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Turning the murky tide

Turning the murky tide

With the drought continuing, sea water is polluting the Kelani Ganga, which is the main source of water to the city and suburbs. Water Board workers are seen bringing in sandbags to prevent further pollution of the river water. Pic by Indika Handuwala.

New law to help families of missing people

The Government is drafting legislation to grant a ‘certificate of absence’ to relatives of the missing who do not want to accept certificates of death for their loved ones, a senior official said yesterday.  The certificate of absence—which has never before been issued in Sri Lanka but is used in several other countries with large [...]

Minister in alleged betel nut racket

Customs say they thwarted an attempt by a Cabinet minister to clear 15 containers carrying betel nut imported to Sri Lanka by a businessman. They allege that the loss of revenue, if the consignment was cleared, would amount to Rs. 120 million. The containers were carrying betel nut, a dried form of areca nut, from Indonesia. [...]

State land for private condominiums

The Government will release state lands to the private sector to construct condominiums.Laws to facilitate this are to be introduced in Parliament soon. They will come in the form of regulations under the Land Development Ordinance, Land Grants (Special Provisions) Act and the State Lands Ordinance. The move follows a recommendation made to the Cabinet [...]

Govt. moos: 20,000 cows coming from Australia

A staggering milk food import bill of US $ 300 million (or more than Rs 39 billion) a year has prompted the Government to import 20,000 cows from Australia. The move comes on a recommendation from Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa who says the country needs an estimated 900 million litres of milk but could [...]

Mihin Lanka to take over MRIA

Mihin Lanka will take over the Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport operations from SriLankan Airlines soon, Civil Aviation Minister Priyankara Jayaratne said yesterday. He said the move would mean that Mihin Lanka, now based at the Bandaranaike International Airport in Katunayake, would shift to Mattala and undertake the operations including ground handling, maintenance and refuelling among other [...]

Water-cuts if rains do not come soon

Water cuts will be definitely imposed if rains do not come this month, National Water Supply and Drainage Board (NWSDB) Chairman Karunasena Hettiarattchchi warned yesterday. “Sporadic rain over the past few weeks has been insufficient to replenish water supplies even though the water levels in the Kelani Ganga, the Maha Oya and the Kalu Ganga have [...]

Rajiva challenges removal from Trinity College Board

Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha has petitioned the District Court of Colombo, seeking it to nullify a decision taken by the Trinity College Board of Governors to remove him from the board. Prof. Wijesinha cited Rt. Rev Bishop Shantha Francis, Chairman of the Board, Chandana Munasinghe and 11 other board members as respondents. In his petition, he said [...]

New SLMA chief wants priority for children, elderly and disabled

New SLMA chief wants priority for children, elderly and disabled

It is time not only to look forward but also to look back, for the ‘oldest’ group of doctors in Asia and Australasia, as the baton of the Sri Lanka Medical Association (SLMA) is passed onto its new President in its 127th year. Building on and strengthening what his predecessors have done before him, President Dr. [...]

Docs sans stethoscopes is his vision

Doctors without stethoscopes, is what veteran teacher and clinician of Peradeniya-fame, Prof. T. Varagunam is predicting. Stethoscopes will vanish in about 10 years, he prophesied last Wednesday adding that doctors will be armed with echocardiograms. Delivering the ‘History of Medicine Lecture 2014’ on ‘Clinical Practice’ at the Sri Lanka Medical Association (SLMA), Prof. Varagunam known to his [...]

Owner demands return of 2 ½ acre bloc of land at Kirulapone

Owner demands return of 2 ½ acre bloc of land at Kirulapone

The owner of a block of land at Kirulapone Station Road/ D.M. Colombage Mawatha, which was acquired by the then Land and Land Development Ministry headed by the late Minister Gamini Dissanayake via a Gazette Notification -over 30 years ago- is demanding the land be returned to him. Mr. S.K. Wijetunga whose ancestral block of land [...]

Paddy farmers in quandary as drought continues

Paddy farmers in quandary as drought continues

Sitting under a shade to shield himself from the harsh mid-day sun after tending to his garden plot, S. Kumara in Merigama, Ampara told us he had a difficult decision to make as to what proportion of his harvest he should sell this season. If the drought continues into the next season he would not [...]

Lanka’s first Consul in Kerala alleged to be a bad egg

The Government yesterday said it was looking into allegations against the country’s first Honorary Consul in Kerala that the man was having a criminal record but added that there were no immediate plans to reconsider the appointment, a senior External Affairs official said. Mr. Joeman Joseph with business interests in Sri Lanka took up the [...]

Caught in the torrent … tragic drownings are preventable

The bodies of 20-year-old Rishmi Samanali and 12-year-old Rashmitha Madusanka lie on the sea bed off the Dikowita coastal area in Wattala, a few days after a strong current dragged the brother-sister duo out to sea, leaving their family in grief over the sudden loss. On the evening of February 23, Samanali and her family [...]

Modern 58-acre prisons complex in Hambantota to house 1,000 inmates

New prisons to be set up in Hambantota will be fully equipped with a gymnasium, indoor sports complex and better toilet facilities, a senior official said. The new prison complex will be constructed on a 58-acre plot of land in the Angunukolapelessa area in the Hambantota district. The Cabinet-approved prisons project is to commence next [...]

SLMC says future in UPFA linked to Govt’s attitude towards Muslim grievances

The future of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) as a constituent member of the ruling UPFA Government would depend on the attitude of the other members of the Government and how they choose to address the grievances faced by the Muslim population of the country, SLMC General Secretary and National List MP M.T.Hasen Ali [...]

Govt. meat ban to prevent ‘foot and mouth’ spread lacks cohesion

Govt. meat ban to prevent ‘foot and mouth’ spread lacks cohesion

The Government’s decision to ban meat, except for poultry, in five selected districts, to prevent the spread of the ‘Foot and Mouth’ disease, has met with confusion among officials in different districts, who have adopted varying strategies in implementing the decision. The gazette notification regarding the measures to be taken to prevent the spread of [...]

Silli arguments rage while public struggles with costs

Silli arguments rage while  public struggles with costs

With the skyrocketing cost of living, essential food items have come under scrutiny with parliamentarians going shopping for food items at Lak Sathosa outlets to argue rival cases about the financial pressures facing the public. Last week, United National Party (UNP) MP Karu Jayasuriya stated at a meeting that essential food items worth Rs. 5,000 [...]

President intervenes to resolve Law College entrance impasse

Law College entrance candidates have been assured of a solution to their plight tomorrow morning (3), under the directions of President Rajapaksa. The Council of Legal Education met this Friday to discuss the allegations forwarded by the Neethi Adyapanaya Surakeme Sishya Ekamuthuwa (NASSE) or the Front for Safeguarding Legal Education. The discussion was chaired by [...]

Blogger-journalist under threat for allegedly exposing Civil Security misbehaviour

A blogger and journalist has pulled out of his media related work with immediate effect, owing to intimidation and death threats from a group of persons who are members of a Civil Security committee in Quarry Road, Dehiwala, with alleged links to the area police, it was revealed yesterday. Wiki Wickramaratna, a freelance journalist and [...]

Eight in a row: Lankadeepa once again wins people’s hearts

Eight in a row: Lankadeepa once again wins people’s hearts

Our sister paper “Lankadeepa” won the most popular newspaper award for the eighth consecutive time at the Slim Nielsen people’s Awards on Wednesday night. Picture shows Lankadeepa Associate Editor Lionel Perera and AGM circulation Rohan Fonseka accepting the award from SLIM Vice President Kalana Ratnayake together with representatives of the newspaper’s editorial, advertising and production [...]

Rajapaksa government sets up Kudu Balakaya for Lanka’s youth: Ranil

Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe on Friday said that, though the Rajapaksa regime promised to set up a ‘Nil Balakaya’ (Blue Force) for the youth of this country, it has instead formed a ‘Kudu Balakaya’ (Drug Force). Mr Wickremesinghe addressing the Young Activists’ Meeting in Ranala, Kaduwela, said that the current regime is attempting to make [...]

Drug probe: Drugged or dragged?

Drug probe: Drugged or dragged?

Six months after Sri Lanka Customs’ detection of Asia’s largest heroin haul, police have yet to file action against the suspects in custody, as investigations have slowed down. The Customs claim their investigations have been concluded, and the Government Analyst report on the 261 kg of heroin smuggled in from Pakistan has been filed. The [...]

Drought warnings grow as El Nino wakes up again

Drought warnings grow as El Nino wakes up again

Water levels in major reservoirs have dropped to 45 per cent these days, the lowest levels in the past four years, Director of Water Management division of Irrigation Department Janaki Meegasthenna said. Ms. Meegasthenna said that for the past four years the water levels in all 72 major reservoirs had been above 90 per cent. [...]

Dye and flour: CAA raid uncovers 8,000 kg of adulterated chillie and turmeric powder

The Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) on Friday seized some 5,000 kg of chillie and 3,000 kg of turmeric powder that had been adulterated CAA officials said that the chillie and turmeric powder were mixed with fabric dye and flour, before being packed and sold to retail markets within and outside Colombo. The warehouse where the [...]

Another little jumbo cruelly snatched and tied up

With only a month since the SundayTimes reported an attempt to snatch a baby elephant from jungles of Galgamuwa, a raid by Wildlife Department officers turned up a little elephant kept illegally on a Mirigama estate, showing elephant poaching is a deep-seated racket. The baby elephant, suspected to have been caught in the wild, was [...]

Govt. to present long overdue 2011, 2012 EPF Reports in March, June

The Government will present to Parliament the overdue annual reports of the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) for 2011 and 2012 within the coming months, Minister of Labour and Labour Relations Gamini Lokuge said. He said the 2011 report has been submitted to Cabinet and would be presented to Parliament by the end of March, while [...]

Undergrads in clash with security noticed to appear before police

Five students who were involved in a clash with the security personnel at the University of Sri Jayawardhanapura, have been identified and given notice to appear before the police. A group of students from the university had reportedly attacked the security post at the entrance around 8.10 pm this Monday (24). One security guard was [...]

Karzai’s state visit to open Afghan jobs for Lankans: EAM

The Afghanistan government has jobs for Sri Lankans and an agreement towards this end will be endorsed between the two countries during the re-scheduled State visit of Afghan President Mohamed Karzai who is due in the country on Wednesday, a senior External Affairs Ministry (EAM) official said yesterday. He said that, during President Karzai’s visit, [...]

Slippery principals use devious means to extract bribes

Slippery principals use devious means to extract bribes

School principals are using new methods to collect bribes in order to avoid detection as complaints continue to flow in about corrupt practices over admission of children. This week officials of the Bribery Police in civilian clothes arrested the principal of a Matara school in the act of receiving a hefty bribe to admit a [...]

Security for White increased after Friday’s shooting incident

Security to Aliyantha White, a physican of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, has been increased after an assailant fired shots into his car on Friday, police said. They said they were yet to trace the suspect who had blocked the car at Edirisinghe Road in Mirihana, Nugegoda, before firing three shots through the tinted rear windows. However, [...]

Mullaitivu skeletal remains to be sent for forensic tests

Skeletal remains found in Udayarakaddu in Mullaitivu in the backyard of a house on Friday are to be sent for forensic examination, officials said yesterday. The remains, said to be of nine persons, were found when the owner of the house was clearing the garden.Mullaitivu’s Acting Magistrate Thangarasa Paramasothi and Jaffna’s Judicial Medical officer Dr. [...]

Registrar job: SLMC concerned over new criteria

The Government has reportedly gazetted new criteria for the appointment of Registrar of Sri Lanka Medical Council (SLMC) without disclosing its contents to the governing body of the Council.  “We have not seen the final version yet. We will have to wait and see what it contains once the document is made available to us” [...]

Private college degrees: President urged to follow through his decision

Sri Lanka’s medical profession has strongly urged President Mahinda Rajapaksa to follow through his decision to withdraw an earlier gazette notification allowing private institutions to award degrees without proper safeguards.  Following growing protests over the controversial gazette which provided for the issue of degrees without conforming to professional standards, the President had ordered the Higher [...]

Court orders eviction of families living in Haggala Forest Reserve

Court orders eviction of families living in Haggala Forest Reserve

Court has ordered over 400 families living in the Gorahendigala, Meepilimana, Ambewela and Jayawaradanapura Grama Sevaka divisions to vacate their residences which are located in the in the sensitive zone of the Haggala Forest Reserve. The families have been resident in these areas for between 30 – 40 years. 43 families in the Gorahendigala area claim [...]

First Lankan elected to ‘Young Diplomats in London’ Ex-Co

First Lankan elected to ‘Young Diplomats in London’ Ex-Co

Ms. Muthu Padmakumara has been elected into the 2014 Executive Committee of the Young Diplomats in London (YDL). The YDL is a not-for-profit organisation with over 600 members comprising of young diplomats from across the globe based in London. YDL was established in 2003 to foster relations between young diplomats posted to the UK. Recognized [...]

Tourism, dust storms and damage at Aluthgama

Tourism, dust storms and damage at Aluthgama

The landing of Mi 17 helicopters belonging to the Sri Lanka Air Force in non-designated areas has caused structural damage to several buildings as well as to roofs of buildings in the Aluthgama area.  The roofs of several private and public buildings located near the main play grounds have been blown away due these helicopters [...]

Foreigners to cough up more to climb Adam’s Peak, enter wild life parks

Foreigners will have to pay a fee to climb Adam’s Peak (Siripada) under a new plan to be implemented shortly in order to improve facilities for visitors to the sacred site. Locals will however be exempted from buying a ticket, Wildlife Conservation Minister Wijithamuni Zoysa said. Cabinet approval has been granted for his proposal. The Minister [...]

Banks laying a welcome mat for bandits, say experts

Banks laying a welcome mat for bandits, say experts

By Damith Wickremasekara It was the fourth major daylight robbery in less than four weeks but this one was different: The bandits had picked a bank in one of the busiest towns, at one of the busiest times – a Monday morning. The Nations Trust Bank at Kohuwala was more than one hour into business. At [...]

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