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Railway strike threat on Thursday

Nov 29 (CT) Railway employees have threatened to go on a countrywide token strike on 1 December over several demands including an immediate end to the politicization of the recruitment process, President of the Joint Trade Union Alliance of Railway Employees (JTUARE) Janaka Fernando said. He said that over 18,000 railway employees who represent nearly 50 trade unions will participate in the strike. "Recruitment process to the Railway Department was politicized. more..

Govt gives Buddhika 50 cents For land acquired to extend Southern Expressway

Nov 29 (CT) Ridiculing the compensation criteria for lands acquired for the extension of Southern Expressway, from Matara to Hambantota, UNP MP Buddhika Pathirana told Parliament that he, along with his sister, had been asked to come with two stamps of Rs 50 denomination to obtain a compensation of 50 cents. He said that they had been called to receive the compensation through two registered letters sent by the Valuation Department. He said there was another letter more..

Video: Bribing MPs with people's hard earned money to conceal bond scam

Nov 29 (DM) The monthly payment of Rs.100,000 to be given to each MP is not a take-home allowance but one which will be used to help the people in their constituencies, PM said. He said this allowance would be given to MPs for giving gifts to the people in their constituencies. "MPs are usually invited to weddings in their constituencies. They attend funerals as well. The proposed allowance is to be used for giving wedding gifts and more..

Go for a green festive season

Nov 29 (DM) Thursday Dec 1 will mark the upstaging of a festive season filled with buying sprees and bargain sales. We hear popular or romantic songs about white or blue seasons but this year on a more serious note it is essential to commit ourselves to a green or eco-friendly season and future. Multifaceted are the dimensions of this green season or future. Also in a small way or big way. All people committed to an eco-friendly SL and world, could contribute in their own small way, more..

Militant Buddhism and shadowy Salafism: Govt should fight both

Nov 29 (DM) Outbursts of Sinhala-Buddhist ultra-nationalism in the South have often been cyclical. They take place with the connivance, and when it was not the case, complacency of govt in power. A closer look at this periodic rage would also reveal, since the Black July in 1983, which was facilitated by govt’s inaction and active collaboration of some of its ministers, subsequent episodes of Sinhala-Buddhist ultra-nationalism have taken place broadly without any association with terrorist war of LTTE. more..

Wigneswaran looks for a clean image

Nov 29 (SL) He has been branded an extremist and he has also been accused of attempting to scuttle the reconciliation process. Last week Northern Province Chief Minister C. V. Wigneswaran looked to clear his name and that of Tamil People’s Council (TPC) which he now leads. At a media conference in Colombo Wigneswaran insisted that a wrong image had been given about a recent rally staged in the North by the TPC. more..

Cambodian PM cancels visit to Sri Lanka

Nov 29 (KT) Cambodian PM Hun Sen has canceled tentative plans to visit Pakistan and three other countries – Sri Lanka, Australia and New Zealand – and instructed the Pakistani embassy to work with the Foreign Ministry to mark next year’s 65th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries. Sry Thamrong, a minister attached to the prime minister’s office, told reporters of the changed plans after talks more..

Sri Lanka holds rates, state credit picks up

Nov 29 (EN) Central Bank kept policy rates unchanged, saying private credit has started to slow in September but money supply growth picked up due to govt borrowing. In its Nov monetary policy announcement, Central Bank said it was keeping the rate at which money is printed overnight at 8.5% and the excess cash is withdrawn at 9%. In Sept, 12-month private credit growth fell to 25.6%, down from 27.3% in Aug. more..

Govt says women should be empowered economically

Nov 29 (NR) Parliament today debated the expenditure heads of Ministries of Social Empowerment and Welfare and Women and Child Affairs. During the Committee Stage Debate, Subject Minister Chandrani Bandara said a more stringent mechanism to ensure the welfare of women and their social activity should be introduced. The Minister added women should be empowered economically. more..

Web media allege rulers have forgotten their role in ousting MR

Nov 29 (Island) Professional Web Journalists Association (PWJA) has accused yahapalana govt of pursuing the policies of dictatorial Rajapaksa administration in respect of web-based media. PWJA convenor Freddy Gamage alleged that the ruling UNP-SLFP coalition had conveniently forgotten the role they had played in ousting the Rajapaksas. According to Gamage, the battle against the Rajapaksas had been more..

Rs. 850,000 paid to informant over a year before Ankumbura youth was gunned down

Nov 29 (ST) A Sri Lankan working in a West Asian country paid as much as Rs. 850,000 to an informant over a year while he planned the killing of a 23-year-old youth who was gunned down in broad daylight in Ankumbura last Sunday, detectives claimed yesterday. CCTV footage that went viral on the social media show the victim M.R.M. Muhin and a friend were standing by the side of the main road at Bebilagolla in Ankumbura. more..

PM says will discuss arrest of ex-STF commandant with IGP

Nov 29 (DN) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said in Parliament yesterday that he would discuss the matter of the arrest of former STF Commandant Sarathchandra with IGP, at a meeting scheduled for last evening. He also said that he would instruct the IGP to take appropriate action if there was an injustice caused to the former STF commandant while adding that the commandant had been arrested by Police and not by FCID. more..

IGP asked to act against anyone obstructing reconciliation

Nov 29 (DN) President Maithripala Sirisena has advised the Inspector General of Police to litigate against anybody who impedes the National Reconciliation Process disregarding their political affiliations or socio-ethnic-political status, Minister Mano Ganeshan said in Galle. He said so while participating at the launch of Sanhinda Trilingual Magazine by the Sanhinda Trilingual Unit of St. Aloysius College, Galle. more..

CCTV, new auction system among steps to strengthen bond trading: CB

Nov 29 (LBO) Central Bank has taken several steps to improve supervision and regulation of the govt securities market, CB governor Indrajit Coomaraswamy said. “Central Bank has been trying to address some very difficult issues in these areas,” he said. Among steps taken, the Public Debt Department has introduced pre-bid meetings with primary dealers, and since June a decision has been taken to not accept more..

JVP sees politico-narco link

Nov 29 (Island) JVP Leader Anura Kumara Dissanyake told Parliament that there couldn’t be mega narcotic rackets without political backing. Making a special statement he said that the recent seizure of 200 kilos of cocaine was considered the second biggest haul detected in the country. The contraband had been found in a sugar container imported from Brazil. In 2013, a container from Pakistan was seized with 250 kilos of heroin. more..

BBS Gen. Secy. turned back at India’s Airport

Nov 29 (DN) The BBS General Secretary Ven. Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara who went to India on Nov 25, had been turned back at the Airport by Indian Immigration Authorities. Thera had been back in Sri Lanka due to a problem with his Visa,” a BBS Spokesman said. He enplaned to India on Nov 25 to attend the literary festival, but due to problems with his Visa he returned on Nov 26. “Ven. Thera was in India from October 3 to 15 at the Isipathanarama in Varanasi, participating in its Katina Puja,” more..

On the need for introspection: The rise of intolerance & warped narratives

Nov 29 (CT) During my resident time at the Na Uyana Aaranya, Malsiripura in my early twenties, the first two books introduced to me by Ven. Ananda thero were- the Milinda Panha in Sinhala and the Kalama Sutta, of which the small library possessed an English translation. It was not by chance that I ended up in the monastery. My childhood friend was now Ven. Watagoda Maggavihari. I had met him once at the same place prior to him being ordained and a year or two after, I packed my bags more..

Govt serving the Rich and Corrupt

Produce the constitution as a complete document!

Nov 29 (CT) The new Constitution that was promised by the UNF for Good Governance when coming to power, earlier last year is still yet to be produced as a complete document. However, regardless of its lack of appearance, like the omnipresent devil that seduces into committing our daily quota of sins, has already reared its ugly head and scared several sections of our country. During the latter part of last week, several members of the SLFP visited Sri Dalada Maligawa in Kandy more..

Sri Lanka shares hit near 8-mth low on foreign fund outflow

Nov 29 (Reuters) Shares fell on Tuesday for the third straight session to end at a near eight-month low as foreign investors trimmed their exposure to the island nation's risky assets amid concerns over budget tax proposals. Colombo stock index ended 0.11% down at 6,231.87, its lowest close since April 7. The bourse lost 1.17% last week, marking its third straight weekly fall. A proposed hike in various taxes and fees would reduce disposable income and challenge consumption-led growth, more..

Chinese inflows to boost SL forex reserves

Nov 29 (PTI) A USD 200 million swap and a stake sale in the southern Hambantota port to China will serve as a much wanted boost to Sri Lanka's foreign reserves, governor of Central Bank said. Indrajith Coomaraswamy said that Sri Lanka was expecting payments from China for the sale of Hambantota port to realise in Jan, 2017. The first payment of USD 108 million is expected in January, another USD 300 million in March more..

Gnanasara thera & 12 others issued notice

Nov 29 (NR) Appeals Court today issued notice for BBS Galagodathe Gnanasara thera and 12 others to appear before Court on the 12th of Jan 2017. The 13 individuals were summoned on charges of attacking a religious centre in Thalahena, Battaramulla and stealing gold. Case was initially heard before Colombo High Court. Defendants were acquitted and released. However the Attorney General filed a petition before the Appeals Court challenging the verdict of the Colombo HC. more..

Magistrate refuses to issue stay order on Uni. students' protest

Nov 29 (NR) Court today rejected a request by the Welikada Police calling for an injunction order against a protest organised to be held adjacent to Parliament. Protest was organised by the IUSF and the Student Collective of Medical Faculties against the SAITM. Police producing facts before Court said the protest could lead to much inconvenience among the public. Colombo Additional Magistrate ordered Police to act according to the Police Act if and when such a situation arises. more..

'Properties of SL Ports Authority will not be sold'

Nov 29 (GDI) Minister Arjuna Ranathunga said that it was not his policy to sell the properties of SLPA or pull it to the abyss by obtaining loans. He made these remarks tabling the progress report of Ministry of Ports and Shipping in Parliament. There is a total debt of Rs.142,961 million on Hambantota Port. Except the RS. 2,574 obtained from the Bank of Ceylon, all other loans have been provided by EXIM bank of China. more..

General amnesty period for deserters

Nov 29 (NR) A fresh general amnesty period has been declared for deserters of the tri forces. Secretary to the Ministry of Defence Karunasena Hettiarachchi said the amnesty period will be declared from Thursday. The grace period concludes on 30th of Dec. The general amnesty period will be in effect for a period of one month. He said a common amnesty period was declared instead of separate amnesty periods for deserters of the Army, Navy and the Air Force. more..

Opp Leader issues glowing tribute to Castro

Nov 29 (Island) TNA and Opposition Leader R. Sampanthan, paying a tribute to the late Cuban leader Fidel Castro has said, in a statement: "My heartfelt sympathies go to the people of Cuba on the demise of their great leader Commander Fidel Castro. Former Cuban leader who stood by his principles and convictions and led the people of Cuba for more than 50 years. He championed the revolutionary movement in 1959 and stood as one of the towering figures of the people of Cuba. more..

'No drop in fuel supply to CEB'

Nov 29 (DN) Minister Chandima Weerakkody refuted allegations that the CEB was receiving insufficient petroleum for power generation. “There is absolutely no truth to the story,” he said, dispelling rumours there could be a disruption to electricity supply - Continuity can be reassured. He said following reports that the CPC was supplying insufficient fuel to the CEB, a meeting between the two ministers had taken place to more..

3 Lankans sentenced for theft in Dubai

Nov 29 (TN) Three men were sentenced to a year in jail each for breaking into a villa and stealing valuables worth Dh1 million while the owner was overseas on holiday. Only one of the three Sri Lankans, a 47-year-old, was caught, when he tried to leave the country from Sharjah International Airport. He will be deported after serving his sentence. His two compatriots, however, had already flown home with most of the stolen goods and were sentenced in absentia. more..

Unspecified action taken against Perpetual Treasuries: CB Governor

Nov 29 (EN) Central bank has taken unspecified action against Perpetual Treasuries, a primary dealer in govt securities that was involved in controversial deals. CB Governor Indrajit Coomaraswamy said the Monetary Board, the highest decision-making body had taken action on November 07 and also later but decline to elaborate. He said details would be revealed later. A parliamentary committee has recommended that the profits made from allegedly rigged auctions more..

Video: Police fire tear gas at protesting students in Rajagiriya

Nov 29 (AD) Police have fired tear gas at university students who were protesting along the Cotta Road. The police fired tear gas as the protesters were passing the Polduwa Bridge in Battaramulla and nearing the Parliament roundabout. Police also stated that heavy traffic has been reported along the Cotta Road from Rajagiriya towards Malabe due to the protest. Earlier, the Cotta Road was temporarily closed from the Polduwa Bridge more..

Another Rs.20 million from Ranil to Mahinda

Nov 29 (LT) Rs.20 million has been allocated from a supplementary estimate to extend the buildings of the official residence of retired President Mahinda Rajapaksa which was renovated and handed over to him recently. The supplementary estimate was presented to parliament by the Leader of the House Lakshman Kiriella. The allocation to construct an extension to former president Mahinda Rajapaksa’s official residence has been presented to parliament on 24.05.2016. more..

JO opposes allowances to MPs

Nov 29 (DM) The joint opposition said today they were completely against the monthly allowance of Rs.100,000 to be paid to MPs so that they could help their constituents. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe is reported to have said in Parliament on Monday that the monthly allowance was being paid to enable MPs to give wedding gifts and make donations for funerals. MP Bandula Gunawardane said this move was against the principles of Yahapalanaya. more..

Api Nirogi Vemu inaugurated under President’s patronage

Nov 29 (PMD) President Sirisena inaugurated Api Nirogi Vemu, a health promotion program for children at the Nelum Pokuna Theatre today (28). The objective of this program is to create children to take leadership for the promotion of a healthy life style. The program is organized by the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Nutrition and Indigenous Medicine. President presented health promotion awards to school children, more..

‘Don’t make fun of VIPs who fall asleep in public’

Nov 29 (DN) We should not find fault or make fun out of VIPs who fall asleep in public, during ceremonies and other such events, because they do not do it intentionally – they could be suffering from sleep apnea, Head of the Toxicology and National Poison Centre at the National Hospital Colombo Dr. Waruna Gunathilaka said. He said that such individuals fall asleep even while waiting for traffic lights to change. Their illness could have a negative impact on their decision-making ability and more..

'Sri Lanka should maintain strong relations with China, U.S. to win trading hub position'

Nov 29 (Xinhua) It is important for Sri Lanka to strengthen and maintain a strong relationship with powerful nations such as China and the United States in order to win the geostrategic trading hub position in the Southern Indian Ocean, a high ranking SL official said here on Tuesday. Lecturer in International Political Economy for University of London in Sri Lanka and politician, Asanga Abeyagoonasekera said that under the new administration of Donald Trump, more..

India's Constitutional deliberations resonate with Sri Lanka: envoy

Nov 29 (PTI) At a time when Sri Lanka is involved in the process of drafting a new Constitution, India's envoy here has said issues deliberated by Indian statute makers like the relationship between the centre and states and separation of powers have a resonance in the current Lankan context. Indian High Commissioner Y K Sinha highlighted the importance of India's Constitution Day while drawing parallels between India's more..

PM assures industrial zone for Wayamba

Nov 29 (DN) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said on Sunday at the Kurunegala Maligapitiya ground the govt has decided to construct an industrial zone at Bingiriya and provide suitable employment for jobless youths to create a strong economy to provide better living standards. He was speaking at a ceremony held at the Kurunegala Maligapitiya ground for handing over housing loans tor low income members in Wayamba Cooperative Development Society. more..

Doctors on strike for 24 hours

Nov 29 (NR) The Govt Medical Officers’ Association has decided to launch a 24 hour token strike against the 2017 Budget. Speaking during a media briefing held in Colombo today, Secretary of the Association Dr. Naveen De Soysa said the strike will be launched island-wide from 8am tomorrow. However the Association said the operations at the Homagama Cancer Hospital, Colombo and Peradeniya Children’s Hospital will not be affected by the trade union action. more..

Video: Railway employees on token strike on Dec1

Nov 29 (DM) Railway Employees’ Trade Union Federation (RETUF) today decided to launch a 24-hour countrywide token strike from midnight on Dec 1 over several demands. The token strike was mainly to express their opposition to the granting of Railway Department land to the private sector, the proposal to set up a land bank, irregular recruitment, abolishing of pensioners’ rights and the proposed Railway Development Council. more..

Fishermen file writ petition against harmful nets

Nov 29 (DN) Fishermen in Puttalam filed a writ a petition seeking an interim order preventing the use and deployment of harmful nets (purse seine nets) in the seas off the Puttalam district. Petitioners sought an order to quash the decision of Director General-Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources to issue permits for using purse seine fishing gears in Sri Lanka. Eight fishermen in Puttalam District had filed this petition naming Minister Mahinda Amaraweera and 7 others as respondents. more..