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EPRLF leader accuses Mangala of giving evasive answer

Dec 15 (Island) EPRLF leader Suresh Premachandran claims that Minister Mangala Samaraweera is not providing the answer to his allegation that secret detention camps did exist in the North and East where hundreds of Tamils were detained. "Foreign Minister has told the media that the govt will take tough action if it can be proved that secret detention camps exist in the country, but this is not the answer to the question raised by UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary more..

Sri Lanka, Save the Children tackle poverty, anaemia on estates

Dec 15 (EN) Sri Lanka’s govt and plantations companies have begun working with Save the Children to improve living conditions of women and children on estates, where rates of anaemia and stunting are high. The international non-governmental organization promoting children's rights has proposed co-ordinating different projects with an estimated 100 million US dollars in funding available, while also linking welfare measures to certification by the Sri Lanka Tea Board. more..

SAITM to get clinical training at Avissawella Hospital

Dec 15 (DM) The Health Ministry today gave an undertaking to the Supreme Court to provide clinical training to the students of the South Asian Institute of Technology and Medicine (SAITM) at the Avissawella Base Hospital and the Kaduwela MOH. Heath Ministry Secretary Anura Jayasekera appearing gave the undertaking when a fundamental rights petition filed by a group of SAITM students was taken up for hearing. more..

Avant Garde employees castigate double dealing politicians

Dec 15 (Island) The convenor of an association fighting for the rights of Avant Garde employees who lost their jobs, Kamal Gamage urged businessmen not to bribe any politician. Gamage castigated politicians claiming that they were a self-seeking lot. Lt Col (Rtd) Nilantha Jayaweera said since the govt had taken over the operations of Avant Garde Maritime Services and handed them over to the Navy, several underhand dealings had taken place and one of them was the hijacking of more..

Road accident death toll 2,676 in 12 months

Dec 15 (Island) Law and Order and Southern Development Minister Sagala Ratnayake said 2,676 road accident deaths had been reported from June 2014 to June 2015 and of them 48.87% were due to negligent and reckless driving. During that period there had been 36,046 road accidents, the Minister said. Responding to a question raised by UNP MP Buddhika Pathirana, he said that there had been 1,244 deaths during the period under consideration owing to negligent & reckless driving. more..

Withdraw Penal Code: TNA

Dec 15 (DM) The TNA has called for the withdrawal of the Penal Code (Amendment) Bill, placed on the Order Paper, citing that its provisions were identical to those of the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA), it is learnt. The govt has decided to criminalize hate speech through the proposed legislation. The Bill seeks to introduce a new provision (Section 291C) to the Penal Code, No. 11 of 1887. more..

Given only two minutes to speak on budget, Minister Perera stages walkout

Dec 15 (Island) Sustainable Development and Wildlife Minister Gamini Jayawickrama Perera walked out of the chamber protesting against the Chair’s failure to give him adequate time to speak in the committee stage debate on the budget proposals yesterday. He staged the walkout during the debate on expenditure heads of the ministry of Mahaweli Development and Environment. Soon after JVP MP Bimal Ratnayake had delivered his speech the presiding member Deputy Chairman of more..

Banking sector launch massive strike against govt maiden budget

Dec 15 (Xinhua) Thousands of employees from island nation's banking sector held a protest in the capital on Tuesday against the govt's maiden budget for 2016. More than 10,000 bank employees from state and private banks protested outside the Fort Railway Station, urging the govt to review the budget proposals. PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said on Monday that administration was willing to consider alternatives to the budget proposals that critics say will harm banks and their customers. more..

Don't amend Penal Code: BBS

Dec 15 (DM) The Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) today objected to the amending of the Criminal Justice Procedure Code and the Penal Code. BBS General Secretary Ven. Galagodaatte Gnanasara Thera said it would be bad for the country and the people if that were to happen. “These Acts if amended can be used as weapons to suppress people, politicians and national organisations in the country,” he said. more..

Shares recover from over 8-month low

Dec 15 (Reuters) The share index recovered on Tuesday from its lowest close in more than eight months hit in the previous session led by blue chips and large-cap stocks, despite foreign investors staying away ahead of an interest rate decision by the U.S. Federal Reserve later this week. The main stock index ended 0.26% firmer at 6,820.77, recovering from Monday's more-than-eight-month closing low. "It is a typical year-end market. Most of the investors are on leave," stockbroker said. more..

PM proposes committee to consider no-confidence motion against Ravi K.

Dec 15 (AM) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe today proposed Parliament that the no-confidence motion against Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake should be considered by a special select committee. He made this suggestion during a heated debate on the no-confidence motion. UPFA MP Vasudeva Nanayakkara asked whether a date will be given to debate the no-confidence motion. In response, Leader of the House Lakshman Kiriella said that there was no need for a debate since more..

Suspect’s DNA matches with six killings in Kotakethana

Dec 15 (DM) CID informed the Pelmadulla Magistrate today that the results of DNA tests had proved that the 35-year-old man arrested on Friday was involved in the killings of 6 of the 7 women at Kotakethana and Kahawatta. Genetec Institute, which carried out DNA tests on the man, said his DNA samples matched with the DNA samples of the objects recovered from the location and the bodies of the six women. more..

Eknaligoda probe won’t affect intelligence officers: Ruwan

Dec 15 (DM) State Minister for Defense, Ruwan Wijewardene assured that the probe on the alleged abduction and killing of journalist Prageeth Eknaligoda would be carried out in a manner which would not affect any intelligence officers. He gave this assurance in response to a question asked by opposition MP Jayantha Samaraweera in Parliament. Minister said he had already spoken to intelligence officers and they had informed him that they were not at all affected by any inquiries. more..

China-funded mega port city to help generate new business in Sri Lanka: report

Dec 15 (Xinhua) A mega China funded Port City project in the capital will help generate new investments and new buyers of real-estate in new businesses in Sri Lanka, China Harbor Engineering Company (CHEC) said on Tuesday, citing a report. In a media release, the CHEC noted that the recently released Supplementary Environmental Impact Report (SEIA) for the Colombo Port City (CPC) project said that the main objective of the Port City was to create a regional business hub more..

SL will be an example to the world says US

Dec 15 (CG) The US says the success in rebuilding Sri Lanka and reconciling the people will be an example to the rest of the world. Visiting US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Thomas Shannon, speaking in Trincomalee today, said that during his visit it was exciting to witness first-hand the important work that communities, civil society organizations, and local authorities across this island are undertaking to improve the more..

Video: Johnston granted bail

Dec 15 (DM) UPFA MP Johnston Fernando has been granted bail by the Colombo Chief Magistrate over cases filed by the Bribery Commission for failing to submit assets declarations. On Nov 27, the CIABOC filed 5 cases against the former Minister for failure to declare assets between 2010 and 2014. When the cases were taken up today, Colombo Chief Magistrate Gihan Pilapitiya ordered the suspect released on cash bail of Rs 10,000 and personal bail of Rs 1 million per each case. more..

President visits St Peter’s Basilica

Dec 15 (PSL) President Maithripala Sirisena who is in Vatican on a special invitation of Pope Francis visited St Peter’s Basilica Church today (15). St. Peter’s Basilica is an Italian Renaissance church in Vatican City, the papal enclave within the city of Rome. It is famous as a place of pilgrimage and for its liturgical functions. The delegation of the President also joined the President in this visit. The President’s tour to the Vatican will be concluded today. more..

SL ranked 73rd in Human Development Index

Dec 15 (GDI) Sri Lanka has maintained its rank in the high human development category at 73rd place according to the Human Development Report (HDR) 2015 released by UNDP. According to the Human Development Index (HDI) monitored annually by HDR, Sri Lanka out of 188 countries has gradually improved in human development reaching 0.757 in the HDI in 2014 from 0.679 in 2000. more..

Tamil refugees in TN; Return to their native land

Dec 16 (CT) Will they be thinking of their own land?; Longing for the day to see it again, or; will they dream of their Mother’s abode? They have wept and wept; And wept and wept again. Now they have lost their strength,; Even to weep any more. A century old song of Bharathy in Tamil, on the plight of Tamil expatriate labour in the cane fields of Fiji. If the above lines that melt anybody’s heart, do not apply harshly to the condition of the Sri Lankan Tamil refugees in Tamil Nadu, more..

Increasing the education budget & the merging of education & business

Dec 16 (CT) Public education has been at the centre of many struggles in Sri Lanka. While images of the brutal attacks on the HNDA student protests are still fresh in our minds, another budget has been presented to us by the Govt. Increases in the allocations for education was announced as a highlight of the 2016 Budget. As a sector that has a widespread interest among the people, this Govt’s policy direction for education proposed in the budget has generated much debate. more..

The new HIV reality

Dec 16 (SO) Minister Rajitha Senaratne told Parliament that around 20 schoolchildren in Sri Lanka were infected with HIV. He noted that a compulsory blood test to detect all diseases including HIV/AIDS would be introduced for students sitting the A/L exam, University entrants and sports club members. “This is long overdue objective we have been striving to achieve,” said Dr. Dayanath Ranatunga, Country Manager for UNAIDS. more..

Old gives place to the young

Dec 16 (SL) The All Ceylon Muslim League (ACML), which has a recorded history of 100-years, was the mother organisation of the Muslim Community which played a dominant role in giving leadership to the Muslim Community, particularly by providing the base for attainment of independence. Led by the Great National Leader, Dr T. B. Jayah, the league was behind Sinhala and Tamil Leaders in struggle for freedom which resulted in the attainment of independence on Feb 4, 1948. more..

Eknaligoda murder probe intensifies

Dec 16 (SL) The Habeas Corpus and ‘B’ report cases filed in Court of Appeal and Homagama Magistrate’s Court respectively in the disappearance of Lanka e-news journalist Prageeth Eknaligoda are to be taken up for hearing this week, Sandya Eknaligoda, the wife of the journalist said. The Habeas Corpus case will be taken up Friday in Colombo Court of Appeal while the ‘B’ report case filed by the CID is to be taken up Thursday at Homagama Magistrate’s Court. more..

'Govt trying to split the TNA'

Dec 16 (CT) TNA MP E. Saravanapavan said the current govt is acting diplomatically to create splits within his party, by creating misunderstandings among members. "This govt continues the same stances followed by previous govts. Among all Prime Ministers, Ranil Wickremesinghe is a clever figure. Former President Rajapaksa should have learnt from PM Wickremesinghe on how to create splits within the TNA. more..

SL’s role in CIA’s extraordinary rendition

Dec 16 (Island) In a statement issued on Dec 10 to commemorate the Human Rights Day, Foreign Minister, Mangala Samaraweera, proudly declared: "Sri Lanka’s commemorations will not only be symbolic – it will also be substantive. So, I am very pleased to announce that Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the US, will today, this morning in New York, in fact, will be signing the International Convention on Enforced Disappearances." In a hard hitting statement, Minister Samaraweera said more..

Editorial: Cost of election bribes

Dec 16 (Island) So, in the end the govt did what it had to do in spite of its rhetoric. It granted some of the key demands of the warring trade unions which were all out to launch a strike. As a result, the public sector employees will have Rs. 10,000 each they were given by way of an allowance added to their basic salaries in stages. It was a case of Hobson’s choice for the govt. A 10,000–rupee increase in the public sector workers’ salaries is sure to result in serious salary anomalies, more..

Chunnakam water issue a continuing saga

Dec 16 (CT) Chunnakam water crisis has turned into a never ending dispute which has dragged on for over a year. Northern Provincial Council expert committee Final Report, independent medical experts pointed out is impugned. Early this year when the Chunnakam water issue aggravated further, due to continuous protests by the people of the area, the NPC appointed a nine-member committee from the Universities of Jaffna, more..

Port project jeopardizes fishing community

Dec 16 (UCAN) Aruna Roshan is a fisherman in Sri Lanka but in all likelihood will not be able to fish, the only profession he and his family have known for generations. But Roshan is not alone. There are thousands like him living on the west coast from Moratuwa to Negombo who are facing imminent danger of being asked to leave their existing homes and have their livelihood restricted — if work should recommence on the new Colombo Port City project. Most of the fish breeding areas already more..

Travel Sri Lanka: The tale of Sigiriya rock

Dec 16 (HP) Once upon a time, a powerful Sinhalese king felt a sudden pang of anxiety. He couldn't understand why, because he had everything any man could desire. With his fervent will to survive and insatiable thirst for power, he had single handedly assassinated his father, King Dhatusena, chased off his brother, Mogallan- the rightful heir to the throne, and he had taken the island country of Sri Lanka as his own. But, his acts were shrouded in evil, and when you are evil- you become more..

'Govt cannot control thugs in Parliament'

Dec 16 (CT) Colombo District MP Mujibur Rahman brought Parliament sittings to a standstill last week when he caused a stir by mentioning the murder of rugby player Wasim Thajudeen in his speech. The MP alleges that he was hit by a few members of the Opposition while delivering the speech. MP said that the Yahapalanaya Govt had created a uniquely free environment in which even govt MPs have started to receive physical assaults more..

SLC election: DG’s double standards

Dec 16 (CT) Pre-Cricket election took another turn yesterday, as Presidential Contender Nishantha Ranatunga's team submitted an objection regarding the double standards adopted by Director General (DG) of Sports K.D. Ruwanchandra when accepting and rejecting nominees for the SLC election by the Sports Ministry. According to the objection letter, DG had accepted the nominations of both former President's Thilanga Sumathipala and Jayantha Dharmadasa for the post of President, more..

Korea mulls foray into Sampur zone

Dec 16 (DN) Korean govt has expressed its consent to invest in the proposed heavy industrial zone in Sampur, Trincomalee, Minister Sujeewa Senasinghe said. He affirmed that the govt has already received several investment proposals from prospective investors relating to the development activities of the zone. These proposals are being studied and reviewed by a panel of local and foreign experts. Total project value of the Sampur project is estimated to be around US$ 1,500 million. more..

Video: 'Release Army intelligence officers as done to ex-LTTEers'

Dec 16 (DM) Family members of Army intelligence officers who were arrested and detained under the PTA in connection with the disappearance of journalist Prageeth Ekneligoda today requested the government to release their loved ones similar to the way in which ex-LTTE detainees were released. They expressed these views at a news conference organsed by the Mawbima Wenuwen Ranawiruwo organisation. more..

Parliament to become a constituent assembly

Dec 16 (Island) Delivering the Oration in memory of that great lady Sujata Jayawardena, the likes of whom are very rare, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe outlined the proposals for the next Constitution, which the present govt intends to have introduced; he stated "Our proposed constitutional Assembly (like 2nd Republican Constitution in 1977) will not follow this procedure to enact a new Constitution. In fact, it will be established by a resolution of Parliament and will then be followed by more..

Higher cost in Sri Lanka forces Timex to expand Avirate brand in India

Dec 16 (FT) Home grown apparel brand, Timex Garments, under its brand name Avirate has been compelled to bring down growth projections next year due to tax revisions under the budget. Timex Garments Managing Director Arshad Sattar said that the increase of the duty from Rs. 25 to Rs. 200 imposed on local apparel exporters who supply to the local market is unfair, as it will thereby give incentives to global brands. “We need help from the Govt. They need to give incentives for brands more..

India increases the baggage allowance for returning Sri Lankan refugees

Dec 16 (Hindu) In a move that would benefit Sri Lankan refugees living in camps across the State who intend to return to island-nation voluntarily, UNHCR has assisted SL govt in increasing the flight baggage allowance for repatriating refugees by 20 kg. Now, the total entitlement is 60 kg per person. “Following UNHCR’s discussion with Govt of SL on the need for increase in baggage allowance, govt has raised limit for baggage for SL refugees more..

Boult rested; Nicholls earns maiden call-up

Dec 16 (CI) In an effort to manage workloads, NZ fast bowler Trent Boult has been rested for the first three matches of 5-ODI series against SL starting on Boxing Day. Tim Southee will also have a couple of matches off, before joining the squad for the Nelson ODI on New Year's Eve. Neither player was part of New Zealand's tours to Zimbabwe and South Africa earlier in the year: Boult was injured and Southee was rested. But they have played four back-to-back Tests since the start of November. more..

India enters final of U19 tri-nation

Dec 16 (DN) Unbeaten India entered the final of the Under 19 Tri-Nation tournament when they beat England by 20 runs at the R Premadasa Stadium yesterday. India played three matches and won all of them to top the table with 13 points. Sri Lanka after two matches has 5 points and England are without a win at the bottom of the table with no points. India batting first made 261 in 50 overs with Rishabh Pant scoring 71 and Himansu Rana 50. Rishabh and Himansu shared an opening stand of 113. more..

Police refuse to licence Avant Garde guns

Dec 16 (EN) Police turned down a request to renew the licences for 56 guns used by the controversial private security company Avant Garde whose maritime operations have been taken over by the navy. Police rejected an application on the basis that the company and its chief were facing criminal investigations. Rejection is another blow to the private security company whose operations were taken over last month by the Navy following more..

Navy demands Rs. 700 m from Avant Garde

Dec 16 (DN) Navy has sent a letter to Avant Garde demanding Rs. 700 million which it owes to the Sri Lanka Lanka Navy. Navy Media Spokesman Captain Alavi Akram said that Avant Garde Security Services Company owed the Sri Lanka Navy Rs. 700 million. "We have already sent the letter to Avant Garde. Defence Ministry has also been informed about this issue," he said. Navy is planning to take further legal action against Avant Garde if it fails to respond to the letter, he said. more..