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Ansell case: Court issues interim order

Jan 3 (Island) The Gampaha Civil Appellate Court on Wednesday issued an interim enjoining order declaring the letters served by the management of Ansell Lanka on striking workers as having vacated their posts illegal. Refusal by Ansell Lanka management to negotiate any settlement to the 52 day long strike made is the longest strike in the history of export promotion zones in Sri Lanka said Secretary of the Free Trade Zones and General Services Employees Union Anton Marcus. more..

'No exchange of fishermen only repatriation'

Jan 3 (CT) Coordinating Secretary to the Ministry of Fisheries, Narendra Rajapaksa said that no exchange of fishermen had taken place between India and SL on 31 Dec, but instead said that fishermen, who had stood trial from both countries and were enlarged following a court process, were repatriated to their respective countries. “There is a misunderstanding, even certain media institutions had termed this event an exchange. more..

Dearth of nurses in Northern hospitals

Jan 3 (CT) The Jaffna Teaching Hospital has a shortage of more than 1,000 nurses to carry out its daily activities, the Govt Nursing Officers' Association (GNOA) claimed yesterday. Addressing the media, GNOA President Saman Ratnapriya said, Jaffna General Hospital needs approximately 1,600 nurses to carry out its activities, but it only has 384 nurses. He said, as a result of the dearth of nursing officers, patients have had to face many inconveniences. more..

Asia Cup: Will Bangladesh lose event to SL?

Jan 3 (NDTV) Bangladesh's fate as Asia Cup hosts depends on an Asian Cricket Council (ACC) meeting in Sri Lanka this week. The political strife in Bangladesh is a cause for worry as teams may not be willing to travel to Dhaka which is scheduled to host three major international cricket events between January and April. Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president N. Srinivasan is travelling to Colombo on Friday as Sri Lanka is fast emerging as an alternative venue. more..

'Rathika flap diaspora's creation'

Jan 3 (DN) The agenda of the Tamil Diaspora in Canada and the pro-LTTE lobby to discredit Sri Lanka with false propaganda once again surfaced with reports being published in the Canadian media stating that Sri Lankan born Canadian MP Rathika Sitsabaiesan had been placed under arrest in the Jaffna peninsula, Deputy Minister Neomal Perera said. Referring to the reports as baseless he said, more..

'Nationalism should come in true sense'

Jan 3 (DN) Nationalism means working for the betterment of the nation. But working against another nation under the impression of nationalism is dangerous. It can cause many problems. The people should have a good understanding of nationalism, said Fisheries Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne. The minister was addressing a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program organized by the Thinakaran Varamanjaree newspaper at Al Hamra Maha Vidyalaya. more..

Coast Guard educates fishermen

Jan 3 (CG) Coast Guard personnel attached to ‘Rohana’ at Mirissa conducted a lifesaving awareness programme for fishermen in Kottegoda Lunukalapuwa area on Tuseday (31). Over 50 persons participated in the programme which covered aspects such as safety conditions of fishing boats, proper use of safety gears, life saving techniques and survival at sea. Further, fishermen were educated on the repercussions of engaging in human smuggling, drug trafficking and more..

Thisara punished for poor performance

Jan 3 (IC) Sri Lankan all-rounder Thisara Perera has been prevented from playing in the ongoing Big Bash League (BBL) in Australia by the island's cricket board, a newspaper reported. Perera, according to the report, was not permitted to play in the BBL because he had failed "to perform up to expectations against Pakistan." He has instead been instructed to remain in Sri Lanka for the upcoming series against England A. more..

First-ever investor forum for Eastern Province

Jan 3 (FT) The New Year is heralding good times for the Eastern Province as it will receive much emphasis with the first-ever international investment forum in the region scheduled to take place on 17 January. With the intention of seizing employment and wealth creation opportunities, the forum titled ‘Invest in East’ aims to attract local and Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the post conflict economy to the region. The event is organised by the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Production and more..

National policy for gem and jewellery industry

Jan 3 (DN) The National Gem and Jewellery Authority will introduce a national policy for the gem and jewellery industry this year. Under this policy, the Authority plans to introduce eco-friendly technologies for gem mining, cutting and polishing. The authority will also provide training for those keen on engaging in the industry. The Authority has also introduced a new scholarship scheme for children of gem miners. Following a request by Environment and Renewable Energy Minister more..

Sri Lanka cannot get Iran oil

Jan 3 (CG) The Govt has been informed by the United States that it cannot import crude oil from Iran despite some sanction being lifted recently. Minister Anura Priyadharshana Yapa has had several rounds of talks with the US Embassy in Colombo while the SL Embassy in Washington has had talks with the US Govt. At these talks it has been said that while world leaders agreed recently to lift some sanctions on Iran more..

Divi Neguma Dept. to be gazetted today

Jan 3 (FT) Minister Basil Rajapaksa will sign at the auspicious time of 10 a.m. today the gazette notification formally establishing the Divi Neguma Development Department. The notification will officially empower the department to streamline the Divi Neguma program by combining the services of five organisations, including the Sri Lanka Samurdhi Authority, Upcountry Development Authority and Southern Development Authority in five regions. Religious ceremonies and other events more..

India, Sri Lanka fishermen urged to resolve fishing rights issues

Jan 3 (PTI) Indian govt today urged fishermen of Sri Lanka and India, who will meet in Chennai on Jan 20, to participate in the talks with all seriousness to resolve the dispute over fishing rights in each other's territorial waters. "This is a problem that can be solved if there is goodwill and give-and-take on both sides. We are confident that a solution can be found," Minister P Chidambaram told reporters. He also attacked the TN govt for "not cooperating" for quite sometime and causing "delay" more..

Nivard says Stars will help SL leapfrog from middle income trap

Jan 3 (FT) Sri Lanka is noted for being superstitious, but Central Bank Governor Nivard Cabraal yesterday revealed a different set of “stars” which he is confident will help the country avoid the middle income trap and leapfrog towards a $100 billion economy. He said 5 hubs - aviation, shipping, knowledge, energy, and commerce - along with tourism and ICT are the “stars” which will help the country forge ahead more..

Homagama PS Chairman's office sealed

Jan 3 (CT) In the latest fiasco of the Homagama Pradeshiya Sabha (PS), the budget of which was defeated twice, the PS Chairman's office has been sealed by the PS Secretary. This comes almost immediately after the resuscitation of the Homagama PS by the Commissioner of the Local Govt, Chandrani Samarakoon, who approved the twice-failed budget in a last-ditch attempt to stop the PS from completely shutting down. Current Homagama PS Vice Chairman and more..

Cabraal says figures not ‘massaged’

Jan 3 (FT) Dismissing allegations of artificially-inflated economic data, Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal yesterday warned detractors not to go to the extent of undermining the entire data gathering process to meet their own ends. “I want to very clearly say that we have a sound system of collecting and disseminating data. These systems meet international standards. When the numbers that we have do not suit one or two people, they make charges like this. more..

PM admits to having lunch with drug smuggler

Jan 3 (CT) PM D.M. Jayaratne, who came under severe attack over his alleged involvement in a shipment of heroin, detected by the Customs in what was the largest seizure of the narcotic in South-East Asia, admitted that he had lunch with the suspect – the foreigner – who had ordered the shipment to Sri Lanka. Premier recently said he had been introduced to the suspect by Gampola UC member, Tharanga Wittachchi, more..

Suspect arrested over burglary at Mangala’s residence; loot recovered

Jan 3 (Island) Police yesterday arrested one person in connection with burgling UNP MP Mangala Samaraweera’s residence at Gorakana, Panadura early this week. A team from the Panadura North Police arrested a 21-year–old suspect, a resident of Moratuwa. He is a tourist guide residing in Moratuwa. UNP MP Samaraweera’s house, located adjacent to the Bolgoda Lake at Galkanuwa Road, Gorakana, was burgled on Monday (30) afternoon, while the parliamentarian was away. more..

Health Minister invites UNP, JVP to decision-making conference

Jan 3 (Island) Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena has taken an epoch-making decision to invite the UNP and JVP parliamentarians to decision-making conference on the management of the hospitals run by the respective provincial councils. Minister Sirisena told The Island that a high level conference on hospitals’ development in the provinces would be held on January 10. He had found many constructive proposals from the Opposition parliamentarians had been received by him. more..

London bound UL flight nosedives: Plunges to 10,000 feet from 35,000

Jan 3 (Island) National carrier Sri Lankan is investigating the circumstances under which a London bound flight rapidly lost altitude causing panic among passengers as well as the crew on Wednesday afternoon. Sources alleged that the aircraft had nosedived from about 35,000 feet to about 10,000 before the Captain of UL 503 managed to regain control of the craft which took off from the BIA in the afternoon. more..

Politics and Rathika

Jan 3 (DM) Few Sri Lankans would know of a lady called Helen Halyard. Helen was a third-party candidate for the US Presidency in 1992, representing the Socialist Equality Party (SEP). The SEP was the political successor to the Revolutionary Communist League; both entities had counterparts in Sri Lanka, the Samajawadi Samanatha Pakshaya and the Viplavavadi Komiyunist Sangamaya respectively. What was interesting about Helen was that she campaigned in Sri Lanka (!), more..

Actors and actresses nursing political ambitions

Jan 3 (DM) Actress Geetha Kumarasinghe is determined to make her mark in politics, as if we aren't already in enough trouble. Her ambition, as well as drive, seems to have grown by leaps and bounds since her initial disappointment at elections several years ago. She wants to play a big role in the Southern Provincial Council. Not as just another PC member but as the province's governor. Don't misunderstand this as some gender bias. more..

The complaint against the Bribery Chief

Jan 3 (DM) Following is the petition submitted on Wednesday by JVP MP Sunil Handunnetti with several allegations against the Chairman of the Bribery Commission Justice Jagath De Silva Balapatabendi. Revelations were made in this regard by UNP MP Sujeewa Senasinghe in parliament who alleged that the former judge had used a vehicle bearing number KG 9321 which was allegedly provided to him by a vehicle dealer more..

More women and youth in the lap of liquor

Jan 3 (ST) Chaminda,* a 20-year-old law undergraduate likes to down a couple of drinks when he hangs out with friends. It’s a habit he got into in his late teens, he says. “After exams, we go out to de-stress and sometimes drink till we are down. But anything is an excuse when you want to go out and drink — a celebration, to drown your sorrows, relieve stress,” says Chaminda, for whom drinking is a recreational activity. more..

Nine years on no warning

Jan 3 (SL) Nearly a decade after the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami struck the coasts of Sri Lanka, some villages are yet to receive the tsunami aid they were assured. The aid ranges from housing, reconstruction of damaged roads, healthcare services and schooling for those affected. Neglected by the govt, and other authorities, over the past nine years, these communities continue to suffer. Apart from those who have not more..

Concerns over bail for monk

Jan 3 (CG) Concerns have been raised after a Buddhist monk in Vavuniya was granted bail in a sexual abuse case after the Attorney General’s department said it had no objections. The Women’s Action Network, said that there are indications of attempts to protect the monk and not the victims. In October 2013 Kalyana Tissa Thero of the Seth Sevana Lama Nivasa of Attambagaskanda, Vavuniya was arrested for sexually abusing more..

'SL may soon become a worldwide drug hub'

Jan 3 (DM) UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake today asked how the Govt hoped to stop youth unrest by allowing drug trafficking and promoting gambling in the country. “The President had recently said that the Govt was going to erase the word ‘Youth Unrest’ from the dictionary. But what steps has it taken to do so? There was a significant rise in gambling and the consumption of liquor in 2013. Sri Lanka holds the record for the more..

ACGMOA barking up the wrong tree – GMOA

Jan 3 (Island) The All Ceylon Govt Medical Officers’ Association (ACGMOA) lodged a complaint against the Health Secretary Dr. Nihal Jayathilaka at the Human Rights Commission for not implementing the Doctors’ Service Minute. ACGMOA General Secretary Dr. Jayantha Bandara when contacted said that in accordance with the No 6 Circular of 2006 issued by the Public Administration Ministry, the service minute more..

Leco directors violate regulations, grant themselves bonanza

Jan 3 (Island) The directors of the Government-owned power supplier Lanka Electricity Company (LECO) gave themselves an early Charismas bonanza by increasing their attendance allowance by more than six-fold, in clear violation of the prevailing Treasury instructions. The latest circular issued by the Department of Public Enterprises (Circular PED 58 of 29th 2011) stipulates the maximum allowances/fees payable to more..

CEA to go into root causes of kidney diseases

Jan 3 (DN) Direct and vigorous intervention by the Central Environmental Authority (CEA) will be made to resolve the country's most seriously felt contemporary environmental issues in 2014, CEA Chairman Wimal Rubasinghe said. He said unprecedented attention would be paid to address the root causes of rising kidney and cancer incidence in the country. Rubasinghe said both these health hazards have a direct more..

Canadian MP Rathika in hot water over Jaffna episode

Jan 3 (Island) Jaffna born Canadian MP Rathika Sitsabaiesan is likely to face disciplinary action back at home for falsely claiming that she had been placed under house arrest in northern Sri Lanka. Canada based sources told The Island that the New Democratic Party (NDP) MP had caused chaos while being on a private visit to Jaffna. NDP leader Thomas Mulcair went to the extent of phoning Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner more..

Indian PM Manmohan Singh to retire after elections

Jan 3 (BBC) Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has announced that he will not stay in the post if his Congress party wins the next election, due in the summer. Mr Singh, 81, has been Indian PM for almost a decade. He said a Congress candidate would be named at the appropriate time, but that deputy leader Rahul Gandhi had "outstanding credentials". Mr Singh said it would be "disastrous for the country" if more..

Polluting governance

Jan 3 (CT) Every year, UN Environment Programme (UNEP) releases a chart revealing the sulphur-content in the fuel used by different countries. Until 2012, the sulphur-content in the diesel used in Sri Lanka was 500ppm (parts per million). In 2013, the sulphur-content in Lankan diesel shot up astronomically, beyond 2000ppm. Thanks to this colossal increase (more than 300%) in just one year, our island-home has joined the category of countries with highest levels of sulphur in their fuel. more..

Bribery Chief should step down

Jan 3 (CT) Bribery and corruption are as old as civilization itself. The propensity for deceit, duplicity and fraud that exists in the ordinary mind has endured, despite the scriptures and teachings of religious leaders about the value of honesty, integrity and ethical conduct in the long journey of the human race. Yet, we come across, every now and then, some rare individuals who, despite the almost irresistible pressures and temptations, withstand the tentacles of corruption in its various forms more..

WikiLeaks: ‘Sri Lanka totally committed to devolution’

Jan 3 (CT) “The govt of Sri Lanka (GSL) is committed to the political agenda of devolution, Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama and Defense Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa told Deputy Secretary Negroponte in a July 31 meeting on the sidelines of ASEAN.” US Embassy Manila informed Washington. A classified diplomatic cable which details a meeting the US Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte had with more..

Manmohan asks Indian-SL fishermen to solve territorial dispute with talks

Jan 3 (IANS) Fishermen from India and Sri Lanka need to talk to overcome their territorial disputes, PM Manmohan Singh said during a special press meet. Fishermen from India and Sri Lanka need to talk to overcome their territorial disputes, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on Friday. "When it comes to fishermen, on a number of occasions we have discussed the matter with Sri Lanka," he said, referring to unending clashes on the narrow sea dividing the two countries. more..

Free Life Jackets for fishermen

Jan 3 (GDI) Use of life jackets by the fishermen has been made compulsory, with effect from 1st of January this year. The Disaster Management Ministry officials delivered 300 life jackets among the fisher folk in the Colombo district yesterday as the first stage of a program to distribute life jackets worth Rs. 9 million across the country this year. The life jackets worth Rs. 1 million were delivered at a ceremony at the Moratuwa Modara Fisheries harbour under the patronage of Minister of more..

Sri Lanka expects 7.8% growth and 5% inflation in 2014

Jan 3 (LBO) Sri Lanka is expected to grow 7.8% in 2014 as business activities pick up with inflation targeted at 5%, Central Bank Governor Nivard Cabraal said. Central Bank, which has a monopoly in money, is the only agency that can generate or limit inflation in a country. In 2013 the Central Bank generated 4.7% inflation. Cabraal said in 2014 and going to the medium term the target would be mid single digits. more..

CEB declares 2014 as year of Customer Service Excellence

Jan 3 (GDI) The CEB has proposed a new strategy of transforming CEB to be the most customer friendly utility in Sri Lanka” and has included several actions in the Corporate Plan 2014 -2018. Through a twofold approach of focusing on employee attitudes (customer care) and technical matters (supply quality) this will be achieved in the context of reaching 100% electrification expansion. 2014 was declared as the year of Customer Service Excellence and CEB aims to be the best more..

Sri Lanka stocks edge up to more than 11-week closing high

Jan 3 (Reuters) The Sri Lankan bourse gained for a sixth straight session to close at its highest level in more than 11 weeks on Friday, a day after the central bank cut its lending rate by 50 basis point to a multi-year low. The main stock index touched 6,007.79 during the session, a level last seen on Aug. 23 last year, but retreated to end up 0.1%, or 5.76 points, at 5,973.80, its highest close since Oct. 17. It gained 1.65% on the week. "Investors are optimistic over the rate cut more..