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No gem mining licenses for foreign companies: President

Dec 8 (DN) President Maithripala Sirisena said in Parliament that no foreign companies will be hereafter granted licenses for gem mining in Sri Lanka. "I have removed the Chairman of the Gem Corporation because he has issued two unauthorized licenses secretly without obtaining any approval to two foreign companies to mine in Sri Lanka," the President said. President participating at Committee Stage debate on budget more..

Sri Lanka shares end down

Dec 8 (Reuters) Sri Lankan shares fell for a third straight session on Tuesday as concerns about the new budget proposals and the prime minister's recent warning about slowing economic growth weighed on sentiment, dealers said. Market players were also uneasy after the Sri Lankan police on Monday detained a former chairman of the country's stock market regulator amid an investigation into financial misappropriation, days after detaining another top regulatory official. more..

Zoo negligence or snake bite?

Dec 8 (CT) The sudden death of an African lion at the Hambantota Safari Park recently has caused concern among environmentalists who say the animal died because of the negligence of Zoo officials. Reliable Sources said the African lion Wolly died under mysterious circumstances on 4 Dec 2015. However environmentalists charge that the lion had died of a snake bite and claim that Zoo officials are to be blamed for the animal's death. Wolly was born on 20 Jan 2012 and more..

'India committed to build 50,000 houses'

Dec 8 (PTI) India is committed to build 50,000 houses for internally displaced people in Sri Lanka, Lok Sabha was informed today. Minister Kiren Rijiju said the project envisages construction of new houses and repair of damaged houses and it is being implemented through two models, agency driven and owner-beneficiary driven. "The beneficiaries of the housing project are identified through a consultative process," he said. more..

Govt defends de-listing diaspora groups

Dec 8 (CG) Govt defended the de-listing of several diaspora groups and individuals earlier accused of having links to terrorism. State Defence Minister Ruwan Wijeywardena, said that the de-listing was carried out following a comprehensive study conducted out on the groups and individuals by a high level committee. The study concluded that the diaspora groups and individuals who were de-proscribed recently were not involved in terrorism related activities over the past 3 years. more..

Complaints of sexual abuse from 199 Sri Lankan women employed in West Asia

Dec 8 (Island) Foreign Employment Bureau (FEB) had received 199 complaints from Lankan women employed in West Asia that they had been subjected to sexual abuse during the five year period from 2010 to 2014, Foreign Employment Minister Thalatha Athukorale told Parliament yesterday. The FEB had received 91 complaints from Saudi Arabia, 40 from Kuwait, 26 from Jordan, 17 from the UAE, 11 from Qatar, seven from Oman, four from Bahrain and three from Lebanon. more..

Video: LPBOA wants lane restrictions removed

Dec 8 (DM) Lanka Private Bus Owners' Association (LPBOA) complained to Human Rights Commission requesting that the regulation on lane restrictions enforced by Police be removed. Police now strictly enforces the law on lane restrictions in a bid to reduce traffic within Colombo City limits. LPBOA President Gamunu Wijeratne asked for a separate lane for buses if the police continued to enforce the law. more..

No secret meeting with MR, says PM's office

Dec 8 (DN) The PM's office refuted reports that there had been a secret meeting between MP and former President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Premier Ranil Wickremesinghe in Parliament on Friday. "There was no secret meeting between the PM and MP Rajapaksa as been speculated in some media. Former President visited the PM's office and there was a very open meeting. In fact President Sirisena was seated in the next room at the time," a spokesman for the Premier said. more..

Railway fines to be doubled

Dec 8 (DM) Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva yesterday instructed the Railways Department to increase penalty fine to Rs 5,000 with effect from January. The previous fine amount for ticketless travel was Rs 2,500 plus the double the amount of the ticket price. It was increased from Rs 900 to Rs 2,500 in 2013. Railways Deputy Transport Director Vajira Saman Polwattage said the Minister had instructed them at a meeting in view of increasing the railway revenue, he said. more..

68% of Sinhalese for devolution: Chandrika

Dec 8 (Island) Former President and current Chairperson of the Office For National Unity and Reconciliation, Chandrika Kumaratunga says that a survey carried out by her has revealed that 68% of the Sinhalese are for a political solution to the ethnic issue. Kumaratunga revealed, that except two others in her office, no one else knew that she had engaged the services of a French Company to ascertain the views of more..

Video: Nissanka Senadhipathi quizzed by CID

Dec 8 (DM) Avant Garde Maritime Security (Pvt.) Limited Chairman Nissanka Senadhipathi was today summoned to the CID to record a statement in connection with a complaint made by three Cabinet Ministers. Ministers Rajitha Senaratne, Patali Champika Ranawaka and Arjuna Ranatunga had complained to the IGP requesting him to look into the claims allegedly made by Mr. Senadhipathi that the three ministers had solicited bribes from the maritime company. more..

CID says baby elephant not registered under Ven. Dhammaloka Thera's name

Dec 8 (DN) Filing a further report into an incident where a 2.5-year-old elephant calf was found inside Ven. Uduwe Dhammaloka Thera's Alan Mathiniyaramaya Temple in Polhengoda, CID told Court that the baby elephant was not registered under name of Uduwe Dhammaloka Thera or the Temple's name. CID made these revelations before Colombo Additional Magistrate. Meanwhile Court ordered the CID to conduct a comprehensive investigation into the incident report to Court more..

Saudi Arabia agrees to fresh trial for condemned Sri Lankan woman: Harsha

Dec 8 (EN) Saudi authorities have agreed to reopen the case of a Sri Lankan housemaid sentenced to death by stoning for adultery, Deputy Minister Harsha de Silva told parliament. Sri Lankan diplomats met with the unidentified woman at a Saudi jail over the weekend and Colombo secured agreement to give her a fresh trial, he said. "Through our intervention, they (Saudi authorities) have agreed to reopen the case," more..

Caste & Camp people in Jaffna

Dec 9 (CT) The issues confronting the Tamil IDPs in Jaffna have not been resolved for the last twenty-five years mainly due to the continuing presence of the so-called High Security Zones (HSZs) created by the Sri Lankan state and its forces. Tamils who were displaced from their lands of origin such as Palaali, Myliddy, Thaiyiddy and Kangesanthurai during the internal armed conflict between the LTTE and the Sri Lankan state have not yet been resettled in their lands even after more than six years from more..

Death penalty in Islam

Dec 9 (CT) Many Muslims I have spoken to are opposed to the death sentence imposed on the unnamed Sri Lankan housemaid in Saudi Arabia. The death penalty, in my view, is not in consonance with the spirit of Islam. According to a Hadith in the compilation of Prophetic traditions known as the Mishkat al-Masabih, an adulteress was forgiven for quenching the thirst of a dog. The dog held out his tongue from thirst when she passed by a well. The woman drew off water using her boot, more..

Sri Lanka's resilience agenda

Dec 9 (SO) After 20 years of failed negotiations, a global climate deal brokered by the 21st Conference of the Parties in Paris (COP21) may mean a lot to a world that had waited for consensus on dealing with impacts of climate change. As COP 21 got underway in Paris, Sri Lanka has submitted a structured Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emission reduction plan, referred to as the Intended Nationally Determine Contribution more..

There is (no) an alternative

Dec 9 (SL) As one of those who welcomed the removal of a despot and his entourage on January eighth, I am also one of those who is sick and tired of a Maithri/Ranil (MR2) dispensation which seems only to be adept at issuing motherhood and apple pie statements from time to time and has displayed a capacity to turn a deaf ear and a blind eye to the rape and pillage this country was subjected to for better than a decade and the need to bring the guilty to justice. more..

Between accountability & self-determination

Dec 9 (SL) At a recent news conference, former President Chandrika Kumaratunga, or CBK for short, now heading the post-polls Office for National Unity and Reconciliation, has declared that the proposed Special Court on accountability issue would investigate the main line of command (on the Govt side) and not soldiers, who were only carrying out orders. In the same vein, she has also said that the court would also investigate the actions of living ex-LTTE leaders. more..

'Vijayakala should go to Higher Court'

Dec 9 (SL) EPDP Leader Douglas Devananda said he is ready to face any inquiry relating to any assassination or disappearance. "I cannot be blamed for the disappearance of 3,000 people, this is highly ridiculous. It is a joke!" he said. Q: You are continuously demanding for the release of Tamil political prisoners on a general amnesty. However, why couldn't you release them when you represented the former govt? more..

Editorial: Secret surveys

Dec 9 (Island) Former President Chandrika Kumaratunga has recently disclosed that a secret survey a French outfit conducted for her while she was in office revealed that … Sinhala people were agreeable to devolution. That was why, she has said, she did not heed warnings from her ministers that it was not politically wise to promote devolution. We thought CBK had taken a bold, principled stand, dared take a huge political gamble; even risked her political future in pushing for a political solution. more..

'Prabhakaran ate beef and perished'

Dec 9 (CT) Kurukkal Sivaloganathan, Chairman of the Association of Hindu Priests of Jaffna, says that the SL Army was blessed by gods and won the war as soldiers refrained from eating beef while the members of their counterpart, the LTTE, ate beef and perished. Hindus venerate the cow and despise the practice of consuming beef. Kurukkal says that vegetarian Hindus were upset when LTTE members were found eating beef. "Prabhakaran was a Hindu. But, he did not follow the path of Dharma. more..

Minister Mahinda Amaraweera

Impact of corruption on poverty and economic growth

Dec 9 (DN) Economic growth is the rate at which the GDP of a country (that is the total net value of goods and services produced within a country during a given period of time, usually one year) increases. Economic growth rests on two major pillars. One is the volume or quantity of gross investment. The other is the efficiency or productivity of that investment, that is the output per unit of factor, normally reckoned as output per unit of labour or yield per unit of land. more..

Sri Lanka cricket scene hots up

Dec 9 (CT) Sri Lankan cricket scene could be one of the most talked of in the world today. Besides the Sri Lanka tour of New Zealand one of the issues that have caught the imagination of the world over is the impending AGM of the SLC. Though it is still too early to evaluate the outcome and the merits and the demerits of the parties involved, one has no doubt it will be an election that will be fought tooth and nail. As much as politics make strange bedfellows cricket appears to be doing the same thing when more..

Focus on reconsilation

Dec 9 (SL) With the UNHRC passing a resolution in September this year on Sri Lanka regarding the alleged violations of human rights in the country during the final phase of the war, new govt now has to submit a report by 2017 to the UNHRC on the progress they made in securing human rights of the people in the country, and on other issues. Govt had promised that they would seek the support of civil society organisations towards govt’s more..

Will India-Maithri&Ranil honeymoon be over?

Dec 9 (CT) UNP govt that was installed in office in 2001 after toppling the Chandrika Kumaratunga govt was blessed by the Bharathiya Janatha Party (BJP) of India. It's no secret how the UNP was brought to power. Similarly, it's an open secret that Chandrika grabbed three ministries of the UNP govt to topple Ranil's Govt a few years later with the help of the Office of the Indian High Commissioner located in Colombo. The base of that blessing was to hand over the reconstruction contract of more..

Who pays the ferryman?

Dec 9 (FT) Those coming from a different and perhaps saner environment will find it difficult to understand why the medical profession in Sri Lanka is threatening strike action on the basis of a withdrawn privilege; the right to import a duty free car. In more evolved environs it will be very unusual for there to be a tax imposed, and then to have various groups exempted from it due to pressures exerted on the govt by them. It will also be unacceptable for a govt to impose a general more..

Video: BBS condemns issuing of vouchers for school uniforms

Dec 9 (DM) BBS condemned the distribution of vouchers to buy school uniforms and said this would heighten communal and racial tensions. Govt should work out a more equitable method instead of issuing vouchers to buy school uniforms, as the present method is grossly unfair by the school children, said Ven. Galagodaathe Gnanasara Thera. He said the present system would worsen social stratification and that more..

SriLankan Airlines named Best Full Service Airline in Central & South Asia

Dec 9 (Island) SriLankan Airlines was recognized as one of Asia’s finest carriers when it was named Best Full Service Airline in the Central and South Asian region at the Future Travel Experience Asia Awards 2015 in Singapore recently. Ajith Dias, Chairman of SriLankan Airlines, said: "The new management of SriLankan Airlines has embarked upon a journey to turn the airline’s fortunes around with a total commitment to delighting our customers, both in the air and on the ground. more..

Kusal took drug treatment for a leech bite

Dec 9 (DN) Sri Lanka’s exciting young batsman Kusal Perera tested positive for a banned substance by the ICC took medical treatment after being bitten by a leech on his foot during the home series against Pakistan last June, SLC sources have stated. Perera was administered the drug to cure him from the bite by one of the Sri Lankan team physios, but where the physio and Perera erred was that they failed to inform the ICC about the use of the drug as should be the case. more..

SL team to India to finalise new deal

Dec 9 (FT) A high level group from Sri Lanka will visit India later this month to boost a multifaceted bilateral relationship within both countries via a framework agreement, a top Minister revealed. With regard to the Joint Economic and Technological Cooperation agreement’s framework which is in the making, Minister Malik Samarawickrama noted that the group who will leave to India on 21 December will assure win-win solutions for both parties. more..

Kusal could miss World T20 if banned

Dec 9 (DN) It's no joke when you are suddenly told that you have taken a banned substance at some point of time during your career and because the tests have proved to be positive that you can no longer represent your country at international level. That is the fate Sri Lanka's exciting young batting prospect in the Sanath Jayasuriya mould Kusal Perera is facing. The 25-year-old dashing left-hander finds himself being tested positive during the home series against Pakistan in June and more..

Anti Corruption Day walk today

Dec 9 (FT) Politicians, Govt officials, trade union leaders, civil society leaders and professionals will took to the streets in Colombo today to voice against corruption and bribery. The Commission for Inquire in to Allegation of Bribery or Corruption (CIABOC) along with the Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL) and civil organisations have put together a national event to be held in Independence Square to mark the UN Anti-Corruption day which falls today. Several civil society organisations and more..

'Young batters should show character and step into big boots'

Dec 9 (DN) SL's major concern ahead of the two Test series against NZ starting at Dunedin on Thursday is whether the young batsmen could step into the big boots and show what they are really capable of. Over the past three years Sri Lanka have lost top batters of the calibre of Dilshan, Mahela and Sangakkara and the youngsters who have been picked in their place have a big task ahead of them in trying to fill their shoes. more..

SLMC makes its views known on constitutional reforms

Dec 9 (FT) SLMC Leader Minister Rauff Hakeem said that his party will oppose even the abolition of the Executive Presidency if the electoral reforms which are proposed to be introduced are not fair. He further said that the existing system gives minorities leverage as votes cast island-wide are taken into consideration. He revealed this in a discussion with visiting Norwegian constitutional and global electoral reform expert Kave Vollan held in the Parliament complex on Tuesday. more..

CA Sri Lanka launches mobile app

Dec 9 (DM) In its continuing efforts to remain current and progressive, the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka (CA Sri Lanka) recently launched its corporate mobile app. The mobile app, which was launched by CA Sri Lanka President Arjuna Herath, is available for users using mobile phones with Android, IOS and Microsoft operating systems. The CA Sri Lanka corporate mobile app offers a host of services to its over 5100 members including the member directory, more..

Main admin. bodies to be shifted to Kotte

Dec 9 (DN) Measures will be taken to reestablish main administrative bodies such as the Presidential Secretariat Office, PM’s Office, President’s House and PM’s house at Sri J'pura Kotte near the parliamentary complex, Minister Champika Ranawaka said in Parliament. He was joining the debate on Budget 2016 under Financial Heads of Megapolis and Western Development Ministry & Social Empowerment and Welfare Ministry. more..

Sri Lanka’s Nushelle de Silva to receive young leadership award from Queen

Dec 9 (LR) Sri Lanka’s Nushelle de Silva will be one of 60 youth from the Commonwealth to receive the prestigious Queen’s Young Leaders Award. The Award, which will be presented in London by Her Majesty The Queen in 2016, and is part of The Queen’s Young Leaders Programme, celebrates the achievements of young people who are taking the lead to transform the lives of others and make a lasting difference in their communities. 27 year old Nushelle de Silva has been selected more..

Two accidental deaths due to hostile weather condition

Dec 9 (DM) A 19-year-old youth drowned and a middle-aged woman was crushed to death under a collapsed parapet wall in two separate cases reported from Grandpass yesterday due to the hostile weather conditions. The youth, Mohamed Badurdeen Ahildeen, a resident of De Mel Watta area was drowned when he had tried to retrieve a ball that fell into the Melwatta Canal. Due to the heavy rain and strong currents the youth had instantly been dragged away downstream, more..

Raviraj killing: case against 7 suspects goes ahead

Dec 9 (DM) The case against seven suspects in the killing of TNA MP Nadaraja Raviraj, was fixed for January 4 by Colombo Additional Magistrate, including three suspects in absentia, who were under open warrants. Senior State Counsel, Dilan Ratnayake, who appeared for AG’s Department, sought permission to hear the case in the absence of three suspects, Palana Sami Suresh, Sivakanth Vivekanandan & Fabian Toussaint, more..