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Rat fever on the rise: Epidemiology Unit

Dec 30 (GDI) The Epidemiology Unit warns the public, especially the farmers to be vigilant about rat fever (leptospirosis). According to the Epidemiology Unit, rat fever is on the rise in many areas especially in districts such as Anuradhapura and Kurunegala due to unusually heavy rainy condition prevailing in the country. So far this year 40 deaths had been reported due to rat fever. Vulnerable people such as farmers, more..

HIV treatment still eludes many in Sri Lanka

Dec 30 (SL) An estimated 59 persons have been identified with HIV in Sri Lanka during the first quarter of this year, while 9 persons have lost their lives to AIDS during the first quarter of this year. While the cumulative HIV cases at the beginning of the quarter stood at 2,074 according to the national STD/AIDS control programme statistics, around 40% of all HIV infections happen among people under the age of 25. more..

Sri Lanka seeks public support in constitutional reforms

Dec 30 (EN) Sri Lanka’s govt aims to draft a new constitution with wide public participation within existing parliamentary procedures and appeals to interest groups to put forward proposals, a spokesman said. “The procedure laid down by the present constitution will be followed in drafting the new constitution,” said Jayampathy Wickramaratne, an expert in constitutional law and PM nominated by the ruling coalition. more..

CMC to file criminal charges against the organisers

Dec 30 (ST) The CMC is to file criminal charges against the organisers of the concert, after they went ahead with the concert ignoring the ban imposed by the council. CMC treasurer K.D. Chitrapala said that he had issued a directive to the council’s legal team to prepare the charge sheet of all the violations the organisers had committed including criminal charges of defrauding tax revenue due to the state. more..

All police stations linked online to fight crime

Dec 30 (Island) Police yesterday introduced Automated Fingerprints Identification System (AFIS) linking online all 438 police stations across the country. Minister Sagala Ratnayake launched the online project at Fingerprint Department. Ministry’s secretary Jagath Wijeweera and IGP N. K. Illangakoon also took part in the event. New system would help retrieve suspect’s history in a few minutes from any police station. more..

Lankan envoy clears up misunderstandings

Dec 30 (AN) In a statement to clear any misunderstanding that the Sri Lankan mission in the Kingdom was not involved in seeking clemency for the Sri Lankan maid, who was recently spared from being sentenced to death for adultery, Azmi Thassim, SL Ambassador to the Kingdom, said that the Lankan embassy in Riyadh played a major role in the appeal. “I’m very sorry if someone is not appreciating Sri Lankan mission in Riyadh more..

Cabinet overrides SC ruling’: Grade One class size increased from 35 to 40

Dec 30 (Island) The Education Ministry issued a circular increasing the number of students in Grade One classes from 35 to 40. The circular had been issued by Secretary to the Ministry W.M. Bandusena according to a cabinet decision. The Cabinet had decided that minimum number of students in a Grade 01 class be increased up to 40 only for 2016. Education Secretary issued the circular in relation to that cabinet decision. more..

Govt will disregard mandatory steps laid down to make new Constitution: Joint Opp.

Dec 30 (Island) The Joint Opposition urged the govt to adhere to the specific constitutional provisions in amending the Constitution. Former Minister G.L. Peiris said that though the Constitution had to be amended from time to time as circumstances required, it should be done in accordance with the law. He was answering our questions on behalf of the Joint Opposition. He pointed out that the Constitution prescribed more..

Video: Kolonnawa UC Chairman remanded over assault charges

Dec 30 (DM) Colombo Additional Magistrate today criticised the Wellampitiya Police and remanded the Kolonnawa UC Chairman till Jan 4 on charges of assaulting the participants of a peaceful picket against the garbage dumping in Kolonnawa by the Colombo Municipality. Counsel Gunaratna Wanninayake appearing with a team of lawyers for the aggrieved party said the residents had protested over the dumping of garbage more..

Govt urged to stop persecuting military to appease West

Dec 30 (Island) UPFA MP Jayantha Samaraweera (NFF) warned the govt of dire consequences unless it immediately stopped persecuting military officers on trumped-up charges. He was addressing the media in the wake of a group of monks performing Satyakriya to pressure the govt to release five military officers and men arrested in connection with their alleged involvement in the disappearance of media personality Prageeth Ekneligoda on the eve of 2010 presidential polls. more..

Supply of substandard dialysis machines for NCP kidney patients revealed

Dec 30 (Island) A massive state-funded project implemented in the North Central Province (NCP) for the benefit of Chronic kidney disease patients has failed due to the supply of substandard dialysis machines during the previous administration. NCP consists of the Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa districts. Investigations undertaken by the PRECIFAC had implicated ministers of the then UPFA-run North Central Provincial Council and public officials in an alleged racket to more..

Wickramabahu Karunaratne

Govt to develop 116 lagoons

Dec 30 (Island) Fisheries Minister Mahinda Amaraweera recently said developing the 116 lagoons around the country would be a tremendous boost to the tourism industry and the fishing community. After declaring the Lagoon Management Unit of the Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development Ministry, he said, "If the lagoons are developed a large number of anglers could be attracted from all parts of the world where they use modern technology in fishing. more..

BASL decries attacks on peaceful protests

Dec 30 (Island) Bar Association of SL has called upon President and PM to take immediate action to prevent politicians from attacking peaceful protests. "Any attempt to use mob violence and thuggery on peaceful protesters is a serious affront to the rule of law and will be contrary to the principles of good governance," the BASL says in a statement issued to media. The statement titled, Attack on protesters at Meethotamulla garbage dump and signed by BASL Secretary Ajith Pathirana says: more..

Video: Entire House to be a select committee

Dec 30 (DM) Parliament will be converted to a Select Committee which will be responsible for drafting the new constitution, Constitutional Committee Adviser and MP Jayampathy Wickramaratne said. He said that this committee would not be similar to an ordinary select committee made up of a certain number of MPs conducting closed door sessions but it would be one in which all MPs will be included. more..

Editorial: What a relief!

Dec 30 (Island) NASA confirmed last September that there was evidence of water flowing on Mars. Many a Sri Lankan, troubled by hefty water bills, must be wondering whether aqua pura they buy from the National Water Supply and Drainage Board (NWSDB) is brought all the way from the Red Planet. Else, how come it is so expensive? As if the unbearable burden the NWSDB has placed on the public were not enough its workers recently threatened to cut off the water supply unless more..

Preventing Magapolis being a mega blunder

Dec 30 (CT) With the Western Region Megapolis Development project one important economic factor is going to be changed. That factor will be the land use regulations. Poor land use in the world’s greatest cities carries a huge cost. This is true and this quote is the subtitle of an enlightening article which is titled Space and the City published in The Economist magazine in April. Will our own Western Region Megapolis do the same mistake? I hope we can avoid it now but not in the future. more..

Video: 'Action against Hirunika if guilty'

Dec 30 (DM) Disciplinary action will be taken against UNP MP Hirunika Premachandra if she is found guilty of being involved in the recent abduction drama, a senior minister said today. Minister Kabir Hashim told a media briefing that the police have been given a free hand to investigate the matter. “None of the govt ministers had influenced nor will influence the police to stop any investigation in to the matter," he said. more..

Serial killer faces psychiatric assessment

Dec 30 (CT) Sri Lanka's first serial killer, Neil Lakshman, who is currently in jail for the murder of seven women in Kotakethana, Kahawatte will be presented to a specialist psychologist for a diagnostic test as per the order of Pelmadulla Magistrate, Dinesh Perera, yesterday. He also remanded the suspect till 16 January 2016. CID presented a report to Court yesterday with further DNA tests linking the suspect with the murdered women. The officers also informed that more..

Namal Rajapaksa arrives at CCD

Dec 30 (AM) UPFA MP Namal Rajapaksa arrived at the Colombo Crimes Division a short while ago to give a statement regarding an incident of impersonator phone calls. ASP Ruwan Gunasekara said that the incident had occurred several years ago. A person pretending to be Namal Rajapaksa had called the then SL Air Force Commander and requested him to authorize the transfer of an Air Force officer. It was later revealed that a former Chairman of Ampara Urban Council was more..

Video: Joint opp. warns of Constitutional coup

Dec 30 (DM) Joint Opposition today charged that there was a Constitutional Coup backed by the western countries and that’s what had made the govt to introduce a new Constitution. PHU General Secretary and MP Udaya Gammanpila said this Constitutional Coup would weaken the power of the Central Govt by devolving power to local councils on the periphery. “By decentralizing power, countries eyeing SL for more..

SLFP not informed of any member joining a new party

Dec 30 (CG) SLFP says it has not been formally informed of any member joining a new party. SLFP General Secretary Duminda Dissanayake said that while there have been reports in the media stating that some SLFP opposition members are to form a new party, such a decision has not been formally communicated to the SLFP. “We cannot act on what we see in the media. If they formally inform us then we will be able to announce our stand on them,” he said. Dissanayake said that more..

Tamils against Kalmunai Urban Development Project

Dec 30 (CT) Tamil people living in Kalmunai staged a massive demonstration on Monday opposing the new Urban Development Project in Kalmunai in Ampara District. Deputy Chairman of Parliamentary Committee, TNA MP and TELO Leader Selvam Adaikalanathan, TELO Secretary Henry Mahendiran, TNA MP K. Kodeeswaran, other politicians and thousands of people gathered at the protest. "We strongly oppose the Kalmunai Urban Development Project which is being more..

Dy Minister Perera outlines new constitution making process

Dec 30 (Island) A proposal to establish a 21 member-Constituent Assembly (CA) to draft the country’s third Republican Constitution would be presented to Parliament on Jan 9, Deputy Minister Ajith Perera said. He said Parliament would not be converted into a CA and 21 members upon the approval of the MPs would be appointed to CA to draft the new constitution. "On Jan 9, it will be presented to Parliament to get its approval for more..

Disgruntled Enrique concert goer sends Rs.22m letter of demand to Live Events

Dec 30 (FT) A lawyer and his wife have sent a letter of demand to Live Events demanding Rs.22 million for loss, damage and mental stress experienced during the Enrique Iglesias concert held recently. The Letter of Demand, which was released to the public, details harassment and mistreatment endured by the couple when they bought two Rs.35,000 tickets and had to stand outside for over two hours before being admitted to the ground. They complained the event was badly organised, more..

Colombo’s military build-up: A strategy of deterrence

Dec 30 (TD) Contrary to expectations that with the end of the civil war, Sri Lanka would reduce its spending on defense, Colombo has in fact increased its defense expenditure. Defense spending in 2009, the year the civil war ended with the comprehensive defeat of the Tamil Tigers, was Rs 175 billion. By 2011, this had risen to Rs 194 billion, and in 2013 it was Rs 235 billion. In late 2015, Colombo was looking to procure 18 to 24 new fighter aircraft to replace its obsolete fleet of MIG-21s by 2017. more..

End of the road for high speed internet in Sri Lanka?

Dec 30 (DM) In a bizarre turn of events, the newly appointed Director General of the TRC, Sunil S. Sirisena has decided to discontinue the National Broadband Initiative (NBI), which ensured high speed broadband internet access to citizens at affordable prices. It is also learnt that the man who spearheaded the NBI for three years, Sanath Siriwardena, has been shown the door from the TRC, effective from Dec 31, 2015, more..

Mutual recognition agreement on anvil to boost Sri Lankan exports to India

Dec 30 (ENS) India and Sri Lanka will be discussing early next year, a Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA) on Standards to boost Lanka’s exports to India. Lanka’s exports to India have so far not realized their potential because India does not recognize the standards certificates issued by Lankan authorities. Ministry’s statement said that at last week’s meeting of the Indian and Lankan Commerce Secretaries at New Delhi, the Indian side agreed to discuss the question of more..

Govt insists ties with China still strong

Dec 30 (CG) Govt insisted that Sri Lanka’s relationship with China still remains strong and an upcoming visit to Sri Lanka by a Chinese Govt delegation will help further boost the relationship. Ministry of National Policy and Economic Affairs said that a Chinese delegation led by Yang Weiqun, director of the department of Asian affairs at the Chinese Commerce Ministry, will be in Sri Lanka on Jan 6. The delegation will hold talks with Deputy Minister Niroshan Perera, among others, more..

Pakistan pushes for JF-17 sale to Sri Lanka

Dec 30 (IHS) Following the first export deal for its JF-17 multirole fighter to Myanmar, Pakistan is expected to be pushing hard for a follow-up agreement with Sri Lanka that would mark an important step in further extending its defence co-operation footprint in the Indian Ocean region. With Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif scheduled to visit Sri Lanka in the first week of January 2016, efforts to secure an agreement in principle more..

President Sirisena says he is fully satisfied with the job done

Dec 30 (Island) President Maithripala Sirisena on Sunday said that he was fully satisfied with what he was able to achieve during his first year in the office of President. "The first year of my presidency will be completed within a couple more days on Jan 8, 2016. Some asks me whether I am pleased with what I did and said during that year. Without hesitation and clearly I can respond that I am a happy and a satisfied man with what we achieved during that year," President said, more..

Add Def Sec recalls crucial role played by Rear Admiral Weerasekera

Dec 30 (Island) Additional Secretary to the Defence Ministry S.H. Hettiarachchi recalled the pivotal role played by Rear Admiral Sarath Weerasekera, the first Director General of the Civil Defence Force and former Navy Chief of Staff, in transforming the Civil Defence Force into a potent auxiliary unit that helped the security forces to win the war against the LTTE. Hettiarachchi who was the chief guest at a ceremony to present deeds to houses donated to Civil Defence Force personnel and more..

Central Bank tightens monetary policy

Dec 30 (LBO) Central Bank tightened monetary policy on Wednesday citing concerns over expansion in monetary aggregates fueling inflation. Monetary Board raised the Statutory Reserve Ratio (SRR) applicable to all rupee deposit liabilities of commercial banks by 1.50 percentage pointsto 7.5% effective from 16 Jan. Standing Deposit Facility Rate (SDFR) and Standing Lending Facility Rate (SLFR) was left unchanged at more..

Preview: New Zealand v Sri Lanka, 3rd ODI

Dec 30 (CI) After Monday's Hagley Oval drubbing, Sri Lanka's interim coach called the match humiliating for his team. Of the many blows suffered by Sri Lanka so far in the ODI series, the fact that such a substantially depleted NZ side has still thrashed them, might be the most troubling. Tim Southee may return to the XI for this match, but Trent Boult remains unavailable. Kane Williamson and Adam Milne had also been left nursing injuries. McCullum, however, is unlikely to play more..

Cabinet reshuffle on Jan 4: Hashim and Marapana to get key ministries

Dec 30 (AM) A Cabinet reshuffle is likely to take place on Jan 4, govt sources confirmed. Under the new reshuffle, two prominent ministries will be given to Minister Kabir Hashim and former Law and Order Minister Thilak Marapana, they further added. Hashim, who is currently the State Enterprise Development Minister, is the front-runner to be new Finance Minister. Meanwhile, at least four MPs of UPFA who supported former President Rajapaksa are expected to join govt on Jan 4. more..

Video: CMC blacklists Enrique’s concert organisers

Dec 30 (DM) The Colombo Municipality today blacklisted the Company, Live Events which organised the Enrique Iglesias concert at the CR&FC Grounds. The main stakeholders of the company are former cricketing stars Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardane. The Municipality said it would not allow the company to organise any other events in Colombo in the future. more..

Moving towards Megapolis in Sri Lanka

Dec 31 (CT) From Independence to now, the greatest proposal that is coming about after Mahaweli Development is the Megapolis Project. Half a century intervening between the two is a tragic commentary on the nation’s political order. Still worse has been the unwholesome management of the economy. Reversing the past and setting foot anew on fresh territory is what the proposal is about. In the geographical space it will spread across, about the time it takes to approach more..

Judge Hirunika Premachandra

Dec 31 (CT) Unleashing extra-judicial acts by representatives of the people is nothing new to Sri Lanka. It has flourished for decades courtesy of our law-abiding legislators. Whoever gave the tagline country like no other to Sri Lanka must be endlessly sugar fed, congratulated and rewarded for his or her deep understanding of the SL nation, its polity and culture. More I see this signature more hilarity it induces in me. This in no way is an attempt to discount SL’s true and natural beauty. more..

'Technopolis: Building Silicon Valley of SL'

Dec 31 (CT) First time National List MP and Head of the Strategic Political Bureau of the UNP, Professor Ashu Marasinghe is driving technological innovation within the UNP as well as the govt. He said that to move towards a digital manufacturing economy, the people need to first open their minds to the concept of electrical design engineering Made in Sri Lanka. Q: This is your first time in Parliament. How has your political journey been, more..

Estranged case of Hirunika Premachandra

Dec 31 (DN) As the govt headed by President Sirisena and PM Wickremesinghe heads towards its first anniversary next week, it seems to attract one controversy after another, making the task of governing difficult for the powers that be. Hot on the heels of the hullabaloo over the budget which went through a series of unprecedented amendments that was embarrassing for the govt and for Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake in particular, last week saw an incident involving more..