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PSC meets 14 days early to consider 13A changes approved by Cabinet

The next meeting of the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) was advanced by 14 days, after members wanted it reconvened at the earliest, to consider two changes to the 13th Amendment previously approved by Cabinet, Chief Government Whip Dinesh Gunawardena said. The meeting will now take place on August 6 instead of August 21, he said. [...]

Loss-making Mihin eyes three new aircraft

The loss-making Mihin Lanka is negotiating with the Treasury to buy three new aircraft, including a Boeing, on lease, the airline’s chairman Nishantha Wickremesinghe said yesterday. “We have to compete with other international airlines. Therefore we should have a young fleet. We are negotiating with the Treasury to obtain financial assistance for the lease,” Mr. Wickremesinghe [...]

Batti peace seminar disrupted by mob

A seminar on national reconciliation organiseed by a non-governmental organisation in Batticaloa was disrupted by a group led by a Buddhist monk in the area on the grounds that an invitation had not been extended to him for the event, Police said. They said two participants of the seminar titled ‘National Reconciliation through the Lessons [...]

Rain on minister’s parade

Rain on minister’s parade

Some of the nearly 16,000 schoolchildren who took part in the Esala pageant in Colombo were ducked in the pelting rain while the main organiser, Education Minister Bandula Gunawardena, takes shelter under several big umbrellas held by his security men to comfortably watch what was hailed by the organisers as the biggest children’s Esala pageant [...]

Mattala made free port to give it life

Areas surrounding the Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport have been declared a free port in the latest bid to attract business to this multi-billion rupee venture. There will be exemptions from customs duty, exchange control and import-export regulations, in terms of an order signed by President Mahinda Rajapaksa as Minister of Finance and Planning. The order for [...]

New legislation to regulate micro finance companies

Legislation to regulate and supervise microfinance institutions, including finance companies and banks accepting deposits from the public, will be introduced in Parliament. The initiative comes from President Mahinda Rajapaksa in his capacity as the Minister of Finance and Planning. He has recommended to ministers a three-tier system. In tier one, large MFIs (micro financing institutions) will [...]

CHOGM bill soars: Ministers want super-luxury vehicles after summit

The Government will import a fleet of luxury vehicles for use by leaders attending the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Colombo in November. The choice now is between full option BMW 7 series and Mercedes Benz S class vehicles. Immediately after the summit, the Government proposes to sell these vehicles by public auction and [...]

SriLankan flight damaged while landing at BIA

An incident where a SriLankan Airline aircraft was damaged while landing at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) last week is being probed, Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) Chairman Rohan Daluwatte said. He said initial investigations indicated that a pilot error caused the accident. The aircraft was damaged in the rear-end area and has been grounded for repairs. [...]

Tough penalties for Lankan fishermen who violate EU rules

To conform to European Union regulations, tough penalties are to be imposed on Sri Lankan fishermen who stray into territorial waters of other countries and resort to illegal fishing methods, Fisheries Minister Rajitha Senaratne said yesterday. He said the penalties would include a Rs. 1.5 million fine, confiscation of the fishing trawler, a jail term [...]

Jobs for disabled: National Plan to be launched this week

Words are to be turned into action with regard to providing jobs to persons with disabilities, when the ‘National Plan’ is launched on Tuesday (July 30), along with an ‘online database’ to register them. Having the responsibility of implementing the National Plan of Action 2013-2017, a National Secretariat is to be set up under the [...]

Everything ship-shape …

Everything ship-shape …

The new Pilot Station of the Colombo Port Expansion Project (CPEP) will be declared open by President Mahinda Rajapaksa on August 5. The event marks the commencement of operations at the South Terminal of the new Colombo port that is being built as a joint venture between the Sri Lanka Ports Authority and China Merchants [...]

Central Bank rejects dismal picture of the economy

In the above article, your columnist claims that the CBSL assessment on Sri Lanka’s external financial position and the fiscal consolidation in response to Moody’s report, has ‘weaknesses’. In that regard, we wish to respond as follows: (a) The article claims that the recent experiences point to the continued depreciation of the Sri Lanka rupee, [...]

Matale mass grave Commission of Inquiry shifts from BMICH to JRJ Centre

The venue for the sittings of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry appointed to probe the Matale mass graves will no longer be the BMICH, but is to be shifted to the J.R. Jayawardene Centre in Colombo. Attempts to secure a room at the BMICH were thwarted after it was brought to the attention of the [...]

Bar Council concerned over rise in political crimes

The Bar Council of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka has expressed concern over the increasing incidents of violence involving politicians and the failure of authorities to deal with such persons according to the law. The Council which met yesterday noted that law enforcement authorities were adopting double standards when investigating criminal activities carried out by [...]

Commonwealth aims for observers at NPC polls: Sec.Gen. Sharma

The Commonwealth aims to have a suitable observer presence on the ground during the upcoming northern provincial elections, Commonwealth Secretary General Kamalesh Sharma has said. The Secretary General mentioned this in response to a letter by Mangala Samaraweera to the Commonwealth Secretariat, in which he raised several concerns earlier. “The Commonwealth accords high priority to freedom [...]

Boss stole my secrets, alleges Deputy Mayor

The feud between Kotte’s Mayor and Deputy Mayor continues red-hot with the deputy complaining that police are ignoring his request to find out whether his boss allegedly stole secrets from his computer. Deputy Mayor Madura Vithana hit the headlines when a doctored video of him with a nude female was publicly distributed. The Colombo District Court [...]

All set for Journalists’ Awards Night: Five veterans to be feted

The 14th edition of the Journalism Awards for Excellence programme will culminate with the annual ‘Awards Night’ on Tuesday, July 30 at the Empire Ballroom of the Mount Lavinia Hotel, the host hotel for the gala event. A record number of 310 entries were received for the 2012 Awards. The event — which was launched in [...]

Suspect admits himself to hospital, case on Aug. 8

A thirty-two-year old man was enjoying himself last Sunday afternoon while dancing at a wedding of a class mate, when a supposedly drunk guest allegedly barged into him and continued to do so several times. The incident led to an argument, which didn’t take more than two minutes according to Sujith Roshan, the victim. Other guests [...]

Bootleg toddy and diazepam rackets alarm authorities

Bootleg toddy and diazepam  rackets alarm authorities

Police and the Cosmetic Devices and Drug Regulatory Authority have commenced a joint operation to track down a racket involving the sale of diazepam (valium), a popular anxiety-relieving medicinal prescription drug, after 200,000 pills were recovered from a house in Kosgama. The raid took place last week and the suspect, who did not possess the [...]

Foreign employment agents to protest against new regulations

The private foreign employment industry will come to a standstill on Wednesday in protest over several recent decisions taken by authorities, which officials say are necessary to safeguard workers at every level and to reduce recruitment of female domestics. Faizer Maickeen of the Association of Licensed Foreign Employment Agencies (ALFEA) told the Sunday Times that [...]

Expert tells parents: Don’t give mobile phones to your children

A fervent request for parents to refuse to give mobile phones to their children was made on Thursday by a senior official of the Ministry of Child Development and Women’s Affairs. “One of the main reasons for children to be led astray is the electronic device, the mobile which parents give them with good intentions,” said [...]

KDU medical undergrads to Sri Jayewardenepura Hospital for clinical training

Military students of the Medical Faculty at the Kotelawala Defence University (KDU) are to undergo their clinical training at the Sri Jayewardenepura General Hospital (SJGH) in terms of a memorandum of understanding now ready for signature by the two sides. The draft MoU states that it is the obligation of the SJGH to establish four [...]

High-class brothels parading as health centres raided

High-class brothels parading as health centres raided

At least 36 women and girls in their early teens were arrested by police during a series of raids on upmarket brothels in Colombo and its suburbs in recent weeks. The raids were carried out on plush residences located at Mount Lavinia, Maradana, Horana, Kirulapone and Kalubowila where the brothels functioned cleverly disguised as health centres [...]

Boat people to Australia: One man’s odyssey

Boat people to Australia: One man’s odyssey

With Australia now taking a decision to send non-visa holders to Papua New Guinea, Virendran Ilangovan who made it to Australia, talks about his experience in a skype interview  An employee of a Non Governmental Organisation, Virendran Ilangovan, 32, from Batticaloa decided to migrate to Australia last year. Several of his colleagues had taken the [...]

Finance companies and fictitious accounts

Finance companies and fictitious accounts

Earlier this month, the depositors of a troubled finance company received a short, non-committal message on their mobile phones. “Dear Customer,” it said. “The People’s Leasing is still supervising the day to day functions of the company and a Monetary Board meeting will be held after PLC submits the report on CIFL. Regret that still [...]

COPE, PAC reveal a wretched state of affairs and total decline

COPE, PAC reveal a wretched state of affairs and total decline

The salary bill of some Rs. six billion for Mihin Board of Directors rose to Rs. 11 million, the Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) revealed this week in its report. The two Parliamentary oversight committees, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) and COPE presented their reports to Parliament this week. COPE examined the accounts of 244 State-run [...]

APRC final report yet to see the light of day

Packed neatly into three cardboard boxes in United National Party Parliamentarian Ramiah Yogarajan’s office are 4,000 pages of printed booklets, meticulously compiled by Hansard reporters.  They are records of the Rajapaksa Government’s most comprehensive attempt at producing a “home-grown” political solution to years of ethnic strife: the All Party Representatives Conference (APRC). Mr. Yogarajan, who [...]

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