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Laptop loans for 13,851 students

Dec 12 (DN) The Higher Education Ministry has issued letters to 13,851 students directing them to nominated banks as at the end of October, enabling them to initiate loans to obtain laptops, said the Ministry Progress Report for 2011. It stated that this loan scheme was launched in 2011 with the support of public and private banks to develop IT skills of students by supporting them to learn on their own. Students entering public universities in 2011 are eligible for more..

SLN recovers over 4 kilos of heroin, suspect in custody

Dec 12 (Island) Acting on a tip-off, the Navy yesterday recovered over four kilos of heroin and arrested a Sri Lankan suspect during an operation at Thalpadu in the Mannar District. It was the biggest single detection made since the conclusion of the conflict in May 2009. Responding to a query, an SLN official said that the naval troops had also recovered over INR 2,370 and nine mobile SIM cards-five Indian and four local. more..

PB-Nivard saga continues!

Dec 12 (FT) The apparent discord between Treasury Secretary Dr. P.B. Jayasundera and Central Bank Governor Nivard Cabraal took on a fresh twist on Friday when the former made some side remarks at a forum of Chartered Accountants, leadership to whom the latter gave once. The 3% devaluation of the rupee via a Budget 2012 move had seen some crosscurrents between Jayasundera and Cabraal. During his address as Guest of Honour at the Chartered Accountants’ annual awards for best annual reports on more..

A’ Level results out in two days if…

Dec 12 (Island) Arrangements had been made to release the results of the GCE A/L examination (2011) within two days once the University Grants Commission finalised the Z score mechanism, Examinations Commissioner Anura Edirisinghe said yesterday. He said that the UGC had requested the Department of Examinations to furnish details pertaining to the examination and they would be dispatched today. A special committee appointed by the UGC would analyse the data to more..

Sangakkara doubt for first Test after hand injury

Dec 12 (CI) Kumar Sangakkara is a doubt for the opening Test against South Africa after splitting the webbing on his right hand during the warm-up match against an Invitational XI in Benoni. His concerns added to Sri Lanka's problems as they ended the rain-hit three-day match in a more wounded state than when they began having also watched Nuwan Pradeep tear his right hamstring. Pradeep suffered his injury after bowling ten deliveries on the second day more..

Colombo night races to shut roads

Dec 12 (Island) Roads around the Police headquarters in Colombo will be closed for traffic from 6 pm to 6 am on Friday (16) and Saturday (17) for the scheduled night motor races. Repairs are being carried out on these roads in view of the night races. Police spokesman SP Ajith Rohana said that alternative routes to be used on these two days would be announced later. The Colombo Night Race is a concept mooted by Electric Peacock Festival and jointly organized by more..

Issues not addressed, allege fishermen

Dec 12 (NS) The country’s fishermen including the poorest one-day fishermen have ganged up alleging that the govt has turned a deaf ear to their grievances. These fishermen for once put aside their trawlers and stepped into a Colombo hotel to state their grievances to the media last week. They alleged that the 2012 budget had not properly addressed the issues of over two lakhs of fishermen and there was no framework to look after the fisher folk who braved the sea at the risk of more..

AG highlights need to curb loss of state revenue

Dec 12 (DM) A firm mechanism should be put in place to curb the loss of revenue to the state due to the continuous use of various tactics by some importers who commit ‘large scale tax frauds’ by presenting under-valued invoices when importing goods, the Auditor General said in his report. According to the report presented recently, illegal imports of goods, non-declaration and under declared items imported are on the rise. more..

Love triangle cause of three tragic deaths?

Dec 12 (Island) Eppawela Police believe a love triangle could be the cause of triple apparent suicides on Saturday at Kadigamuwa. They are conducting investigations to unravel the motive behind the three deaths by hanging. Bodies of two teenage girls and a man were found hanging from a tree in Kadigamuwa, on Saturday (10) morning. It was yet to be revealed if the individuals had committed suicide or they had been murdered, Police spokesman SP Ajith Rohana said. more..

Sri Lankan men sentenced for illegally importing alcohol in Reeko Moosa’s car

Dec 12 (MN) Three Sri Lankan nationals involved in the case concerning the discovery of hundreds of bottles of cheap alcohol in a car belonging to Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) Parliamentary Group leader ‘Reeko’ Moosa Manik, have been sentenced to one year in jail. The Criminal Court identified the three men as Isru Priyankara Disilva Nufehevage, Niroshan Don and Muhaidhee Mohamed. The four men were arrested in February last year, while loading 168 bottles of whiskey and more..

JVP presents 13-point plan for reconciliation

Dec 12 (Island) The JVP on Saturday said that those held for their alleged involvement with the LTTE should have been tried before Tamil speaking judges. Launching a special political campaign in the Northern Province, the JVP lambasted the UPFA govt for keeping LTTE suspects in the dark as to what was going on in courts. At a media briefing in Vavuniya on Saturday, the JVP presented a 13-point plan to deal with problems faced by people, particularly those more..

Construction of New Prison Complex in Jaffna begins

Dec 12 (SLBC) Construction of new Prison complex in Jaffna was started today under the patronage of Minister Chandrasiri Gajadheera. The 530 Million rupees Project will replace the old Jaffna prison and provides more facilities and space for inmates. The first community based correction centre in Jaffna was also opened by the Minister today. Speaking at the event the Minister said the Govt has focused attention to re-integrate inmates with society by more..

Ranil faction ready for contest to defend posts

Dec 12 (Island) The Ranil Wickremesinghe faction yesterday said that they were ready to contest to defend their posts if the Karu Jayasuriya faction wanted to compete for the top posts including the Party leadership. The final decision on the contest would be taken at the next Working Committee meeting of the party to be held on December 18, General Secretary of the Party, MP Tissa Attanayake said. Even though there were media reports that MP Karu Jayasuriya and more..

Domestic worker abuse and the need for protection

Dec 12 (SL) The woman seated across from me was looking down, her expression resigned and dejected. Her husband, seated next to her, was the one with enough strength to relate her story. They, like countless others before them, want their story heard, not only because they want whatever justice is available to them now, but also because they want to ensure the same fate does not befall others. more..

Relatives in quandary over missing men

Dec 12 (ST) Mystery surrounds the abduction of some nine people over the past two months, with anxious relatives waiting for them to return home and police saying that the hunt is on for those listed missing. According to eye witnesses to these abductions that took place in several parts of the country, both in the day time and at night, the victims were bundled into a white van and driven away by a group of armed persons. One of those abducted returned, seven remain unaccounted for, more..

Sangakkara says spin will play a role

Dec 12 (CI) In almost 30 years as a Test-playing nation Sri Lanka have gone from minnows to maestros and, in the last year, halfway back. They have begun a tough tour of South Africa by suffering injuries to key players in the lead-up to the first Test, which starts on December 15 in Centurion. Kumar Sangakkara, Sri Lanka's second-highest run-getter in Tests, is one of the players in doubt for the first Test after he split the webbing on more..

Long arm of the law catches up with UNP lawyer assailant, Samararatna

Dec 12 (LB) The editor of this newspaper Rajpal Abeynayake was assaulted at the annual Voetlights dinner of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka held last Saturday night. The annual function, named in the honour of 18th Century Dutch jurist Johannes Voet, is an occasion where lampoon vilification and prank are freely exchanged in celebration of the suspension of the contempt of court law on that particular night. more..

Coroners want arrears, increments, duty free vehicles

Dec 12 (DM) The Coroners’ Association of Sri Lanka charged that their allowances had not been paid since January this year while some had not received it since August last year. Coroners’ Association President S. K. Mapalagama claimed the delay was due to the Finance Ministry’s failure to disburse funds needed for the payment of allowances. This has been confirmed by a letter written to the Treasury by more..

40 vegetable lorries taken in to custody; Protests in some areas

Dec 12 (HN) 40 lorries which failed to adhere to the new regulation of using plastic crates, wooden crates or cardboard boxes for the transportation of fruits and vegetables have been arrested. The Ministry of Internal Trade and Cooperatives stated that 23 lorries had been arrested in Hanwella and 17 lorries had been arrested near the Kelaniya Bridge. The regulation on the mandatory use of plastics or wooden crates or cardboard boxes when transporting more..

Hi-tech equipment to detect speed limit offenders on expressway

Dec 12 (ST) A new method of detecting speeding vehicles travelling on the Southern Expressway will be adopted by the Traffic Police in the near future. New technology equipment named the TruCAM Laser Gun will be used to detect speeding on the expressway. This laser gun can also detect vehicles approaching from a 150 km distance, SSP K. Arasaratnam, Director for Traffic Administration and Road Safety told the Sunday Times. more..

HR groups fear for lives of two missing JVP dissidents

Dec 12 (Island) Human Rights and civil organizations fear for the lives of two missing members of the Movement for People’s Struggle. An organizer of the MPS, formed by JVP dissidents, and another individual are reportedly missing since Friday. Their whereabouts are unknown since leaving to make arrangements for a media conference to be held in Jaffna on Saturday, Convener of the MPS Chameera Koswatte said. more..

Tamil rebels recruited children for last stand against Sri Lankan army

Dec 12 (Independent) Tamil rebels holed up in ever-diminishing territory in northern Sri Lanka forcibly recruited children to take part in final defences against govt troops, according to a former senior official. Some of the youngsters were sent to fight with just one day's basic training. A number of civilians who tried to escape to the govt side were shot. The official, who held a non-military position with the LTTE, said that in the spring of 2009, the rebels found themselves in more..

Govt. to introduce new law on contempt of court

Dec 12 (DM) The govt is to introduce a new comprehensive law on Contempt of Court in Sri Lanka very soon, the Justice Ministry said in its progress report submitted to Parliament. The ministry said that the bill which was being drafted at the moment would give effect to the recommendations of the committees on Juvenile Justice and Family Law. Around four years ago the Bar Association of Sri Lanka drafted a Contempt of Court law and more..

Editorial: Govt's extravagance inconveniences public

Dec 12 (DM) Firstly, it was the Hambantota port that couldn’t draw the expected number of ships. Then there was the talk to construct an airport in the hill capital. Losing the bid for the 2018 Commonwealth Games was a blessing in disguise; yet the southern expressway was declared open with much pomp and heraldry. A few weekend papers predicted a possible price hike in the essential consumer goods when the Colombo Stock Exchange is struggling to find a foothold due to the devaluation more..

All-out effort to catch most wanted army deserters

Dec 12 (Island) Security forces and police are searching for about 25 hardcore military deserters wanted for grave crimes. Army spokesman Brig. Nihal Hapuarachchi said yesterday that it was not only the army and the police who were looking for them, but even the navy and air force were keeping a vigilant eye. He said there were about 475 other deserters wanted for minor offences like chain snatching or assault. Out of about 55,000 deserters in the army record books since 1982, more..

'More supportive approach to Sri Lanka needed'

Dec 12 (IL) Following a recent visit to Sri Lanka, the Chairman of the European Parliament's informal 'Friends of Sri Lanka' Group has called for supportive engagement with Sri Lanka as it recovers from 30 years of conflict. Conservative MEP and Defence Spokesman Geoffrey Van Orden has just returned from Sri Lanka where he met the President and senior Ministers, as well as MPs from a range of govt and opposition political parties including the TNA. more..

'Govt. should protect historical sites'

Dec 12 (DM) Historical sites, particularly those in the eastern province, are continuously vandalised, therefore, the govt should intervene to protect them for the future generations, ruling party MP Ven. Ellawala Medhananda Thera said in Parliament today. Delivering his speech during the committee stage debate of the National Heritage Ministry, Ven. Medhananda Thera said that the ancient Dagoba of Kudumbigala Vihare had been damaged by treasure hunters. more..

A white X'Mas with Santa on double decker

Dec 12 (GDI) The Colombo City Tour has introduced special packages for kids and family this Christmas. Santa will be on board the open deck double decker with treats and surprises including an unforgettable experience of white Christmas at ‘Magical Snow’, Excel World. ‘Santa on the double decker tours are scheduled for 17th, 18th, 22nd and 23rd of December. The tours will start off from Galle Face Hotel at 3:30 p.m. with a joy ride around the city of Colombo with Santa Claus on board. more..

Large scale sand mining racket busted

Dec 12 (DM) The elite Special Task Force (STF) busted a large scale sand mining racket which had been operating for years without a license in the Ma-oya area in Kurunegala. During the raid the STF was able to arrest 17 persons along with heavy equipment worth around Rs.30 million. Machinery seized during the raid includes trucks, tippers, caterpillars, backhoes and tractors. The raid was carried out by several STF teams led by CI Vewitawitharana more..

Sri Lanka stocks slip 0.5-pct

Dec 12 (LBO) Stocks slipped 0.5 percent, with illiquid stocks losing further ground in thin trade, but more fundamentally strong stocks saw some support. All Share Index lost 31.4 points to close 0.52 percent down at 5,965 while the Milanka Index of more liquid stocks closed almost flat just 2.7 points down at 5,228.4. Turnover was 664.5 million rupees. Colombo Investment Trust fell 42.80 to close at 256.00 Blue Diamonds lost 20 cents to close at 3.80 rupees, Ascot fell 4.70 to more..

Archaeological evidence to prove ‘Tamil Buddhists’

Dec 12 (DM) The TNA said in Parliament today that there is archaeological evidence to prove that ‘Tamil Buddhists’ lived in certain areas of the northern province. TNA MP S.Sritharan said that Buddhist archaeological sites had been discovered in the North after archaeological excavations. “Some elements try to prove that these were the settlements of Sinhala Buddhists in history. Actually, they were the settlements of Tamil Buddhists,” Mr. Sritharan said. more..

'Lankan development dropout due to corruption': The former CJ

Dec 12 (LS) Former Chief Justice of Sri Lanka and Presidential Advisor Ashoka de Silva says that the country's development rate has dropped by 2 percent due to the increase in corruption. De Silva has said that corruption costs Rs. 100 billion to the country, which in turn affects the poverty levels. He has made these observations at a ceremony held to mark the International Anti-Corruption Day on Dec 9th. more..

Sri Lanka to replace injured Pradeep

Dec 12 (AFP) Sri Lanka’s fast bowler Nuwan Pradeep has been ruled out of the ongoing tour of South Africa after tearing his right hamstring, Sri Lanka Cricket said on Monday. Pradeep, 25, suffered the injury while bowling during the warm-up game against the South Africa Invitation XI in Benoni on Saturday. “Physio Stephen Mount is of the view that Nuwan will be unable to play for another three to four weeks,” the governing body said in a statement. more..

Protests target detention centre

Dec 12 (AAP) Protesters have targeted the immigration detention centre at Perth Airport in a bid to stop the deportation of two Tamil asylum seekers to Sri Lanka. They prevented a car from leaving the centre today, believing it contained a Tamil man about to be deported. But the Immigration Department says protesters only succeeded in stopping the car taking an asylum seeker to torture and trauma counselling. Refugee Rights Action Network spokesman Alexis Vassiley said more..

WikiLeaks:Ranil’s tilt toward the US has faced stiff resistance from MFA

Dec 12 (CT) “Mission, collaborating closely with Moragoda and others at the political-level, fended off these attempts and the accord was eventually signed.” the US Embassy Colombo informed Washington. The cable classified as “CONFIDENTIAL” analyses the Sri Lanka’s pro – US foreign policy under Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. The cable was written on May 29, 2003 by the US Ambassador to Colombo E. Ashley Wills. Ambassador Wills wrote more..

'Officers doing stock verification on Sevanagala Sugar bribed'

Dec 12 (DM) Govt officers who were carrying out a stock verification of the Sevanagala Sugar Industries had allegedly been subjected to undue influence by a SLFP affiliated trade union leader in the area, sources close to the company Chairman Daya Gamage alleged. These sources said that this member had allegedly invited these officers to his residence and had entertained them with liquor. It was alleged that this had been done in order to make them issue a biased stock verification record. more..

Sri Lanka launches National IT literacy initiative

Dec 12 (FG) As part of the govt’s effort to foster an IT literate society, the government launched its “e-diriya” national IT literacy initiative which aims to provide basic computer knowledge to 50,000 “samurddhi” recipients and school children. According to Hambantota District MP, Namal Rajapaksa, it is imperative for the country to leverage its computer, internet, and telephone penetration rates in order to have a good foundation for IT literacy, especially in schools. more..

Insufficient GCE O/L papers delivered to exam centre

Dec 12 (NF) The 2011 G.C.E. Ordinary Level Examination commenced this morning at 3,920 Examination Centres. Commissioner General of Examinations Anura Edirisinghe stated that 533,000 students are sitting for the examination this year. 395,000 candidates are school students while 147,000 are private candidates. Anura Edirisinghe noted that candidates should safeguard their admission card and their identity card. more..

Major job fraudster arrested in Kandy

Dec 12 (DM) The Kandy police special crime unit arrested a major job fraudster who cheated nearly 20 youth in Kandy of at least Rs.1.8 million. He had promised the youth that they will be given employment in Canada. The police was also able to find 16 passports belonging to the victims in his possession at the time of the raid. The suspect who was on the run was arrested by a special police team when he was hiding in the Kandy area. Investigations began into the foreign employment scam more..

Sri Lankan to name main road after gifted Chinese theater

Dec 12 (Xinhua) Sri Lanka decided to rename one of the main roads and roundabouts in Colombo after Southeast Asia's largest theater built with Chinese financial assistance. 'The Lotus Pond Theater'will be renamed as 'The Lotus Pond Avenue', while the roundabout leading to the road will be called 'Lotus Pond Roundabout', said Bhadrani Jayawardena, the Colombo Municipal Commissioner. "The renaming of the road and the roundabout would be done on Dec. 15 during the opening of the theater," more..