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Sharp drop in crime rate: Police spokesman

Dec 12 (Island) Police Spokesman SSP Ajith Rohana denied media reports of a crime wave. There had in fact been a sharp drop in grave crimes since 2004, he claimed. SSP Rohana explained to media that grave crimes had decreased since the defeat of terrorism. "There has been a 120% decrease in homicide cases since," he said. He attributed the decrease in the crime rate to the efficiency of the police personnel. more..

Life is a papare, old chum

Dec 12 (CI) The drive from Bandaranaike International Airport to my hotel in central Colombo is some 35km but the Katunayake Expressway and what seems, by subcontinental standards, a fairly relaxed flow of traffic make for a pleasant journey. First thing I notice at the Galle Face Hotel, in its 150th year and proclaimed as "the oldest east of the Suez", is the scaffolding, with the front half of the place being renovated. I suppose you can expect to be spruced up for your sesquicentenary. more..

June 21 is International Day of Yoga: UN

Dec 12 (PTI) The UN General Assembly today adopted an India-led resolution declaring June 21 as 'International Day of Yoga'. This comes less than three months after PM Narendra Modi proposed the idea. It was introduced by India's Ambassador to the UN Asoke Mukerji and had 175 nations joining as co-sponsors, the highest number ever for any resolution in the 193-member UNGA. This is also for the first time that such an initiative has been proposed and implemented by any country in more..

Chandimal back in Sri Lanka ODI squad

Dec 12 (CI) Batsmen Dinesh Chandimal and Dimuth Karunaratne have been called up to the Sri Lanka squad for the sixth and seventh ODIs against England, while Kusal Perera and Ajantha Mendis have been dropped. Legspinner Seekkuge Prasanna has also been named, in the absence of injured left-arm spinner Rangana Herath. Chandimal has been in and out of the top team over the past year, and was most recently let go after more..

Sri Lankans in India told can get bail

Dec 12 (CG) The Chief Judicial Magistrate court in Ramanathapuram has informed 12 Sri Lankan fishermen that they had a statutory right to seek bail as they were in jail for over 60 days after their arrest on the charge of poaching in two trawlers in Indian waters. When the fishermen were produced before the court for the extension of remand, magistrate T. Jayarajan told them that the police had not filed the charge sheet within 60 days of arrest. After their remand was extended till Dec 23, more..

Sri Lanka close to WHO malaria free certificate, but….

Dec 12 (Island) Anti-Malaria Campaign (AMC) of the Health Ministry expressed concern that malaria patients returning from overseas who went undetected could ruin SL’s chances of receiving the WHO certification as a Malaria Free Country next year. Director of AMC, Dr. R. Premaratne said that a majority of malaria patients detected in Sri Lanka at present were categorised as imported cases. They were Sri Lankans who had travelled abroad for business purposes, pilgrimages etc. more..

Questions remain over awarding of high tension power line contract

Dec 12 (Island) The CEB procurement committee will shortly decide whether to retain or seek Cabinet approval to award a USD 100 million contract to a Japanese company to build the new 220KV high tension line from Habarana to Veyangoda. Some senior engineers of the CEB fear that in case of retaining the contract it may slip out of Japanese hands. CEB Chairman Ganegala said he was not aware of any new development. more..

Sirisena sinking in corrupt deals of UNP and Chandrika

Dec 12 (CT) Though there are several peripheral issues the main issue, whipped up by the Opposition, is to change the presidential system and revert to the parliamentary system. This is another of way of the Opposition saying: Get rid of the Rajapaksas. But changing of the constitution, in itself, is a non-issue. It has failed to cut much ice with the voters so far. Ultimately the election will boil down to a contest of personalities, I think, between President Rajapaksa & Maithripala Sirisena. more..

Sri Lanka’s growth relies on tapping in to global markets, says Economist

Dec 12 (LBO) Sri Lanka’s economic growth will be driven by tapping into global market through exporting high value manufacturing products, agricultural products and services, a senior economist said. “Sri Lanka is a 67 billion dollar economy, which I think not large by any strategy imagination,” Deshal de Mel, Senior Economist of Hayleys Sri Lanka said. "I think going forward, Sri Lanka’s future growth potential necessarily will drive on the ability to tap into global markets.” more..

Answer please for us to decide

Dec 12 (CT) Mahinda, you ask us to vote for you on the claim that you have defeated terrorism and you have given us roads. Yes we agree that your claim is well founded. Yet we have numerous other questions for which we are desperate to get answers before deciding to vote you in for an unprecedented third term. We cannot do it just because Dayan Jayatilieka says that you deserve a third term. He has lost our respect more..

Media freedom is allergic to politicians

Dec 12 (CT) The common presidential candidate, Maithripala Sirisena once again pledged last Wednesday to uphold media freedom. If elected to office, he plans to introduce a Bill to ensure the people's right to information. All political leaders during their campaigns over the past four decades made that pledge. They shed crocodile tears for the media. But, nothing happened. The muzzling of the media began under the United Front govt of Ms. Sirima Bandaranaike when Lake House more..

Amir Ali takes oath as UPFA National List MP

Dec 12 (AM) Former Eastern Provincial Councillor of the All Ceylon Muslim Congress (ACMC) Ameer Ali took oaths as a MP to fill the seat vacated by the former UPFA national list Parliamentarian A H M Azwer. Amir Ali was appointed as a Parliamentarian of the UPFA at the last Parliament session before the upcoming presidential election in January 8. Amir Ali was onr if the three members of the Eastern Provincial Council who decided to become independent. more..

Video: Plane crash in Hokandara, four dead

Dec 12 (DM) Four Air Force Officers were killed and another hospitalised after a Russian made Antanov-32 (fixed wing) aircraft of Sri Lanka Air Force crashed into a rubber estate in Hokandara at around 6.30 am today, police said. Injured air force official, LAC Chaturanga GKN, was admitted to the National Hospital for treatment. Captain of the aircraft Squadron Leader JMWN Abeywardena, Co-Pilot Flight Lieutenant AADT Amaratunge and more..

'Cricketers forced to appear in election ad'

Dec 12 (DM) Several players in the Sri Lankan national cricket team have been forced to appear in an election advertisement of a presidential candidate, former Sri Lankan cricket captain Arjuna Ranatunga charged today. Speaking during a rally in Wattala he said some cricketers have informed him about this forceful act. “Sri Lankan cricketers should not be intimidated this way as it would affect them. more..

Sri Lanka policy rates unchanged

Dec 12 (LBO) Central Bank says the current monetary policy stance is appropriate and accordingly decided to unchange the policy rate corridor at 6.5% to 8%, respectively. Inflation continued to remain in low single digit levels, for 70 consecutive months and at levels below 5% in the last 12 months. In Oct and Nov 2014, headline inflation was at 1.6% and 1.5%, mainly due to the downward revisions to domestic fuel and more..

Presidential Election: Meet the candidates

Dec 12 (ST) Maithripala Sirisena: “Equality, democracy and people-friendly governance once elected”. Opposition’s Common Candidate for the presidential election Maithripala Sirisena pledged equality, democracy and people-friendly governance, once he is elected to office. He made the pledge after he signed a MoU at the Viharamahadevi Park, where representatives of parties backing his candidacy were present. more..

North in a debt trap

Dec 12 (ST) Incessant campaigning by finance companies, including door-to-door canvassing, has caused rising debt in the Northern Province amongst people who are only just emerging from a debilitating war, community leaders say. Newspapers are writing of suicides related to an inability to settle dues, although there has been no scientific research to connect these deaths with indebtedness. more..

New Zealand's NMIT signs deal with CIMA SL

Dec 12 (YN) Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology (NMIT) has just signed a deal with the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) Sri Lanka, which could see more international students studying business at NMIT from 2015. The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed in Colombo, Sri Lanka in November is the first of its kind between CIMA Sri Lanka and a New Zealand tertiary institution. more..

'Opening spots are still open'

Dec 12 (CI) With Sri Lanka having been expected to wrap up the series handily, Angelo Mathews and the selectors had hoped to don their white coats and put World Cup hopefuls under the microscope in low-pressure matches towards the back end of the tour. But now they must delay their research. With England having won a second match, on the driest track of the series so far, the series is still on the line. more..

'Dons getting tainted by politics due to manipulators'

Dec 12 (Island) A section of university lecturers was manipulating the FUTA, the esteemed trade union of varsity dons in support of the opposition presidential candidate Maithripala Sirisena’s campaign without considering their reputation, Secretary of the Higher Education Ministry Dr. Sunil Nawaratne said. He said that FUTA had organised a token strike and demonstration opposite the Higher Education Ministry on Tuesday against more..

CEB dithering on purchase of vehicle for its Chairman

Dec 12 (Island) The CEB Management has decided to purchase a brand new car from a top car sales agent costing Rs. 37 million CEB Chairman W.B. Ganegala, but he has ordered that a car be purchased in  Sri Lanka at a much lower price. Ganegala, contracted for comment, said he had asked for a car used by Divisional Secretaries and the chairmen of govt institutions. He said that since he had been using a vehicle belonging more..

All-party govt: Political slogan?

Dec 12 (SL) Recently parties who came together to support the common presidential candidate Maithripala Sirisena signed a MOU based on several grave concerns which included the concerns over the total breakdown of the Rule of Law, the erosion of democratic institutions essential for governance, an unprecedented widening of social disparities and social injustices and severe strains on co-existence between different more..

Information is the oxygen of democracy

Dec 12 (DM) With corruption or tough anti-corruption laws being one of the key issues in the current intense campaign for the crucial presidential election on January 8, Sri Lanka joined the world in marking International Anti-corruption day on Dec 9—the theme being “break the corruption chain”. Appropriate indeed for Sri Lanka. Cross-overs and rumours of cross-overs this way and that way with some doing long jumps, double or triple jumps have diverted attention from the key issues more..

Beyond good governance and rule of law

Dec 12 (DM) Immediately following the Uva PC elections, I published an article in this column arguing that good governance, despite serious set-backs in recent years, still matters in the country from the point of view of the wider population. In fact, it is the issue of good governance that has given rise to a broad-based opposition to challenge the incumbent President. The value of good governance and rule of law for any country is quite obvious. Yet, there are many countries more..

Google begins capturing Sri Lankan streets

Dec 12 (DM) Global technology leader Google Inc. yesterday said it would begin imaging Sri Lanka for its ‘Street View’ service to create new views of the country to share with the world. “Our attractions should go to digital media. This will allow more people to discover Sri Lanka and at the same time, allow people in Sri Lanka to explore new parts of their country online,” Sri Lanka Tourism Director General D.S. Jayaweera said. more..

'Mahinda told me Ranil was joining Govt'

Dec 12 (Island) The Joint Oppositions Presidential candidate Maithripala Sirisena said yesterday that about eleven hours before he defected to Opposition ranks, President Mahinda Rajapaksa had told him that UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe was joining the government. Addressing a JOF election meeting at Kirulapone, Sirisena recalled that in response to the Presidents sarcastic reference to Wickremesinghe, he had smilingly replied "Yes , Sir, he is coming." more..

Polls Chief meets District Secys today

Dec 12 (CT) Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya has asked all District Secretaries to be present for a meeting, at the Election Secretariat, today (12). The Commissioner will have wide ranging discussions, on arrangements related to forthcoming Presidential Election . with all Additional Election Commissioners, District Secretaries and Divisional Secretaries from 10 a.m. He stressed that they would take all measures to hold a free and fair election. more..

A cup of coffee will win over Ranil: MR

Dec 12 (DM) Addressing his maiden propaganda rally in Anuradhapura, President Rajapaksa said that he needed only a cup of coffee to lure Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe to the UPFA. He said, “It is not a big problem when one leaves the party to welcome another, Tissa Attanayake joined our party soon after having a cup of coffee with me. If they take someone from us we will retaliate by taking someone from them. more..

President promises clean drinking water to Anuradhapura

Dec 12 (CT) President Rajapaksa, addressing a massive election rally in Anuradhapura yesterday, said that he will not compare the crowd before him to the crowd at the NDF rally on Tuesday. He said the people wanted a developed country. "Didn't we develop the country? People wanted the war to end and have a free country, didn't we do so?" He said that clean drinking water would be provided to Anuradhapura as there is a large number of kidney patients in the Anuradhapura District. more..

Lotteries Board swindles Rs. 30 mln in Highway Dreams lottery

Dec 12 (ST) Sri Lanka’s elite Presidential Investigation Unit (PIU) has begun investigations into alleged financial misappropriation and malpractices running into millions of rupees at the Development Lotteries Board (DLB), Presidential Secretariat sources revealed. The PIU had received a complaint relating to an over Rs. 30 million fraud in the procurement of 50 super luxury vehicles worth Rs. 500 million which were given away as prizes to winners of ‘Highway Dreams’ lottery. more..

CM assures Sivaji on resolution

Dec 12 (CG) Northern Province Chief Minister C V Wigneswaran assured TNA NPC member M K Sivajilingham that a controversial resolution submitted by him will be discussed after the Presidential elections next month. Sivajilingham threw a tantrum at the council session last week after the chairman of the council refused to conduct a vote on the resolution presented by him. NPC member had thrown the mace of the council more..

Malsha at wrong gate

Dec 12 (CT) Western Provincial Councillor, Malsha Kumaratunge received a call from the Western Provincial Council (PC) on Wednesday requesting her to proceed to the Chief Minister's official residence, situated next to the PC office at Sir Marcus Fernando Mawatha, Colombo for a meeting with Chief Minister. However, when Kumaratunge arrived at the Chief Minister's official residence in response to the invitation, she discovered that the gate of the office was closed. more..

Loaves remain aloft

Dec 12 (DM) The prices of bakery products could not be reduced despite a fall in fuel prices, All Ceylon Bakery Owners' Association (ACBOA) said. They said they would not gain any befit out of a price cut. Only 20% of the bakeries use gas ovens for baking, while the rest use fire-wood, ACBOA Spokesperson N.K. Jayawardena said. Only a tariff reduction on ingredients could help them reduce the costs of bakery products. “We expect a tariff reduction on essential bakery ingredients more..

80% cutouts removed in Colombo: Police

Dec 12 (DM) Police said that 80% of cutouts and posters had been removed by the police in Colombo so far and Rs. 50 million had been allocated by the Elections Commissioner for the removal of posters and cutouts during the entire campaign period. SSP Ajith Rohana said 2010 casual workers would be recruited for the task of removing cutouts and posters. “Police alone cannot safeguard election laws but the supporters, more..

Call for constitutional reforms reiterated at SLFP head office

Dec 12 (Island) Minister Reginald Cooray called for far-reaching constitutional reforms while expressing the belief that President Rajapaksa’s manifesto for Jan. 8, 2015 presidential election would address their concerns. Kalutara District MP emphasised that the govt couldn’t ignore the need for remedial measures without further delay. Cooray, one of those who had been earlier tipped to join Maithripala Sirisena’s camp, said that members experienced problems. more..

Anura’s last will: Appeal to be heard before Supreme Court on June 03

Dec 12 (Island) Supreme Court yesterday fixed for argument on June 3, 2015, the Special Leave to Appeal application filed by the personal aides of late Anura Bandaranaike. The appellant has challenged an order of the Provincial High Court of Colombo which upheld an order of the District Court of Colombo. By that order the District Court has refused to allow the filing of a photostat copy of the last will of the late Bandaranaike as evidence, at the trial conducted at the District Court. more..