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Avant Garde: AG faulted for the way probe is handled

Dec 10 (Island) Former ambassador to Rome Hemantha Warnakulasuriya, PC, alleged that Attorney General Yuwanjan Wijethilake as well as Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakse, PC had deviated from accepted time-tested procedures in respect of the Avant Garde case involving unauthorised use of weapons. He asserted that the AG’s actions might have been influenced by CID naming former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya more..

DWC trade unions displeased over dismissal of Director General

Dec 10 (DN) Eight Trade Unions attached to the Department of Wildlife Conservation (DWC) had expressed their displeasure over the decision to dismiss Director General H.D. Ratnayake. They had communicated their displeasure over this decision in writing to President, PM, Sustainable Development and Wildlife Minister and the Ministry Secretary. Department sources said the Sustainable Development and Wildlife Ministry has decided to appoint an acting Director General this week. more..

MR's life in danger: Welivita

Dec 10 (DN) Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa has curtailed participating at functions and meetings as his life is in danger due to lack of security, his spokesman Rohan Welivita said. Welivita while denying the reports that 500 military personnel have been deployed for the protection of the former President, yesterday added that the former President's security has been reduced to 102 personnel. He said that 22 of them are handling administrative functions. more..

Thajudeen’s body parts missing

Dec 10 (DN) Several bones and other parts of former Rugby player Wasim Thajudeen’s body had gone missing and unable to be located in the deep freezer or the mortuary coolers at the Colombo JMO office, former Chief Judicial Medical Officer Prof. Ananda Samarasekara said. Filing a report before Colombo Additional Magistrate, former Chief JMO, said following first post mortem inquiry on May 17, 2012, he instructed to store more..

Our rights, our freedoms, always

Dec 10 (DM) Of the many events celebrated annually by the UN, one of the most important is today’s golden jubilee of the day on which the UN General Assembly adopted two international treaties that would forever shape international human rights. They were the International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Worked out in the aftermath of second world war, in which more than 30,000 people more..

16 days of activism against gender-based violence

Dec 10 (DM) In this day and age, women are seen representing different fields such as politics, business, arts, education and law. Unlike earlier days, we witness the efforts taken and contribution made by women towards the sustainability of their country’s economy. But, it is unfortunate to perceive that the concept in Asia is fairly unwilling to recognize women as independent individuals, while the western world is more open to the changing concepts of women taking over each field. more..

'Criticised the govt are like watch dogs'

Dec 10 (DM) While there are on-going efforts by a united govt comprising SLFP and UNP to ensure progress, there seem to be some ministers within the same party at loggerhead with each other. Minister Kabir Hashim speaks about the subject openly. Q: How is the govt progressing these days? A: After several years a new govt is in office and it has introduced a different political culture, where 2 parties have joined to work together. more..

Controversy on emission testing continues

Dec 10 (SL) The increase of the vehicle emission test charges of all vehicles except three wheelers and motor cycles from budget 2016 has raised questions as to whether the present govt, just like the Rajapaksa regime, has paved the way for the two vehicle emission testing companies to benefit from the programme. It was in 2008, that the former Rajapaksa govt, through cabinet paper No. 08/ 1514/ 358/ 054, made it compulsory for more..

Australia optimistic about Sri Lanka’s future

Dec 10 (CG) Australia is optimistic about the future of Sri Lanka and is also confident that the relationship between Australia and Sri Lanka will continue to go from strength to strength. Australia’s High Commissioner to Sri Lanka and Maldives Ms Robyn Mudie, at a farewell reception at her residence, said that Sri Lanka and Australia are more than just partners. Talking about the breadth and depth of Australia-Sri Lanka relationship, more..

Budget debate proceeds in Parliament

Dec 10 (DM) A wide cross section of society, from professional groups right down to farmers, resists the budget with vigour. Yet, it was approved with a two-thirds majority after its Second Reading in Parliament. Now, the 2016 budget has been referred to the Committee Stage of the House for debate till its final vote on Dec 19. As things stand at the moment, a strong build-up is visible against the budgetary provisions, even more..

Day 1: Wickets tumble, but NZ rack up 409

Dec 10 (CI) The two batsmen who struggled most during New Zealand's recent tour of Australia rediscovered their form on the first day of the home summer in Dunedin: Martin Guptill made his third Test hundred, his first in 40 innings since November 2011, and then Brendon McCullum raced to a bruising half-century. The bridge between those innings was Kane Williamson, who made his 88 look effortless against wayward bowling. more..

Video: Criminals will say our names to save themselves: Mahinda

Dec 10 (AD) Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa claims that certain individuals who committed wrongdoings using the names of members of his family are attempting to save their own skin by pinning the blame on the Rajapaksa family. Speaking to reporters following an event in Colombo, UPFA MP said that various allegations are currently being leveled at his kith and kin. He alleged that certain accused in ongoing more..

Drugs shortage due to govt failure to fund NMRA: SLCPI

Dec 10 (ST) A continuing delay in bringing down essential drugs has been caused by govt failure to fund National Medicines Regulatory Authority (NMRA), SL Chamber of Pharmaceutical Industry President Col. (Rtd) Chandra Jayaratne claimed. He said they expected the NMRA to perform as an independent body, to do a better and faster job when it was established in July this year, after the new Drug Regulatory Act more..

Now, Cadet training for kids

Dec 10 (DM) School children in the Western Province from Grade 8 and above would be given cadet training from next year to improve discipline and skills among them, Western Province CM Isuru Dewapriya said. Commenting on a series of measures to be taken in the New Year in WP to develop education, he said there have been discrepancies & discriminations against PCs, when state funds were allocated by central govt. more..

'Harvard economists to advise Sri Lanka'

Dec 10 (DM) The govt is to conduct a forum of world renowned economists including some attached to the Harvard University, to advise on the implementation of the economic policy plan laid down by PM Ranil Wickremesinghe. Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. Harsha de Silva said this would be done early January. These economists would advise the govt on the implementation of these policies over a period. more..

Respect thy opponent, to all parts

Dec 10 (CI) Prior to this match Brendon McCullum spent almost as much time complimenting the opposition as he did endorsing his own, recently-defeated team. New Zealand are familiar with Rangana Herath's calibre, of course, but McCullum made particular mention of Sri Lanka's world-class batsmen, and their underrated seam attack. "They've gone through a lot of changes," McCullum surmised. more..

Clarification on stoning to death

Dec 10 (CT) An increase in Islamophobia has to be expected after the Paris bombings by the IS, and a further increase in Sri Lanka because of the condemnation to death by stoning of a Sri Lankan female convicted of adultery. In this situation there is a need for the Sri Lankan public, including the Muslims, to get their minds clear on the correct Islamic position on the punishment for adultery. There is no sanction in the Koran, none whatever, for death by stoning for adultery. more..

TPG Growth buys 28% stake in Asiri Hospitals from Actis

Dec 10 (EN) TPG Growth, an investment fund said bought a 28% stake in Asiri Hospital Holdings, a unit of Sri Lanka's Softlogic group in a 7.6 billion rupee deal. "We’ve seen significant growth opportunities in healthcare across the globe, and particularly in Asia, as individuals increasingly choose private medical treatment for the quality of care offered…,” said Vishal Bali, Senior Healthcare Advisor for TPG Growth in Asia, who will be joining the board of Asiri. "Asiri’s management team is addressing this more..

Deputy Minister Ajith Perera

Timely food for thought

Dec 10 (CT) A mass demonstration was held despite the inclement weather condition in Jaffna yesterday to protest against the sittings of the Presidential Commission on Missing Persons to be commenced in the city this week. Hundreds of family members of the missing persons from the North and the East chanted slogans against the Presidential Commission on Missing Persons chaired by Maxwell Paranagama and emphasized on forming an international judicial mechanism to probe more..

Dialog launches cloud services Cumulus

Dec 10 (LBO) Sri Lanka’s Dialog Axiata PLC launched its cloud services Cumulus in Colombo on Wednesday together with several technology companies including Ericsson, EMC, Fortinet, Hewlett Packard, Kingslake, and Microsoft. Cumulus provides services such as virtual IT infrastructure, enterprise storage and data backup, messaging solutions, development platforms, device management, business applications, productivity solutions, and managed security solutions. more..

SL to sign UN Convention on disappearances

Dec 10 (CG) Sri Lanka is to sign the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearances, Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera said. He said that SL’s Permanent Representative to the UN in New York will sign the Convention today. Foreign Minister said that cabinet has approved the proposal to sign the key Convention. Convention has defined enforced disappearance as a violation of more..

Competitive bids for expressway project

Dec 10 (EN) Sri Lanka’s new govt has decided to call for competitive bids to build sections of a new expressway connecting the capital Colombo with Kandy in the central hills. Local contractors will be invited to bid for a 32.5 kilometer long section of the Central Expressway, Minister Rajitha Senaratne said. The work will be divided into five packages each of a length between 4.5km and 7.5km with the project expected to be completed in 36 months Senaratne said. more..

10 fishermen arrested by Sri Lanka Navy

Dec 10 (PTI) Ten fishermen from Karaikal were arrested by Sri Lankan naval personnel on Thursday for allegedly crossing the IMBL and fishing near Point Pedro in the island nation. "The fishermen were going in a boat owned by one Veeramani when they were arrested," Deputy Director of Fisheries Kalimuthu said. Meanwhile, the remand of six fishermen from this coastal town, arrested on Nov 26, was extended to December 21 by Judicial Magistrate Glacia Raja of a court in Munnar. more..

CM claims white van abductions continued

Dec 10 (CG) Northern Province Chief Minister C V Wigneswaran claims that even after the 8th of January this year there had been incidents of white van abductions. In a message to mark world human rights day today, Wigneswaran said that in every sense, the rights of Tamils as individuals and as a people have been violated over the course of time by the Govts of Sri Lanka. He said that successive Govts of SL have indulged in more..

Shares end lower; turnover hits 16-mth high on block deal

Dec 10 (Reuters) Shares closed lower for a fifth straight session on Thursday, led by beverage and diversified shares, after a block deal in a key healthcare stock helped turnover hit a 16-month high. The main stock index ended down 0.26% at 6,823.91, its lowest close since March 31. Turnover on the bourse hit the highest since Aug. 19, 2014 on a block trade in Asiri Hospital Holdings. TPG Growth acquired 317.1 million ordinary shares or 27.87% stake in Asiri at 24 rupees a share, more..

Only MR was equal to the task of crushing terror: Ex- ambassador

Dec 10 (Island) Only Mahinda Rajapaksa was equal to the task of eliminating the LTTE through military means Sri Lanka’s former ambassador to Italy Hemantha Warnakulasuriya, PC, said yesterday. He had, therefore, backed Rajapaksa at the 2005 presidential election, he added. The UNP had been in the grip of the LTTE and the country in crisis at that time, Warnakulasuriya said, noting that there had been a pressing need to ensure Mahinda Rajapaksa’s victory. more..

Video: GMOA denounces Ranil’s statement

Dec 10 (DM) GMOA today condemned the statement made by PM Ranil Wickremesinghe in parliament about the GMOA and its president Dr. Anurudda Padeniya and said a decision would be taken at Sunday's Central Committee meeting with regard to their future course of action. GMOA Secretary Dr. Nalinda Herath responding to a statement by the PM that the GMOA did not make any contribution to the Jan 8 revolution, more..

Norwegian FM here next month

Dec 10 (CG) Norwegian Foreign Minister Børge Brende will be in the country during the first week of Jan, 2016 and will hold high level discussions to find out possible areas of cooperation between Norway and Sri Lanka, including trade and investment opportunities. During the visit Brende will take part in a discussion organised by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce and the Norwegian Embassy in Sri Lanka on the 7th Jan, 2016 at the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce Auditorium. more..

World Bank grants additional US$ 20 million for improvement of local services in N&E

Dec 10 (SLT) North East Local Services Improvement Project (NELSIP) is being implemented with the total investment of USD 106 million by the Govt during a six–year period (2010-2016) to support the 101 local authorities in the Northern, Eastern Provinces and adjoining provinces to improve their services and local infrastructure facilities in a responsive and accountable manner. Initially Govt of SL provided around USD 14 million for the project from the consolidated fund. more..

Court orders probe into Thajudeen’s autopsy team

Dec 10 (AD) Colombo Magistrate’s Court today instructed SL Medical Council to launch an inquiry regarding the medical team, including former Chief JMO of Colombo Dr. Ananda Samarasekara, which had carried out first postmortem examination after the death of rugby player Wasim Thajudeen. The instructions were issued after considering the accusation of CID that Dr Samarasekara and the medical team had more..

Organised mafia pilfer from passenger baggage at BIA

Dec 10 (Island) A huge sum of money amounting to Rs. 1.36 million belonging to a Sri Lankan female passenger, who arrived in the country at the BIA, Katunayake, on a budget carrier, on Dec 4 early morning from Dubai, had been stolen. The money had been in her handbag, which she happened to hand over to ground handling officers there as it was too heavy to carry with her as hand luggage on board. Police confirmed that a complaint in that regard had been made by the victim. more..

Video: Court bans welcome ceremonies for Premalal Jayasekara

Dec 10 (AD) The Pelmadulla Magistrate’s Court today issued an order banning any ceremonies from being held in the Nivithigala police area to welcome former Deputy Minister Premalala Jayasekara, who was released after fulfilling bail conditions. Nivithigala Police requested for the court due to the ongoing GCE O/L exam. Therefore the magistrate ordered that no welcoming ceremonies be organized for the politician between 8am and 4pm today while O/L exams are being held. more..

Video: Avant Garde pay list to be out soon

Dec 10 (DM) MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake would reveal the list of persons, who had accepted money from the Avant Garde Security Service Company soon, Minister Rajitha Senaratne said. “We will have the details of cheque numbers, which were drawn in favour of web sites by Avant Garde. Several higher ranking people connected to Avant Garde want to meet me to provide the details,” he said. “I have seen the list of the people and more..

NZ's first-day highs, and Guptill's long wait

Dec 10 (CI) 2: Number of instances of New Zealand making 400 or more on the opening day of a Test, before their 409 for 8 today. They scored 452 for 9 against Zimbabwe in Harare in 2005-06 and 429 for 7 against Sri Lanka in Christchurch in 2014-15. Also the run rate of 4.54 the end of the day is their fifth-highest in the first innings of a Test. 40: Consecutive Test innings Martin Guptill went without a century, before his knock today. His last hundred was 109 against Zimbabwe in Bulawayo in 2011-12. more..

Sri Lanka to be mine free soon: military

Dec 10 (Xinhua) Sri Lankan military on Thursday said it would soon clear the nation's former war torn areas from landmines as only 64 acres of land now remained to be cleared. Military spokesperson Jayanath Jayaweera told journalists in a weekly media briefing here that following the end of the 30-year civil war between government troops and Tamil Tiger rebels, 2,064 acres of land in the country had to be cleared from landmines and explosives which had been buried by the rebels. more..

IMF warns Lanka facing higher financial risks

Dec 10 (CG) The Executive Board of the IMF has warned that despite continued access to international debt markets, trends in Sri Lanka suggest that financial risks for the country have increased. To mitigate these risks, the IMF says the authorities should take appropriate corrective actions to safeguard macroeconomic stability and lay the foundation for durable and inclusive growth. Improvements in the business climate, more..

Ranil takes on trade unions, ready to talk

Dec 10 (CG) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe today questioned the issue some trade unions have with the Government to protest without having talks. Speaking in Parliament today, the Prime Minister asked if the trade unions who have been holding protests over the past few weeks are opposed to President Maithripala Sirisena. He said that if some trade unions are willing to sit and discuss their concerns with the Govt then he is unable to understand why others can’t do the same. more..

Video: Vass appeals over death sentence

Dec 10 (DM) Former DIG Vass Gunawardena, his son Ravindu Gunawardena and four others, who were found guilty of murdering businessman Mohammed Siyam, filed a petition before the Supreme Court challenging their death sentences. Attorney General has been named as a respondent in the appeal, which seeks the release of all 6 suspects from the charges. Six suspects were sentenced to death on Nov 27 after being found guilty for the abduction and murder of more..

'Sri Lanka paying Rs. 1,345 b as loan installments annually'

Dec 10 (DN) Sri Lanka has to pay Rs 1,345 billion annually as loan installments and interest for loans obtained so far by previous govts, Minister Laksman Yapa Abeywardena said. He said of the total due, a sum of Rs 520 billion has to be paid as the interest for the loans obtained and Rs 825 billion as the installment. "The total amount Rs 1,345 billion is nearing the 75% of the GDP" he said. As a result of streamlining of process of collecting taxes, more..