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Protesters demand to stop stoning of Sri Lankan maid in Saudi Arabia

Dec 5 (UCAN) Protesters in Colombo are demanding the release of a SL domestic helper in Saudi Arabia sentenced to death by stoning for adultery. Father Paris Jayamaha, director of Caritas Anuradhapura, also has condemned the conviction. Activists urged Saudi authorities to pardon the 45-year-old, a mother of three working in Riyadh since 2013. They protested outside UN head office and Saudi embassy in Colombo more..

Nominations for SLC elections close: 14 objections raised

Dec 5 (DN) Nominations for next month's SLC elections closed yesterday at 3 pm with all the key contestants in the fray. Director-General of Sports K.D.S. Ruwanchandra who accepted the nominations said that he had received 14 objections. "I will scrutinize all the objections received and call the candidates against whom objections have been raised on Dec 10 and let them know the result," he said. Jayantha Dharmadasa and Shammi Silva are contesting for two posts each. more..

The culture of duty free privilege

Dec 5 (Island) Although the Budget did not make any threats to the duty free vehicle permits for Members of Parliament, these are some of the responses in a survey done with them by the Public Service Transport Study Centre. Do you think a duty free vehicle permit is an MPs entitlement? MP for Apey Pravahana: Of course it is an entitlement. Not only a duty free permit, but the full cost of the vehicle, too…I think it is part of Parliamentary Privilege. more..

Maithri mantra

Dec 5 (FT) Assuring the nation that national security was still his first priority while efforts were being made to advance reconciliation and harmony between all communities, President Maithripala Sirisena joined the Committee Stage debate of Ministry of Defence. President, who holds Defence portfolio, condemned the use of extremist rhetoric, saying it was being perpetuated by a few who were no longer powerful politically. more..

Budget will empower the masses: Faiszer

Dec 5 (FT) First of all I would like to thank this council for giving me the chance for the Budget debate. I see this Budget as a result of the victory gained by the President Maithripala Sirisena on 8 January. Some people complain to us that the Govt has not done a thing within the last 10 months. But I would like to say that many economic, social, and constitutional changes have been taken place under the governance of Maithripala Sirisena. We have won the war. more..

Eran’s take on Budget 2016

Dec 5 (FT) Speaking in Parliament while expressing his views on the novel Budget proposal slated for 2016, Deputy Minister Eran Wickramaratne said that despite the Government’s decision to withdraw vehicle permits, the incumbent Government would ensure that the people of the country were able to afford the purchase of a vehicle through a stable economy which is already under construction by the Govt of President Maithripala Sirisena and PM Ranil Wickremesinghe. more..

Nalaka Godahewa to be arrested; SEC Deputy DG arrested

Dec 5 (DN) FCID is to arrest Nalaka Godahewa, former Chairman of the SEC under charges pertaining to financial irregularities, Police sources said. They also added that Police could not locate the former SEC Chairman's whereabouts to arrest him yesterday. Former President Rajapaksa appointed Godahewa as SEC chairman in mid 2012. He also served as the Chairman of SLTB & Managing Director of SL Insurance. more..

Vans with special CCTV camera to nab errant drivers

Dec 5 (DN) The Traffic Police Headquarters will deploy several vans with a special CCTV camera system around Colombo city to nab drivers violating road rules. Traffic DIG G.D.A.K. Senaratne said discussions are underway to deploy vans with CCTV cameras in the Colombo city to take immediate legal action against drivers violating the traffic line rule. Around 3,000 drivers violate the traffic line rule daily. Cases have been filed against a large number of errant drivers, he added. more..

'Speedy justice at low cost, people’s need'

Dec 5 (PSL) President Sirisena says attention should be paid on ensuring speedy justice to the people who seek the assistance of the judiciary. He added that we have also to consider the cost incurred to those who seek legal redress. He made these remarks at the launching ceremony of the book Yali Mevena Aparadayak (A Crime Re-created) written by the Additional Solicitor General Sarath Jayamanne, President’s Counsel. Launching ceremony was held at the BMICH. more..

'NGOs, politicians behind the indictment'

Dec 5 (DN) Several NGOs and politicians were behind the indictment brought against SC Judge Sarath de Abrew, President's Counsel told Court. Manohara de Silva, PC appearing for the petitioner made this remark sequent to a Fundamental Rights petition filed by Justice Abrew who sought an interim order to stay any proceedings in the High Court of Colombo against him until a further order is made by the Supreme Court. more..

'Sycophants dragged MR down to defeat'

Dec 5 (CT) Former President Rajapaksa lost Presidential election because of the people around him, Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said. He said UPFA would not repeat that mistake at the coming Local govt elections. "We hear people saying that the SLFP will come in fourth in Local Govt Elections but we do not hear them bashing the UNP. This means they have signed contracts with the UNP." The group trying to destroy the SLFP failed on many occasion because SLFP is a strong party more..

US training for Sri Lankan forces: President

Dec 5 (DN) President Maithripala Sirisena yesterday, stated that USA had expressed willingness to offer military training to members of the Sri Lanka's Security Forces. He added that this opportunity could be gained following discussions with American President Barack Obama, US Secretary General and the US Ambassador to Sri Lanka. President Sirisena made these observations, joining the committee stage debate of the budget under Defence Ministry financial head. more..

'Classified military documents leaked'

Dec 5 (CT) Classified reports of a top security establishment were being leaked to various individuals, even before the Minister of Defence received them, JVP MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake, alleged in Parliament. MP made these allegations while taking part in the debate on the head of expenditure of Ministry of Defence. He alleged that security institutions in the country were heavily politicized, which had posed a serious threat more..

Kidney racket busted in India, two arrested

Dec 5 (IE) Two people have been arrested and five victims identified in connection with a suspected international kidney racket at Akola. Of the five victims, kidneys of at least two were removed in Sri Lanka while those of the others were removed in India, police said. All the five victims are daily-wage earners. The suspected racket came to light when one Santosh Gawli lodged a police complaint, alleging his kidney was removed in Sri Lanka and Devendra Shirsat, one of those arrested, more..

Heated argument over sharia law in Parliament

Dec 5 (DM) TNA MP M.A. Sumanthiran was verbally confronted by Muslim MPs in Parliament creating chaos when he asked whether stoning a person to death had been recommended by Islam's Shariya Law. He said this when referring to the stoning to death of a SL woman in Saudi Arabia. Muslim MPs shouted at Mr Sumanthiran saying he has no right to talk about Shariya Law. The vociferous cross talk was led by UNP MP S.M. Marikar, Minister Rishard Bathiudeen and several others. more..

CBK says an MP approached her to defend Avant Garde

Dec 5 (DN) Former President Chandrika Kumaratunga said she was approached by an MP to defend Avant Garde Company. "MP said he manged to convince all others and it was only me who was remaining. I promptly rejected it," she said. Referring to former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa contacting several ministers when the Avant Garde issue was taken up before Cabinet briefing, Kumaratunga said he had more..

Right to Information Bill: Culture of openness

Dec 5 (DM) After delays and dilly-dallying for more than 13 years, the Cabinet this week approved a draft Right to Information Bill and put it for public dialogue and debate before it is presented in Parliament. In the South Asian region, Sri Lanka was the first to present a bill in 2002 to ensure the people’s fundamental right to information and to prevent ruling politicians or officials from covering up issues relating to multi-million dollar deals. Often on the basis of national security or more..

Sex trade is an inevitable social fact

Dec 5 (DM) A proponent of the legalized sex trade argued, “You will find incidents of raping reduced by an alarming rate, if the way is cleared." A meretrix is a licensed/registered professional sex worker who is under periodical examination by health authorities. A Sri Lankan maid faces being stoned to death in Saudi Arabia after admitting adultery. Her partner, also a Sri Lankan, was given a lenient sentence of 100 lashes on account of being a bachelor; to punish only the woman is a violation of more..

Mercury Rising

Dec 5 (DM) COP21, or the UN Climate Change Conference, just started in Paris on November 30 and will continue till Dec 11. It is the 21st session of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the 1992 UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and hence the acronym. More than 150 heads of states and heads of govts attended the leaders event on the inaugural day making the conference create history as the UN summit more..

Bandula slams attempt to silence opposition

Dec 5 (CG) Joint opposition member Bandula Gunawardena accused Parliament of attempting to silence the voice of the opposition. Speaking during the 2016 budget debate he said that the opposition should be given a fair chance to express their views on issues. Gunawardena had requested for extra time to make a speech on the budget allocation for Education Ministry but Deputy Speaker turned down the request. more..

Video: 'President misled by Ravi's 6% claim'

Dec 5 (DM) UPFA MP Dullas Alahapperuma said Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake had even misled President Maithripala Sirisena by making false claims about the 2016 Budget allocations. He said the President had in a speech at a school recently said that the govt had allocated 6% of GDP for education based on the Finance Minister’s claims. “The truth is the govt has not allocated 6% of GDP for education. more..

Singapore experts fine-tune Western Region Megapolis Project

Dec 5 (ST) Govt’s ambitious Western Region Megapolis Project (WRMPP) – partly to attract foreign investors in large scale development projects – is now being fine-tuned by a team of Singapore experts of Surbana International. These investment areas are transport, infrastructure, industry, housing, education, and recreation fields. The WRMPP is four or five times greater than the cost of the Mahaweli programme. more..

IUSF condemns school uniform material voucher distribution decision

Dec 5 (DN) The IUSF while strongly opposing the govt decision to distribute vouchers in place of school uniform material, stated that the govt had taken this decision while not heeding the concerns of a majority of teachers and students including the IUSF and the Ceylon Teachers' Union (CTU). IUSF convener Lahiru Weerasekara said a number of problems have arisen due to the distribution of vouchers. more..

Docs on stand by for TU action despite President’s promise to intervene

Dec 5 (Island) GMOA has received an assurance from President Sirisena to arrange a meeting between its representatives and the Finance Minister to redress their grievances regarding the 2016 budget proposals before Dec. 19, when the final vote will be taken in Parliament. GMOA Spokesman Dr. Navin de Soysa, said the GMOA Executive Committee, had met President Sirisena and Health Minister, Dr. Rajitha Senaratne more..

Controversial Beragala golf resort project recommences?

Dec 5 (SL) The Central Environmental Authority (CEA) has refused to grant approval to the Beragala Golf Resort Project which is alleged to violate most of the laws of the National Environmental Act, residents of the area and environmentalists are continuing to express concerns over the environmental issues that exist as a result of the project. Biggest concern is the alleged construction work carried out as part of more..

'State largesse has to be curbed to save country from bankruptcy'

Dec 5 (Island) Minister Ravi Karunanayake alleged that those who were opposed to PM Ranil Wickremesinghe’s proposal to issue a duty free vehicle permit to each executive grade public servant once in 10 years had received several such permits. He said hitherto some had received as many as six vehicle permits. Previous govt worsened an already bad situation by sharply enlarging the number of recipients more..

Special mechanism to verify Finance Ministry data: PM

Dec 5 (Island) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe revealed plans to establish what he called an independent budget office in parliament to verify information provided by the Finance Ministry. He said that the parliament had the authority over state finance though the Treasury implemented projects. UNP leader stressed the importance of parliament having its own budget office. He was addressing the third session of the youth parliament more..

MR and Ranil hold closed-door meeting

Dec 5 (DM) Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa and PM Ranil Wickremasinghe held a one-on-one meeting in the Prime Minister's office in the Parliamentary complex yesterday. The closed-door meeting took place during the lunch break of yesterday's parliamentary debate. Mr. Rajapaksa spoke in Parliament immediately after the lunch break, and Mr. Wickremesinghe spoke later in the evening. more..

Doctors and the Hippocratic Oath

Dec 5 (CT) Govt doctors who resorted to trade union action by launching a token strike seem to have forgotten the Hippocratic Oath they took when they joined the medical profession. Even though the strike lasted less than 24 hours, many patients were faced with severe inconvenience when they visited hospitals to get treatment. They were surprised to see doctors holding posters in front of hospitals. Most of them did not even do that, but chose to stay home, take a day off at the cost of patients. more..

Will justice prevail for murdered Wasim Thajudeen

Dec 5 (CT) Wasim Thajudeen died or was murdered on the 17th of May 2012. He played rugby for St. Thomas College, Mount Lavinia, Havelocks and SL National Rugby team. He was a brilliant rugger-rite- and a much loved human being. Wasim’s death is surrounded in mystery with rumours that members of the security division of a certain VVIP killed Wasim. There are also unverified reports claiming that the police investigations into Wasim’s death had been shelved due to political wheeler dealing. more..

Wasantha Samarasinghe

U-19 Tri-Nation Cricket Tournament 2015

Dec 5 (GDI) The Under 19 Tri-Nation Tournament was officially launched at a media conference held at Jaic Hilton hotel on Fridayevening. Tri Nation Tournament featuring the Under-19s teams of Sri Lanka, India and England will commence on 11th December with the final match scheduled for 21st of Dec. Sri Lanka U19 Squad – C Charith Asalanka (captain), Sammu Ashan (vice-captain), Malinga Amarasinghe, Kavin Bandara, Vishad Randika (wk), Wanidu Hasaranga, Asitha Fernando, more..

Udara fifty adds to his hopes of Test debut

Dec 5 (CI) Sri Lankans' bowlers let the NZC President's XI's eighth-wicket partnership plunder 124 runs, but batted marginally better than in the first innings to secure a draw in the three-day warm up game in Queenstown. The hosts took a 206-run lead before declaring and the Sri Lankans then moved to 226 for 6 by stumps. A 153-ball 63 from opener Udara Jayasundera led the Sri Lankans' innings, and heightened his chances of a debut in the first Test against NZ next Thursday. more..

Forex reserves rise to US$ 7.29bn November after bond sale

Dec 5 (EN) Sri Lanka's forex reserves increased by US$ 814 million to US$ 7,295 million by end Nov 2015 from a month earlier, after a US$ 1.5 billion bond sale. Data showed that the Central Bank had taken in little over a billion US dollars from the bond sale into its reserves by effectively sterilizing the liquidity from the bond proceeds with a domestic asset sell-down on Nov 11. However in the two subsequent weeks more..

SC: Petition against increase in toddy taverns fixed for support on Dec. 15

Dec 5 (Island) Supreme Court fixed for support on Dec. 15, 2015 the fundamental rights violation petition filed by religious dignitaries against the extension of the area allocated for toddy taverns in the Colombo District. The senior counsel for the petitioners, Rienzie Arsecularatne. PC said that the District Secretary, Colombo had no authority, under the Excise Ordinance to extend the areas allocated for toddy taverns. It had to be done by the Minister in charge. more..

Japan introduces LIDAR technology to SL

Dec 5 (Island) Deputy Surveyor General D.N.D. Hettiarachchi said the introduction of LIDAR technology to Sri Lanka by the Japanese govt was a milestone in the history of Survey Department and the advance technology would immensely help the institutions such as well such as Road Development Authority, Irrigation Department, Airport and Aviation Services and the Disaster Management Centre. Hettiarachchi said the new technology would also help save a great deal of time and energy. more..

The forgotten great

Dec 5 (CI) Tillakaratne Dilshan was recently picked in the ICC ODI team of the year. I wondered what he had done to make this elite team. A quick check on Statsguru gives the answer: only Kane Williamson has scored more runs during the concerned period, and Dilshan turned 39 this October. If you ask a random SL cricket fan to pick the greatest batsmen SL have produced, chances are Dilshan wouldn't even enter discussion. more..

Video: SYU in solidarity with Palestine campaign

Dec 5 (LT) Socialist Youth Union (SYU) carried out solidarity with Palestine campaign yesterday to sign a petition in Mosques in main towns in the island to mark the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People which was observed on 29th Nov. Signatures were collected to a banner with the theme Let Palestine live! and the main event held at Zahira Mosque at Maradana was attended by the National Organizer of SYU MP of the JVP Bimal Rathnayaka. more..

SL women not translating their educational gains into workforce advantages

Dec 5 (BI) Last two decades have seen a phenomenal rise in girls’ education and a concomitant decline or stagnation in labor market outcomes for women, especially in female labor force participation in central and southeastern Europe, East Asia, Southeast Asia, and South Asia. This paper focuses on Sri Lanka, a country with a long record of gender equality in education enrollment and high female completion rates, which has also been characterized by low and more..

SriLankan to bring back stranded pilgrims in Bodh Gaya

Dec 5 (DM) SriLankan Airlines and Mihin Lanka have arranged a special flight tomorrow to bring back a group of 120 pilgrims who were stranded in the Buddhist holy city of Bodh Gaya (Buddha Gaya) due to the floods in India, a spokesman for the SriLankan Airlines said The pilgrims had been scheduled to travel by road to Chennai and fly to Colombo, but flooding shut down the Chennai airport, leaving them stranded in Bodh Gaya. more..