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Sri Lankan fishermen remand extended

Jan 4 (Hindu) The Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) Court here on Friday extended till January 10, the judicial remand of 59 Sri Lankan fishermen, arrested by the Tharuvaikulam Marine police in Tuticorin during September-November last year for alleged illegal fishing in Indian waters off Kanyakumari. CJM N. Dharman extended the judicial remand of the fishermenlodged in Puzhal central prison near Chennai, using videoconferencing facility on Friday. Police sought extension of remand stating more..

Death row prisoners protest on Sri Lankan jail rooftop

Jan 4 (PTI) A group of death row prisoners at a Sri Lankan jail are staging a protest on its rooftop demanding their release. “There are 27 inmates on rooftop. They demand they be freed,” Bogambara prison spokesman Gamini Kulatunga said, adding that all of them protesting at the jail in Kandy are death row convicts. “18 of them are those who had been condemned for execution while six more of them are those who have appealed more..

Woman who drew dead woman’s pension for five years re-remanded

Jan 4 (ST) Kandy Additional Magistrate Sesiri Herath re-remanded a woman who is alleged to have drawn a dead woman’s pension from the Mulgampola Post Office for nearly five years. In this case the Divisional Secretary of Kandy Gravets had lodged a complaint that monies amounting to five hundred and eight thousand three hundred and seventy six rupees had been illegally withdrawn by a person from a dead woman’s pension. The accused had been absconding for nearly more..

Canadian MP Rathika leaves for India

Jan 4 (DM) Canadian MP Rathika Sitsabaiesan who was on a tour in Sri Lanka had left for India this morning, the Immigration and Emigration Department said. Jaffna-born Ms. Sitsabaiesan arrived in SL on Dec 28 and held discussions with several TNA MPs and Jaffna-based organisations. During her visit in the country reports said that Canada's Foreign Affairs Ministry was investigating reports that she was under house arrest in Jaffna, which Sri Lanka denied more..

Big demand for dual citizenship

Jan 4 (DM) A large number of Sri Lankans who migrated overseas during the conflict are applying for either Sri Lankan citizenship or dual citizenship, Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said yesterday. He said the Immigration and Emigration Department would be fully computerised to facilitate this process. The Cabinet has the green light to the Immigration and Emigration Department to obtain Scanning and e-documentation equipment more..

Reconciliation: GTF says SL not sincere

Jan 4 (Island) The UK-based Global Tamil Forum (GTF) has urged the international community not to allow the Sri Lankan government to undermine the accountability and national reconciliation process. In a hard hitting statement issued from London, GTF spokesperson Suren Surendiran has alleged that the govt is trying to deceive the international community by indicating its readiness to accept a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to address grievances of the Tamil speaking community. more..

Poor weather in some areas

Jan 4 (CG) The Department of Meteorology says a low pressure area has intensified into a depression and islocated about 250 km to the east of Trincomalee and as a result showery and windy conditions are expected to continue over the eastern and northern parts of the country and over the eastern and northern sea areas over the 24 hour period from 4 this evening (Saturday). There will be showers or thundershowers at times in the Northern, North-central and Eastern provinces while more..

Milk tug of war drags on, while store shelves are bare

Jan 4 (Island) There seems to be no breakthrough as yet in the tug-‘o-war between the milk powder importing companies and the Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) over the continuous demands by the former for a price increase. There is a massive shortage of powdered milk in the market for quite sometime and even shelves of supermarkets and retail outlets are empty. Even govt owned Sathosa shelves are bare of powdered milk. more..

Life-size Statue of Hero, Hasalaka Gamini Unveiled at Elephant Pass

Jan 4 (MoD) The life-size statue of 'Hasalaka' War Hero, Corporal Gamini Kularathne of 6th Sinha Regiment who sacrificed his own life to rescue hundreds of fellow soldiers in the Elephant Pass camp, was unveiled at a ceremony, headed by Major General Udaya Perera, Commander, Security Forces Headquarters - Kilinochchi and Mrs. Y.G. Juliet, the mother of Corporal Gamini Kularathne on Tuesday. The statue has been erected at the same place where the War Hero sacrificed his life. more..

Kolonnawa UC Dy Chairman implicates chairman and OIC in drug dealing

Jan 4 (Island) The Colombo Crimes Division yesterday interrogated Kolonnawa Urban Council Deputy Chairman Suresh Kodagoda on a statement he had made to a television channel that the Wellampitiya police OIC and Kolonnawa UC Chairman were openly dealing in drugs. According to police spokesman SSP Ajith Rohana, the Deputy Chairman had told the CCD that he had knowledge of those dealing in drugs in Kolonnawa and the OIC and the UC Chairman were among them. more..

'Budget defeats in Pradeshiya Sabahs is a challenge to Rajapaksa hegemony'

Jan 4 (LT) “The SLFP has been brought under the hegemony of Rajapaksa family. The central committee and other committees of the party have been made institutions without any authority. The secretaries of the SLFP have been made puppets. The ministers have been terrorized and threatened. MPs of the govt have been made scared of even Rajapaksas’ shadows. However, a challenge is being aimed at Rajapaksa more..

Unite to achieve cherished goals

Jan 5 (SO) The year 2014 could perhaps be another election year and another opportunity for the masses to exercise their franchise. The Southern and Western Provincial Councils are expected to be dissolved within the next couple of weeks and elections held before the Sinhala and Tamil New Year. Amidst rumours that there could be a general or a Presidential election, the Opposition seems to be making vile attempts to avoid their election defeats. When the Jayewardene and more..

Stuck on the road to reconciliation

Jan 5 (NS) Both the world and Sri Lanka most probably enter the New Year with a melancholy feeling. Of course we greet each other to the contrary, hoping that everything would go well. The formidable challenge before the world in 2014 or for the years to come would be the ‘global warming’ and the consequent or unrelated ‘natural disasters.’ We lament on them when they occur and then conveniently forget about them all, engaging in our own day-to-day preoccupations, more..

'Meting out justice to the masses, the goal'

Jan 5 (SO) Minister Wimal Weerawansa said the biggest challenge before the country is to face the human rights onslaught at the forthcoming UNHRC sessions in March. He said 2014 should be a year to unite the nation to face this challenge. Western forces were attempting to undermine the incumbent Leader who won the war against terrorists and permit Western imperialist forces to realise their separatist dream. more..

No takers for the war on drugs?

Jan 5 (NS) UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake claims that Sri Lanka has become a main drug distribution center in Asia and warns that it could soon become a center for the entire world. The dark predictions do have a tinge of exaggeration, understandable because Attanayake is in the Opposition. Understandable too is the fact that he keeps mum on the key role played by his party way back in the seventies to open the country’s doors to ‘the robber barons’ more..

Election year

Jan 5 (Island) As our regular columnist, Rajan Philips, writes on this page, 2014 will be an election year in Sri Lanka (and elsewhere). Only the provincial elections to elect new Western and Southern Provincial Councils have been announced up to now but speculation is rife that there is likelihood of the president calling premature parliamentary and/or presidential elections as well. How well the ruling coalition will do at the provincial elections will obviously dictate more..

'Govt curbing trade Mafia'

Jan 5 (SL) Deputy Minister of Internal Trade and Consumer Affairs Hemal Gunasekera claims that there is no cost of living issue in the country. He said allegations by the Opposition about the rising cost of living were aimed at gaining political leverage at the forthcoming Provincial Council elections. Commenting on the ‘trade mafia’ operating in the country, he said the govt and his ministry were in the process of curbing it. more..

Grade Five exam: What is the answer?

Jan 5 (ST) Education Minister Bandula Gunewardena’s sudden announcement at the end of last month that the Grade 5 All Island Scholarship Examination would be abruptly stopped has sparked a heated national debate – mainly protests. The discussion, particularly as a new school year was about to begin has become so contentious that, when asked about it by his party’s Central Working Committee on Thursday, President Rajapaksa denied a decision had been made. more..

Exam hero or Lankan Nero?

Jan 5 (ST) My Dear Bandula, I thought I must write to you because I heard that you were planning to scrap the Grade Five Scholarship Examination and that this was causing a lot of heartburn among parents throughout the country-and most of them were blaming you for this hullabaloo. Knowing you, Bandula, I am of course not surprised. I know that you believe as a politician, any publicity is good publicity so I’m sure you are not unhappy at this turn of events. more..

'Skyrocketing cost of living: Not isolated phenomena'

Jan 5 (SL) UNP MP Eran Wickramaratne predicts that the year 2014 will be a cumbersome one for Sri Lankan consumers, with increased import taxes on a wide range of food items coming into play. He further points out that increased supermarket taxes by the Budget 2014 will also add gravity to the problem. “Census and statistics presented by the govt have already claimed that in Sri Lanka a family of four needs Rs. 49,000 more..

New Year: Much more than just hope and prayer

Jan 5 (SL) The dawn of a New Year brings with it much more than just hope and prayer but also challenges in different and varying degrees. For a country like Sri Lanka these are manifold and hold disastrous consequences if not addressed with the finesse desired of responsible political leaderships. Foremost of concern in this area is undoubtedly the challenge March of this year will pose on the Sri Lankan nation with the world’s superpower America and its sidekick Britain moving resolutions more..

Pulling education out of quagmire

Jan 5 (NS) Parliament released its latest Order book dated December 20, 2013 last week. It lists out questions to be asked and the motions to be presented. There are 123 Private Member motions and 21 motions for which no dates have been fixed. The latter is known in the common parlance as No-date motions. The first of these motions proposes the appointment of a Select Committee in Parliament for the formulation of a National Education Policy. Motion is interesting as more..

Resilient Sri Lanka overcome Test layoff

Jan 5 (CI) Four absorbing days gave way to a placid fifth, and though Sri Lanka had hoped for victory after their fourth-day advances, they might reflect on this Test with considerable satisfaction. As has been the theme of the tour so far - aside from two ODIs where Pakistan ran rampant - the sides appeared well matched, taking two days each and sharing the fifth. But given only three wickets fell on the last two days, more..

Pakistan gets GSP+, SL out in the cold

Jan 5 (Island) When SL business community gets over their New Year party hangovers, the first issue they will have to grapple with is that Pakistan has got the GSP+ trade concession which enables them to export a range of products especially clothing to the EU duty free whereas we had the same concession but lost it due to allegations of human rights violations. What will be the implications for Sri Lanka when Pakistan, a neighbouring competitor, begins benefitting from GSP+? more..

Befriending Foes

Jan 5 (SL) A ‘clandestine’ discussion that took place on the sidelines of a dinner party hosted by MP Mangala Samaraweera at his Panadura residence drew the attention of the media as former President Chandrika Kumaratunga, who is still mingling in political circles, also took part in it. In addition to the former President, Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, UNP Leadership Council Chairman Karu Jayasuriya, General Secretary Tissa Attanayake and several other lawyers more..

The problem doesn’t lie with Malinga

Jan 5 (Island) It was quite disturbing to read earlier this week that SLC bigwigs had given fast bowler Lasith Malinga an ultimatum and were willing to move on. There is a likelihood of Malinga being left out of the upcoming tour to Bangladesh that starts straight after the Test series in UAE. Malinga as he was in 2007 and 2011 is going to be a key weapon during the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup and the upcoming World T-20. more..

Man nabbed with protected parakeets

Jan 5 (CT) A resident of Panadura, involved in the trade of rearing and selling pets, was released on a certified bail of Rs 100,000 by Panadura Magistrate, Ruchira Weliwatte, when produced in Court on a charge of having in his possession, endemic and endangered parakeets. The suspect was taken into custody by Wildlife officials on 3 December 2013, following a raid on his residence, where four Alexandrine parakeets and three Layard’s parakeets were found. more..

Chandra J raises several questions on casino in city hotel on New Year’s Eve

Jan 5 (Island) Good governance activist Chandra Jayaratne has written to the Ministers of Economic Development and Investment Promotions seeking clarification of the Provisions of the Casino Business Regulations and Betting and Gaming Levy Act. Friday’s letter followed a news report that morning that a gaming lounge operated at a Colombo Hotel on the night of New Year’s Eve, presumably by a licenced casino operator, had proved to be a hit. The retired business leader who had served as more..

10-20 tonnes of Lankan coins in Indian temple tills

Jan 5 (ST) Central Bank is considering bringing back 10 to 20 tonnes (10-20,000 kg) of Sri Lankan coins lying in tills of temples in India, Governor of the Bank Ajith Nivard Cabraal said. Sri Lankan devotees regularly put local coins as ‘panduru’ meritorious offerings into tills in Buddhist temples and Hindu kovils during Dambadiva pilgrimages in India and these coins remain idle. Once these coins are brought to Sri Lanka it more..

Motor traders relieved by removal of margin deposit requirement

Jan 5 (ST) Sri Lanka motor traders, battered by increasing import duty on vehicles, spare parts and tightening of depreciation allowance on used car imports, heaved a sigh of relief after it was announced that the 100 per cent margin deposit requirement against the Letters of Credit opened with the commercial banks would be removed. The announcement by the Central Bank (CB) said the ruling is with immediate effect on Thursday. Since the improvement in the trade balance, more..

Foreign investor concludes due diligence in Union Bank

Jan 5 (ST) TPG, a US-based global private investment firm with a US$ 70 billion balance sheet, has finalised its due diligence pertaining to their ‘indication of interest’ in the Union Bank. The bank in an earlier announcement said that the indication of interest is not an offer of whatever nature relating to an investment in Union Bank and it was stated that the investment will be subject to agreement being reached on the terms and conditions between the two parties. more..

Narco sleuths to grill PM

Jan 5 (CT) Prime Minister, D.M. Jayaratne, is to be questioned by the Police Narcotics Bureau (PNB), in connection with the heroin scandal that hit the PM’s Office recently, following a request by one of his co-ordinating secretaries to reduce demurrage charges on the consignment hit the headlines. As a precursor, the Narcotics Bureau on Thursday obtained a three-hour long statement from Anuradha Jayaratne, more..

Over 200 fishermen in Indian custody

Jan 5 (SL) Over 200 Sri Lankan fishermen are still in Indian custody, the Fisheries Ministry said, even as India pushes for the release of Indian fishermen held in Sri Lanka. Last year the SL Navy had taken into custody 666 Indian fishermen and 129 boats, for fishing illegally in Sri Lankan territorial waters. Speaking to The Sunday Leader Navy Spokesman, Commander Kosala Warnakulasuriya said that the Indian fishermen had been arrested by the Navy and handed over to the police. more..

Chocolate Room still dirty!

Jan 5 (NS) Questions have arisen as to how Chocolate Room Café, located on Rosmead Place, was reopened minutes after it was sealed by Public Health Inspectors of the CMC. A recent raid conducted by the CMC revealed that “Chocolate Room” had stocked expired Cocoa powder which was replete with insects making it unsafe for human consumption. The CMC is to file a case in courts under the provision of the Food Act for selling food that is unfit for human consumption. more..

Chandrasiri’s tenure won’t be extended

Jan 5 (CT) President Rajapaksa has assured NPC Chief Minister, C.V. Wigneswaran, that once the Northern Governor’s term ends, in a couple of months, a new Governor would be appointed. President had assured the Chief Minister that due directives would be given to the Governor to streamline his functions. During his meeting with Wigneswaran, on Thursday, the President had also assured him that the govt more..

No Breakthrough In Lasantha Probe

Jan 5 (SL) Five following the murder of the founding Editor of The Sunday Leader Lasantha Wickrematunge, the police have yet to make a breakthrough. Police Spokesman SSP Ajith Rohana told The Sunday Leader that following the death of one suspect, Pitchai Jesudasan, in custody, the second suspect Kandegedara Priyantha was later released due to insufficient evidence. “The CID is conducting further investigations but are yet to make a breakthrough,” the police spokesman said. more..

Bangladesh to remain Asia Cup host

Jan 5 (CI) The Asian Cricket Council has decided that Bangladesh will remain the host of the Asia Cup 2013-14. The other big news to emerge from the ACC's meeting in Colombo is that Afghanistan will be the fifth team in the competition. A total of 11 matches will be played in the tournament with the opening game expected to be on February 25 and the final on March 8, 2014. "As of now, the decision has been made that Bangladesh will retain hosting rights of the Asia Cup," more..

Maithri’s meeting bewilders rank and file

Jan 5 (NS) Maithri Gunaratne’s meeting with the Leadership Council of the party has confused UNP rank and file as the Southern Provincial Councilor strongly criticized the formation of the Leadership Council just a few days ago. However, UNP reformists stressed their meeting with the party’s ‘Leadership Council’ was not a sign that they were willing to ‘accept’ the council just yet. Southern Provincial Councilor Maithri Gunaratne, more..

Tamil Diaspora behind Tribunal

Jan 5 (CT) A panel of 11 international judges has concluded a war crimes report against Sri Lanka, and Ceylon Today learns that the final verdict, in a report, would be handed over to the UNHRC Universal Periodic Review (UPR) scheduled to be held in March 2014 in Geneva. More than 30 Sri Lankans have testified before the tribunal. The Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal (PPT), an international independent opinion tribunal, which held a session on Sri Lanka in Bremen, Germany, more..

Sitsabaiesan too hot for TNA

Jan 5 (NS) Moderate elements of the TNA have distanced itself from the visit of Canadian MP Rathika Sitsabaiesan who had arrived in the country late last month. Sitsabaiesan, who had been critical of the Sri Lankan Govt’s response towards the ethnic question, had also supported the call for an international probe into allegations of human rights violations by the Government. She was said to be in the country on a personal visit. TNA MP, Suresh Premachandran said the party hierarchy more..