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SEC chairman ousted as probes on 17 ‘players’ near completion

SEC chairman ousted as probes on 17 ‘players’ near completion

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) yesterday expressed concern over the resignation of Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chairman Tilak Karunaratne, as investigations on irregularities and unlawful activities by 17 alleged market manipulators were nearing completion. Dr. Karunaratne, who resigned on Friday, after a losing battle to strengthen the regulatory process, told the Sunday Times that [...]

Sweeping tax concessions for new hotel company

Sweeping tax concessions  for new hotel company

The Government has announced several tax concessions for the company that will construct and operate the 475-room Hyatt Group city hotel. The venture in Kollupitiya has been identified as a Strategic Development Project with a total investment of US$ 158 million and as a project of “national interest that is likely to bring economic and [...]

Careful when washing cars, or taking your dog for a walk

A statute approved by the Western Provincial Council recently on preventing public health nuisances makes it illegal to wash vehicles on any road in such a manner that it makes the area unclean or becomes a nuisance to the public. The statute also makes it a punishable offence to allow any animal to pass faeces [...]

One power crisis after another

One power crisis after another

The 300-megawatt (MW) Norochcholai Power Station in Puttalam broke down last week for technical reasons, making this the sixth time the power plant has stalled since the coal power plant started operating last year. This time the problem was saline deposits on the Norochcholai-Veyangoda transmission line, according to the Ministry of Power and Energy. The [...]

Offshore detention centres will not deter asylum-seekers, says Navy spokesman

Offshore detention centres  will not deter asylum-seekers, says Navy spokesman

The Sri Lanka Navy says the Australian government’s proposal to set up offshore detention centres for refugees arriving by boat would alone not deter people from illegally trying to enter the country. On Thursday, the Australian Parliament passed an amendment to allow the re-opening of offshore detention centres for migrants and asylum-seekers arriving in Australia [...]

Opposition is trying to put spokes in election wheel – President

President Mahinda Rajapaksa chided the Opposition for not playing its role and for its reluctance to face elections. Addressing the UPFA’s inaugural provincial election rally in Anuradhapura, President Rajapaksa said that when he and his Party colleagues were in the Opposition they called for elections, while the current Opposition was seeking to stop elections through [...]

Rs. 750 m allocated for eight domestic airports

A sum of Rs. 750 million has been allocated for the construction of eight domestic airports – in Koggala, Kandy, Nuwara Eliya, Sigiriya, Batticaloa, Trincomalee, Ampara, and Palaviya. Part of the money will be used to develop the Ratmalana airport, Minister of Civil Aviation Priyankara Jayaratna told the Sunday Times. He added that the Sri [...]

Power crisis adds chaos to the street

Power crisis adds chaos to the street

The current power cuts are adding to the traffic chaos in Colombo as seen in this picture taken on Friday evening at the Baseline Road-Maligawatte junction. With the colour lights not functioning the traffic policemen are seen struggling to bring some order in this area which is usually a traffic nightmare. Pic by Mangala Weerasekera

Dispute with Britain over Sea Marshals

A Rajagiriya-based private security firm operating a floating armoury in Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is at the centre of diplomatic row between Sri Lanka and Britain over the issue of weapons to Sea Marshals who provide security against Somali pirates. The Ministry of Defence in Colombo wants Sea Marshals, armed men who [...]

Lanka challenges UK warning on sex crimes, nationalism

Sri Lanka will challenge a British Government travel advisory warning Britons over an upsurge of nationalism, sexual offences and anti-western rhetoric, a senior official said yesterday.External Affairs Ministry Secretary Karunatillake Amunugama said they were treating the matter with utmost seriousness owing to the tone and timing of the advisory. “We are studying the statement put [...]

From bad diesel to usable diesel

In a convoluted way out of the contaminated diesel saga, the Government will now try to adjust the composition (the mix of components) of the fuel to make it compatible with the engines. State owned vehicles will undergo “special tests” to find the right mix for their engines, Petroleum Minister Susil Premajayantha said yesterday. The Ceylon [...]

Water contaminated, typhoid in Colombo

Water contaminated, typhoid in Colombo

The Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) yesterday warned residents not to drink water from eating houses and restaurants as cases of typhoid, a water borne disease, had increased during the last fortnight. The municipiality’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Pradeep Kariawasam told the Sunday Times yesterday these eateries were serving contaminated water from tube wells.A Sunday Times [...]

Maria Fonseka passes away

Maria Fonseka, mother of Wijeya Newspapers Ltd’s Assistant General Manager (Circulation) Rohan Fonseka, passed away on Friday. She is also the mother of photographer Upali Fonseka and nine other children. Her remains are lying at 19/6, Thelangapatha Road, Wattala. Cortege leaves residence at 3.00 p.m. today and the burial will take place at the Roman [...]

Trade hub to figure in Sri Lanka-India talks

India has appointed seven persons to the joint task force that is to supervise two Special Manufacturing Export Zones (SEZs). “The list of appointees was shared with the Government of Sri Lanka before Anand Sharma, India’s Minister of Commerce, Industry and Textiles, left the country,” Economic and Commerce Counsellor for Indian High Commission Shri Manish [...]

Evans Cooray passes away in London

Evans Cooray who served as Media Secretary to the late President Ranasinghe Premadasa, passed away in London last Thursday. Mr. Cooray had been residing in London for several years. He was 76. He worked as a journalist in several publications in the country, before moving to the Information Department. After his acquaintance with the late [...]

Marking Ramadan in an atmosphere of peace

President Mahinda Rajapaksa while wishing all followers of Islamic faith a happy Eid-Ul-Fitr pointed out that the Muslim Community in Sri Lanka together with their brothers the world over marks the completion of the period of fasting and religious practice. “The Muslims of Sri Lanka will be glad for the opportunity to carry out the [...]

Door open for commercial cargo via BIA after removal of Customs Task Force

The suspension of the Customs Revenue Task Force (RTF) from operations at the Bandaranaike International Airport this week has led to an upsurge of commercial cargo from India, Customs officials said. Following a protest from traders regularly importing items from India the unit comprising nearly 50 officials were directed to refrain from carrying out checks [...]

New law to set up mega dept. for development

The Samurdhi Authority, the Southern Development Authority and the Udarata Development Authority will be amalgamated to form the Department of Devineguma Development, under the provisions of the Divineguma Bill which is expected to be adopted by Parliament next month. The Devineguma Bill was presented to Parliament on August 10 by the Government and is intended [...]

Women MPs wanted a lesser quota than him-Minister

Senior Minister Tissa Vitharana has revealed that during deliberations at the Parliamentary Select Committee on electoral reforms, he had advocated that as much as 30 per cent of seats in elected bodies should be allocated to women, but the women MPs in the committee opted for ten per cent, much to his surprise. Minister Vitharana [...]

Parched land: The cracks widen

Parched land: The cracks widen

The rice bowl of the country is starving. The Polonnaruwa district, which produces one tenth of the country’s rice production, has been hit by a devastating drought. Cattle graze on the few remaining green plants in the fields abandoned by farmers. In some paddy fields farmers are busy trying to salvage part of the crop [...]

Alleged drug supplier to airhostess arrested: Police

The arrest of an air hostess with 100 grams of heroin last week led police to arrest a drug peddler in the Wellawatta area, bringing to focus an increase in drug use within the Colombo District.The SriLankan Airlines airhostess who was arrested for possessing 100 grams of heroin concealed in chocolate, was found to be [...]

Triple murder of family, son missing

Triple murder of family, son missing

Three persons belonging to the same family were found dead in a house at Wellawatte yesterday, Police said. Police suspect they may have been killed. The victims were identified as father, Kumarasamy (58), mother, Poovathy (56) and daughter Amita Priya (25) hailing from Kotagala. The family had come to Colombo to stay with their son [...]

Puttalam power plant: coal dust and erosion stoke villagers’ ire

Residents living in the vicinity of the Lak Vijaya Power Station, also known as the Norochcholai Power Station, say the power plant is causing serious environment and health problems. The large coal-fired power station is in Puttalam, in the northwest coastal area of Sri Lanka. About 1,000 families live in Illanthan- diya and Narakkaliya, villages [...]

What ails Norochcholai: Salt and old technology?

What ails Norochcholai: Salt and old technology?

The Norochcholai power plant which was commissioned with much fanfare has broken down ten times since it started functioning last year, seven times this year alone. Although Trincomalee was earmarked for this project it was shifted to Norochcholai after protests by residents. Work on the project started in 2005 after a much-checkered start, after President [...]

Vehicle emission test certificate ‘at a price’

It has been close to four years since the Government commenced the Vehicle Emission Testing Programme, with the objective of improving air quality in the environment. However, a Sunday Times investigation found that guidelines issued by the Ministry of Environment, to the operators of such programmes, are being ignored, and vehicles apparently not meeting with [...]

Mannar court attack: Judge queries CID’s decision to seek AG’s advice

If every police investigation report is sent to the Attorney General for advice, it might delay the speedy adjudication of cases as the courts will have to wait for the AG’s decision, Panadura Magistrate R.S.A. Dissanayake observed during the hearing of the case against Minister Rishad Bathiudeen. The Judicial Services Commission appointed Magistrate Dissanayake to [...]

FUTA dismisses Govt. document to settle issue as rather vague

The trade union action by university academics entered the seventh week with the last week seeing more street protests in support of the action by the lecturers. Among them were island-wide rallies and protests organized by various parties which support the Federation of University Teachers Association(FUTA)’s demands of autonomy in State universities and six per [...]

Public losing faith in education system, says Friday Forum

Public losing faith in education system, says Friday Forum

A prominent group of Sri Lankans who are members of the Friday Forum said it has become an undeniable truth that the public are starting to lose faith in the public education system of Sri Lanka with all the recent blunders in examinations and the curriculum and the absence of a national education policy. Forum [...]

Teachers back students as Z-score crisis drags on

Teachers back students as Z-score crisis drags on

Students affected by the Z-score muddle have received the support of two powerful teacher trade unions as the crisis entered its eighth month without a solution in sight. There seems to be no light at the end of the tunnel for students who sat the GCE Advanced Level last year under the old syllabus with [...]

Road death triggers protest in Badulla

An accident that resulted in the death of 30-year-old M. Ranjan Bandara, a father of one, led to a tense situation in the Badulla area with residents blocking the Badulla-Bandarawela road and demanding clear markings for pedestrian crossings. Mr. Bandara who was seriously injured when he was knocked down by a speeding van, died at [...]

SLMC girds its loins following grenade throwing incident

The powerful Sri Lanka Medical Council (SLMC), following a grenade-attack on the home of a respected senior surgeon-cum-SLMC member, has called an emergency meeting tomorrow to decide on a course of action, the Sunday Times reliably learns. This came amidst an assurance by Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa that SLMC members under threat would be provided [...]

Bad fuel brought buses to screeching halt, losses to more than Rs. 6m

Bus operators have been hit hard by the substandard diesel that was released to the market, with the Sri Lanka Transport Board (SLTB) suffering losses running into more than Rs.6.6 million.SLTB Vice Chairman L.A. Wikramaratna said 251 normal buses and 10 semi luxury buses were made immobile while about Rs. 600,000 was spent to replace [...]

Women go a tapping to make a living

Women go a tapping to make a living

Tapping kitul (fishtail palm) trees for its sap is no longer a man’s affair. Women have now taken to tapping kitul trees in Morahela, Meegahakivula, in the Wiyaluva electorate.S.J.M. Karunawathie, 46, learnt the trade from her husband. She says that they make their livelihood by tapping kitul trees to make treacle and jaggery. “The income [...]

Large turnout at Madhu and Nallur festivals

Large turnout at Madhu and Nallur festivals

Thel Festivel High Mass at Madhu was presided by Rt. Rev. Dr. Rayappu Joseph, Bishop of Mannar,  assisted by Rt. Rev. Dr. Vianney Fernando, Bishop of Kandy, Rt. Rev. Dr. Raymond Wickremasinghe and Rt. Rev. Dr. Maxwell Silva, Auxillary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Colombo. (Above: The religious dignitaries taking part. Top: The vast congregation [...]

Monitors: Blatant misuse of state resources by UPFA

Monitors: Blatant misuse  of state resources by UPFA

Despite attempts by election officials to curtail the misuse of state property and resources, ruling party politicians continued to use state property, vehicles and public servants for propaganda activities in the run-up to next month’s provincial elections in the North Central, Eastern and Sabaragamuwa provinces, polls monitors said. Job interviews and official meetings summoned by [...]

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