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Religious beliefs save Mattala peacocks, but threat persists

Religious beliefs save Mattala peacocks, but threat persists

Hundreds if not thousands of peacocks pose a serious threat to airline traffic at the Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport (MRIA) but authorities are unable to eliminate this bird population owing to local religious beliefs, a senior Aviation official said yesterday. Since peacocks were revered by both Buddhists and Hindus, the task of eradicating the menace had [...]

SriLankan seeks massive bond issue to buy aircraft

Sri Lanka’s national carrier SriLankan Airlines now wants to raise US$ 175 million (or more than Rs. 22.7 billion) through an international bond issue to make pre-delivery payments to Airbus Industrie for the ten new aircraft it wants to procure. Whilst seeking approval for this bond issue, Civil Aviation Minister Priyankara Jayaratne has also asked the [...]

Most finance companies to be closed, some banks to merge

Sri Lanka is trimming the number of finance companies to 20 from 58 at the end of last year while smaller banks are to merge with bigger counterparts or be acquired under new rules which are however raising many questions. “There will be a reduced number of banks as a result of mergers and absorptions,” said [...]

Govt set for fishing talks with Jayalalithaa

Govt set for fishing talks with Jayalalithaa

Direct talks between a Sri Lankan government delegation and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayaram Jayalalithaa have been fixed for this month to work out a mechanism to end poaching by fishermen from South India, Fisheries Minister Rajitha Senaratne told the Sunday Times. He said the meeting scheduled for January 27 would be a follow up to [...]

KMC mayor granted time for preliminary objections to petition against him

The Colombo Additional Magistrate on Monday (13) granted time till March 30 to file preliminary objections in the case against Kotte Municipal Council (KMC) Mayor Janaka Ranawaka and one other, for the alleged illegal acquisition of a Children’s park belonging to the KMC, and retaining its equipment KMC UPFA member Nammunige Prasanna Ravindralal had lodged [...]

Govt handles Weliweriya with kid gloves as factory heads for exit

Govt handles Weliweriya with kid gloves as factory heads for exit

Five months after the eruption of violence that caused three deaths over water contamination concerns in Rathupaswela, Weliweriya, the rubber glove factory that triggered the uproar is being relocated. The water contamination issue is being gradually resolved as the government took action at the start of the New Year to provide relief to Rathupaswela residents. [...]

Young engineer in fatal high speed crash

A youth died when his racing car crashed onto an electric post near Nawala Road on Monday night, a coroner’s court inquiry was told this week. The deceased, Sasindra Roshan Malawararachchi, (25), an engineer from Lake Road, Borelesgamuwa, was on his way to Thalawathugoda with a neighbour, when the accident took place. “The person who [...]

BASL chief calls for justice in judicial appointments

Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) President Upul Jayasuriya this week called for career judicial officers be assured of their promotions to the appellate courts, warning that any serious departure would be detrimental to the Rule of Law and the Administration of Justice. Speaking at the ceremonial sitting to welcome the latest member of the [...]

Projects initiated to uplift public sector standards: Navin

Projects initiated to uplift public sector standards: Navin

State Management Reforms Minister Navin Dissanayake declared that the ministry had initiated the launch of projects to uplift the public sector’s standards. Mr Dissanayaka addressing the media at the Sri Lanka Institute of Development and Administration (SLIDA), said that the Ministry hoped to successfully complete the tasks within the given timeframe. He was referring to [...]

Another male bastion falls

Another male bastion falls

Jobs which were once the exclusive preserve of men are now being taken over by females in many sectors. The Sri Lanka Railways Department is the latest to open its doors to women in what had been originally a male preserve . Today women are also being recruited to the department for painting of carriages, [...]

Indians join Norochcholai coal war

Indians join Norochcholai coal war

A team from a Chennai-based Indian company that specialises in detecting condenser leaks has arrived in Sri Lanka to inspect the Lakvijaya Coal Power Plant in Norochcholai, said M.C. Wickramasekara, Ceylon Electricity Board’s (CEB) Additional General Manager (Generation). Mr. Wickramasekara also revealed that the plant’s builders, China Machinery Engineering Corporation (CMEC), have verbally agreed to [...]

Australian aid budget slashed, focus on Indo-Pacific region

Australia is to focus its aid budget on the Indo-Pacific region, announcing a cut of more than A$100 million but saying its money will be better spent closer to home, where it won’t be supporting a “hand-out culture”. The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs states total aid to Sri Lanka in the last financial year [...]

Govt. to seek Parliamentary approval to import, register 1000cc motorbikes

Government will seek Parliamentary sanction this week for the import and registration of motorcycles with engine capacity up to 1000 cc. The regulations which were gazetted last April, for the use of high-powered bikes for “sports purposes”, will be taken up for debate on Wednesday. Before the gazette came into effect, motorcycles greater than 350 [...]

GMOA threatens to strike over promotions

Despite Postgraduate (PG) qualifications and experience, about 4,000 Grade II doctors have been waiting for more than three years for their promotion to Grade I, the Government Medical Officers Association (GMOA) charged. GMOA spokesman Dr. Navin de Soyza said doctors attached to state hospitals will go on an island-wide strike if the Service Minute of [...]

UPFA MP abuses police to release friend arrested for drunk driving

A ruling party MP yesterday created a scene at the Dehiwala Police station, demanding the release of a friend who had been arrested pre-dawn for drunk driving. Police sources said he used abusive language when the police refused to release him. He turned up a second time and berated the policemen on duty. The friend [...]

The streets are alive – and furious – with the cacophony of vendors

The streets are alive – and furious – with the cacophony of vendors

Santa Claus comes to town with his merry song twice a day along the streets of Colombo and suburbs via the loudspeaker of a three-wheeler or van full of buns and pastries. In some places it’s Beethoven’s Fur Elise that echoes loudly throughout the neighbourhood. But these melodies, meant to bring joy, are causing irritation [...]

Candidate selection process in the works for WPC, SPC polls

Major political parties have begun selecting candidates to contest the forthcoming polls to the Western and Southern Provincial Councils. The SPC and WPC were dissolved at midnight on January 12, and nominations for the elections will be accepted from January 30 to February 6, with election dates to be announced once nominations close. Minister, W.D.J. [...]

Senseless turtle slaughter for meat threatens its very existence

Senseless turtle slaughter  for   meat threatens its very existence

Butchered turtles served at Rs. 1,500 a dish  The costliest meat dish, even more expensive than chicken, beef, pork or wild boar, turns out to be turtle flesh. The hottest meat dish doing the rounds these days at certain bars, restaurants and other eating houses in the tourist coastal town of Negombo is none other [...]

Demo to bring down drug prices

With medicinal drug prices soaring, the People’s Movement for the Rights of Patients (PMRP) and other civic action groups will conduct a demonstration outside the Fort Railway Station on Friday, January 24, to urge the Government to implement the National Medicinal Drugs Policy (NMDP). A PMRP spokesperson said that if the NMDP, based on Prof. [...]

Bar Assn. ties up with USAID to promote rule of law

Bar Assn. ties up with USAID to promote rule of law

A Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the Bar Association of Sri Lanka and USAID to sponsor a programme designed to promote civil society engagement in the rule of law. The programme titled “Civil Society Initiatives to Support the Rule of Law” will also support continuing professional legal and judicial level education, strengthen legal aid [...]

Foreign service or family service?

An unprecedented number of positions in Sri Lanka’s once-respected diplomatic corps has been parcelled out to friends, relatives and loyalists of the ruling party, the Sunday Times has found. This extraordinary rise in nepotism and political favouritism has spawned conspiracy theories with several popular websites stating that the Government intends to dismantle the Sri Lanka [...]

Mystery death of Minister’s wife in luxury hotel rocks India

NEW DELHI, Jan 18 (AFP) -An autopsy report today said Indian minister Shashi Tharoor’s wife, who was found dead in a luxury hotel after accusing her husband of being unfaithful, suffered an “unnatural, sudden death”. “More tests” are needed to determine the final cause of Sunanda Pushkar’s death and the results will not be known [...]

Opposition to Seed Act grows

The Government plans to introduce amendments to the Seed and Planting Material Act are being opposed by both opposition political parties as well as those within the Government as they fear the new regulations will be a bane instead of a boon to local farmers but Agriculture officials say the new laws will benefit the [...]

Child sex harm on rise: warnings of ‘professional’ abusers

Despite energetic public campaigns child sexual abuse is reported to be on the rise, with a leading NGO saying four to five cases of abuse are recorded each week. The Government, however, says the picture is “complicated” by the authorities having to follow the law in laying charges where males having sex with under-aged girls [...]

Sri Lanka’s IT industry veteran passes away

Dr. R.B. Ekanayake, one of the leaders of Sri Lanka’s Information and Communication Technology (ICT) industry, passed away on Friday. He was the founder-President of the Computer Society of Sri Lanka (CSSL) established in 1976 by a group of dedicated professionals including Dr Ekanayake, for the purpose of promoting ICT and professionalism among those engaged [...]

No gain without pain – gold ‘mules’ bleed for big fees

No gain without pain – gold ‘mules’ bleed for big fees

Gold smuggling to India has become so lucrative that one operative said his fee had quadrupled for manoeuvring past airport Customs checks with his illegal load concealed inside his body. Last week a 21-year-old Kalmunai woman laden with more than 1kg of gold jewellery worn under her clothes was arrested. She had been bedecked with [...]

Russians want residents out: Ministers to decide

A cabinet sub-committee has been appointed to look into a request from the Russian embassy to evict residents living near the construction site of its new building in Colombo 7. The committee will be headed by Senior Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake and will include Ministers Dinesh Gunawardena and Rauff Hakeem. The committee was appointed following a complaint [...]

Lanka pays Rs. 735 million more for fuel

Spot purchases of refined petroleum products in the Singapore market due to the US-imposed Iranian oil embargo have cost the Government US$ 5.7 million or Rs. 735 million. The excess cost in respect of petrol was US$ 3.1 million (Rs. 400 million) whilst it was US$ 2.6 million (Rs. 335 million) for diesel. As a result [...]

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