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New places of religious worship only with prior approval of Ministry

Jan 18 (ST) The Ministry of Buddha Sasana and Religious Affairs has reiterated the need for those setting up and operating new places of religious worship to get prior approval from the Ministry. The move has been taken to avoid breakdown in amity among members of various religious groups in the country, and on the recommendations of the Consultative Committee of Parliament of the Ministry of Buddha Sasana and Religious Affairs, more..

Navy organizes field health clinic at Bathalangunduwa islet

Jan 18 (MoD) Reaching out to the rural people of the North Western region, Sri Lanka Navy conducted a free medical health clinic at Bathalangunduwa islet on 14th. As part of the Navy's community development project, the Command Medical Department under the patronage of Commander North Western Naval Area, Rear Admiral NKD Nanayakkara rendered assistance to conduct the field health clinic in collaboration with a professional medical team coordinated by NARA. more..

2 MPs probed over Ethanol racket

Jan 18 (SM) Sri Lanka Customs has commenced investigations on two parliamentarians over the recent illegal importations of Ethanol, reports say. It is said that these MPs are from the North West and Central Provinces. The fact that a single container carrier lorry has been used for transporting these containers imported from 2013 has triggered the above investigation, reports add. Investigations have also revealed that in addition to the seized Ethanol containers, around 15 other Ethanol more..

Judges should not compromise for their gain

Jan 18 (CT) It is expected of every Judge anywhere that he or she discharge judicial functions as fair, balanced, strong and an impartial Judge receiving the acceptance and respect of the Bar. Judges and lawyers should always be men and women who do not compromise for their gain and who are not willing to trade their conscience and dignity, which are precious and priceless assets in the practice of the law and the administration of justice. more..

Adopt the same yardstick for Sri Lanka too

Jan 19 (SO) LTTE cohorts and certain Western politicians who thrive on the Tamil Diaspora vote and funds are working round-the-clock to take Sri Lanka to task at the next UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) sessions in Geneva in March. The moderates in the international community should ponder seriously before jumping to any conclusions on Sri Lanka. The international community should by no means be swayed by concocted stories dished out by LTTE cohorts. more..

Whom do we deserve?

Jan 19 (SL) In the not too distant past hardened criminals were accorded the dubious acronym of IRC—Island Reconvicted Criminal. These days we rarely hear of or read that acronym. Instead another acronym associated with crimes is called for: PSC—Pradeshiya Sabha Councillors or Provincial Councillors. This category of local govt politicians is regularly reported in news pages of being involved in crimes such as: abductions, rapes, murder, racketeering, bribery, corruption and many more..

'Heroic soldiers will not be betrayed to appease the West'

Jan 19 (SO) Former Western Province Minister Udaya Gammanpila said Sri Lanka was bold to defy orders given by the West and defeat terrorism that plagued the country and this is the reason why Sri Lanka is going to be punished at the UNHRC sessions in March! Gammanpila did not mince his words when he said the West directed us to declare a ceasefire at the tail end of the war against terrorists. more..

When will Obama volunteer to be cavity-searched?

Jan 19 (NS) India’s deputy consul general in New York Devyani Khobragade was arrested in New York. She had apparently lied on a visa application and tried to circumvent law designed to protect domestic employees of diplomats from exploitation. India was livid. India retaliated by withdrawing security to the US Embassy in Delhi, withdrew import licenses that allowed the commissary at the Embassy to import duty-free alcohol and food, demanded to know the salaries paid to more..

Interceding for traffic offenders

Jan 19 (Island) The Island reported yesterday that IGP N.K. Ilangakoon has in a special message to all traffic police directed them to resist pressure exerted by phone by their superiors and politicians to let off offenders booked for traffic offences. The public will hope that this measure will effectively stop what has become a common occurrence when somebody is booked. He phones a friend in the police or some politician and the cop on the street receives a call to let off the offender. more..

'Hirunika can deliver with support of Youth'

Jan 19 (SL) Deputy Minister and SLFP Colombo Central Organizer Faizer Mustapha says he is unruffled by the party’s decision to appoint Hirunika Premachandra as the Co-organizer of the same electorate. He said his political career was not vulnerable to any threat emerging from Premachandra’s arrival. “My first priority is the party and I have no issue with the President’s decision. I am happy that she decided to more..

Media rights and responsibilities

Jan 19 (ST) The Press Complaints Commission of Sri Lanka (PCCSL), the newspaper industry's own 'policeman', celebrated its 10th anniversary this week; an event postponed from last October due to a request from the Government not to clash with CHOGM. In her keynote speech at the opening of an international conference to mark the occasion, Prof. Savitri Goonesekere, Emeritus Professor of Law and one-time Vice Chancellor of the University of Colombo, succinctly pointed out that though more..

Beauty and the politics of beasts

Jan 19 (ST) My Dear Hirunika, I thought I must write to you when I heard that you had accepted an appointment as an electoral organiser for Colombo Central for the Blue party from Mahinda maama. Used as we are to political high jumps and about turns, it takes a lot to surprise us, but with this latest news, you did! I say so, Hirunika, because only a few weeks ago we heard you loud and clear, raving and ranting about how bad our criminal justice system is, because suspected more..

‘People are now looking for an opposition’

Jan 19 (SL) Former JVP MP and trade unionist K.D. Lalkantha is spearheading the JVP’s election campaign for the forthcoming WPC election. He said the primary objective of his election campaign would be to lay the foundation to topple the present govt at the next Presidential election. “When the final stage of war was going on, people didn’t want to look for an opposition. They wholeheartedly supported the war effort. more..

Seeds of treason

Jan 19 (NS) There are all kinds of security issues. In the last three decades, the word ‘security’ was associated with protection from terrorist attacks. Today, territorial integrity is not threatened by terrorists. If at all, it comes under threat by Indian fishermen and trawlers. Sovereignty, on the other hand, can be compromised in many ways, in particular through trade regimes constructed by the arm-twisting of weaker/poorer countries by powerful/rich nations. more..

Stepping up pressure against Balapatabendi

Jan 19 (NS) The JVP is supposed to initiate its preliminary work of lobbying opposition and govt MPs to muster their support for a motion addressed to the Speaker seeking the appointment of a Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC). This lobbying is aimed at investigating and recommending the removal of incumbent chairman of the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption, Jagath Balapatabendi on the ground of proved misconduct. more..

'Footmarks on pitch crucial to SL chances'

Jan 19 (CI) The footmarks developing on the Sharjah pitch are crucial to Sri Lanka's hopes of winning the series 2-0, Kumar Sangakkara said. Day three saw the surface play reasonably well for the batsmen, even if it remained a challenging pitch for stroke-making, but Sri Lanka's spinners achieved success by attacking rough areas either side of the pitch. There has been no unplayable turn or bounce from footmarks, more..

Young engineer in fatal high speed crash

Jan 19 (ST) A youth died when his racing car crashed onto an electric post near Nawala Road on Monday night, a coroner’s court inquiry was told. Deceased, Sasindra Malawararachchi, (25), an engineer from Lake Road, Borelesgamuwa, was on his way to Thalawathugoda with a neighbour, when the accident took place. “The person who died was my eldest son. On this particular day, he was going to see a friend in Thalawathugoda, who was going to Melbourne for employment,” more..

The State is in crisis

Jan 19 (Island) We all know that our savings rate is low, not more than 21% including the savings remitted to the country by our people laboring in the Middle East and elsewhere. But to develop the country we need to invest at least 30% of the Gross Domestic Product; so we borrow from foreigners and our own citizen. Total foreign debt and liabilities have nearly doubled from US$ 17.8 billion in 2008 to US$ 33.7 billion and was 56.7% of GDP at the end of 2012, a figure which is relatively high more..

Strictly no prostitution, only gaming and other activity at Crown Complex

Jan 19 (ST) The Sri Lankan govt is compelled to permit the Colombo Crown complex with a casino as a mixed development project at D.R. Wijewardena Mawatha under the aegis of the Rank Group as a massive US $350 million investment commitment has been made, the Chief of the Rank Group says, strongly rejecting concerns that the project will promote prostitution.The project is a joint venture of Australian casino mogul more..

'Be conscious of your responsibility,ensure proper governance'

Jan 19 (Island) SEC Chairman, Nalaka Godahewa Friday called on all directors of public listed companies to be conscious of their responsibilities, work towards the interest of the company and be impartial. "Ensure proper governance in the company you manage," he told a symposium on `Regulatory Compliance’ held at the Cinnamon Grand Hotel with the participation of over 325 executives representing public listed companies here. "Ensure adherence to the relevant rules more..

IFAC President to meet key reps in Sri Lanka

Jan 19 (NS) On the invitation of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka (CA Sri Lanka), Warren Allen President of the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC), the world apex body of the accounting profession will visit Sri Lanka this month, the local accountancy body has announced. Allen’s visit will coincide with the induction ceremony of the 22nd President of CA Sri Lanka, Arjuna Herath and the Board Meeting of the South Asian Federation of Accountants more..

Foreigners-only island off Hambantota

Jan 19 (ST) Sri Lanka has commenced construction of an exclusive entertainment island, only for foreigners, off the southern Hambantota coast in the home town of the President, an official said on Thursday. A man-made island with an extent of about 48 hectares would be established in Hambantota in close proximity to the Magam Ruhunupura Mahinda Rajapaksa port, Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) Chairman more..

Chinese New Year celebrations at the BMICH

Jan 19 (GDI) An event to mark the Chinese New Year was held at the BMICH in Colombo on Friday (17) under the patronage of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. According to the Chinese Lunar calendar, the Chinese New Year falls on January 31 this year. Chinese Spring Festival, also called Lunar New Year, has more than 4,000 years of history. Being one of the traditional Chinese festivals, it is the grandest and the most important festival for Chinese people. more..

John ready to save Mahinda in Geneva

Jan 19 (CT) Chief Opposition Whip John Amaratunga said he was willing, if invited, to be a part of SL delegation, to the March UNHRC sessions, to save President Rajapaksa’s govt. “My friendship with President Rajapaksa goes back 20 years, but there is no other political connection between the two of us,” he said. Amaratunga’s travelling with the President to the Middle East, earlier this month, has led to speculation that he would cross over to the govt. more..

TN fishermen threaten to set themselves ablaze, want their boats back from Lanka

Jan 19 (TOI) Several fishermen who were released from Sri Lankan prisons recently attempted to immolate themselves at TN's Nagapattinam district collectorate on Saturday demanding that state govt persuade Sri Lanka to release their boats. Nearly 150 fishermen poured kerosene on themselves after they assembled in front of district collector's office. Police acted swiftly and prevented them from setting themselves on fire. more..

Kelanitissa transformer explodes

Jan 19 (SL) The combined cycle steam turbine transformer at Kelanitissa exploded on Friday morning depriving the system of 165MW of power indefinitely. The Advisor to the National Electricity Consumer Movement, Bandula Chandrasekera said that a huge explosion had taken place at the feeding point where the generated power is fed to the system. “The whole system has now collapsed, and it generates 155MW but now with the collapse this capacity cannot be fed to the system. more..

Fowzie not happy with Mustapha

Jan 19 (SL) Senior Minister A.H.M. Fowzie says he will oppose the appointment of Deputy Minister Faizer Mustapha as the SLFP Central Colombo co-organiser for the Western Provincial Council elections. Fowzie said that as the chief SLFP organiser for Colombo Central, he had proposed that Hirunika Premachandra be appointed as a co-organiser. He said that he made the proposal with the intention of having one Sinhalese and a Tamil as co-organisers. more..

Foreign junket for southern students and teachers stalled

Jan 19 (NS) Southern province education officials scrambled to defend themselves regarding a controversial foreign tour at taxpayers’ expense, after reports emerged that it had allegedly been stopped after concerns were raised by Elections Commissioner. Commissioner had raised issue with the govt over the tour, which was taking place after the dissolution of the SPC and amidst allegations of corruption. more..

Monetary rewards to nab errant traders

Jan 19 (SO) The Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) will launch a rewards scheme for those who help trap errant traders. “The number of unscrupulous traders selling sub-standard consumer products has increased considerably. This year alone several thousands of kilograms of food unfit for human consumption were detected during raids on warehouses and storage sites. Our net to trap these illegal vendors will be widened by offering monetary rewards to those who co-operate with us,” more..

Speed fiends to blame for spate of accidents

Jan 19 (SO) Beware of speed fiends. They are the cause for the highest number of accident victims brought to the Accident Service. This warning comes from the Director, Accident Service, National Hospital Sri Lanka, Dr Kapila Wickremanayake following the rising number of road-traffic victims admitted to the Accident Ward over the past few weeks. “Road-traffic accidents accounted for over 35 percent of the patients (25,876) admitted to our ward in 2012. more..

SriLankan seeks massive bond issue to buy aircraft

Jan 19 (ST) Sri Lanka’s national carrier SriLankan Airlines now wants to raise US$ 175 million (or more than Rs. 22.7 billion) through an international bond issue to make pre-delivery payments to Airbus Industrie for the ten new aircraft it wants to procure. Whilst seeking approval for this bond issue, Civil Aviation Minister Priyankara Jayaratne has also asked the Cabinet of Ministers to request the Treasury to provide a more..

Shehzad unhappy with Sri Lanka's 'negative' approach

Jan 19 (CI) Pakistan might have been conservative with their batting approach on the third day in Sharjah, but their opener Ahmed Shehzad said he was "surprised" by the negative approach adopted by the Sri Lanka bowlers. He stated that the opposition got "afraid" and looked insecure despite having a hefty total on the board. "I was surprised with their negative approach," Shehzad said. "Although they had 400-plus runs on the board, they had packed the leg side. more..

New building complex of the Colombo District Secretariat declared open

Jan 19 (GDI) President Rajapaksa declared open the new Building Complex of the Colombo District Secretariat Friday (17) amidst the chanting of Seth Pirith by members of the Maha Sangha. The Complex is located at Elvitigala Mawatha in Narahenpita. Work has been completed on six floors of the Complex under the first phase and the expenditure incurred on it was 1600 million rupees. The President also launched the new website of the District Secretariat. more..

Milk powder crisis deepens as CAA rules out price hike

Jan 19 (NS) Despite mounting indications that the Govt will soon be compelled to accede to the request by milk powder importers for an increase in retail prices, the Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) staunchly maintained that no decision on a price hike had been made thus far, and insisted importers were creating ‘an artificial shortage’. CAA Chairman Rumy Marzuk refused to comment on ongoing discussions regarding more..

Hambantota big enough for Sajith

Jan 19 (NS) Hambantota district MP Sajith Premadasa, who turned down the offer to be a member of the party’s nomination board said he was occupied with political affairs in the Hambanthota district and would lead the party towards a victory in Hambanthota, backyard of the Rajapaksa family. He said that he had already informed the party leader Ranil Wickremesinghe that he would not join the nomination board, as he had to throw his weight behind the victory in Hambanthota. more..

Pharmacy renewal license to be stringent

Jan 19 (NS) The Cosmetics Devices and Drugs Regulatory Authority (CDDRA) has cited that renewal and registration of new pharmacies will be approved only if conditions laid out by the CDDA are fully complied with. Referring to an incident past week, when four youths were admitted to the Colombo National Hospital for consuming excessive amounts of psychiatric and laxative drugs, the director of the CDDRA, Dr. Hemantha Benaragama said that the license of the pharmacy which more..

Keheliya implicated in vehicle scam

Jan 19 (NS) Minister Keheliya Rambukwella had illegally obtained Rs. 3.3 million from the state run Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation (SLRC) for a vehicle that he claimed he was using for personal purposes, highly placed govt sources said. During the period between July 2010 and August 2011, the Minister had obtained Rs. 240,000 per month from the SLRC for a Land Cruiser Jeep that was in his fleet of vehicles and more..

Another male bastion falls

Jan 19 (ST) Jobs which were once the exclusive preserve of men are now being taken over by females in many sectors. The Sri Lanka Railways Department is the latest to open its doors to women in what had been originally a male preserve. Today women are also being recruited to the department for painting of carriages, electrical repairs, sewing of seat covers, fabrication of name boards as well as technical jobs. The women were initially recruited as unskilled workers when more..

Appeals over school admissions accepted till 31 January

Jan 19 (CT) Appeals over school admissions based on the 2013 Grade Five Scholarship exam results is to be accepted only until 31 January, the Ministry of Education said. Commenting on this statement, Ceylon Teachers’ Union (CTU), General-Secretary, Joseph Stalin, said the ministry has not allowed all the students who were affected to appeal their case. “The students who did not get the school they wanted, but were qualified to do so, cannot appeal to the Ministry of Education. more..

Jayaratne defying President: Who’s backing him?

Jan 19 (ST) For President Mahinda Rajapaksa a daily pre-dawn work out at the gymnasium in ‘Temple Trees’ is routine. Occasionally, personal staff meet him for briefings whilst he is on the treadmill. However, last Wednesday morning he was at the Nuwara Eliya President’s House, the former colonial style Queen’s Cottage of the British era. So he chose to go for a jog past the town to the grounds near Lake Gregory. more..