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China, China everywhere

China, China everywhere

Made-in-China kites swamp Colombo’s public promenade, the Galle Face Green, during this kite-flying season. A Chinese construction site forms the backdrop as local companies complain that 40 percent of the local construction industry is in Chinese hands. Pic by Priyantha Wickramarachchi

Palaly to be upgraded to a regional airport

Three ministries are seeking Cabinet approval to upgrade the Palaly Airport to the level of a regional airport and operate flights to South Indian cities by the end of this year, a senior cabinet minister said yesterday. A joint cabinet paper is to be submitted by the ministries of Transport and Civil Avaition, Policy Planning [...]

Private hospital charges to be controlled; Gazette next week

The Health Ministry will next week gazette maximum charges for tests, treatment and surgery at private hospitals, Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne told the Sunday Times. Accordingly, 53 medical and surgical procedures including lab tests, scans, examination reports, cataract operations, bypass surgery, and angiogram charges will have a maximum charge which hospitals will required to adhere [...]

Railway unions insist on salary revision by Wednesday

Railway trade unions are insisting that the demands for a revision of their salaries and grades be resolved instead of waiting till a salary review committee makes it report in two months. Locomotive Engineers Union (LOEU) General Secretary D.H. Indika told the Sunday Times that they would call a strike if their demands were not [...]

Despite protests, WPC to buy chairs costing Rs. 640,000 each

Protests notwithstanding, the Western Provincial Council will spend Rs 86 million to import luxury chairs for its members. “An order for 135 chairs, each worth Rs 640,000 has been placed with a Belgian supplier,” the council’s Chief Secretary Pradeep Yasaratna told the Sunday Times. There are only 104 members in the council. This means there [...]

CMC members vote to double their allowance

Colombo Municipal Council members this week voted to more than double their monthly allowance from Rs 20,000 to Rs 45,000. The Rs. 25,000 hike was proposed by Colombo Mayor Rosy Senanayake and passed by a vote at the General Council meeting held on Friday. This grants the 119 members of the CMC a monthly allowance [...]

Youths tired of politicians and elections; dip in voter registration

A drop in voter registration, especially among the country’s youth, has been observed in the latest enumeration process, Election Commission Chairman Mahinda Deshapriya told the Sunday Times. “I don’t think parties or politicians should be blamed entirely. The youth are not against individual parties or politicians, but against the system as a whole. We have [...]

Permanent High Court-at-Bar in action from Thursday

The Permanent High Court-at-Bar set up to hear high profile cases of financial fraud and corruption, began sittings on Thursday (23), and will fix dates for the continuous hearing of the case against former Chief of Staff of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Gamini Senarath, Piyadasa Kudabalage, Neil Bandara and Lasantha Bandara, at its next hearing [...]

Memories of World War II

Japan’s Defence Minister Itsunori Onodera during a visit to Trincomalee is seen inspecting the site where three Japanese pilots rammed their fighter aircraft into an oil tank during World War II. Pic by A. Amarajeewa

US 7th Fleet sailors, Marines here to conduct exercises and explore logistics support services

As part of a growing United States-Sri Lanka naval partnership, amphibious transport dock USS Anchorage (LPD 23), with the embarked 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), arrived in Trincomalee, Sri Lanka, for a scheduled port visit on Friday, the US embassy in Colombo said. The visit follows the Sri Lankan Navy’s inaugural participation in exercise Rim [...]

Rosy says no Buddha statue missing despite contrary claims

A Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) member representing the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) has called for an inquiry into a marble Buddha statue gone missing at the Mayor’s office. However, Mayor Rosy Senanayake denies there was a Buddha statue in her room, and the statue outside her room, still remains intact. SLPP Member Shermila Gonawela [...]

De La Rue sets the record straight

Following a recent article relating to the production of Sri Lanka’s banknotes, published in the Sunday Times of August 19, 2018, De La Rue Lanka has issued the following statement, to present a more accurate picture of the current situation reported in the media recently. As confirmed by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) [...]

Barman arrested for selling liquor sans licence

A leading Tourist Hotel in Ambakandawila, Chilaw, was raided by the Crime Division of the Excise Department, for selling liquor without a licence. The raid followed complaints by area residents. The 35-year-old barman was arrested for selling foreign and local liquor worth over Rs 900,000, sans a licence. Investigations revealed that the Tourist hotel’s liquor [...]

Over 3,000 suspects nabbed in special police operation

More than 3,000 suspects were arrested and nearly 5,000 motorists booked for traffic offences in an 11-hour countrywide police operation that began on Friday at 9 p.m. and went on till 8 a.m. yesterday. Among those arrested, 700 had outstanding arrests warrants, while some 828 suspects were taken in for narcotics related offences and another [...]

Delimitation vote: Musthapha’s swing draws opposition flak

Provincial Councils Minister Faiszer Musthapha’s voting against the Delimitation Committee report that he himself presented to Parliament has drawn strong criticism from opposition members. Mr Musthapha submitted the report to Parliament on Friday morning, and in the evening voted against it,saying there were shortcomings in the report. His action has been described as a rare [...]

Kandy sees huge crowds for final night perahera

An unprecedented large crowd turned up to watch the final Randoli Perahera in Kandy last night, forcing the Police to block off the inner city area by 5 p.m. Crowds had taken their places from earlier in the day and the viewing stands were filled up earlier than expected. Hotels on the perhera route were [...]

Sirisena reaches out to farmers; grassroots approach to presidential campaign

Sirisena reaches out to farmers; grassroots approach to presidential campaign

At just quarter past 6 p.m. last Monday, an immaculately white clad Maithripala Sirisena walked into a group of journalists and officials to showcase his latest effort to reach out to the farmers. What unfolded before some 75 journalists and officials at the main hall of Janadipathi Mandiraya made clear, once more, that he would [...]

Prof. Hasbullah passes away

Prof. S. H. Hasbullah, prominent civic rights activist and member of the Provincial Councils Delimitation Commission, passed away yesterday. He was a retired senior geography lecturer at the University of Peradeniya and a Council Member of the University of Jaffna. He obtained his doctorate from the Victoria University in Canada. He was a past pupil [...]

Lending to support youth business aspirations

Lending to support youth business aspirations

“Thurunu Diriya” a small loans scheme of the Bank of Ceylon is opening up opportunity for young entrepreneurs to develop their businesses and contribute to the national economy and to their personal advancement. One young female entrepreneur who obtained a “Thurunu Diriya” loan started a small business. T L A Sewwandi, 31, operates a salon, [...]

ONUR-sponsored Radio Plays receive bad reception

ONUR-sponsored Radio Plays receive bad reception

The names of several Radio dramas connected to the Office of National Unity & Reconciliation (ONUR) headed by former President Chandrika Kumaratunga, will be changed, after objections from certain quarters that some names of the plays are offensive to Buddhists. The issue was first raised by Ven. Omalpe Sobitha Thera, over the Radio drama series, [...]

Unanimous rejection by House a blessing in disguise for Yahapalanaya

One thing that became crystal clear by what transpired in Parliament this week is that, the Government has little interest in holding Provincial Councils (PC) elections any time soon, while the Opposition has no interest in bringing about Electoral reforms, prior to the polls. Hence, after a daylong debate, the 814-page-Report of the Committee for [...]

Delimitation Report an exercise in futility to buy time

Delimitation Report an  exercise in futility to buy time

The Report of the Delimitation Committee (DC) for the Delimitation of Electorates in Provincial Councils (PC) was unanimously rejected by Parliament on Friday. In the division that was taken, no votes were cast in favour, while 139 voted against it. The Report had to be approved by a majority of two-thirds voting in its favour, [...]

Authorities and prisoner rights activists trade barbs over riots

Authorities and prisoner rights  activists trade barbs over riots

A legal battle is looming between the Prisons Department and an organisation representing the rights of prisoners following the recent protests by female remand prisoners at the Welikada Prison. After Monday’s protests by female prisoners turned violent, 61 inmates were transferred to other prisons. The Prisons Department claims they were directly involved in the unrest. [...]

Lankan citizens’ foreign spouses beset by visa woes

Lankan citizens’ foreign spouses beset by visa woes

Every two years, 80-year-old Gunvor Pieris trundles off to the Department of Immigration and Emigration to get her Sri Lankan resident visa renewed. And she has been doing this for more than fifty years. Like every other foreign spouse with a Sri Lankan partner, Gun isn’t entitled to permanent residency in this country–not ever. The [...]

BoC’s millions in LKR, US$ loans on LoCs kept SriLankan airborne

BoC’s millions in LKR, US$ loans on LoCs kept SriLankan airborne

A Commission of Inquiry (CoI), appointed to investigate alleged irregularities in connection with SriLankan Airlines Ltd (SriLankan), SriLankan Catering Ltd (SL Catering) and Mihin Lanka (Pvt) Ltd (Mihin), from January 1, 2006 to January 31, 2018, was told this week, how the State-owned Bank of Ceylon (BoC) pumped millions in rupees and dollars into Srilankan [...]

Nuwara Eliya suffers in treacherous conditions

Nuwara Eliya suffers in  treacherous conditions

For two weeks now, the rough, wet weather has been causing severe hardships to Nuwara Eliya residents and their cultivations. Some people are using heating to dry their washing, while others who have vehicles, are going out of town to Uva Paranagama, 20 kilometres from Nuwara Eliya, or areas areas near Kandy to dry their [...]

Exhibitors, English film importers standoff continues

Amid the legal battle over the attempt by the National Film Corporation to take over distribution from the private sector, a bitter dispute between film exhibitors and importers has plunged the film industry into further turmoil. At the centre of the dispute is the distribution of English language films by importers, with some exhibitors alleging [...]

Two ‘made-in-Japan’ FPVs bolster Sri Lanka Coast Guard

Two ‘made-in-Japan’ FPVs bolster  Sri Lanka Coast Guard

Two new fast patrol vessels (FPV), custom-made in Japan for the Sri Lanka Coast Guard (SLCG) and equipped for, among other things, marine pollution control, will be commissioned on Wednesday. The 1.8bn yen (Rs 2.4bn) project was funded by a Japan International Coorporation Agency (JICA) grant. Both vessels underwent extensive sea trials during the last [...]

Three wheelers to be regularised under a new Commission

Three wheelers to be regularised under  a new Commission

A regulatory mechanism will be established for three-wheelers once Parliament passes an Act to transform the National Council for Road Safety (NCRS) into a Commission, a top official said. NCRS Chairman Dr Sisira Kodagoda told the Sunday Times that the new commission will coordinate with Provincial Councils (PCs) to streamline the regulation of all transport [...]

‘Mason baas’ label drives youth away from building boom

‘Mason baas’ label drives youth away from building boom

The government’s decision not to bar youth from becoming trishaw drivers has crushed the hopes of the construction industry, which wants young people to get out of three-wheelers and boost the painfully thin ranks of building industry workers. “There is a huge demand for construction workers in the country. The ration of skilled to unskilled [...]

Urgent need to review Grade 5 Scholarship Examination system

Urgent need to review Grade 5 Scholarship Examination system

Arriving at a National Consensus (NC) on any subject has always posed a problem to successive Governments. Currently, the Constitutional Reform process provides an example of the divisive nature of our polity, where agreement on core national issues is difficult to reach, sometimes due to genuine differences of opinion and sometimes due to political reasons. [...]

Perahera elephant damages police vehicle

An elephant participating in the Pattini Devale section of the Kandy Esala Perahera damaged a Police vehicle when the elephant made a sudden U-turn. This happened towards the end of the Perahera when the elephant carrying the Devale emblems had attacked a flanking elephant, the Abeyarama elephant from Matara. The runaway elephants were brought under [...]

A magnificent pageant

A magnificent pageant

The Kandy Dalada Perahera in procession on Friday night. Pic by L B Senaratne

Resplendent tusker carries Karanduwa

Resplendent tusker carries Karanduwa

Vasana, the Kataragama tusker, resplendent in his ‘new’ attire, carried the Golden Karanduwa majestically on Friday night. The Diyawadana Nilame Pradeep Nilanga Dela, followed. The Perahera ends today with the Day Perahera.

After the crowds have been and gone

After the crowds have been and gone

A worker cleans up the mess made by perahera watchers

Pond for perahera elephants

Pond for perahera elephants

Bathing spots for elephants, especially tuskers, have run dry and these elephants now have to rely on pipe borne water for bathing within the City of Kandy. The fountain in front of the Pattini Devale has become one of the main bathing points for most elephants after their nightly procession and inevitably the fountain has [...]

Pick of the Pix

Pick of the Pix

 Pics by Amila Gamage, S.R. Pathiravithana, Priyantha Wickramarachchi, Shelton Hettiarachchi, Eshan Fernando & Rahul Samantha Hettiarachchi

The curse of the railways

The curse of the railways

With Railway Trade Unions planning to launch a fresh strike next week demanding salary allowances after talks failed with authorities, the public who use this mode of transport on a daily basis have voiced their concerns over the quality of the service provided by the department and its employees. Cracked windows, poorly managed lavatories, water [...]

Whip-tailed beauty spotted in Yala’s Menik Ganga

Whip-tailed beauty spotted in Yala’s Menik Ganga

Yala is a paradise for spotted animals such as leopard and deer, but the spotty creature found last week in the Manik Ganga near Kosgasmankada was unusual. A party having a dip in the river’s shallows found a long-tailed creature with a disc-shaped body patterned with many small dark spots or reticulations. Biologist Rex I. [...]

‘Colombo Defence Seminar 2018′, from Aug.30-31, at the BMICH

The Sri Lanka Army’s (SLA) annual international conference, ‘Colombo Defence Seminar 2018′, will be held for the 8th time at the BMICH from August 30-31. Since 2011, it has brought together strategists, intellectuals and stakeholders in an interactive forum to share knowledge, experience, build relationships as well as discuss policies and countermeasures to deal with [...]

Navy sets up RO plants in a bid to provide safe drinking water in CKD prone areas

Navy sets up RO plants in a bid to provide  safe drinking water in CKD prone areas

As part of another community service project being implemented by the Navy, 13 Reverse Osmosis (RO) plants set up at several locations in the North Western province were declared open by President Maithripala Sirisena through the Remote Sensing Technology, at Polpithigama on Friday. Chief of Staff of the Sri Lanka Navy Rear Admiral Piyal de [...]

Comrade Siriwardene passes away

S. Siriwardene, a veteran trade unionist from the early 1950s, passed away yesterday. According to the Ceylon Federation of Labour (CFL), Mr. Siriwardene was associated with the late Philip Gunawardene in his trade union work. He was an active practitioner at the country’s labour tribunals from the time they came into being until he fell [...]

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