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China draws closer to Lanka

China has offered US$ 2.2 billion (around Rs. 278 billion) worth of new loans to Sri Lanka, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told a media briefing on Friday in Beijing. Mr. Hong was responding to questions after the recent visit of President Mahinda Rajapaksa to Beijing where the two countries signed a defence agreement [...]

Schools fail dengue test

Schools fail dengue test

LTTE assets worth Rs. 1.2 billion seized

Land near airport, apartments, printing presses, bank accounts taken over More than one billion rupees worth of assets belonging to the militarily defeated Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), were confiscated this week after they were brought to light during investigations by the Terrorism Investigation Department (TID). A senior TID official said these assets included [...]

Immediate tests on imported sugar

All imported sugar will be tested for toxic heavy metals with immediate effect, a top health official assured yesterday. A directive has been issued to test samples of imported sugar for heavy metals such as cadmium and arsenic, said Health Services Director-General Dr. Palitha Mahipala who is also the Food Authority. He said the tests would [...]

New judge for Homagama, whither Abeysinghe?

A new judge has been appointed to the Homagama District Court while the Judicial Services Commission decides on what to do about the former judge who was arrested on Wednesday while allegedly taking a bribe of Rs. 300,000. JSC Secretary Sisira Ratnayake said Colombo’s Additional District Judge M.M.S.Y. Mapa Bandara would take over as the District [...]

Dr. Jayalath’s funeral tomorrow

The funeral of former minister and senior member of the main opposition United National Party (UNP), Dr Jayalath Jayawardene, will take place at the family burial grounds in Weligampitiya tomorrow. Dr Jayawardene, 59, passed away at a private hospital in Singapore on Thursday. Dr Jayawardene was also the Deputy General Secretary of the UNP and Chairman [...]

Probe on rotten potato mystery

A mystery over how and why 25,000 kilograms of potatoes, declared unfit for human consumption, ended up in an abandoned rice mill in Dambulla, is being probed by the Customs, a top official said yesterday. He said Customs Director General Jagath P. Wijeweera had ordered the probe on how the huge stock of rotten potatoes [...]

Enforced limit of 40 in Grade 1 classes: Govt. outlines admission criteria

The Education Ministry states it is determined to keep class sizes to a maximum of 40 in Grade 1 admissions to government schools next year, and adds that over the next two years this number will be cut to 35 in keeping with a Supreme Court order. “We are trying to strictly enforce (the maximum limit [...]

Govt. to abolish Parliament Scholarship Board

The Government will present a Bill to Parliament on Tuesday, to abolish the Parliament Scholarship Board (PSB) Act. The Board was set up in 2002, to fund Sri Lankans engaged in higher studies and research, but several MPs have complained to Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa that the place has become a white elephant, where, its employees [...]

External Affairs Ministry wants clarification on ‘American Corners”

The United States Embassy’s move to open an “American Corner” at the Urban Council-run Trincomalee Public Library has run into controversy. “We were made to understand that the US Embassy has opened such Corners in Kandy and Jaffna as well,” said Secretary to the Ministry of External Affairs, Karuntilaka Amunugama. “We want to know the [...]

Our man in India re-elected to UNCMW

Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner in India, Prasad Kariyawasam was re-elected to the UN Committee on Migrant Workers (CMW), at the election held at the United Nations Headquarters in New York on May 30, 2013. The election was for seven vacancies within the Committee. The other experts elected along with Ambassador Kariyawasam are from Argentina, Bangladesh, Honduras, [...]

Monsoon comes with south-west of country at risk of floods, landslides

The Western, Sabaragamuwa, Southern and Central Provinces are at risk of flooding and landslides, if heavy showers continue as a result of the activation of the South-West Monsoon, the Met Department warned yesterday. Duty meteorologist, Channa Rodrigo said that during the activation period, usually lasting three days, there will be fairly heavy showers measuring between 80 [...]

Heavy rains ‘bless’ Thai PM’s visit

Heavy rains ‘bless’ Thai PM’s visit

We must work to strengthen Buddhism as a religion and a way of life: Ms. Shinawatra in address to House The heavy downpour that accompanied the arrival of Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to Sri Lanka did not dampen the enthusiasm with which she was greeted when she arrived to address Parliament on Friday afternoon. Premier [...]

Chatham St. robbery: Police seek CCTV clues

Police are scrutinising recordings of a closed-circuit TV camera installed in the high security Chatham Street to nab a criminal gang which robbed a travel firm in the area and got away with cash and equipment worth more than Rs. 20 million on Tuesday. Police said the employees of the travel firm had complained that [...]

Northern polls: SC to decide on constitutionality of urgent bill

The Supreme Court on Tuesday will examine the constitutionality of the Registration of Electors (Special Provisions) Bill that seeks to enable internally-displaced people to vote in the electoral districts where they had their permanent residencies in the Northern Province. A Bench comprising Chief Justice Mohan Peiris and Justices Sathya Hettige and Rohini Marasinghe will go [...]

Dengue: Cure appears successful, prevention dogged by complacency, lack of staff

Dengue: Cure appears successful, prevention dogged by complacency, lack of staff

Child’s death due to improper diagnosis of illness? Their home down Dharmarama Road, Colombo 6, is strangely silent. Where there was children’s laughter and play, now there is only deep sorrow and mourning. For, the daughter of Fauzaan Farook and Fathima Naseem who would have celebrated her 6th birthday this month is no more. Little [...]

New insurance scheme in Saudi for SL’s female workers

A new insurance scheme aimed at protecting female domestic workers including Sri Lankans, is to be set up in Saudi Arabia at the earliest, but the authorities in Colombo said that the project is yet to be officially endorsed. “The new insurance mechanism known as the International Social Security Protection (ISSP) is a consortium made [...]

Bribery case against CP CM still pending in Colombo Magistrate’s Court

The bribery case against Central Province Chief Minister Sarath Ekanayake and three others is still pending in the Colombo Magistrate’s Court, Bribery Commission Director General Lakshmi Jayawickrama said. Ms. Jayawickrama said that the Bribery Commission has filed two motions in the Colombo Chief Magistrate Court and they are yet to be supported. She declined to [...]

Uncertainty looms over Chief Justice 43’s case in Supreme Court

Attorney General’s appeal rejected in respect of two PSC opposition MPs A five judge-Bench of the Supreme Court on Wednesday set aside the Special Leave to Appeal granted to the Attorney General (AG) to proceed with an appeal seeking to overturn the Appeal Court judgment which quashed the findings of the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) [...]

There’s very little left to plunder

There’s very little left to plunder

Massive holes in national heritage as unholy, unchecked and unabated desecration of archaeological sites by moneyed ‘investors’ continues with impunity.  Hundreds of archaeological sites, the majority of them Buddhist temple complexes, are plundered every week by organised gangs scouring for ancient treasure. The depredation is so acute that 122 offences were reported to the Archaeological [...]

The late monk was committed to his cause: Sihala Ravaya

The late monk was committed to his cause: Sihala Ravaya

The Buddhist monk who self-immolated outside the Dalada Maligawa in Kandy on Vesak Poya Day did not commit suicide but sacrificed himself to pressurise authorities to end animal slaughter in the country, a Buddhist organisation, said yesterday. “The claim that the Ven Bowatte Indraratane Thera committed suicide cannot be accepted. He was an animal rights [...]

Policemen, Uni. students injured in clash on Badulla-Colombo Road

Policemen, Uni. students injured in clash on Badulla-Colombo Road

At least 12 policemen including two senior officers and six students were injured in clashes between protesting students of the Sabaragamuwa University at Balangoda yesterday, while the main opposition United National Party (UNP) hit out at the use of force by the authorities. Seven students were arrested in the melee which erupted after police charged [...]

West Nile Virus making people ill here

West Nile Virus making people ill here

Joint university study identifies it as causing brain fever  A virus causing brain fever, a culprit in epidemics in some countries across the globe, has been identified for the first time in Sri Lanka as causing human disease here, by an important Colombo-Sri Jayeawardhanapura University joint study. The West Nile Virus (WNV) was identified as [...]

SLSI symbolises its commitment to safeguard vegetarians

SLSI symbolises its commitment to safeguard vegetarians

The Sri Lanka Standards Institution (SLSI) is to introduce a new symbol for vegetarian food and beverage manufacturers, food outlets and products, similar to standards such as SLS. A competition is to be held for the public to come up with symbols varying from the green dot to the green ‘V’. This will take place following [...]

Apparel Union calls on Govt. to release Inquiry Commission report

FTZ Worker Roshen Chanaka’s 2nd Death Anniversary An apparel trade union yesterday called on the Government to make public the report on the findings of the one-man Commission appointed to probe the circumstances that led to the death of a young factory worker, during a protest against the controversial private pension scheme. “It has been [...]

Touts with clout menace our valuable tourist industry

Touts with clout  menace our valuable tourist industry

Travellers more vulnerable as trend towards cheaper hotels grows Gabrielle Fisher, a busy engineer from Germany, came to Sri Lanka to de-stress with the island’s popular ayurvedic cures but she, like an increasing number of tourists beset by swarming, unrelenting touts, was left harassed and unhappy.  This is Ms Fisher’s first visit to Asia, and [...]

Vesak becomes a multi-ethnic festival

Tamils and Muslims organise dansals and flock to marvel at the pandals As the Vesak pandals are dismantled and re-packed for the Poson Poya celebrations later this month, there is a welcome realisation that the festival has become significant to Sri Lankans irrespective of ethnic or religious background. Sachithra Madushani, 22, a student from Panadura, said [...]

Court permits Interpol assistance for CID’s Matale grave investigation

International Police (INTERPOL) was this week given permission to assist in the probe of the mass grave found in Matale, following a request made by the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) to the court hearing the case. Permission was granted by Matale Magistrate Chaturuki de Silva, when the case was taken up on Friday. Also present in [...]

UPFA gets egg in the face from its PS delinquents

At least three members of UPFA dominated Pradeshiya Sabhas (PS) were involved in bloody intra-party clashes in separate incidents at Kelaniya and Bulathsinhala over the past week, prompting the party to warn its men to stay in line, or face the consequences. In one incident, Kelaniya PS Chairman Prasanna Ranaweera and PS member Nadika Sampath [...]

Victims of the trap gun

Nawagaththegama, a village in the Puttlam district, has many people with leg injuries, some limbless and some paralysed -all victims of trap guns meant for wild animals. One such victim, T.G. Jayaratne, a father of four lost his right leg in a trap gun accident. ”We are hardworking farmers and losing a limb affects our lives. Many a [...]

Raine resurrects slain Sunday Leader Editor in ‘And They Came For Me’

Raine resurrects slain Sunday Leader Editor in ‘And They Came For Me’

Launch of late Lasantha Wickrematunge’s Biography  A biography of former Sunday Leader Editor and journalist Lasantha Wickrematunge who was killed in January 2009, was launched this week. Titled ‘And Then They Came For Me’, the book is written by Wickrematunge’s ex-wife, journalist Raine Wickrematunge. It details his life from his early days, his entry into journalism, [...]

Fury as power charges rocket despite big fall in usage

Fury as power charges rocket despite big fall in usage

Consumer’s bill doubles despite 2-unit drop  Angry consumers have found that sharp reductions in electricity usage have not helped them with last month’s power bills, with one person’s bill having doubled under the new tariff and another’s usage drop of 40 per cent bringing no benefit at all. Sujeewa Lakmini, 39, a mother of three from [...]

CUFTU to formally protest President’s choice of new VC

CUFTU to formally protest President’s choice of new VC

Teachers’ unions of the Colombo University are to write to President Mahinda Rajapaksa, expressing concern about the appointment of Dr. Kumara Hirimburegama as their Vice Chancellor (VC). The unions are expected to meet tomorrow, said Executive Committee member of the Colombo University Federation of Teachers Unions’ (CUFTU), Dr Nirmal Ranjith Dewasiri. Dr Hirimburegama is the husband [...]

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