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Only 5.9% of Govt. schools teach English

Oct 24 (CT) Only 584, out of a total of 9,905 govt schools, teach English, according to statistics found in the recently released Annual Performance Report of the Education Ministry, for 2013. This means that only 5.9% of govt schools teach English. Out of 9,905 govt schools, only 29 teach subjects in all three languages, that is, Sinhala, Tamil and English and only 403 offer subjects both in Sinhala and English. more..

Travel experiences you’ll find only in SL

Oct 24 (WSJ) Sri Lanka seems to be at a tipping point. 5 years after the end of its quarter-century-long civil war, tourists are being lured back to Sri Lanka by friendly locals and an abundance of natural and man-made beauty. This petite island nation—totaling just 25,000 square miles but including the 4.5 million-resident city of Colombo—offers everything from leopard safaris and surfing to ancient temples and complex curries. Here, four experiences that would be more..

Our eyes are blind to Tamil torture

Oct 24 (Age) Trevor Grant was the cricket writer when I joined The Age in 1985. I remember him as a friendly, independent character with whom I talked sport. In 1989, he joined News Corp, finally leaving in 2009 after he became "disillusioned with the direction of the newspaper [the Herald Sun]". I didn't know what happened to him thereafter and was somewhat surprised when, five years ago, he re-emerged as a human rights activist, particularly on behalf of Tamil refugees. more..

UN working with Sri Lanka on concerns

Oct 24 (CG) The UN says it is working with the Sri Lankan Govt to address post war issues, including rising incidents of violence against religious minorities that have taken place since the beginning of this year. Subinay Nandy, Resident Coordinator of the United Nations in Sri Lanka, said that as one looks at the breadth of the UN’s work with Sri Lanka, one can see a strong emphasis on the peace and reconciliation agenda. more..

Garbage being dumped in Tewatte Church land

Oct 24 (CT) The dumping of garbage on a land belonging to the Tewatte Church in Ragama has irked residents of the area who say that the garbage dump is breeding flies and mosquitoes. Environmentalist Dilan Peiris told Ceylon Today that the dumping of garbage in the land belonging to the Church and the stench from it has caused much inconvenience to the area's residents. "This area, which is a rubber plantation, has been used as a garbage dump for the past two to three years. more..

Special cabinet meeting hours before ‘budget 2015’

Oct 24 (AM) President Rajapaksa has convened a special Cabinet meeting just hours before presenting his 10th budget as the Finance Minister of the govt. During the meeting the President had obtained the approval of the Cabinet of Ministers for his budget proposals for the year 2015. The President is scheduled to deliver his budget speech in Parliament at 1.30 pm. It is widely speculated that the budget 2015 will introduce a number of ‘people-friendly’ measures as it is presented more..

Paddy farmers to benefit from budget 2015

Oct 24 (LBO) Sri Lanka paddy farmers to get seed paddy free of charge in the budget 2015, President Rajapaksa said. He said seed paddy for the 2014/2015 Maha Season will be provided free of charge to the farmers. Added to that he said the current fertilizer subsidy will be continued while ensuring minimum 40 rupees subsidy per paddy kilogram. Sri Lanka's rural economy, low on growth and high on labor relies heavily on agriculture more..

Disabled have a role to play in economy

Oct 24 (CT) People with disabilities should be encouraged to contribute to the country's economy in order to get the best out of them, said economist and Colombo University's Arts Faculty Dean, Prof. Athula Ranasinghe. Addressing a forum, to get the support of the private sector to enhance the living standards of the people with disabilities, he said, it is crucial to have a dialogue with the private sector as there are many graduates with disabilities who are unable to find employment. more..

No dry rations for Sampur's displaced since 2011

Oct 24 (CT) Internally displaced families in Sampur had not been issued with dry rations since 2011, the Eastern Provincial Council's Opposition Leader, S. Thandayuthapani, said. Thandayuthapani revealed the plight of the Sampur IDPs at an event held in Trincomalee recently. He also said the UPFA-led Provincial Council did not heed the problem when it was brought before it. He said the IDPs were in Sampur from 2006, and that they have not been afforded a livelihood; or, dry rations. more..

Sumanthiran says TNA won't obstruct UN war-crime probe

Oct 24 (CT) The TNA has decided not to present any resolution that may obstruct the UN when conducting an independent probe into the alleged war-crimes and human rights violations that may have taken place in the North and East, TNA MP M.A. Sumanthiran, said. He also said the Northern Provincial Council (NPC) and all other bodies under TNA control have been ordered not to present any resolutions that may complicate more..

UVA PC Governor makes policy speech

Oct 24 (Island) Governor of the UVA Province Nanda Mathew delivered his policy speech for 2015 at the 6th UVA Provincial Council assembly on Thursday morning. The most prominent visitor at the assembly was the Leader of the Veddha community Uruwarige Vanniyaatto besides ex-fellow members, friends, well-wishers, family members and members of the public. The Governor’s vehicle was escorted to the venue by Police cars and motor cycle outriders clad in ceremonial attire. more..

Sri Lanka to increase EPF payment

Oct 24 (LBO) Sri Lanka's Employee's Provident Fund (EPF) payment from the employer to be increased to 14 percent, President Mahinda Rajapaksa said presenting the budget for 2015. According to the EPF Act, an employee is required to contribute a minimum of 8 percent and the employer a minimum of 12 percent of the total salary of the employee monthly, to the EPF. EPF, which is under full state control is the largest retirement fund of private sector workers. more..

Sri Lanka leader trims VAT, adds handouts in 2015 budget

Oct 24 (Reuters) President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who is expected to soon seek a third six-year term, announced a 2015 budget on Friday that trims the value-added tax and reduces the budget deficit while providing a range of handouts, mainly to rural residents. The value-added tax "will be reduced to 11%" from 12%, said the 68-year-old Rajapaksa, whose political party said on Monday will seek early re-election in January. more..

No tax changes for liquor and tobacco: Budget 2015

Oct 24 (LBO) Sri Lanka President said that there will be no changes in the tax for liquor and tobacco due to the tax hike the government maid recently. He said the government is expecting a 14,000 million rupees of additional income in 2015 though the tax increase. However he said 100 US dollar tax to be charged as entrance fee in casinos and clubs and to increase the turnover tax to 10 percent in order to achieve a revenue of 2500 million rupees in 2015. President was presenting the budget for 2015 more..

NIA files chargesheet in ISI spy case

Oct 24 (Hindu) A preliminary charge sheet was filed by the National Investigation Agency in a court here in a case of alleged attempts to spy for Pakistan’s intelligence agency, ISI, and carry out sabotage activities in South India. The charge sheet was filed against Zahir Hussain, Siva Balan and Mohammed Saleem before a designated NIA court yesterday. The charges against them include offences under the IPC and the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act. Over 40 persons have been cited as more..

Budget 2015 desperate and deceptive! - UNP

Oct 24 (AM) UNP dubbed ‘Budget 2015', presented by President Mahinda Rajapaksa to Parliament this afternoon, as a desperate attempt in the direction of hoodwinking the public just before an election. “It’s like a lot of toffees thrown into the sky," UNP MP and economist Dr. Harsha de Silva said soon after the budget. “The govt has tried to please everybody by giving something. But when you look at the inside of it, you cannot more..

Sabaragamuwa Uni reopens on Monday

Oct 24 (DM) The Sabaragamuwa University that had been closed for more than three weeks will reopen on Oct 27, the university administration said. Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences and Languages Dr. Manoja Ariyaratne said that the academic activities of the first year students would commence on Monday and those of the other students on Nov 3. A tense atmosphere following a protest staged by the students resulted in the closure of the university indefinitely on October 5. more..

Sri Lanka calling

Oct 24 (FI) The Kollupitiya police has begun an investigation against five aides of former star class cricket batsman Aravinda de Silva in connection with alleged burglary took place at his house at Pedris Road Colombo 3. Colombo Fort Magistrate today ordered five mobile phone service providers that telephone details pertaining to five aides be provided to police for further probes. Lodging a complaint with police, former cricketer alleged that cash worth Rs.5.1 million had been stolen by more..

Sharma to review situation in the north

Oct 24 (CG) Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma will visit Sri Lanka from 25-29 Oct to brief the current Commonwealth Chair-in-Office, President Rajapaksa, on the achievement of objectives and implementation of work set at the CHOGM in Sri Lanka in Nov 2013. He will also meet other members of the Govt of Sri Lanka, including the Minister G L Peiris. Secretary-General is expected to meet the Speaker Chamal more..

President invites TNA to join hands with govt

Oct 24 (AM) President Rajapaksa, delivering his 10th budget speech in Parliament, invited the TNA to join hands with the govt to form a “united nation” and to ensure development for every community of the country. “I once again call upon the TNA to join hands with the govt to develop the country,” President Rajapaksa said. However, In his speech, the President also add that he cannot see the logic of devolving land and police powers to provincial councils, as requested by some. more..

President suggests a minimum salary for private sector: Budget 2015

Oct 24 (LBO) President suggests to uplift the minimum salary of a private sector employee to 10,000 rupees from January 2015. He also suggest to increase minimum salary level by 500 rupees monthly for those who already get paid over 10,000 rupees per month. “The honorable speaker, I have seen the salaries of private sector have been increased through various allowances only,” President said. “I suggest reasonable salary increase for private sector employees, too.” more..

HR charges and fish export ban are different issues

Oct 24 (CT) The ambassador urged Sri Lanka to quickly speed up the process and clinch the opportunity, never to lose it. The ambassador pointed out that the EU fish export ban on Sri Lanka came to pass because the EU is a major fish importing region and they are concerned about the illegal fishing practices that several countries, including Sri Lanka, had been conducting. "The whole issue with Sri Lanka is that more..

Mahinda and the monk

Oct 24 (CT) President Rajapaksa was quoted so, at a meeting of health sector employees called to Temple Trees a week or so ago. The Court that he says the people can go to is not that in Bengaluru which delivered a verdict on TN CM Jeyalalithaa. The Court he says the people could go to is next to “Saanchi Arachchie Watte”. That’s where political stooges ruined the system. Over the past decade or two, nefarious men and women with personal greed for power and position, ruled the nest at more..

Healthy people make a healthy nation

Oct 24 (CT) The many thousands of people who pass through Pettah daily patronize the dirty and unclean eating houses operating in this area, thus exposing themselves to severe infections and health conditions that would not only cause disease and discomfort, but also spell death and destruction. There is absolutely no cleanliness in these hotels, either due to deliberate flouting of the health regulations, or not following them due to pure negligence. more..

Presidential Polls on 8th, 17th or 26th ?

Oct 24 (AM) It is rumoured that the snap Presidential election will be held in January 2015 with the possible dates being January 8, 17 or 26. New Indian Express reported that they have received information that President Rajapaksa considers these astrologically determined dates as being “lucky” for him because they all add up to “8”. The News agency asserted that surely enough, Mahinda Rajapaksa had chosen “8” to do all important more..

China gives India assurance on Lanka

Oct 24 (CG) China does not want to overstep into India’s sphere of influence by bringing Sri Lanka and Maldives into the maritime New Silk Road, according to an official of the Communist Party of China (CPC). “We don’t want to get into India’s sphere,” said Luan Jianzhang, Deputy Director General of Policy Research Office at the CPC Central Committee’s International Department. The International Department is mainly more..

Compensations for families of deceased migrant workers

Oct 24 (GDI) The families of the deceased migrant workers in Middle East were given compensation and other redress yesterday at an event hosted by the Ministry of External Affairs. Accordingly, 31 such bereaved next of kin of the victims received Sri Lankan Rupees 51 Million from the Deputy Minister Neomal Perera. The highest amount of Sri Lanka Rupees 8.7 Million was paid to the family of a deceased Sri Lankan more..

Tissa Attanayake confirms secret talks with ruling party parliamentarians

Oct 24 (AM) UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake confirmed that the party was holding discussions with several MPs of the ruling party for a possible crossover. UNP General Secretary said several stalwarts of the ruling party have expressed willingness to join the UNP. “Even the Cabinet ministers are dissatisfied with the present state of affairs in the country. With the outcome of the Uva PC election they realized more..

ACMA lines up trade unions against private medical education

Oct 24 (Island) More than 25 trade unions would take a final decision against private medical colleges on October 26, the JVP affiliated All Ceylon Medical Officers' Association (ACMFA) General Secretary Dr. Jayantha Bandara said. He said the ACMFA would gather in Colombo to decide how to launch the planned protest, with the help of university students university teachers’ unions, Sri Lanka teachers’ unions and trade unions more..

Rajitha alleges sinister force behind Monday’s agitation

Oct 24 (Island) Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne alleged that there was a sinister political force behind Monday’s demonstration in front of his ministry. The minister condemned the attack on the protesting fishers inside the Ministry premises in Maligawatte. Association of Multi-Day Trawler Owners of Wennappuwa and Thoduwawa accompanied by fishermen from several areas took part in the protest, demanding the banning of more..

Govt passes new Atomic Energy Bill

Oct 24 (FT) Preventing the use of atomic energy to create nuclear bombs and channelling the technical knowhow and possible resources for the betterment of country, especially in power generation, the Ministry of Technology and Research brought new regulations yesterday, tabling the Sri Lanka Atomic Energy Bill. The Sri Lanka Atomic Energy Bill will establish two institutions – the Sri Lanka Atomic Energy Board for the more..

'More to UN’s work in SL than is perceived'

Oct 24 (DM) United Nations Resident Co-ordinator Subinay Nandy in an interview with the coinciding with the celebration of the 69th United Nations day today, shared his views on the common perception of the UN in Sri Lanka, the work carried out by the body and its future goals. Q: There’s been a lot of skepticism in this country with regard to the work of the UN. Do you think this skepticism is justified? more..

Countries update travel advice on Sri Lanka

Oct 24 (CG) Several countries have updated their travel advisories on Sri Lanka after the Govt announced recently that foreigners will require special clearance from the Ministry of Defence to travel to the North. Britain, Canada and Australia are among the countries to have issued updated travel advisories on Sri Lanka with Australia and Canada also urging extreme caution. On Oct 15, 2014, strict entry restrictions were imposed for all more..

Bribery, corruption infecting health

Oct 24 (SL) Alleged bribery, corruption and bad administration which reportedly plague the Health Ministry, has resulted the influx of substandard drugs and medical devices to the country. Secretary All Ceylon Medical Officer’s Association Dr. Jayantha Bandara said that the continuous decline in budgetary allocation to the health sector over the years added with the corruption within the Ministry was severely affecting the country’s more..

Little known facts about a well known personality

Oct 24 (DM) The Ministry of Lands and Land Development which the late Minister Gamini Dissanayake presided over for more than a decade was by present day standards and practices, a Mega Ministry; we had eight Govt Departments many of them quite large and highly pedigreed and four statutory Boards and Corporations under our belt. My responsibility as (Permanent) Secretary again for more than a decade was to assist the Minister to oversee that portfolio. more..

A time to keep promises

Oct 24 (DM) The solution for poverty is not wealth but justice. This reality is seen in the world today where more wealth is being generated but with the horrifying fact where 1% of the people, most of them billionaires, own upto 50% of the wealth and resources. After about 40 years of the globalised capitalist market economic system, the latest figures given by world rating agencies show that the monstrous gap between the rich and the poor is growing to alarming levels. more..

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