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Backhoe mining prohibited

Dec 5 (FT) Large-scale gem mining using backhoes to carry out excavations is no longer permitted, Govt revealed in Parliament. According to the Ministry of National Policies and Economic Affairs, National Gem and Jewellery Authority (NGJA) has stopped granting permission to carry out mining using backhoes with effect from Dec 2014. However, permission is granted under the NGJA to use backhoes only for the purpose of panning the ore that has been unearthed & reclaiming pits. more..

Navin violates traditions

Dec 5 (Island) Minister Navin Dissanayake sat on the opposition side in parliament violating parliamentary traditions while the third reading stage debate on budget 2018 was in progress. He entered the Chamber from the opposition side entrance and was seen sitting in the seats allocated for UNP backbenchers. He was seen sitting next to UNP MP Sandith Samarasinghe and speaking to the latter. UNP MPs Chaminda Wijesiri, Ashoka Priyantha and Heshan Withanage were also listening to more..

GMOA tells Harsha de Silva Committee not to get priorities mixed up

Dec 5 (Island) GMOA cautioned Prez Committee appointed to amend and fine-tune the govt’s decision regarding the SAITM not to get its priorities mixed up. GMOA Secretary Dr Haritha Aluthge, said the committee had been tasked with finding a justifiable solution to the issue relating to the medical students who had graduated from SAITM and resolving issues related to students who had been studying at the time of the abolition more..

Sri Lanka must protect national carrier from anti-competitive behaviour: Minister

Dec 5 (DN) Sri Lanka must liberalize its aviation policy while protecting its national airline from anti-competitive behaviour, Minister Minister of Transport & Civil Aviation Nimal Siripala De Silva said on Monday. He was speaking at the Int'l Civil Aviation Organization’s Conference at the BMICH. “The reduction of states’ controls within the air transport industry, which is popularly termed as liberalization or deregulation, has brought in good results and fostered competition between air carriers,” more..

Special Cabinet meeting to approve gazette on H’tota Port handover

Dec 5 (Island) Party leaders had decided to get the approval of the Cabinet of Ministers for a gazette notification on handing over Hambantota Port to China, Deputy Speaker Thilanga Sumathipala said. Sumathipala said there would be a special Cabinet meeting on Thursday to approve the gazette. Deputy Speaker said the gazette would be presented to Parliament on the very same day and taken up for debate on Friday from 7.30 pm to 9.30 pm. Party leaders had agreed with that proposition, more..

Wildlife Minister pledges to expose killers of Dala Poottuwa

Dec 5 (FT) Govt has decided to expedite investigations in the hunt for the other killers of the Galgamuwe tusker and is to take tough legal action against the culprits regardless of their political affiliation. Minister Gamini Jayawickrama Perera had ordered IGP Pujith Jayasundara to arrest all those who were involved in the killing of the elephant known as Dala Poottuwa. When questioned over attempts of a top politician more..

‘Gulf region’s top competitor upbeat on SL'

Dec 5 (Island) The Gulf region’s most competitive economy is upbeat on its future trade prospects with Sri Lanka. "The two countries have to consolidate the already strong bilateral relations. A number of joint venture trade projects are being implemented between both countries" announced ambassador of the UAE to Sri Lanka Abdulhamid Al- Mulla on Dec 1 in Colombo. Ambassador Al-Mulla was addressing the 76th National Day Celebrations of UAE in Colombo at Shangri-La Hotel. more..

SC fixes FR on LG polls for 28 Feb.

Dec 5 (FT) Supreme Court fixed for mention on 28 Feb the fundamental rights petition seeking to hold the LG Elections within a timeframe specified by the Court. Fundamental rights petition was filed by the PAFFREL seeking to hold the Local Authorities Elections forthwith or within a timeframe provided by the Court. Petitioner cited Minister Faiszer Musthapha, Secretary of the Ministry, Elections Commission, members of the Delimitation Committee and AG as respondents. more..

Comprehensive drug prevention programme soon: President

Dec 5 (DN) President Maithripala Sirisena said a comprehensive drug prevention programme would be initiated, adding that the govt does not intend to increase state income through cigarette and alcohol sales, adding that based on the govt’s drug policy, it is not suitable to grant concessions to any form of alcohol, cigarette or any other intoxicant. He said as a govt all possible measures would be taken to uplift the free health service, more..

President opens stadium of Kandy Municipal Council

Dec 5 (PSL) President Maithripala Sirisena declared open the stadium of Kandy Municipal Council today (3). The stadium was built at a cost of Rs. 220mn in a land extent of 80 perches which had been using as a Cattle slaughter house for 145 years. This includes facilities for badminton, table tennis, netball, volleyball etc and seating facilities for 2000 audience as well as facilities for seminars and ceremonies. Gymnasium and hostel facilities for athletes also are included in this stadium. more..

Rs. 495 m spent as fertiliser subsidy for coconut smallholders

Dec 5 (FT) In its efforts to develop coconut cultivation in the country, Govt has spent Rs. 495 million as a fertilizer subsidy in 2016 aimed at coconut smallholders. According to the fertilizer subsidy program, Rs. 56 per tree, subject to a minimum of Rs. 448 and a maximum of Rs. 8,960, has been paid to apply fertiliser. Following this subsidy formula, there have to be eight coconut trees per 20 perches of land to be within the minimum margin and 160 trees within more..

Some media groups working overtime to bring MR back to power: PM

Dec 5 (Island) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe alleged that an influential section of the media was working overtime to bring back the Rajapaksas to power regardless of the irreparable losses caused by the previous administration to the media. Delivering the keynote address at a UNESCO Conference on Regional Cooperation to Promote Freedom of Expression and the Rule of Law in Asia through Ending Impunity for more..

Memorialization might facilitate reconciliation

Dec 5 (DM) Great Heroes Day (MaaverarNaal) observances this year in the Northern Province was notable, and perhaps path breaking too, in two ways: Firstly, a record number of people participated in the various events in public places including Hindu temples and churches. Secondly, the Govt allowed the observances to take place, though the State Minister of Defence Ruwan Wijewardene subsequently stated that participants would be arrested and prosecuted because they had more..

Rather than cowering down, the President should face off the JO

Dec 5 (DM) Ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa is a gifted deal maker. His two- term presidency was a classic case of successful deal making: He got V Prabhakaran to prevent Northern Tamils from voting in 2005 and by virtue of that won his first term as the President; he cajoled the JVP to support him, and then split it; he engineered two large scale cross-overs of opposition MPs to the govt, first for understandable reasons of the political stability of his govt during the height of war, more..

Looters as Rulers: Whitewashing will boomerang on Yahapalanaya & Country

Dec 5 (DM) The alleged Treasury Bond scam is probably the largest financial scam to affect this country in its post-independence history. For sheer impunity and involvement of a wide spectrum of politicians in collusion with a section of the corporate sector and regulatory authorities it is hard to beat. The muted response of the opposition exemplifies the rot in the governance of this country. It is unforgivable it took place under more..

Excise Dept. in high spirits: Hard liquor production soars

Dec 5 (ST) Hard liquor production in Sri Lanka rose last year by 7.1%, with the Excise Department recording an increase of 28.2% in revenue collection on hard liquor. By contrast, beer production dropped by 58%, causing a decrease of 37.7% in excise income from that sector, states the 2016 Performance Report of the Excise Dept. This downturn was partly the result of a leading brewery suspending production more..

'Progressive masses who are concerned about the country will take a correct decision'

Dec 5 (LT) “When the opinion of the people is considered we believe we have a good opportunity for victories. We believe that we could win the ruling power in many local govt councils. According to the political behaviour in the country, we have a better probability of victory. However, the final decision is with the people. We believe that the progressive people who are concerned about the country would take a correct decision more..

Budget 2018 displays commitment to healthcare: PM

Dec 5 (DN) The 2018 Budget outlines our commitment to boosting healthcare in Sri Lanka. We have allocated over Rs. 200 billion for the health sector and we hope to increase this, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said. He was addressing the inauguration of the National Health Research Symposium - 2017 at the BMICH, yesterday. According to the PM, govt will be using these funds to develop new healthcare facilities, more..

SL Army got only half the promised sum for scrap metal of Farah III

Dec 5 (ST) A local bidder who won a contract to dismantle Farah III–the Jordanian-registered vessel captured by the LTTE in 2006–for scrap metal paid the SL Army just half the promised fee before abandoning the job, 2016 Annual Report of the Auditor General says. The rusting vessel was anchored off the Mullaitivu coast since the LTTE hijacked and captured it. It was taken over by the Army at the end of the war in 2009. more..

United States and Sri Lanka Strengthen Trade and Transportation Partnership

Dec 5 (USE) On Dec 4, U.S. Ambassador Atul Keshap and Secretary of Civil Aviation G.S. Withanage signed an agreement to amend the US-SL Open Skies Agreement of 2002 to facilitate the movement of cargo goods more efficiently and profitably. Amendment strengthens global express delivery cargo networks, enhances bilateral connectivity and competitiveness, and facilitates economic growth and job creation. more..

Malnutrition on the rise in North Central Prov.

Dec 5 (DN) The malnutrition among mothers and children in the Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa districts is on the rise. The districts have 15,000 children under the age of five years suffering from acute malnutrition complications, recent surveys revealed. The majority of low-income families are unable to afford balanced meals, and are unaware that their children are suffering from malnutrition. more..

Sagala condemns IGP’s statement on Gintota

Dec 5 (NR) Leader of JVP Anura Kumara Dissanayake has questioned Minister Sagala Ratnayake over the statement made by IGP Pujith Jayasundara pertaining to the unrest reported in Gintota recently. He questioned the Minister on who should be held responsible if the IGP himself claims that the Police failed in controlling an incident where a possible racial unrest could have broken out. more..

VAT refund scheme for foreign passport holders

Dec 5 (DN) A VAT refund scheme will be implemented for foreign passport holders at the Airports and Sea ports with effect from May 1, 2018 with a vision to make Sri Lanka a shopping hub, Minister John Amaratunga said. “We must be thankful to Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera as many concessions have been granted to the tourism industry in Budget 2018. Money has been allocated to develop facilities, more..

Cricketers embarrassed: Angry Sports Minister recalls 9 ODI players from BIA

Dec 5 (DM) In an unprecedented development, Sports Minister Dayasiri Jayasekera last night ordered all nine players heading to India for the limited-over leg of the current series to turn back as they were leaving the country without his approval. At the time of his intervention, the players had even boarded the flight to Delhi and were forced to disembark. The team leaving the country without his approval was a blatant violation of more..

Arogya Parama Labha

Dec 5 (CT) The line from the Dhammapada Arogya Parama Labha which translated means Health is the ultimate profit is commonly displayed in all Govt run hospitals. Better health is central to human happiness and well-being. It also makes an important contribution to economic progress, as healthy populations live longer, are more productive, and save more. Many factors influence health status and a country's ability to provide quality health services for its people. more..

Colvin, Felix Barefoot Lawyers

Dec 5 (Island) Last Friday I got a call from Nihal Jayawickrema, congratulating me on what I had written about the late Colvin R. de Silva. He told another story about the great man with whom he had had the privilege of working as a junior. Before I narrate this story, I wish to recollect my memories of Jayawickrema. As a young lawyer, who joined the profession in the 1970s, we had been brainwashed into hating Jayawickrema and his Minister, Felix Dias Bandaranaike. more..

Nalinda Jayathissa: Yahapalana Scams

Sharjah Charity International implements Treating of Eye Diseases campaign

Dec 5 (WAM) The Sharjah Charity International has carried out "Treating of Eye Diseases" campaign in Sri Lanka, as part of its health drive in developing countries. The campaign aims to conduct medical tests for people with eye diseases and identify the critical cases that suffer from the accumulation of blue water and inflammation of the cornea, leading to blindness, and require urgent surgical intervention. Mohammed Hamdan Al Zari, Director of the Projects Department, more..

Sri Lankan Youth Scrabble team secures a hat trick of World Team Titles

Dec 5 (Island) Sri Lanka produced its first World Youth Scrabble Champion as 16-year-old Royalist Aabid Ismail secured the title at the WESPA Youth Cup 2017 concluded in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Aabid who obtained 20.5 wins out of 24 games edged out 15-year-old Janul De Silva, also from Royal College, who secured the 1st runner up position with 20 wins out of 24 games. Vignesh Pirapaharan (15 years) of Lyceum International School, Panadura secured the 8th place more..

Ministry of Telecom & Digital Infrastructure and UNDP partner for HackaDev

Dec 5 (UNDP) The Ministry of Telecom and Digital Infrastructure and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) recently signed a MoU to scale up HackaDev – Youth Social Innovation Challenge. Under this intial agreement UNDP’s tried and tested social innovation hackathon – HackaDev will be further scaled up and implemented until the end of 2019. The programme is aimed at giving effect to the realisation of more..

Hackers preying on businessmen via email

Dec 5 (DM) During the last two months, Computer Emergency Readiness Team | Co-ordination Centre (CERT|CC) has received four complaints over fraudsters attempting to hack email accounts of businessmen and luring them to make remittances. CERT|CC Engineer Roshan Chandragupta said many people had fallen prey to one of the latest techniques where people’s accounts were being hacked and they were requested to change their bank account details due to a change of more..

G.C.E. O/L exam from Dec.12 to 21

Dec 5 (DM) Conducting coaching classes or tuition targeting GCE O/L Exam students would be prohibited from midnight on Dec 6 until the examinations end on Dec 21. Organising or conducting subject oriented lecturers, seminars or classes, printing examination oriented papers, distribution and giving publicity via electronic media, posters and banners claiming to provide similar questions to what could be asked during the exam etc. were prohibited 5 days before the exam. more..

Sri Lanka rejected proposal to import dengue vaccine

Dec 5 (AD) The Ministry of Health says that Sri Lanka had also received a proposal with regard to importing the dengue vaccine, which is currently being investigated in Philippines, and that however it was rejected over reports that it could pose health risks. Dr. Priscilla Samaraweera, at the Sri Lankan National Dengue Control Unit, stated that as of now the ministry has taken no decision to import the said vaccine or use it in Sri Lanka. more..

Youth falls to death from Sethsiripaya: Police suspect foul play

Dec 5 (CT) A youth fell to his death from the topmost floor of the Sethsiripaya office complex in Battaramulla yesterday (4), the Police said. The Police Media Spokesperson's Office said that the 21-year-old, a maintenance employee, had allegedly fallen from the 13th floor to the third floor of the office complex. Police said that the deceased was a resident of Makola, Thalangama. The Police are conducting investigations as they have not ruled out foul play. more..

School term dates released

Dec 5 (AD) Ministry of Education today announced the date on which all govt and govt approved private schools will close for year end vacation and the date they will reopen. The third term of govt and govt approved private schools will end on Friday (8) while the first term of the year 2018 will commence on Jan 2, 2018. Ministry of Education said that the dates for the schools to be used at paper marking centers of the G.C.E. O/L examination, will be announced on a later date. more..

'Met Department has to be modernised'

Dec 5 (CT) The Govt accepted that institutions such as the Department of Meteorology should be modernized in order to face natural disasters in a more efficient manner in the future. Responding to a question raised by MP Dinesh Gunawardena, Minister Lakshman Kiriella said that the Department of Meteorology has to be modernized. Gunawardena stated that the PM should explain to the House why more..

'We will build a country that we deserve'

Dec 5 (AD) Local Govt Elections Act will be resubmitted to the Parliament tomorrow, after certain printing mistakes in the Sinhala version are corrected, according to the Secretary to Ministry of Local Govt and Provincial Councils H.T. Kamal Padmasiri. Minister Faiszer Musthapha, who also spoke during the press briefing today, announced the completion of several mega roads, water, sewage and sanitation, buildings, schools parks and related infrastructure projects across SL. more..

'NITF compensation being mishandled'

Dec 5 (CT) Deputy Ministers Ajith P. Perera and Dr. Harsha de Silva expressed concerns about Govt officers lacking awareness about the compensation granted, by the National Insurance Trust Fund (NITF), to the people who were affected by the recent storm. Joining a conversation between the Leader of the House, Lakshman Kiriella and the MEP Leader, MP Dinesh Gunawardena on the same matter, Perera said that certain Grama Niladhari Officers and Divisional Secretaries in areas more..

Jadeja, Shami keep India on course for 2-0

Dec 5 (CI) Mohammed Shami and Ravindra Jadeja ripped through SL's top order after India set them 410 to win the Delhi Test or survive the best part of four sessions to save it. Bad light brought the fourth day to an end with a theoretical 13 overs remaining, with Sri Lanka struggling at 31 for 3. SL came within six balls of going to stumps just one down. Nigel Llong had a long look at his light meter before motioning Jadeja to bowl, more..

Aussie help for nuclear medicine in SL

Dec 5 (CT) Sri Lanka will receive assistance from the Australian Govt in the use of nuclear power for medical treatment in the future, President Maithripala Sirisena said in Parliament. Participating in a debate of the Heads of Expenditure of the Ministry of Health, Nutrition and Indigenous Medicine and the Ministry of Housing and Construction, President further said, the foundation of that programme was initiated during his diplomatic visit to Australia. more..