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Freedom to enter Bogambara prison

Freedom to enter Bogambara prison

From yesterday, people were lining up outside the Bogambara Prison complex not to go in as prisoners but to see the history imprisoned behind its walls, including the gallows as seen in the inset. The prisoners at Bogamabara were relocated and it was open for public viewing from yesterday.  Pix by Shane Seneviratne.  

Poaching row: Moves to hook Indian boat owners

The Government is to seize Indian fishing vessels caught poaching in Sri Lankan waters and impose heavy penalties on vessel owners for their release, a top official said yesterday. Fisheries Department Director General N.D. Hettiarachchi said this position would be made known at the India-Sri Lanka fisheries talks on March 25. He said the Government would [...]

Massive plunder of forest

More than 700 acres of state and private land in the Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu districts have been cleared illegally by a businessman and valuable trees including ebony felled, investigations by the Environment Ministry and the Forest Department have revealed. The probe came after complaints that a Kurunegala businessman who claimed to have a licence issued by [...]

Minister defends private online lottery games

A private company allowed to operate an online lottery in Sri Lanka will pay Rs. 500 million annually to the Mahapola Education Fund in the next three years, Internal Trade Minister Johnston Fernando said yesterday. He said the company had already paid Rs. 100 million and would increase its contribution to one billion rupees in the [...]

President praises Govt.’s foreign policy

President praises Govt.’s foreign policy

President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday defended the Government’s foreign policy, saying some people forgot the era when permission had to be sought to visit parts of the north. “It is their foreign policy which divided the country,” he told a ceremony at Godagama, Matara to mark the opening of the Galle-Matara stretch of the Southern Expressway. The [...]

NPC protests over huge Pooneryn limestone project

Permission given to a private cement company to carry out limestone quarrying in more than 4,000 acres of land in Kilinochchi has provoked strong protests by the Northern Provincial Council. The move by the Geological Survey and Mines Bureau (GSMB) is coming under heavy fire with the NPC saying it would lodge a formal protest with [...]

Drug smuggling mounts; so do many questions

Drug smuggling mounts; so do many questions

Questions are being asked whether sufficient action was taken to apprehend one of the main culprits involved in the second biggest drug detection in the country, after a Pakistani national last week evaded arrest over the smuggling of 36 kilograms of heroin with a street value of Rs. 350 million, According to police the suspect [...]

Expert body seeks meeting with President on proposed glyphosate ban

A high-level technical body mandated to look into pesticide-related issues is seeking an urgent meeting with President Mahinda Rajapaksa to discuss the controversy surrounding glyphosate, the active ingredient in the herbicide ‘Roundup’ used by paddy farmers and the tea sector. The decision to meet both the President and the Agriculture Minister was taken by the [...]

Hunt on for hangman as latest recruit quits

The authorities were yesterday hunting for a fresh hangman after the third person to fill the slot decamped just seven days into the job creating a vacancy that will have to be filled at the earliest, a senior Prisons official said. He said the latest recruit quit the job without warning at the beginning of [...]

Police clueless almost two weeks after attack on Excise Comm. Gen’s house

Police investigating last week’s shooting at the home of the Excise Commissioner General H. Hapuarachchi said they had recorded the statements of 15 persons, but conceded that they were yet to make any breakthrough. “We have recorded the statements of 15 persons, but none of them were in the category of a positive suspect,” a [...]

Bolder crime puts gun in every cop’s hand by law

With criminals getting bolder and violent crimes on the increase and with police themselves coming under attack, the police department this week made it mandatory for all personnel to carry a pistol while on duty. The decision was announced after it was found that 27 police officers had been injured over the past two months [...]

KMC officials, MCs face audit queries

An audit query dated February 17, 2014 has been sent by the Auditor General to two former Mayors, a Municipal Commissioner, a Local Government Commissioner, the Legal Officer of the Kandy Municipal Council (KMC) and 21 coucillors, for the alleged loss of revenue to the KMC. The audit query confines itself to the non-collection of [...]

Mobile brothels make police see red

The undercover agent went into the “spa” in Wellawatte to inquire about the services offered; since he was referred by one of the spa’s good clients he was under no suspicion. After paying Rs. 4000, a female escort led the way to a “spa room”. Keeping his phone connected with his team outside, he initiated [...]

Fingerprint collection to begin for eNICs

Fingerprint collection to begin for eNICs

The Department of Registration of Persons (the identity card office) is to start collecting fingerprints this year to issue 16.5 million electronic identity cards (eNICs) in 2016 that will include biometric security features such as fingerprints and bar codes. Fingerprints will be collected manually at 331 district and divisional level units and scanned and entered [...]

Dispute over non-evaluation of new and cheaper drug to fight cancer

The Health Ministry is to implement two urgent measures next week to overcome a dispute pertaining to a life-prolonging cancer drug, officials said. The issue is over Pacliall, an apparently cheaper drug newly-registered, allegedly without proper evaluation, cancer specialists say. Abraxane, the original drug, is the one that has been in use here for this [...]

Big Match tragedy in Jaffna as reveller dies in clash between supporters

A 23-year-old past pupil of St. Patrick’s College Jaffna, Dulsan Amalan, died instantly in a bloody clash with rival supporters from Hindu College Jaffna, at a limited overs cricket match between the two colleges yesterday, police said. According to police, the victim had been struck with a pole and died before admission to Jaffna Hospital. [...]

11-year-jail term for killer who shot policeman

A convicted murderer was sentenced to 11 years rigorous imprisonment by Kandy’s High Court Judge Manilal Waidyatillke for shooting a policeman in Matale in 2004. The accused, S.M. Herath Ratnayake, who was already serving a sentence for the murder of his paramour, was charged with the attempted killing of policeman Asoka Ratnayake on June 28, [...]

Fighting child abuse with more awareness campaigns

Awareness programmes will be conducted islandwide at nurseries, day-care centres, government and private schools, religious education institutions, Sunday schools and private tuition classes to curb child abuse, a top police official said. According to Police Children and Women Bureau’s Chief Padmalal Sandungahawatte a majority of such cases fall into the categories of sexual abuse, assault [...]

SL Coast Guard to be made a maritime police force

The Sri Lanka Coast Guard (SLCG) is headed for a more militarised outlook under a new law to be enacted by Parliament, which provides for the secondment of armed forces personnel to the service, as well as a freeze on trade union action and restrictions on fundamental rights, similar to those imposed on security forces [...]

Rain from today, forecasts Met. Dept.

Rain from today, forecasts Met. Dept.

The Meteorological Department has predicted rain and thunder showers from today. Met. Department Director Lalith Chandrapala said the inter-monsoonal rains which take place in March and April should commence by the end of this month, adding it is difficult to make a categorical statement about it. “For the past ten days we did not receive [...]

Plans to prevent public being duped over food this New Year

Plans to prevent public being duped over  food this New Year

Authorities are working to ensure that bad food does not enter the market next month when the rush of food-buying for the New Year season prompts corrupt sellers to flood the market with products that are spoiled and past their use-by date. The Consumer Affairs Authority’s Deputy Director of Regional Affairs, Asela Bandara, said that [...]

War for water in Kithulgala

War for water in Kithulgala

Kithulgala is Sri Lanka’s premier white-water rafting location but a hydro-power project threatens the future of this tourist attraction. The Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) is building the Broadland Hydropower Project on the Kelani River as a run-of-river (ROR) type power plant. ROR plants need little or no water storage but under this project the Maskeli [...]

‘Social Media & Facebook’ panel discussion by SL Press Institute

A panel discussion titled “Social Media and Facebook; the Good, the Bad and the Ugly” organised by the Sri Lanka Press Institute (SLPI) will be held on Tuesday (18) from 9.30 am to 11.30 am at the SLPI Auditorium. The event has been organised with a view to creating awareness, especially among the younger generation, [...]

Eight Indians arrested in Jaffna for overstaying visas

A group of eight Indian nationals were yesterday arrested by Special Task Force (STF) personnel at a location in Jaffna, for violating visa conditions, police said yesterday. They said the group was involved in textile trade in the heart of the Jaffna town, after entering the country on tourist visas. They were rounded up from [...]

Medical Council to meet tomorrow over controversial gazette

The Sri Lanka Medical Council (SLMC) is scheduled to meet on Monday to discuss its future course of action regarding the controversial gazette notification issued by the Education Ministry. The gazette notification amended the university regulations act, making it optional for institutions awarding degrees in the fields in Medicine, Engineering and Architecture, to obtain compliance [...]

Two remanded for alleged transport of refuse tea

Kandy Chief Magistrate W.T. Vasantha Kumar remanded two suspects for the alleged transport of 6,274 kg refuse tea. The two suspects are Mohammed Faurook and Abdul Cader of Handessa in the Daulagala Police area. The detection was carried out by the Kandy District Vice Division Officer-in-Charge Inspector Rajapakse and a team of officers. Attorney-at-Law Nanda Senanayake [...]

Man wanting to get away perishes in fire started by him: Police

A man, who police believe intended to murder his wife, child and in-laws before escaping, however died when he himself got trapped in the fire started by him. According to police the man is alleged to have stabbed his wife, three-year-old daughter and later thrown gasoline on the wife’s parents before setting fire to their home [...]

Youth to the fore in UNP’s ‘Green light to capture power’

Youth to the fore in UNP’s ‘Green light to capture power’

The UNP election manifesto titled “Green light to capture power” (Bala Peraliyata Kola Eliya) aimed at the forthcoming Western and Southern Provincial Council elections, was launched on Wednesday at the UNP headquarters. Creation of employment opportunities for youth is one of the major issues addressed in the manifesto. As an initial step to cater to the [...]

SLN spearheads final arrangements for Kachchativu’s annual St. Anthony’s Feast

SLN spearheads final arrangements for Kachchativu’s annual St. Anthony’s Feast

Final arrangements were under way last night to accommodate some 5,000 Indians due to arrive on Kachchativu island to participate in the annual Roman Catholic Feast of St. Anthony today, officials said. They said that, as in previous years, the Sri Lanka Navy (SLN), along with local church and other officials, will coordinate arrangements. The Indians, [...]

Blatant abuse of authority and misuse of State assets dominate polls campaigns

Blatant abuse of authority and misuse of State assets dominate polls campaigns

A candidate for the Western Provincial Council (WPC) last week distributed gift vouchers worth Rs 1,500 from a clothing shop, at his election campaign in the Ja-Ela area. He told residents that they would be entitled to a discount of Rs. 1,500 even if their purchase was for Rs 2,000 but, as one of the residents [...]

JVP’s ‘Dekma’ encompasses a total overhaul of all sectors

JVP’s ‘Dekma’ encompasses a total overhaul of all sectors

The JVP’s election campaign for the Western and Southern Provincial Councils elections is being carried out under the party’s policy manifesto titled “Ape Dekma” (Our Vision) which was launched on February 2, at its 7th National Convention.  The manifesto categorically addresses virtually every sector of the country which should be restructured and improved. Education being [...]

Unsolicited projects open highway to corruption

Unsolicited projects open highway to corruption

At seven billion rupees a kilometre, the new outer circular highway from Kadawatha to Kerawalapitiya had better be worth it. The road is being built by the Metallurgical Corporation of China Ltd at a total cost of US$ 520 million or Rs. 67 billion. It is only 9.3 km in length. Naturally, questions arise about [...]

Transparency, competitiveness essential when using billions in public funds

The Government says it needs to attract different sources of funding since traditional partners (ADB, JICA, World Bank) are not forthcoming with colossal sums of money for infrastructure development. That is one reason for going the path of unsolicited proposals. A senior economist (who requested anonymity) said that’s well and good — but when it [...]

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