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Flood havoc: Polls chief reviews Jan. 8 election

A review on whether the presidential election can be conducted on January 8 in districts where floods and landslides have affected nearly a million people is now being carried out by the Commissioner of Elections Mahinda Deshapriya. The decision will follow another review meeting with the District Secretaries, Deputy Commissioner M.M. Mohamed told the Sunday Times. [...]

Calamity in 18 districts; 21 killed, one million displaced

Calamity in 18 districts; 21 killed, one million displaced

Floods and landslides continue to claim lives with the death toll reaching 21 by yesterday while another eight people were missing and 15 injured.  Nearly a million people in 18 districts have been hit by the intense rainy weather that has raged for more than a week. The Disaster Management Centre said the highest number of [...]

Blazing exposure of CPC’s multi-billion rupee losses

The Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) lost a staggering Rs. 3.2 billion in just six months due to bad procurement procedures and mismanagement, the Auditor General’s latest report shows. The other areas of mismanagement include failure to conduct timely and dependable laboratory tests, inability to meet challenges arising from market vagaries, overspending and delay in securing crude [...]

Which way SLMC? Decision today

The Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) will announce today its decision which of the two main candidates it would support at the January 8 presidential election, a member of the party’s high command said last night. He said party leader Rauff Hakeem would meet Muslim religious dignitaries at 6 a.m. today and thereafter an announcement would [...]

Stones thrown at CBK, Hirunika

Stones thrown at CBK, Hirunika

Former President Chandrika Kumaratunga has complained to the Police that she and Western Provincial Councilor Hirunika Premachandra were hooted at and a Beruwela house where they were having dinner after a political rally was stoned by goons on Friday night. After the rally in the Beruwela town, the former President and Ms. Premachandra were having dinner [...]

Monitors get training on polls laws

Training of monitors to be deployed for the Presidential election has got underway by the respective monitoring groups. Polls observers are being briefed about the election laws and action which could be initiated in the event of election law violations. Over 15,000 observers from seven monitoring groups are to be deployed island wide. The Centre [...]

Cross section of crossovers

Cross section of crossovers

In this season of crossovers, among those who changed allegiance are the sons of two well-known politicians. Navin Dissanayake, son of the late Gamini Dissanayake, who served as the Minister of Public Management Reforms in the Mahinda Rajapaksa Govt., till recently, quit and pledged his support to Maithripala Sirisena. Few days later, Opposition Leader of [...]

Shed differences, victory or defeat, unite to welcome the Pope: Cardinal Ranjith

Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith has urged everyone to come together, devoid of Party differences and irrespective of whoever emerges victorious at the January 8 Presidential election, to welcome the Holy Father next month. At a news conference last week, the Cardinal said, “Just moments prior to the Papal address following the Holy Father’s appointment to office, [...]

No loss to the country through the construction of expressways: RDA

No loss to the country through the construction of expressways: RDA

Road development and its costs have become the focus of intense discussion, particularly in the political arena, R.W.R. Pemasiri, the Road Development Authority’s (RDA) Acting Chairman admitted this week. He was reacting to an article in the Sunday Times by transport and logistics expert Prof. Amal S. Kumarage titled ‘Road Building or rip-off?’ Below are [...]

Discussions going on regarding recruitment of staff to SLT : CEO

The Engineers’ Union attached to Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT)has written to the Telecommunications and Information Technology Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya expressing concern over the alleged decision by the management to recruit 2000 temporary workers attached to an SLT subsidiary company. The union charges that 90 percent of the management consists of professional engineers and that a [...]

Christmas dampened by rain

Christmas dampened by rain

Christians across Sri Lanka remembered the birth of Jesus Christ with happiness in their hearts whether kneeling at a church altar or enjoying a cooked meal at a camp set up for forlorn flood victims – but the barrage of rain and the disasters brought in its wake dampened seasonal high spirits. Christian devotees of [...]

Asleep in an ‘awakened’ country

Asleep in an ‘awakened’ country

A man lies fast asleep where posters have been put up in support of President Mahinda Rajapaka. The posters read, ‘ Deshaya Avadi Kala – Api Hemomage Janapathi – Mahinda’ (Mahinda our President who awakened the nation). Pic by Indika Handuwala

Flashback 2014

2014 was marked with several upheavals in the political landscape of the country. The year also saw the rise of ethnic tensions while nature too took its toll on the country, first with a severe drought affecting several areas followed by floods and landslides that left many dead and homeless. Here is a look back: [...]

EAM blocks Taiwan polls monitors

The External Affairs Ministry this week turned down a request from a monitoring body to bring 15 international election monitors from Taiwan, a spokesman for the monitoring group said. Chief Coordinator of the Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) D.M. Dissanayake told the Sunday Times that they were informed by the Elections Commissioner that he [...]

Dual citizenship process streamlined

A proposal by President Mahinda Rajapaksa to adopt a new administrative procedure in the granting of dual citizenship was approved by the Cabinet this week.However, the new procedures are yet to be communicated to the Department of Immigration, Acting Controller M. N. Ranasinghe said. “There were a few changes in the draft policy sent to [...]

Floods continue to displace thousands

Floods continue to displace thousands

The ongoing floods have affected nearly a million persons. Over the past week atmospheric abnormalities brought in unexpected levels of rainfall all over the island. Resultantly, water levels at several reservoirs rose, forcing the irrigation department to open sluice gates. The rivers of water gushing out of the tanks flash flooded the surrounding areas forcing [...]

BASL invites main Presidential candidates to ‘State-of-the-Nation’ discussion

The two main presidential candidates have been invited by the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) for a discussion on a range of topics including the rule of law, independence of the judiciary, good governance, ensuring law and order and the elimination of corruption in the country. In a letter sent to both President Mahinda [...]

Grade 5 student drowns in river

A grade 5 student died on Christmas Day, drowning in the Karandeniya river, a Coroner’s court was told. A student of Malharus Madya Maha Vidyalaya in Galle, Rishan Fathima had visited her aunt for the vacation when the incident took place. The coroner’s court was told that Fathima was bathing in the river with her [...]

Misery for a million as rain lashes country

Misery for a million as rain lashes country

On Friday, as the country joined in solemn commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the devastating tsunami, newer tragedies occurred as five bodies were recovered from Rilpola, Hali-ela in Badulla after an earth embankment collapsed on houses. Twenty people are still missing there. The same day, another four bodies were found in Karunapura and Hegoda [...]

Police allowing attacks on Opposition, watchdog charges

Police allowing  attacks on  Opposition, watchdog charges

Police sat on their haunches while attacks on opposition activists occurred with impunity over the country, an election watchdog charged as the Elections Department said violence was on the rise in the presidential election contest between incumbent Mahinda Rajapaksa and Mr. Maithripala Sirisena. The Campaign for Free and fair Elections (CaFFE) Executive Director, Keerthi Tennekoon [...]

Only President Rajapaksa is campaigning for President Rajapaksa!

Only President Rajapaksa is campaigning for  President Rajapaksa!

Often, the essence of a political situation is captured by a story. This story says President Mahinda Rajapaksa was in his element at a campaign rally in Kurunegala and asked his audience what they wanted. “We want boats”, they shouted. Puzzled, he asked why people in Kurunegala were asking for boats. “Ayi sir, api Matara [...]

No violence at postal voting but polls law violations, say election monitors

No violence at postal voting but polls law violations, say election monitors

The independent election monitors said yesterday that postal voting for the Presidential elections concluded this week without any major violence but there were serious election law violations reported throughout the country. The independent election monitoring body Campaign for Free and Fair Elections (CaFFE) said there were serious breaches in election laws in postal voting which [...]

Polls monitors allege blatant abuse of state resources by UPFA

Polls monitors allege blatant abuse of state resources by UPFA

Election monitoring groups say there has been an increase in the misuse of public assets as well as the use of government employees for election related work over the past week. Abuse of State resources has become a common feature in the regional election propaganda campaigns with supporters of the ruling Party candidate violating more [...]

NCE Student teachers’ monthly allowance up by Rs 1,000 to Rs 3,500

Cabinet approved Education Minister Bandula Gunawardena’s proposal to increase the monthly allowance of student teachers in National Colleges of Education, during their academic training period, by Rs 1,000, to Rs 3,500, and during the in-service training period by Rs 1,000, to Rs 4,000 per month, in keeping with the 2015 Budget proposals. This Monthly Allowance [...]

Presidential poll candidates’ manifestos woo Education sector

From introducing a new Education Act next year to admitting 100,000 students annually into State Universities by 2020, are among the plans for Primary to Tertiary Education in President Rajapaksa’s manifesto for the forthcoming Presidential elections. His manifesto, ‘Lova Dinana Maga’, stated that a Presidential Commission will be appointed to bring about a permanent solution [...]

HNDA Diplomates demand Degrees

HNDA Diplomates demand Degrees

Students of Higher National Diploma in Accountancy (HNDA) on Monday conducted a demonstration in front of the University Grants Commission (UGC) in Colombo. What started out as a peaceful demonstration turned into a violent clash between police and students when police used tear gas and water cannon to prevent the students from breaking into the [...]

A/L results out on Dec. 27

This year’s Advanced Level (A/L) exam candidates are requested to check their results available on the Exam Dept’s website Commissioner General of Examinations W.M.N.J. Pushpakumara said the results will be released on December 27 (Saturday). Candidates can obtain their results from the website, or from mobile service providers. Further assistance is available on Exam [...]

WPC to spend additional Rs 4,000 per student with WB assistance

The Western Provincial Council will spend an additional Rs 4,000 per child in public schools in the province, WPC Education Secretary M.A.B. Daya Senarath told the Education Times. He said that, accordingly, some 721,000 students in the WP will benefit as additional amounts will be spent on Educational activities, Library facilities, IT facilities and Sports [...]

Schoolchildren’s flood-damaged textbooks, uniforms will be replaced- Ed. Min. Sec.

Schoolchildren’s flood-damaged textbooks, uniforms will be replaced- Ed. Min. Sec.

Textbooks and uniforms already issued to schoolchildren and damaged in the floods, will be reissued, Education Ministry Secretary Anura Dissanayake told the Sunday Times. He said that textbooks and uniform material were handed over to the children at the start of their school vacation earlier in the month. “With floods in several areas, we have [...]

1,000th ‘Nenasala’ opened at Galigamuwa

The 1,000th ‘Nenasala’ under the ‘1,000 Nenasala’ Project was declared open at the Bisovela Rajamaha Vihara in Galigamuwa on Friday, the Information Dept said. The Library ‘1000 Nenasala project’ was launched with the inauguration of the first ‘Nenasala’ at the historic Kataragama Kirivehera on January 1, 2005, with the aim of empowering the rural folk [...]

Book on ‘Peace & HR’ for Secondary school launched by Ed. Min.

A book on Peace and the importance of securing Human Rights (HR) was launched by the Education Ministry last week. The book, ‘Save Rights for Peace’, targeting Secondary schoolchildren (Grades 6-11), is published in Sinhala, Tamil and English languages, with the assistance of ‘Save the Children’ organisation. The Ministry said plans are afoot to distribute [...]

Suspend opening Mahindodaya school labs during election period: Polls Chief to Ed. Min.

The Elections Commissioner has directed the Education Ministry of to suspend any ceremony to open new Laboratories under the Mahindodaya Scheme, during the Presidential election period. Accordingly, the Education Ministry has suspended all ceremonial openings of Mahindodaya laboratories in State schools during this period. Objections were raised to the Election Commission by the Observation Front [...]

Pirivena Teacher-trainer centre on 32-acre State land

Thirty-two (32) acres of State land has been set aside to build a Trainer Centre for Pirivena teachers in the Eswatte area in Avissawella, said Education Minister Bandula Gunawardena. “This is the first time such a center is being built in the country,” he said. “This Centre, which will provide six-months in-house training to Pirivena [...]

Fonterra anchors to grass roots with clean water, sanitary facilities to school

Fonterra anchors to grass roots with clean water, sanitary facilities to school

Fonterra Brands Sri Lanka along with Kansarmen Sri Lanka Foundation recently provided 170 schoolchildren of Akaravita Maha Vidyalaya, Hanwella, with access to clean running water, sanitary facilities and a newly renovated school hall. At the opening, Fonterra announced the launch of its Grass Roots Fund for community projects that will have a positive social, economic [...]

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