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AG’s action against Justice Abrew justified: Addl. SG

Dec 12 (Island) The Attorney General had acted fairly, objectively and within the law, in indicting Justice Sarath de Abrew in the High Court, for aggravated sexual abuse of a domestic aide, said the Additional Solicitor General, Yasantha Kodagoda, President’s Counsel yesterday in the Supreme Court. Attorney General had also acted according to the law in prosecuting De Abrew in the Magistrate’s Court, Kodagoda argued, more..

Malaysia urged to drop case against rights activist over No Fire Zone screening

Dec 12 (HRW) Malaysian authorities should immediately drop charges under the Film Censorship Act against rights activist Lena Hendry, Human Rights Watch and 11 Malaysian and international human rights organizations said today in letters to Malaysia’s PM and attorney general. Hendry’s case is slated to go to trial on Dec 14, 2015. The Malaysian govt should also end censorship of films by repealing provisions of more..

TNA leader Sampanthan ready to step down if party and people want Wigneswaran

Dec 12 (DBS) Political tensions prevailing within the TNA underwent a dramatic transformation last week. In an unexpected twist, Leader of the opposition and TNA leader, R Sampanthan, declared in Batticaloa that he was prepared to step down in favour of Northern province chief minister C.V. Wigneswaran if the Katchi (party) and Makkal (people) wanted it. By doing so, veteran politician from Trincomalee not only brought out more..

Mobile phone details handed over to CID

Dec 12 (DN) A mobile phone network company has handed over the phone network details of the last five years required by the CID for the investigations to be carried out in to the disappearance of journalist Prageeth Ekneligoda. CID requested this mobile network company on several occasions to issue these details to the CID officers conducting investigations on Ekneligoda's disappearance. more..

New Zealand pull away with 308-run lead

Dec 12 (CI) In stark contrast to the previous two days in Dunedin, the third was overcast, cold and windy - conditions that were as familiar to New Zealand as they were foreign to Sri Lanka. The visitors struggled to cope: their batsmen succumbed to the moving ball, their bowlers toiled in the strong breeze, and their fielders put down catches in the chilly weather. The upshot was an ever-widening distance between the two teams, more..

Thajudeen case plunges House into turmoil

Dec 12 (DN) Parliament sitings were suspended twice yesterday due to a tense situation which arose when UPFA opposition members attempted to assault UNP MP Mujibur Rahuman physically while he was speaking about the murder of ruggerite Wasim Thajudeen. The sittings suspended for the first time at 4.00 p.m. resumed at 4.20 p.m. while sittings suspended for the second time at 4.40 p.m. resumed at 6.10 p.m. more..

Now, GMOA praises govt for enabling farmers to opt for organic fertilizer

Dec 12 (Island) GMOA praised the govt’s decision to provide a Rs. 25,000 payment instead of the fertiliser concessions given to farmers in the past. General Secretary of the GMOA, Dr Nalinda Herath, said that though PM Ranil Wickremesinghe claimed it was criticising the govt’s budget proposal to replace subsidized fertiliser with monetary assistance to farmers to purchase it, his association welcomed it as a progressive move. For, farmers now could organic fertiliser with that money. more..

Batting woes for Sri Lanka; mountain of runs for Williamson

Dec 12 (CI) 6: Number of times BJ Watling has effected five or more dismissals in a Test innings, the most among all New Zealand wicketkeepers. Brendon McCullum and Adam Parore have both done it four times. Watling had six dismissals in Sri Lanka's first innings in Dunedin, which is only the third instance of six or more dismissals for a New Zealand wicketkeeper in a Test innings. 2.10: Watling's dismissals per innings, which is the best among New Zealand wicketkeepers, more..

Daily Mirror Cartoon

India corner in Jaffna

Dec 12 (Island) An India Corner at the Jaffna Public Library was inaugurated on Dec 11, by the High Commissioner of India, Y.K. Sinha, Governor of Northern Province, H.M.G.S. Palihakkara, and Chief Minister of Northern Province C. V. Wigneswaran. India Corner has been set up in partnership with the Jaffna Municipal Council to offer the public access to a variety of books, DVDs, periodicals and other entertainment material. India Corner would house books obtained from India, more..

Income gap widens in South

Dec 12 (DN) The difference between earnings of the poorest and the richest of the Southern province is wide, said Southern Province Chief Minister Shan Wijayalal de Silva. The poorest 20% earns 5.2% of the province's overall income while the richest 20% accounts for 50.8%. Accelerating the phase of economic progress aimed at fulfilling the aspirations of both low and middle income earners of the province is the main focus. He was delivering the budget speech presenting the Financial more..

President opens Premakirthi Website

Dec 12 (PMD) President Maithripala Sirisena said that the nation could not create another artiste of the caliber of Premakirthi de Alwis who was gunned down 26 years ago. He said this after opening the premakirthidealwis website at the Youth Centre Auditorium at Maharagama where a Premakirthi Memorial Musical Evening under the title, Hadagee Pothe pada rasavindana was held yesterday (10). more..

Renal Disease: Colombo next in line

Dec 12 (Island) In a bid to curtail the rapid spread of renal diseases govt has called for the use of non-chemical fertilisers. Minister Rajitha Senaratne said that the worldwide trend was to reduce the use of chemical fertilizers gradually and promote healthy living. "The agrochemicals are a major cause of the spread of renal disease. So, we have decided to stop its use gradually," he noted, warning that Colombo could be affected; many cases had already reported from Kalutara and Baduraliya. more..

PM and trade unions set for crucial talks

Dec 12 (AD) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe is scheduled to hold talks with trade union representatives today, to discuss the proposals put forward in the 2016 Budget. Several trade unions have announced plans to launch an island-wide strike on Tuesday (15) in protest of certain budget proposals. This is also expected to feature in today’s discussions, it has been reported. However, Saman Rathnapriya, the co-convenor of a collective of govt, semi-govt and private sector trade unions, more..

Embarkation tax increased by US$ 5

Dec 12 (DM) The embarkation taxi levied on travellers departing Sri Lanka will be increased from US$ 25 to US$ 30 from January 1 next year in keeping with a Budget proposal, CAA said. “Accordingly, the previous levy which was around Rs. 3,250 will be increased to Rs. 4,500 with effect from January 1,” Civil Aviation Director General H.M.C. Nimalsiri said adding that US$ 20 of the levy would be credited to the Treasury. more..

LG polls campaign Prez, PM should remain neutral: Ministers

Dec 12 (CT) Several SLFP and UNP ministers have reportedly asked President Maithripala Sirisena and PM Ranil Wickremesinghe to remain neutral ahead of the 2016 Local Govt (LG) polls. They have pointed out to their respective party leaders that it will be far more beneficial and advantages to the SLFP and the UNP to allow a second tier leader to spearhead the election campaigns at village level ahead of the said polls. These Ministers have also pointed out that if President and PM more..

Preliminary report on surgical mishap goes to DG Health

Dec 12 (Island) Director General Health Services (DGHS) Dr. Palitha Mahipala said yesterday that he had received the preliminary report on the surgical mishap which occurred at the Kalutara Nagoda General Hospital (KNGH) early this month when a surgeon operated on the wrong breast of a mother of two. Dr. Mahipala said he had received the primary report on the alleged surgical mishap from the Director of KNGH, Dr. Pradeep Wijesinghe on Thursday (10). more..

New EIA report open for public

Dec 12 (DN) Attorney General informed the Court of Appeal that a new Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report prepared for Colombo Port City Project is currently open for public review for a period of one month. Deputy Solicitor General Arjuna Obeysekara appearing for the AG told Court that new EIA report would allow acquiring of 269 hectares of land. Meanwhile, DSG submitted before Court a copy of 1,000 page EIA report more..

Sri Lanka hopes to do well in SAFF event

Dec 12 (Hindu) Sri Lankan national football coach Sampath Perera exuded confidence and hope that his young team will put up a good show in the upcoming SAFF football championship which will be held in Thiruvananthapuram later this month. Speaking to The Hindu after his team’s first training session at the LNCPE Kariyavattom here on Wednesday, 50-year-old former captain said that team’s ambition is to reach the finals of the tournament. “It is a young team with more..

Wilpattu reserve endangered

Dec 12 (ST) Wilpattu reserve has once again come under threat with vast extents of land belonging to the reserve being cleared. Recently over four acres of forest land north of Wilpattu near Viadhikulam Tank was set on fire. It has also come to light that the Mannar District Secretariat is planning to take over a portion of the buffer zone -around 800 acres of the forest reserve- for public welfare service, in an area around 1km from the bank of the Modagam Aru which falls within the Wilpattu sanctuary. more..

Herath's Saturday of little struggles

Dec 12 (CI) Five overs before lunch, Rangana Herath, swaddled in wool, rib protector defining a little outline through all the layers, ducked into a Tim Southee bouncer that hadn't climbed as it should have. Southee and NZ fielders wore concerned looks. A few put caring hands on Herath's back. Then, once the ringing from the blow on the back of the helmet had subsided, hurling of balls at Herath's head resumed. more..

Priceless statues missing when Vass was DIG

Dec 12 (SL) During the murder trial of Mohamed Shiyam, it has been pointed out by the chair of the Trial-at-bar, High Court Judge Lalith Jayasuriya that 8 priceless statues along with a statue worth Rs. 80 million found during the tenure when former DIG Vass Gunawardena was the SSP of Kurunegala, have mysteriously disappeared without a trace. Although several photographs in which both ex-DIG Gunawardena and former President Rajapaksa were present and these photographs had been more..

Driver, conductor honoured for returning Rs. 1.4 to its owner

Dec 12 (Island) Minister of Transport and Aviation, Nimal Siripala de Silva yesterday praised the bus driver and the conductor of a bus belonging to the Katubedda Bus Depot for returning Rs. 1.4 mn to its owner who had alighted from the vehicle leaving behind his money parcel. Driver, Dhammika Thushara, and Conductor, Lahiru Dilshan, were accorded special recognition by Minister De Silva at the Ministry of Transport at a ceremony organised yesterday. more..

Sri Lanka company earnings fall in September 2015 quarter

Dec 12 (EN) Sri Lanka’s listed company earnings contracted in the September 2015 from a year ago after growing almost 11% in the previous quarter, according to an analysis done by Capital Alliance Securities Ltd. Overall earnings fell 6.2% in the Sept 2015 quarter to 47.7 billion rupees from the year before. Plantations and oil palm firms were the worst hit, suffering heavy losses owing to the commodities slump, the brokerage said. more..

PM calls for disciplinary action over Parliament incident

Dec 12 (CG) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe today called for disciplinary action to be taken against the members of Parliament who were responsible for the incident which took place in Parliament yesterday. The Prime Minister said that even if a member of the UNP misbehaved in Parliament yesterday he will take action against that MP. He said all party leaders should ensure that the MPs from their respective political parties respect Parliament and act accordingly. more..

Air Force looks at Russia, India for aircraft

Dec 12 (SL) The Sri Lanka Air Force is considering options in Russia and India with regard to the purchasing of aircraft. Speaking to The Sunday Leader the Air Force Spokesman, Wing Commander Gihan Seneviratne said that the air force has not made any final decisions regarding the purchase of aircraft and they have been considering options in Russia and India. “We are looking at a number of options but no decision has been made yet,” he said. more..

Sri Lanka's graft buster faces FCID probe

Dec 12 (EN) Sri Lanka's self-styled good governance activist and anti-graft campaigner Nihal Sri Ameresekere is under investigation for defaulting LKR 100 million to a state bank, police said. Formal complaints had been made with FCID of the police as well as CIABOC. Asked for his reaction, Ameresekere did not elaborate but in an e-mail to EconomyNext said: There are legally binding contractual agreements. more..

Power effect with quiet hope

Dec 12 (ST) The recent visit of Ambassador Samantha Power to our shores reminded me of an American President who occupied the White House exactly a century and two years ago. President Woodrow Wilson elected in 1913 was instrumental in creating the League of Nations, the forerunner of the UN. He explained his endeavors in international relations as the pursuit of common purpose of enlightened mankind. The catalytic and causative phrase ‘common purpose of mankind’ more..

Indian tourists dominate Sri Lanka arrivals

Dec 12 (PTI) Indians continued to be Sri Lanka's largest source market for tourism, with the arrival of 29,000 Indian tourists in the month on November, up by 48.4% from a year earlier. Chinese arrivals have also recorded a big jump, 54% year on year. With over 16,000 arrivals they are next to India. Significantly, the arrivals from Western Europe have seen only an 11 per cent increase. Since the end of the civil war in the north and east of the country, Sri Lanka tourism department more..

Plantation industry calls for heavy penalties On refuse tea exporters

Dec 12 (CT) Plantation industry stakeholders on Tuesday requested Minister Navin Dissanayake to impose heavy penalties on those engaged in exporting refuse tea. This is a sequel to Minister Dissanayake convening a meeting with all industry stakeholders to discuss current issues related the tea industry. Representatives from the Colombo Tea Traders' Association, Tea Exporters' Association, the Planters' Association, more..

Skeletal remains from Sri Lankan mass grave to be sent abroad

Dec 12 (PTI) Skeletal remains found at an alleged mass grave in the Tamil-dominated former war zone in Sri Lanka will be sent overseas for DNA tests, a lawyer said on Saturday. V S Niranjan, a lawyer at the Magistrate’s Court in Mannar, said that Magistrate M Alexrajah issued the order yesterday to send the remains of 88 skeletons found in 2013 at Thiruketheeswaran area. The site of the mass grave is located in Mannar in Lanka’s Tamil-dominated North, a former war zone. more..

GMOA to meet President

Dec 12 (DM) The Govt Medical Officers' Association (GMOA) said today they would have a discussion with President Maithripala Sirisena on Dec 18 with regard to the issues concerning the 2016 budget proposals. GMOA Spokesman Dr. Navin de Soysa said they had not been invited to the discussion with PM Ranil Wickremesinghe today. GMOA earlier said a decision would be taken at tomorrow's Central Committee meeting with regard to their future course of action. more..

Sri Lanka computer literacy at 27%

Dec 12 (LBO) Sri Lanka’s computer literacy for the first half of 2015 is 26.8% compared to 25.1% reported in 2014. Computer literacy of those who are in the age group of 5 to 69 years and characteristics of households have been released based on a survey. 24.6% of households have at least one desktop or laptop computer, 67% of these households have acquired their first computer during the last five years. more..

Raising citizenship standards

Dec 13 (SO) Last Thursday, Sri Lanka signed the International Convention on Enforced Disappearances, bringing the country more in line with the corpus of global agreements and international citizenship standards that should be observed by the country as a member of the UN. Minister Mangala Samaraweera proudly announced the signing on Thursday in Colombo. With this signing, done at SL's permanent mission in New York, citizens are that much more assured of more..

A week of tension in parliament

Dec 13 (CT) Heated verbal arguments between two members of the Govt and Opposition ranks are certainly not alien to Parliament be it is Sri Lanka, India or in the United Kingdom. However, it is rarely that one gets to witness heated arguments between two members in the same party. Last week's sittings in Parliament proved that Sri Lankan Parliamentarians are capable of displaying not only inter-party conflicts but also intra-party conflicts as well. more..

An issue in need of a solution

Dec 13 (SL) The number of Sri Lankans working overseas amounts to 1.7 million at present. In the Middle East alone, 500,000 Sri Lankan women being employed in domestic services, while a majority of them work in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. According to the relevant statistics, 99.000 women have gone overseas for employments in 2011, 118,058 in 2012 and 158,000 in 2013 that shows clearly an upward trend in more..

Editorial: Looming dangers

Dec 13 (Island) Delivering the Sujata Jayawardena Memorial Oration on Friday, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe identified devolution, electoral reform and the replacement of the presidency as the major issues that would be addressed in drafting a new constitution for Sri Lanka. The country is very well aware that the abolition of the executive presidency had been promised by both Presidents Chandrika Kumaratunga and Mahinda Rajapaksa; but these proved to be broken promises. more..

Bribery, corruption main obstacles to development

Dec 13 (CT) Bribery and corruption are seen as main obstacles to sustainable economic, political and social development, for developing, emerging and developed economies alike. Corruption reduces efficiency and increases inequality and according to the World Economic Forum the cost of corruption equals more than 5% of global GDP (US$ 2.6 trillion) with over US$ 1 trillion paid in bribes each year, according to the World Bank. Bribery and corruption are seen as main obstacles more..

'COPE not a policing authority; We only identify fraud and corruption'

Dec 13 (CT) Chairman of the Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) JVP MP Sunil Handunnetti spoke to Ceylon Today about his vision for COPE, the need for more powers, the importance of bringing in an effective Right to Information Act and the National Audit Commission, the complexities brought on by Tamasek, the Central Bank Bond scam, Avant Garde, and why Ministers are really pointing fingers at one another. more..

Exploiting poverty

Dec 13 (ST) The case of the Sri Lankan maid in Saudi Arabia seeking clemency from a death by stoning sentence has grabbed the attention of the public, the media, human rights activists and politicians alike. The Govt has claimed a Pyrrhic victory so far by having the case re-opened by way of appeal. While one could pray for mercy and a favourable outcome on behalf of the unfortunate woman, it is never an inappropriate time to focus on the issue of Sri Lankan workers overseas, more..