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No major pay hikes, tough times ahead

Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa yesterday warned the state sector not to expect a major pay rise but declared that the government would continue with the fertiliser subsidy, Samurdhi benefits as well as allocations for the health sector in next year’s Budget. “When preparing the Budget, the Government faced several challenges such as the sanctions [...]

India renews call for 13th Amendment plus

India used Thursday’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) here to remind Sri Lanka of its “commitment” to implement the 13th Amendment to the Constitution and “go beyond” to address Tamil grievances. The call came in a report when the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) reviewed Sri Lanka’s human rights record during a three and half hour [...]

Kudankulam: Lanka still silent, huge protests in Tamil Nadu

The Sri Lanka Government is remaining silent over the controversial nuclear plant at Kudankulam in South India — even as hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets in that country to denounce the atomic complex. “We have initiated diplomatic efforts on this issue and are satisfied at the outcome and therefore there is [...]

Hedging : Govt. seeks compromise with SCB

Hit by a British court ruling to pay US$ 180 million (Rs. 23 billion) to the Standard Chartered Bank (SCB) over oil hedging deals by the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC), the Government now wants to negotiate a settlement to pay a lesser amount. Attorney General Palitha Fernando said yesterday that talks were going on between [...]

Night races extended; problems for top hotels

Night races extended; problems for top hotels

Colombo’s night motor races this year will see local and foreign riders racing through extended routes but the event is also driving away guests from five-star hotels. That includes those who have planned weddings, home comings and other events, some of which have had to be cancelled. The reason for this, according to Anura Lokuhetti, [...]

Attackers of JSC Sec would be arrested soon, President assures BASL

Attackers of JSC Sec would be arrested soon, President assures BASL

President Mahinda Rajapaksa has assured a Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) delegation that met him on Thursday that those who attacked Judicial Service Commission (JSC) Secretary Manjula Thilakaratne would be arrested soon. “The President promised the BASL Management Committee the attackers of the JSC Secretary would be arrested within a few days,” the Association’s [...]

Two Romanians held in ATM scam

Two Romanian nationals were picked up on Friday in connection with a multi-million rupee ATM card scam which they had operated undetected for the past one year, police said yesterday. They said the pair was picked up from a location at Dehiwala by undercover police sleuths who had acted on a tip-off. Initial investigations have [...]

Delay in publishing population and census results

Officials of the Department of Census and Statistics say the delay in publishing the final results of the Population and Housing census conducted earlier this year, is due to a delay in the procurement of a building to carry out the scanning analysis of the data collected. Dismissing charges that the delay has been caused [...]

Meteorology Dept. under the weather

Meteorology Dept. under the weather

Launch of crusade against corruption

A coalition against corruption was launched last Wednesday bringing together many civil society organisations, as well as trade unions, with several prominent personalities spearheading the anti-corruption drive. Former Auditor General S.C. Mayadunne, Ceylon Teachers’ Association President Joseph Stalin, Ven. Maduluwawe Sobitha and Colombo University Lecturer Lalithasiri Gunaruwan were among the key speakers at the event. [...]

A jumbo task gets underway

A jumbo task gets underway

N. Piyasena, a 57 year old, farmer from Galegama area at Medawachchiya, Anuradhapura, is the latest victim in the ever-intensifying human-elephant conflict. Mr. Piyasena was attacked by an elephant on Tuesday night while he was heading to a funeral house. A father of two, he had left home around 11 p.m. saying he would be [...]

Interdicted cops, deserter netted after year-long robbing spree

A tip-off from alert employees at a guest house in Panadura recently resulted in the arrest of two former policemen and an Army deserter who were part of a gang that had been operating in several areas of the country posing as law enforcement officers. The modus operandi of the gang had been to visit [...]

200,000 hit hard by tropical cyclone Nilam

200,000  hit  hard by tropical cyclone Nilam

While hurricane Sandy was wreaking havoc on the East Coast of the US, tropical cyclone Nilam was hitting Sri Lanka hard with torrential rains and gale-force winds, claiming lives and destroying property. Eight people were killed and more than 200,000 persons affected islandwide. Deaths by drowning, lightning, electrocution, falling trees and earthslips were reported from [...]

Sand mining thrives in building boom

A boom in the construction industry has increased the demand for sand resulting in a thriving illicit business — sand mining — along major river banks. Although regulations stipulate mining can only be done with necessary approval from the Geological Survey and Mines Bureau, many big time miners carry on regardless. With the country developing [...]

Woman severely burnt in lover’s acid attack

A 26-year-old woman was seriously burnt and scarred after her jilted lover allegedly launched a vicious acid attack that also hospitilised five others at Udugama in Galle late Friday, police said yesterday. According to police, the suspect is alleged to have boarded the private bus in which the victims were traveling and allegedly carried out [...]

Unscathed troopship sails into the sunset

Unscathed troopship sails into the sunset

The Jetliner vessel operated by the Navy since 2006 will make its final voyage out of the country early today after more than six years of active service both during and after the Eelam war, senior naval officials said. The vessel was leased from an Indonesian company during the height of fighting between the security [...]

VAT scams galore at Tax Department

The Rs.180 million VAT (Value Added Tax) fraud busted by vigilant officials at the Inland Revenue Department (IRD) last week was not an isolated one; similar frauds had been going on in the department for years, IRD officials said yesterday. They alleged that several such frauds at the department had been covered up by officials [...]

Octogenarian triumphs after long battle at Green Path

With clearly-marked roads, walkways and beautiful roundabouts being built all over Colombo, a lone fighter has won a small battle after a long and protracted war right in the heart of the city. For octogenarian Siri Peiris, earlier a well-known Civil Servant who headed the Census and Statistics Department, the ruling by Ombudsman Tissa Ekanayake [...]

Canoe down the canal

Using canoes as public transport is a well known practice in the rural and the backwater areas of the country. But closer to the metropolis it is a rare find, which is why downtown Wattala is so unique. For at least three decades a canoe ferry has been operating on the Dutch built Hamilton Canal, [...]

On collision course: 200 bus strikes so far this year

When protesting bus operators kept their vehicles off the roads on Monday, it was the 200th strike action by them this year but what has not been quantified is the inconvenience such wildcat strikes cause to commuters. In the wake of the latest bus strike on the Colombo-Panadura route, the Sunday Times learned that these [...]

CTC challenges Govt. health warnings against smoking

The Ceylon Tobacco Company (CTC) is challenging tough new Government regulations on compulsory labelling of cigarette packets, showing pictures of cancer victims with a health warning against smoking. Already, local television stations are carrying the warning messages, whenever there is a smoking clip in a telecast. The CTC said in an announcement to the Colombo [...]

I would have walked away with the throne too, says suspect

I would have walked away with  the throne too, says suspect

The man who carried out the sensational robbery at the Colombo National Museum in March this year, has claimed that if he had the wherewithal, he would have carried away Sri Wickrama Rajasinha’s throne, along with the other items he removed in the heist. The suspect CID officials arrested last week, while he was loitering [...]

Land near Kantale tank to be auctioned for gem mining

In the wake of the latest gem rush in Kantale, the National Gem and Jewellery Authority is discussing with the Irrigation Department, the possibility of auctioning the land near the bund of the tank, for gem mining, Authority Director General Nimal Bandara said. “The lands along the tank bund belong to the Irrigation Department, and [...]

Navy divers to salvage ‘Eelam War’ aircraft wreckage

Navy divers to salvage ‘Eelam War’ aircraft wreckage

Some 25 Navy divers will be deployed to salvage the wreck of the ill-fated Lion Air aircraft which was shot down by the LTTE over the coast of Kilinochchi District in September 1998. “The salvage operation will be carried out no sooner the weather clears, since the prevailing rains and strong winds have led to [...]

CPC hedging fiasco: The need for new thinking

Three times in a row, the impending disaster in connection with the “quasi” crude oil hedge developed by the commercial banks under review and the subsequent arbitration proceedings initiated by the banks against the CPC were predicted accurately. It is said that in youth and beauty, wisdom is seldom. But a more accurate maxim would [...]

Judging a judge: Politics and pitfalls in the process

Judging a judge: Politics and pitfalls in the process

For the third time in 30 years, Members of Parliament have launched impeachment proceedings against a Chief Justice of Sri Lanka – setting the stage for a crucial struggle for the preservation of independence of the judiciary and the rule of law. In many democratic countries impeachment of a judge is among the rarest of [...]

TNA MP’s brother-in-law found dead

The body of a man found at Nanu-Oya in the Nuwara Eliya District on Wednesday has been identified as that of the brother-in-law of Wanni District Tamil National Alliance (TNA) MP Selvam Adaikkalanathan. Sinnathurei Indreswaran (53) had allegedly been abducted by an unknown group of men from Sea Street in Colombo on October 30. An [...]

Illegal flour price hikes take bread out of mouths

Illegal flour price hikes take bread out of mouths

“The local bakery industry is, ultimately, going to collapse,” a disgruntled bakery owner in Maradana observed at the new increased prices for wheat flour that led to a price hike in bread. Prima Group, the largest flour distributor in the country, increased wheat flour prices by Rs. 6 and Serendib Flour Mills (Pvt) Ltd., increased [...]

Trawler owners, skippers and crew take to human smuggling like fish taking to water

Trawler owners, skippers and crew take to human smuggling like fish taking to water

Many owners of multi-day fishing boats are reluctant to send their vessels out to deep sea, with hired hands, for fear of hijacking, following the recent boat-grab on October 14, off the Matara coast in Kudawella, the industry said yesterday. Ever since the ‘Thejan Putha’ was hijacked by armed men operating with the connivance of [...]

Commuters taken for a ride by the metre

Commuters  taken for a ride  by the metre

Metered three-wheelers are freely exploiting customers in innovative ways, in the absence of regulations to control them. Fixing meters on three-wheelers hasn’t prevented drivers from cheating customers in new found ways, from taking longer routes in truly parangiya-kotte-giya fashion, to outright tampering with the meters. Many customer complaints include accusations of meter fixing to charge [...]

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