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Winds of change whisper in the trees

Winds of change whisper in the trees

With a fresh air of freedom blowing across the country in what is widely seen as the new era of good governance and democracy, the Civil Defence Force’s female pipers are seen rehearsing yesterday for the simple Independence Day ceremonies at Parliament Grounds on February 4. Pic by Indika Handuwela

Huge Highway robbery for polls

The Highways Ministry which came under former President Mahinda Rajapaksa spent a staggering Rs. 50 billion in excess of its allocation last year — with most of the money believed to have been busted on election propaganda work of the UPFA Government, a Cabinet minister said yesterday. Highways and Investment Promotion Minister Kabir Hashim told the [...]

Mansion tax to be revised; requires fine-tuning

The Government’s mini budget proposal to impose a ‘mansion tax’ of one million rupees on houses that are worth more than Rs. 100 million or having 5,000 square feet will be revised, Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake said yesterday. “There is considerable confusion over this levy. People have asked me what happens to large ancestral homes that [...]

Sirisena to visit India, Modi coming here

President Maithripala Sirisena will pay a two day official visit to India beginning February 16. The dates have been agreed upon during consultations between Colombo and New Delhi through diplomatic channels. In terms of this, a reciprocal visit by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will take place from March 13 to 15. During his visit, plans [...]

GSP Plus concessions likely again

Strong prospects of reviving the GSP plus tariff concessions from the European Union were held out by Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera yesterday. Prospects emerged when he negotiated with EU officials in Brussels, he said. He was commenting on his two-day visit to Brussels to urge the EU to delay by six months its ban on fish [...]

Fish export ban: EU experts coming here

European Union (EU) experts are coming here to review measures taken by the new Government in its bid to get a reversal of the recent ban on the export of Sri Lankan fish and fish products. The visit follows talks held in Brussels this week by Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera with the European Commission’s Environment, Maritime [...]

Debate on CJ issue in Parliament tomorrow

Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa has taken the unusual step of convening Parliament tomorrow by a special Gazette notification, two days ahead of the scheduled date, on a request by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. Parliament was to meet on February 5 after the conclusion of this year’s Independence Day celebrations but due to the demand by several opposition [...]

Justice Sripavan appointed CJ 44

Justice Sripavan appointed CJ 44

Justice Kanagasabapathy Sripavan was sworn in as Sri Lanka’s 44th Chief Justice before President Maithripala Sirisena on Friday. Chief Justice Sripavan was born on 29th February 1952 and studied at Hindu College, Jaffna and graduated from the Sri Lanka Law College as well as the Queen Mary & Westfield College of the University of London. [...]

‘Today will be remembered as the day when time and nature brought about justice’: CJ 43

‘Today will be remembered as the day when time and nature brought about justice’: CJ 43

Witnessing the erosion of justice and the downfall of this hallowed institution for the past 746 days was as painful as her unlawful impeachment, said Chief Justice 43 Shirani Bandaranayake on her final day at office. She was addressing the Supreme Court’s ceremonial sitting to mark her farewell, a day after she was reinstated to [...]

My removal unlawful, claims Peiris

Mohan Peiris, President’s Counsel said yesterday that he was appointed as Chief Justice following the proper removal of his predecessor Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake by Parliament and that his removal from the post is unconstitutional and unlawful. In a statement issued yesterday, he says that maintaining the dignity and decorum associated with the office of [...]

Letter to Peiris copied to CJ 43, adding she could resume her duties

The process for the removal of Mohan Peiris from the post of Chief Justice was set in motion on Wednesday after the President’s Secretary P.B.Abeykoon dispatched a letterto Mr. Peiris informing him that his appointment had no legal validity and had been void from the day he was appointed to the Bench. The letter from [...]

Gota gives elephants to Pinnawela

Former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa has handed over two elephant calves to the Pinnawala elephant orphanage, Deputy Tourism Minister Wasantha Senanyake said yesterday. He said the two calves, aged nine and three, were handed over to Pinnawala because Mr. Rajapaksa lacked resources to maintain them. The former defence secretary had obtained the elder calf in [...]

Child-safe high-rise design alert after tragic 75m fall

Child-safe high-rise design alert after tragic 75m fall

The tragic death of an unsupervised four-year-old child who fell 75m from the 21st floor of the luxury Havelock City apartment complex has thrown a spotlight on building safety codes and regulations as well as parental responsibility. “Eighty per cent of the investigation has concluded,” said the Officer in Charge of Wellawatte police, Inspector Frederick [...]

One dead, 3 injured in UL cabin crew’s Qatar desert safari tragedy

One dead, 3 injured in UL cabin crew’s Qatar desert safari tragedy

A SriLankan Airlines air hostess was killed and three others injured when their vehicle turned turtle during a desert safari ride in Doha, Qatar, yesterday evening, airline officials said. The remains of the deceased air hostess, Ammendra De Kauwe, a resident of Raddalouwa Housing Scheme, Seeduwa. will be brought to her family home on Monday, [...]

All UDA projects under microscope

All UDA projects under microscope

The Government is reviewing all projects under the Urban Development Authority – from low-income housing to mega development schemes – to ascertain their feasibility. The “usefulness and cost estimates and stipulated prices” of some UDA and Land Reclamation Board bear investigation, the newly appointed Secretary to the Ministry of Urban Development, Karunasena Hettiarachchi, said. He [...]

It’s elephant-hunting season – and the goodies are in charge

It’s elephant-hunting season – and the goodies are in charge

From next Wednesday, officials will begin raids on properties where elephants are being held illegally with the minister giving two weeks’ grace to surrender elephants, hoping this would stop panicking wrongdoers from killing the innocent animals. Environmentalists claim more than 50 elephants are being held illegally. Tourism Minister Naveen Dissanayake and Deputy Minister Wasantha Senananayake [...]

Steep drop in Jaffna vegetable prices

The prices of many vegetables have reduced sharply in the Jaffna Peninsula over the past one week with farmers saying excess produce was being sent to other parts of the country. A kilo of green chillies was yesterday selling at Rs.300, carrot at Rs. 140, capsicum at Rs. 300, tomatoes at Rs. 240, cabbage at [...]

Peace in the region as long as we talk to each other and not at each other: Indian HC

Peace in the region as long as we talk to each other and not  at each other: Indian HC

India is watching the progress of the hundred-day proramme closely Indian High Commissioner Y. K. Sinha said, adding that India was ready to help in domestic and diplomatic affairs. He made these remarks yesterday addressing the India Society dinner to mark the Republic day of India which fell on January 26. Expressing his confidence in [...]

Sri Lankan fatally burned in Hong Kong refugee slum

A young Sri Lankan man was fatally burned on Thursday morning in a blaze that destroyed the small corrugated iron shack in which he lived alone in a remote Hong Kong village. The unfortunate victim, a Tamil man believed to be in his mid-30s, had sought asylum in Hong Kong. His parents are in Jaffna, [...]

People thankful for moderate mercies, anticipate more of the same

People thankful for  moderate mercies,  anticipate more of the same

The interim Budget 2015, presented in Parliament on Thursday, introduced several measures that would bring relief to the public. A cross-section of the public said they expect the cost of living to reduce with the implementation of the proposals, pointing out that, if not for corruption and wastage, the benefits would have been greater.Following are [...]

Voting at workplace for hospital, port, airport staff moots Polls Chief

The Elections Commissioner is to recommend to the Government to allow hospital employees and staff at ports and airports to cast their vote at their respective institution on election day, a senior official attached to the Election Secretariat said. He said the proposal will be made to amend laws under the 100-Day programme so that [...]

Litro ‘rejected lower gas tender’ and public paid price

Litro ‘rejected lower gas tender’ and  public paid price

Consumers were forced to pay extra to purchase gas over the past two years as state-owned Litro Gas Lanka Ltd made an arbitrary decision to obtain gas supplies at a higher price despite international offers available at better rates, former employees have claimed. A complaint lodged by ex- employees of Litro Gas was handed in [...]

Independence Day parade to march to the tune of lower cost, says official

Men wearing the trademark blue overalls are hammering nails and erecting tents while the RDA workers paint the pavements and sweep the roads for the upcoming Independence Day celebrations on February 4 at Parliament Grounds in Sri Jayewardenepura Kotte. Under the theme “Splendid Country- Glorious Tomorrow” the 67th Independence Day celebration is to be a [...]

India House prior to the commencement of celebrations to mark Indian Republic day

India House prior to the commencement of celebrations to mark Indian Republic day

High Commissioner of India, Y.K. Sinha and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe  at India House prior to the commencement of celebrations to mark Indian Republic day which fell on January 26. Pic by Ranjith Perera

Bribery Commission receives over 300 complaints

Bribery Commission receives over 300 complaints

Out of over 300 complaints received by the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption 47 cases are major corruption allegations. Preliminary investigations on all complaints received have started while action is now being taken on complaints received before the election. Passports of a number of VIPs have been impounded in rapid succession. The [...]

Ban on sale of American apples relaxed

Apples imported from the United States of America -except for Granny Smith and Gala Apples and those originating from California – are safe for consumption, a circular issued revising the earlier ban, said. The earlier directive issued by Dr. Palitha Mahipala, the Director General of Public Health, instructed importers to recall all apples imported from [...]

Sand mining mafia’s days numbered

Sand mining mafia’s days numbered

President Maithripala Sirisena, who himself took on the Environment portfolio, will halt sand mining in Polonnaruwa from today (February 1). He has also ordered his officials to evaluate sustainable river-sand mining and look into alternatives. There has long been small-scale sand mining in the flood plains around Manampitiya Bridge in Polonnaruwa but operations rose sharply [...]

Tribunal of retired peers to probe allegations against judges

A motion to amend Standing Orders of Parliament including those dealing with the removal of judges, was tabled in the House this week by Rajiva Wijesinha, State Minister of Higher Education. This is part of the 100 day program that has been undertaken by the new government. Under the proposed amendments, instead of a Select [...]

Astrologers slam politicised soothsayers

Astrologers slam  politicised soothsayers

Several leading astrologers predicted doom for some of their colleagues who made false prophecies for political gain, bringing the profession into disrepute. They held a protest in Colombo this week, denouncing those astrologers who made false predictions due to political reasons. They said the people would lose faith in astrology, which has been practised in [...]

Vote on Interim Budget after debate on Feb.5

The Interim Budget 2015 presented to Parliament last Thursday, will be taken up for voting after a debate scheduled for Feb.5, said Minister Joseph Michael Perera.

Fuel pricing formula to keep in step with international market rates

Government will next month introduce a pricing formula for fuel where prices will vary according to international market rates, said Power and Energy Minister Champika Ranawaka. He said that fuel prices in the international market have been dropping since March last year, but the benefit had not been passed onto the consumers. He explained that [...]

Case against KP in Appeal Court on Thursday

The petition filed by the Peoples Liberation Front (JVP) seeking the arrest of former Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) arms procurer Kumaran Pathmanathan alias KP was taken up by the Court of Appeal on Tuesday and notice issued to the Attorney General to appear in court. The case will be taken up for hearing [...]

Valuable species of fish vanishing from our seas

Valuable species of fish vanishing from our seas

The escalating use of banned fishing nets in the seas off Kalpitiya has resulted in the wasteful killing of between 20,000 – 30,000 kilos of fish and poses a grave threat Antony Fonseka, president of ‘Our Lady of Sorrows Fisherman’s Organization’, based in the island of Battalangunduwa, said urgent action needed to be taken, as [...]

Right to Information law in Pakistan: Still in its infancy, but effective

The use of Right to Information (RTI) legislation in Pakistan is in its early days, but already, since comprehensive laws were put in place in two of the country’s four provinces, small but revolutionary changes are taking place exposing corruption and compelling authorities to be more transparent and accountable in their dealings. From forcing authorities [...]

JUEU calls for resignations of 14 University Council members

The Jaffna University Employees Union (JUEU) staged a protest in the university premises yesterday, demanding the immediate resignation of 14 external members of the University Council who were allegedly appointed by a former minister. Students, academic staff, and non academic staff participated in the protest against a bad political culture which had evolved at the University [...]

President on TV outlines good governance course

President Maithripala Sirisena said yesterday that the order placed by the previous government for a new aircraft to be used by the President has been revoked, and instead, the money would be utilised to buyspare parts for the aircraft of SriLankan Airlines and Mihin Lanka. The President, in an interview with the Independent Television Network (ITN), [...]

Uva Province new Cabinet sworn-in

The new Cabinet of the Uva Provincial Council under Chief Minister Harin Fernando was announced this week. The new ministers took their oaths before the Governor M.P.Jayasinghe. The Chief Minister is to hold the portfolios of Finance, Policy Planning, Law and Peace, Education, Social Welfare, Rural Development and Infrastructure. Provincial Council Minister Ravindra Samaraweera has been [...]

Poor public school students exempted from paying fees: Education Ministry

State schools cannot compel parents or students to pay school fees. If a child is unable to pay school fees due to financial difficulties, they must be exempted from doing so, subject to a letter issued by the gramasevaka, certifying the circumstances of the child concerned, the Education Ministry said. This is one of the [...]

6% of GDP allocated for Education within 6 years

Interim Budget 2015 presented in Parliament this week, promised a gradual allocation of 6% of GDP for Education. This increase comes with a host of other increases in allowances for the Education sector. Other countries in the region are spending a comparatively higher percentage on Education, which makes an increased expenditure on Education by the [...]

No preference for ‘Special Lists’ children in school admissions

No more preference will be given to children coming on ‘special lists’ for school admissions, including Grade 1, new Education Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam has decided. Minister Kariyawasam told the Education Times that investigations had revealed that students who attended Carlton Pre-schools were given preference in school admissions. The pre school was backed by former [...]

Law College students miss lectures demanding talks with Justice Minister

Law College students miss lectures demanding talks with Justice Minister

Most Colombo Law College students are on strike by not attending classes, until given an opportunity to discuss concerns with Minister of Justice, Wijeyadasa Rajapaksha, said Law Student’s Union Secretary Dasun Perera. “We have been promised an opportunity for a discussion with the Minister of Justice regarding a number of issues including student suppression, installing [...]

Visit varsity hostels, report necessary action- Prof Wijesinha directs VCs

Visit varsity hostels, report necessary action- Prof Wijesinha directs VCs

On Prof Rajiva Wijesinha’s instructions, Vice Chancellors (VC) of all State universities have been directed by the Higher Education Ministry to submit reports on shortcomings of all hostel facilities managed by their institutions. This followed discussions between State Minister for Higher Education, Prof Wijesinha and the VCs under the 100-Day programme, said Higher Education Secretary, [...]

Mahindodaya Tech. Lab sans teachers drives students 40km for IT practicals

Mahindodaya Tech. Lab sans teachers drives students 40km for IT practicals

Parents of students of Al Aqsa National school, Kalpitiya, complain that the School, with a student body of 2000, lacks a computer and an IT teacher, while the Mahindodaya Technology Lab remains closed from the day it was recently handed over to students at an official ceremony. Students preparing for the GCE OL and AL [...]

UGC Chairperson receives Hon. Doctorate by Malaysian University

UGC Chairperson receives  Hon. Doctorate by Malaysian University

Prof Kshanika Hirimburegama was conferred an Honorary Doctorate from the Management & Science University of Malaysia, in recognition of her contribution and dedication to the development of Higher Education in Sri Lanka, and her commitment to elevate the vision of the University Grants Commission (UGC).

Previous regime’s Secondary schools closure will be addressed assures AVK

Education Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam has assured that he will address the issue of Secondary schools scheduled to be closed down by the former regime. “Secondary schools in the country today, are a hotbed of serious issues. I will in the future take measures regarding (Secondary) schools that were closed down recently or lack proper [...]

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