the songs written by UNP MP, president’s counsel Wijayadasa Rajapakshe should not be broadcast. He has told top officials of SLBC that strong action would be taken against those who had aired MP Rajapakshe’s songs without permission. This is said to be an act of revenge after certain persons had ridiculed him at the SLBC canteen, as he could not take disciplinary action against them. more..

Jaffna celebrates 'New Year 2014'

Apr 11 (MoD) Jaffna mass celebrated the Sinhala and Hindu New Year 2014 giving prominence to traditional customs at the Durayappah Stadium last Saturday. Welcoming the New Year, the grand celebration was organized by the troops in collaboration with the District Secretariat and Police in Jaffna. Event demonstrating a high caliber of communal harmony and joy merged with rich cultural values saw throngs of people from various parts of the Jaffna peninsula gather at more..

Parliament honours World T20 Champions

Apr 11 (IL) The Sri Lanka Cricket team which won the ICC World Twenty 20 Cricket World Cup (T20) visited Parliament yesterday (9) on the invitation of the Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa, Govt and Opposition members. Parliament made arrangements to extend them the highest honour. They were awarded a red carpet welcome on arrival and Deputy Speaker Chandima Weerakkody and the Sergeant at Arms accompanied the more..

What did Virat Kohli tell Sangakkara?

Apr 11 (DB) Veil over the much-talked about chat between Indian superstar-batsman Virat Kohli and SL legend Kumar Sangakkara during the finals of the recently concluded World T20 in Bangladesh has been lifted by the islander. The pair was seen on camera embracing and having a lengthy conversation at the end of the match and, Sanga, appearing in a radio show, spilled the beans on his interaction with Kohli. "It was very nice of him to have congratulated him on my fifty," more..

Plane flying from Sri Lanka seized

Apr 11 (CG) A retired Swiss airline pilot flying around the world for the last two years in a plane he built himself has been arrested after straying into Indonesian airspace while reportedly on his way from Sri Lanka. Heinz Peier, 65, was forced to land by Indonesian fighter jets before being surrounded by armed soldiers at Soewondo Air Base where he was arrested. Peier was due to travel from Sri Lanka to Philippines when the arrest happened, and was not planning to stop in Indonesia. more..

Shashikala steps down from captaincy

Apr 11 (CI) Shashikala Siriwardene has relinquished captaincy of the Sri Lanka Women's team. Her first taste of leading the national side came in December 2005 and has since been in charge for 80 limited-overs matches. As opposed to the men, the Sri Lanka Women's team endured a chastening time in their World T20 and finished in eighth place. Siriwardene was one among four batsmen from the team to score more..

SL Tamil ends hunger strike after 34 days

Apr 11 (NIE) After observing a fast-unto-death for 34 days demanding the closure of special camps for Sri Lankan refugees in the State, Sri Lankan Tamil Chenthuran (alias) Murugan on Thursday called off his hunger strike following an assurance from senior police officers who promised to look into his demands. Also, he demanded the police not to invoke the Foreigners Act against Sri Lankan Tamils and drop all the cases filed against him. Chenthuran (32) ended his fast at 7 am on Thursday more..

Who complained against Lakbima?

Apr 11 (SM) BBC Sandeshaya reports that police are yet to be reveal as to who complained to the CID over the satirical photo caption published in the newspaper, which led to much controversy. SSP Ajith Rohana says that police have acted upon receiving a written complaint. However, he has stated that he cannot state who lodged the complaint. Speaking, Lakbima editor Saman Wagaarachchi has said that the CID's summoning of him despite the newspaper apologizing twice more..

Karu, Kabir call on Mahanayake Theras

Apr 11 (DM) UNP Leadership Council Chairman Karu Jayasuriya and UNP Chairman Kabir Hashim paid a courtesy call on the Mahanayaka Theras of Malwatta and Asgiriya Chapters today and discussed the current economic, political, social and cultural situation in the country. They first met the Malwatte Chapter Mahanayaka the Most Ven. Thibbotuwawe Sri Siddhartha Sumangala Thera. “UNP is a party which builds national unity. more..

UN boosts review on UN members

Apr 11 (CG) International human rights reporting received a significant boost after the UN General Assembly on Wednesday approved steps to strengthen the system for reviewing how member states comply with their human rights treaty obligations. The General Assembly resolution (A/68/L.37) aims to streamline and harmonise the work of 10 Geneva-based committees, known as Treaty Bodies. These committees, composed of independent experts, review how countries more..

153 temples closed due to dearth of Bhikkus

Apr 11 (LT) 153 Buddhist temples have been closed down throughout the island says Minister Dinesh Gunawardene. He said most of the temples have been closed down due to dearth of Bhikkus. He said the legal right to appoint Bhikkus to temples has to be done by Mahanayakas of the Chapters the temples belong to. The environment today is not conducive to development of religion or maintaining places of worship of all religions but promotion of centers of nefarious activities such as more..