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Election law: A dead letter

Election law:  A dead letter

With the date of the elections in the Central, Northern and North Western provinces drawing closer, candidates mainly from government-allied political parties are flouting election laws. In Matale, election-related violence left a campaign office in ruins, while in Puttalam, supporters of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress were observed pasting posters in broad daylight. Usually, violators [...]

For these youths, the awe of a train

For these youths, the awe of a train

A modern train is seen at the renovated Kilinochchi station after a trial run on the newly built 63 km track between Omanthai and Kilinochchi. Some youth who perhaps have never seen a train because of the 30-year war watched in awe as the locomotive smoothly pulled into the station. The train service will be [...]

Rs. 2.4 b project to automate Treasury

A project costing more than Rs 2.4 billion to automate the Treasury will help crack down on tax evaders and help the Government’s budget financing through improved planning and control. South Korea’s Samsung Corporation has won the award for the project while its foreign component, US$ 17,755,092 (more than Rs. 2.3 billion) will be funded by [...]

Intl. school causes traffic mess in Kohuwela

Intl. school causes traffic mess in Kohuwela

Two sections of an international school are causing massive traffic jams and bottlenecks against the smooth traffic flow at Kohuwela, a key suburb of Colombo, municipal and police officials say. This led to Dehiwela-Mount Lavinia Deputy Mayor Kesaralal Gunasekera, spending three continuous days – Tuesday to Thursday – this week observing the flow of traffic from [...]

CBSL offers rescue package to CIFL and others

The Central Bank of Sri Lanka yesterday announced a rescue scheme for troubled licensed finance companies, just weeks after it was revealed that Central Investments and Finance PLC (CIFL) is in trouble. Under this scheme, the CB may direct existing shareholders of a particular licensed finance company to bring in fresh capital, or invite a [...]

Multibillion road project for Access

Access Engineering PLC has won Government approval for a near seven billion rupee project to rehabilitate 23 kilometres of highway from Kadawatha to Nittambuwa on the Colombo-Kandy Road. The move came after the company, which is undertaking a number of projects under the Government, submitted a proposal. President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who is also Minister of [...]

Angry depositors slam Central Bank as another finance company falters

Angry depositors slam Central Bank as another finance company falters

Parcelling up the five million rupees he had earned in the Middle East, K P D J Kumara walked unsuspectingly into Central Investments and Finance PLC (CIFL) in June and deposited the lot.  Nobody told him that the company was in distress, or that other investors hadn’t been paid their interest in months. Employees flaunted [...]

Casino magnate Packer’s project back on the cards

Australian casino mogul James D Packer and his Sri Lankan partners are redesigning their proposed resort in Colombo Fort on the instructions of the Urban Development Authority (UDA), Investment Promotion Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena said.  He said his ministry had to submit four cabinet papers before the deal could be finalised. “There is no delay. [...]

Judge Weeramantry warns that 22nd century might never be

In a thought-provoking lecture Sri Lanka’s internationally-renowned jurist, academic and author, Prof. Christie Weeramantry warned that if the 21st continued in its destructive and bungling ways there would be no 22nd century. Describing the modern day as the most rapacious in history Prof. Weeramantry blamed the power of money, the power of science and the [...]

Not heading for privatisation, report misleading: PB CEO | Right of reply

The People’s Bank (PB) CEO/General Manager N. Vasantha Kumar has drawn reference to the Sunday Times lead story of September 1, 2013 under the headline “State Bank faces semi-privatisation”. He said, “I would like to place before you the facts and figures in their correct perspective, with a categorical assurance that there are no moves [...]

Colombo-Kilinochchi train services on track after 23 years

After more than 23 years, direct train services between Colombo and Kilinochchi will begin next week with the opening of the newly completed 63-kilometre track between Omanthai and Kilinochchi. President Mahinda Rajapaksa will officially declare open the line on September 14.A group of media personnel who were taken on the newly constructed line, were greeted by [...]

Move to spruce up City with new bus stops to impress C’wealth big wigs

The Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) has called for tenders to build new bus stops in Colombo in view of the upcoming Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) which is to be held in November. Municipal Commissioner Badrani Jayawardena said the municipal council is hoping to pass a resolution once the tenders are confirmed to build [...]

Rising number of child deaths exposes parental negligence

Rising number of child deaths  exposes parental negligence

An unprotected construction pit at Mampe in Piliyandala became a watery grave for seven-year old Kavindu Kashmir and four-year-old Kavini Nivarthana when they were playing near a culvert close to their home while their mother was away. The children drowned in the six-foot pit that had been dug by road constructors. Their mother, 36-year-old Lathika [...]

Dipped Products to relocate in Biyagama, start operations after CEA approval

Dipped Products PLC (DPL) has selected a land of six acres in the Biyagama industrial zone to relocate its factory which has been in the midst of much controversy in the last two months. Managing Director Dr. M. Ranasoma confirmed the land had been selected from several options given to his company by the Board [...]

Global Tamil Forum calls for boycott of CHOGM 2013

The Global Tamil Forum, the largest Tamil diaspora organisation has requested the Heads of Government of the Commonwealth to boycott the 2013 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Colombo, as it will weaken the Commonwealth’s commitment to core principles of human rights and democracy, and endorse actions of a government accused of responsibility for [...]

Foreigners heavily involved in scams, frauds and passing counterfeit currency

Foreigners heavily involved in scams, frauds and  passing counterfeit currency

A businessman and regular overseas traveller, last month received an email that he was a winner of the ‘Barclays Mega Fortune Award’ in UK, and was entitled to a lottery prize money of 700,000 Pounds, or over Rs 140,000 million. The businessman believed that it was from a draw at the Singapore airport, as only [...]

Round-the-clock vigil of life on the edge

Round-the-clock vigil of life on the edge

Being charged by an elephant while on the way to school is a distant likelihood for students in many parts of the country, but for 14-year-old W.K. Dhaniska and his schoolmates who live in the village of Muriyakulama in the Karuwalagaswewa area, it is a daily occupational hazard. And Dhaniska is one child who knows [...]

Statements of 65 CWE employees recorded

Police have recorded statements from 65 employees of the Ministry of Cooperatives and Internal Trade and the Cooperative Wholesale Establishment (CWE), following the Government Analyst’s (GA) Dept report that the fire at the Sathosa secretariat building was an act of arson, and not accidental. According to the GA’s report, the fire had been set on [...]

The fate of their loved ones known only as “disappeared”

The fate of their loved ones  known only as “disappeared”

As barking strays announce our arrival at her humble home within a cadjan-fenced compound, she greets us with a smile tinged with sadness and an anxious question that she has asked and will keep asking any visitor who comes by. “Do you have news of my sons?” Although we are in the home of grey-haired [...]

Banking on a pension scheme

Banking on a pension scheme

Thousands of employees of state banks, led by the Bank of Ceylon, staged a demonstration and procession in Colombo yesterday demanding that the government approves a pension scheme for them. Pic by Indika Handuwala

The hills are alive with the refrain of election promises

The hills are alive with the refrain of election promises

The cool climes of the Central Province (CP) are hotting up with less than two weeks to go before the elections to the CPC. Issues such as housing, infrastructure, education, health, unemployment and cost of living have become the main campaign calls of candidates contesting the polls on September 21. A total number of 1,859,557 [...]

This is to announce the death of the telegram. Stop

This is to announce the death  of the telegram. Stop

After 155 years the good old telegram service in the country is to bid goodbye on October 31, giving way to new technology.  Recently both Telecommunication and Information Technology Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya and Posts Minister Jeewan Kumaratunge announced that the telegram service would be discontinued. After the first telegraph message was sent from Colombo to [...]

Liquor giants’ licences renewed despite tax default

The Excise Department continues to renew the licences of five leading liquor manufacturers though they owed more than Rs. 1 6 billion in taxes by the end of last year. Excise Commissioner General D.G.M.B. Hapuarachchi said the licences were being renewed on condition that the companies would settle the tax arrears. The defaulting companies are Globe [...]

Ex-NSB head to face charges on share deal

Charges would be filed on December 19 against former National Savings Bank (NSB) Chairman Pradeepa Kariyawasam on the alleged fraudulent share deal. Colombo Chief Magistrate Gihan Pilapitiya overruling preliminary objections by senior counsel Saliya Pieris fixed the dates for December 19, to file the charges after the conclusion of the preliminary inquiry into the alleged The [...]

Wattala company withdraws case against Defence Ministry

A private garment company withdrew its Court of Appeal petition seeking an order to prevent the Defence Ministry from digging or removing soil from a plot of land belonging to it.The company, Monte Carlo Garment Pvt. Ltd. in Wattala, in its petition told the Court of Appeal that several military personnel had entered the land [...]

Milk food importers in quandary

Importers and traders of milk-based products have been left in the lurch as no follow-up action has been taken by the health ministry after it temporarily suspended sale of all such products a month ago. An importer who spoke to Sunday Times on the condition of anonymity said that they had not been given any indication [...]

Loans to build a roof over one’s head under proper guidance

Loans to build a roof over one’s head under proper guidance

National housing policy presented  The Construction, Engineering Services, Housing and Common Amenities Ministry on Friday presented the draft of the National Housing Policy for the people to voice their views. The people will be able to send in their views on the policy before the Ministry finalises the draft and puts it forward to the Cabinet [...]

Maldivians go to the poll

Maldivians go to the poll

Several hundred Maldivian nationals living in Sri Lankan cast their vote at the Maldivian High Commission in Colombo in the presidential election held yesterday. Around 2,000 Maldivians living here were registered to vote in the election. The main contenders are incumbent President Mohamed Waheed and former President Mohamed Nasheed. There are two other candidates Gasim [...]

Power play continues over India’s Sampur plant

India’s National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) sent negotiators to Colombo this week in a fresh bid to resolve outstanding issues related to the Sampur Coal Power Plant. Authoritative sources said the agreement is currently stalled over a formula to calculate operation and maintenance costs. These payments are to be met by the NTPC’s local project [...]

Muslim fundamentalism: Gotabaya and Hakeem

Gotabaya Rajapaksa: Post Conflict Sri Lanka: Challenges and Regional Stability The theme selected for this year’s Defence Seminar is “Post-Conflict Sri Lanka-Challenges and Regional Stability”. This is a particularly appropriate theme in the present context. Sri Lanka has had considerable problems in the last three decades. In 1983, the country suffered from riots that raged [...]

Higher education institutes to face stiff hurdles soon under new laws

Institutions providing higher education including universities and private academies will soon be required to conform to a new law that will stipulate operational standards.  Under the Quality Assurance Accreditation Qualification Framework draft criteria necessary for a course of study are the academic competency of the staff conducting the course of study, the conditions of the [...]

Leave Gemunu alone, plead elephant experts

Wildlife enthusiasts were disturbed by the news of a shooting incident in Yala recently. It revolved around the well-known tusker Gemunu, who has earned the reputation of getting close to safari jeeps in search of food. Initially the reports said the iconic tusker had been shot. But a video footage later showed a soldier firing a single [...]

Yala closure: A chance to rethink park strategies

Yala closure: A chance to rethink park strategies

The move to close the Yala National Park during the drought has been welcomed by environmentalists. After the park was closed in 2007 during the drought, followed by a terrorist attack the same year, the park remained closed until the war ended in 2009. Since then Yala has not been closed. The custom of closing Yala [...]

Protest against Degree-Awarding Institutes

Protest against Degree-Awarding Institutes

Students of the Faculty of Aesthetic Studies of Kelaniya University, this week staged a protest against the new regulations gazetted by the Minister of Higher Education to confer recognition on institutes as Degree-Awarding Institutes. Pic by Indika Handuwala

Foreign higher education research zones on State land in 7 districts

The Higher Education Ministry is in the process of allocating 500-1,000-acre plots of State land in seven districts to attract investors to build research centres, higher education institutes and world-class universities, Higher Education Ministry Secretary Dr Sunil Jayantha Nawaratne said. These higher education research zones will be established in the Hambantota, Matara, Puttalam, Kandy, Gampaha, [...]

Grade 5 scholarship exam candidates lodge complaints with Exams Dept

The Ceylon Teachers Union (CTU) claimed that more than 50 students have lodged complaints at the Examinations Dept with regard to the chaos at the Grade 5 scholarship exam this year, and the Union is looking forward to take up this matter with the Human Rights Commission. CTU President Joseph Stalin said that, more than [...]

Project to repair broken desks, chairs in WP schools

Project to repair broken desks, chairs in WP schools

Under the initiation of the Western Province’s (WP) Agriculture, Agrarian Development, Minor Irrigation, Industries and Environment Minister, Udaya Gammanpila, a project was commenced to repair broken desks and chairs of schools within the Province. Arethusa College, Dehiwala, was one of the schools where repairs were undertaken on Friday, through this programme. The school’s Principal Bimla [...]

Past pupil’s son assured Grade 1 admission when vacancy occurs

Deputy Solicitor General Sanjay Rajaratnam informed Court that first preference for admission, when a vacancy occurs in Grade 1 at Richmond College, Galle, would be granted to the student petitioner, who filed a Fundamental Rights (FR) petition in the Supreme Court for being denied admission, even though he received the required marks for selection. Petitioner [...]

1,000 Technology labs for NWP Secondary schools

The establishment of 1,000 Technology laboratories within the North-Western Province (NWP) was inaugurated this week under the patronage of Education Minister Bandula Gunewardena. The Technology labs are a concept under the Mahindodaya Secondary schools restructuring national programme. Under this project, the NWP will get 127 laboratories, with 68 already completed. The Education Ministry stated that [...]

Essay, Art, Speech competitions for CHOGM 2013

The Education Ministry has introduced Essay, Art and Speech competitions to coincide with the forthcoming CHOGM this year. The topic for each competition is ‘Commonwealth Organisation, Development and Social Justice’ and students from the English, Sinhala and Tamil streams are encouraged to participate. Students will participate under three age groups. They are, Grades 6-7-8, Grades [...]

General Knowledge quiz on Commonwealth for CHOGM 2013

A General Knowledge contest on the Commonwealth has been organsied by the Government Information Dept for school children, to coincide with the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in November. Schoolchildren’s knowledge of history and general benefits of the Commonwealth will be tested in this contest. This programme will incorporate schools from all parts of [...]

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