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Teachers’ Union threatens legal action

Dec 27 (SL) Ceylon Teachers’ Union will go to court against the Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam if Education Ministry fails to adhere to the orders issued by the Supreme Court pertaining to the 35 points limit in admitting students to Year One in 2016, Union Secretary Joseph Stalin said. Every Minister of Education who assumes the post thinks that they are the owners of the over 4 million student population. The Education Minister has no right to defy a Supreme Court directive. more..

Megapolis team visits Singapore for advice

Dec 27 (ST) A team from the Ministry of Megapolis and Western Development is now in Singapore on a study tour of the Temasek Model, as a precursor to implement the Megapolis project here in Colombo, sources said. This follows a visit to Colombo from the Singapore urban planning consultants Surbana, two months ago. Lakshman Jayasekera, Project Director, Western Region Megapolis Planning Project is visiting Singapore with three other members to meet with Singaporean experts more..

President halts Ravi’s Rs 300 M bonanza to Nihal Sri

Dec 27 (CT) A Cabinet Paper forwarded by Minister of Finance, Ravi Karunanayake, seeking Cabinet approval to compensate an individual, paying Rs 300 million from government coffers was put on hold by President Sirisena during the Cabinet meeting on Wednesday. This Cabinet Paper which sought paying Rs 300 million to Professional Consultant Nihal Sri Ameresekere seeking an amicable settlement over more..

Police investigating complaint on Gnanasara Thero

Dec 27 (SL) The police say they are investigating the complaint made against Badu Bala Sena (BBS) General Secretary, Galaboda Aththe Gnanasara Thera over comments he made insulting the Holy Quran. However, speaking to The Sunday Leader, Galaboda Aththe Gnanasara Thera said that he has nothing against Muslims in the country but only called for extremist teachings of some Muslims to be stopped. The case against the monk is set to be taken up at Civil Courts on Jan 5, 2016. more..

Wimal warns SL community in Europe

Dec 27 (CG) Leader of the National Freedom Front, Parliamentarian Wimal Weerawansa has warned the Sri Lankan community in Europe that Sri Lanka’s future is under threat. Weerawansa is on tour in Europe to meet Sri Lankans living abroad and to brief them on the dangers faced by Sri Lanka in the near future. As part of the visit Weerawansa visited Berlin and addressed the Sri Lankans living in Berlin on the topic “The Injustice done to a Nation by a White man’s court”. more..

Term of LG bodies extended by 6 months

Dec 27 (PSL) President Maithripala Sirisena says the govt has decided to extend the terms of office of every Local Govt Institution which haven’t been dissolved so far. He said this decision was taken to facilitate the forthcoming amendments of the electoral system of the LGs. President made these remarks at the inauguration ceremony of the Nenasara Athwela; an annual program to distribute parcels of books for 18,000 school children more..

Fonseka reapplies for US Green Card

Dec 27 (SL) Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka has reapplied for a US Green Card after his earlier card had expired and he was denied entry to the US. Earlier it was reported that the US Embassy in Colombo had rejected a visa application by Fonseka. A source close to Fonseka said that his green card application is still in the process of renewal and as such the local embassy has no authority to issue a visa. Fonseka had sought to visit the US to meet his two daughters who are more..

Tamil People’s Council to meet today

Dec 27 (Hindu) Even as the much-awaited meeting between TNA’s chief R. Sampanthan and the Northern Province’s CM C.V. Wigneswaran took place here on Christmas day, Tamil People’s Council (TPC), which is headed by the latter, has decided to go ahead with its meeting in Jaffna on Sunday. TPC, which had its inaugural meeting a week ago, is expected to come out with its future course of action on Sunday. The meeting between Mr. Sampanthan and Mr. Wigneswaran more..

BASEL to help Sri Lanka trace Black Money

Dec 27 (CT) Deputy Minister Dr. Harsha de Silva said the Govt of Sri Lanka had signed an MoU with the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision of Switzerland with the aim of recovering black money stashed away on secret accounts and other deposit schemes in Switzerland. He said Sri Lanka can solicit international support to investigate complaints lodged with the FCID and the Bribery or Corruption Commission. more..

UNP to decide on Hirunika

Dec 27 (SL) The UNP says it will meet after the holidays and discuss the course of action, if any, which needs to be taken on UNP MP Hirunika Premachandra. Premachandra last week brought disrepute to the UNP after it came to light that her security officers had abducted a man and took him in a vehicle registered in her name. The General Secretary of the UNP Kabir Hashim told The Sunday Leader that the party had not met to discuss the issue with regard to the incident. more..

Plantation Association chief unable to consider wage increase

Dec 27 (SO) Chairman, Plantation Association of Ceylon (PA), Roshan Rajadurai said that they are unable to consider a wage increase under the current financial straits. This was in response to the govt’s warning that estates under the Regional Plantation Companies (RPC) would be taken over if they refused to grant wage increases to the workers. Minister W.D.J. Seneviratne who mediated at the final three rounds of talks between the plantation trade unions and RPCs on wage increase more..

Challenging 2016 for Govt – popularity test at local polls

Dec 27 (ST) It seems a strange but humorous co-incidence. Birds and politicians, who are poles apart, have developed something common. It is now migratory season for both. For ages, birds of different species have been flying to Sri Lanka to avoid the bitter winter in their habitat in faraway lands. Bird lovers and ornithologists take delight in identifying them, learning their migratory patterns and endurance. more..

North Colombo Medical College

Dec 27 (Island) I wish to say how pleased I am to be present at the final Convocation of the North Colombo Medical College. I am deeply grateful to Professor Carlo Fonseka, who in his capacity as the Competent Authority of the North Colombo Medical College, has given me this opportunity to be present here today and to speak about a controversial but unique educational institution which I had helped to setup when I was Chairman of the UGC and Secretary of the Ministry of Higher Education. more..

The state of the State

Dec 27 (Island) Over the past week, we have been entertained – if that’s the word – by UNP MP Hirunika Premachandra’s public pronouncements explaining the threatening, beating up and abduction of an individual, who was ostensibly having an extra-martial affair with one of her staff members. The reason for the violence? Her lack of faith in the Police. So there we have it. A well-known MP, basically affirming through word and deed, and to date with complete impunity, more..

Sri Lanka warned of ISIS activity

Dec 27 (ST) A state intelligence arm has warned the Govt over what it fears is the radicalisation of Muslim groups turning out to be supporters of the ISIS – the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. The concerns are reflected in a top secret report sent to President and PM. The report comes in the wake of two foreign govts about what they believe is ISIS activity in SL. Govt has learnt that 45 Sri Lankans from nine families have entered Syria more..

Committee studying PTA in repeal process

Dec 27 (CG) Moves to repeal draconian anti-terrorism laws are gathering pace as Sri Lanka prepares to provide an update to the UNHRC on the implementation of the resolution on Sri Lanka adopted by the Council this year. Justice Minister Wijeydasa Rajapaksha said that a committee is in the process of closely studying the PTA and what law can be introduced to replace it. He said that the committee consists of more..

FCID commences probe on Krrish deal

Dec 27 (SL) The FCID has commenced an investigation into the controversial Krrish Transworks Colombo (Pvt) Limited project that was initiated during the former Mahinda Rajapaksa regime. Several VVIPs of the former regime are hence expected to be interrogated by the FCID in the next few weeks. The US$ 650 million Krrish square mixed development project in Colombo was aimed at constructing four high-rise buildings more..

Minister Eran Wickramaratne wants Lankans domiciled overseas to return home

Dec 27 (Island) Deputy Minister Eran Wickramaratne, said the time is now opportune for Sri Lankans who moved overseas for career development and enjoy a fuller life to return home. The govt, within its current leadership role, has brought about crucial changes that impacted the whole population, particularly that precedence is now enshrined in parliamentary enactments, that the rule of law will be applied to all irrespective of more..

New oil price formula soon; revision every three months

Dec 27 (ST) Despite tumbling world oil prices and a tax of Rs. 65 a litre on petrol, the Govt has decided not to reduce the local selling price of petrol. Instead, plans are afoot to bring in a new fuel pricing formula where prices will adjust in line with world market trends. The new pricing mechanism is expected to be presented to Cabinet on January 6 by Petroleum Minister Chandima Weerakkody. The minister did not elaborate on the details more..

Rajapaksa camp to launch Our Sri Lanka Freedom Front ahead of LG elections

Dec 27 (AM) The Joint Opposition which supports former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, has planned to launch a new political front to contest the upcoming Local Govt Elections, political sources said. Accordingly, the Joint Opposition has planned to launch a front named Ape Sri Lanka Peramuna or Our Sri Lanka Front, to contest the election. Several political parties including the NFF, MEP, PHU and LDF are expected to join more..

Raviraj murder suspect linked to Aussie business

Dec 27 (Age) A Sri Lankan policeman wanted in connection with the assassination of a prominent Sri Lankan politician and human rights lawyer is suspected of hiding out in Australia and running an eco-consultancy business. The eco-consultancy is owned by a businesswoman who says she is a friend of former US President Bill Clinton. SL police have confirmed asking Australian police for assistance in tracking down more..

Trade union action will continue: Water supply TU’s

Dec 27 (DM) The Water Supply Joint Trade Union Alliance said today the island wide trade union action launched yesterday will continue as authorities had failed to address their demands. Alliance launched the action demanding the payment of their annual bonus. Trade Union Leader Upali Ratnayaka said emergency services and breakdown services had come to a standstill yesterday but water purification system more..

Wigneswaran-Sampanthan talks fail to end crisis in TNA

Dec 27 (ENS) The three-hour one-to-one meeting between the Northern Province Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran, and the leader of the TNA, R. Sampanthan, held here on Friday, had failed to resolve the crisis in the TNA. Wigneswaran only said that the talks were inclusive and that it was agreed to meet again. Top sources inside the TNA told Express that both sides stuck to their guns, not budging an inch. more..

Govt denies claims on coal tender

Dec 27 (SL) The govt has insisted that the coal tender procedure is now more transparent than earlier. However, despite the assurance, some officials at the Power and Energy Ministry are still of the view that much needs to be done to put an end to the corrupt deals in the coal tender process. “Coal tenders are much more transparent than before. Unlike in the past, no establishment is being given a tender for three years or so,” more..

A tribute to the heroes of Gemunu Watch

Dec 27 (Island) A personal account by the CO 1 GW of events in Batticaloa during the siege in 1990 and the courageous performance of duties by troops under his command, amidst unprecedented odds faced by them is recounted here for posterity. I dedicate this article to all those valiant officers and men of the First Battalion the Gemunu Watch (1 GW) who served under my command from Dec 1, 1988 to January 31, 1991. They served with me loyally, with dedication and commitment in more..

Should the govt open state hospitals to SAITM medical students?

Dec 27 (Island) Earlier in September, SL Medical Council (SLMC) evaluated facilities for clinical training at the South Asian Institute for Technology and Medicine (SAITM) and declared them unsatisfactory. Based on the SLMC’s evaluation, SAITM does not provide adequate exposure to the range of health problems encountered in Sri Lanka. Moreover, exposure to emergencies in all basic clinical fields is lacking, as is training in public health and forensic medicine. more..

Singing President of Sri Lanka

UNP wants MR out of politics

Dec 27 (SL) Unanimous decision of the UNP is to end the political journey of the leader of the former govt Mahinda Rajapaksa, UNP MP Buddhika Pathirana said. He said the white robe and sash of Mahinda Rajapaksa had fallen apart the day Maithripala Sirisena was elected the President. Pathirana made these comments when asked about the current political situation in the country. Govt had made several changes in the budget paying attention to the concerns of the people. more..

SF likely to be questioned

Dec 27 (SL) Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka is likely to be questioned by the CID in the probe into the assassination of the founding editor of The Sunday Leader, Lasantha Wickrematunge. The CID is in the process of getting military intelligence member, Kandegedara Piyawansa back for interrogation in relation to Wickrematunge’s murder. Piyawansa was taken into custody following Wickrematunge’s murder on Jan 8, 2009 for allegedly purchasing mobile SIM cards on a stolen ID card. more..

Minister’s signature forged in massive housing racket

Dec 27 (ST) A mini-kachcheri racket where flats from state constructed housing projects were offered for sale on Housing Ministry documents carrying the forged signature of Minister Sajith Premadasa has been busted by CFB. At least 68 complaints have been made to the Bureau by families who fell for this racket because they wished to have better living standards than the slums. Some of them made advance payments of more..

Govt shopping for ideas on how to utilise Mattala profitably

Dec 27 (ST) Director General of Civil Aviation H.M.C. Nimalsiri, said said last week, government was looking abroad for ideas on how best use could be made of the Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport (MRIA). “We are going to call for expressions of interest to find to what kind of proposals people have in mind and see how it (Mattala) can be made use of,” he said. He added, at present, there were only limited ideas as to how the facility could be profitably used. more..

Decision on plantation companies only after January reports, says top official

Dec 27 (ST) A solution to the crisis besetting Sri Lanka’s plantations sector could come only after the three committees which are studying the problems in detail submit their reports, Plantation Ministry Secretary Upali Marasinghe said. He said there was no easy way to solve the problem of the ailing plantations sector but the Government was determined to revive the industry instead of taking over the management from Regional Plantations Companies (RPCs). more..

Grameen style microfinance NGOs for small businesses

Dec 27 (ST) NGOs will be allowed to start microfinance businesses under provisions of a Microfinance Bill to be introduced in Parliament. NGOs registered under the Voluntary Social Service Organisations (Registration and Supervision) Act will be eligible to apply for a certificate of registration as microfinance NGOs. Microfinance Bill provides for licensing, regulation & supervision of companies carrying on microfinance business; more..

Ranil on a private visit to Ireland

Dec 27 (ST) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe is currently spending a holiday in Ireland where Sri Lanka has no diplomatic representation at present. Though the SL High Commissioner to the UK is concurrently accredited to the Irish republic, the last high commissioner who presented credentials in Dublin was Kshenuka Senewiratne, nearly 10 years ago. Since then there has been no accredited high commissioner. PM who is on a private visit is expected to return to Colombo by new year more..

Kataragama devotees’ safety assured

Dec 27 (CT) Approximately 200 policemen have been deployed for the protection and safety of devotees flocking at Kataragama during the long holiday season. Many of the 200 Policemen will be clad in mufti. In addition to this, the Kataragama Police will also be out in force to ensure the safety of the devotees. Thieves had recently got away with Rs. 60,000 stolen from devotees. Meanwhile, an increased demand for accommodation, meals and other essentials in the immediate vicinity more..

UNP, SLFP distance themselves from Hirunika

Dec 27 (ST) The two main ruling parties yesterday disowned MP Hirunika Premachandra, at the center of an alleged abduction scandal. “She is not a member of the UNP,” their General Secretary Kabir Hasheem said. He claimed she was from the UNFGG and their joint committee would have to discuss the matter. However Ms. Premachandra contested on the UNP ticket and came 10th among 11th members elected more..

Liberal Party elects Dr. Newton Peiris as its new leader

Dec 27 (Island) Liberal Party, which held its annual congress on December 13 at its party headquarters in Colombo, elected Dr. Newton Peiris as its new leader. Dr. Peiris formally joined the party in 2000 and had served as vice president and later as national organizer. He had his early education at St Anne’s College, Kurunegala and read his first degree at Listopadu University, Prague in former Czechoslovakia. He then completed his MA and earned a PhD from Charles Uni, Prague. more..

From JR to MR in latest Mahawansa

Dec 27 (DM) The latest addition to the Mahawansa, the great chronicle, relating to modern history of Sri Lanka from 1978 to 2010 will go into printing, the progress report of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Wayamba Development and Cultural Affairs which was presented to Parliament recently had revealed. It will contain information with regard to the periods of Late President J.R. Jayawardene, R Premadasa, and former Presidents Chandrika Kumaratunga and Mahinda Rajapaksa. more..

Memories of mayhem

Dec 27 (CT) The Disaster Management Centre (DMC) urged all Sri Lankans to observe a two-minute silence from 9:25 a.m. to 9:27 a.m. yesterday, to commemorate the victims of the Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004. The massive earthquake off the west coast of Indonesia on 26 December 2004, registered a magnitude of nine on the Richter scale. Effect of the earthquake made huge tidal waves that destroyed coastal belt more..

President to launch development programs

Dec 27 (SO) Commemorating his first year in office, which falls on Jan 8, President Sirisena will launch several national development programs at the Presidential Secretariat. President will attend religious observances at the Kalutara Bodhi on the 8th morning. A special program will also be held at the BMICH where a journal will be launched. The keynote address will be delivered by a foreign dignitary. On the following day, President will attend Parliament which will function as a more..