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Youth to the fore – their name is Tomorrow

Youth to the fore – their name is Tomorrow

Clasping their raised hands, youths from about 160 countries are seen proclaiming their theme of ‘Mainstreaming youth in the post-2015 development agenda’ as they ended their six-day World Youth Conference at the National Youth Services Council auditorium in Maharagama yesterday. Pic by Indika Handuwela.

More foreign companies get tax holidays

The Government now wants to give attractive tax and other concessions to two Hong Kong firms which want to build apartment units, club houses, shopping complexes and car parking facilities along R.A. de Mel Mawatha (Duplication Road) in Kollupitiya for US $250 million. The rationale for the project, according to Investment Promotion Minister Lakshman Yapa [...]

War memorial events banned in North

While the Government finalises plans to celebrate Victory Day in Matara next Sunday, Police and the military have warned that no public gatherings to remember persons killed in the final stages of the conflict will be allowed in the Northern Province. Special security arrangements would be put in place to monitor whether anyone is organising public [...]

PM backs Vietnam in dispute with China; EAM clarifies position

Prime Minister D.M. Jayaratne now on an official visit to Vietnam has hit out at China prompting the External Affairs Ministry in Colombo to clarify matters. He was in Hanoi to participate in the UN Vesak Day celebrations. Vietnam’s official news agency VNS (Vietnam News Service) said premier Jayaratne and his counterpart, Nguyen Tan Dung, discussed [...]

Packer is coming; but has paid only 20 per cent for the land

Australian casino mogul James Packer’s resort in Colombo Fort is yet to receive Urban Development Authority (UDA) approval as the investors have paid just 20 per cent of the total value of the property on which it is to be built. The land, which is located in the corner of D.R. Wijewardene Mawatha and Sir [...]

Officials helpless as landslide danger grows

Officials helpless as landslide danger grows

Heavy showers and man-made actions are increasing landslides and rockfalls in the hills but the National Building Research Organisation (NBRO) – the organisation focused on minimising landslides – struggles with no powers to prevent the rapid destruction of the scenic upcountry. Last week, Ella police had to halt traffic following an earth-slip bordering the Ella-Wellawaya [...]

Fierce hunt for brazen cop killers

Fierce hunt for brazen cop killers

Constables Chandana Sampath and Ajith Weerasuriya were on traffic duty on the Kurunegala-Dambulla road on Monday night, close to the Badagamuwa forest reserve popularly known as Koskele (jak tree jungle). They took over duties around 10pm and began carrying out routine checks on vehicles using this road which links up important trunk roads from Jaffna [...]

Helpless patients left bleeding, told to go home as nurses strike

Helpless patients left bleeding, told to go home as nurses strike

Patients left bleeding, women nearing labour discharged, medical files, keys and vital drugs and equipment locked away or hidden – these were some of the terrible results of a week-long strike by nurses locked in overlapping disputes with midwives and doctors. The misery for patients is far from over. Most nurses are back to work [...]

Engine drivers’ go-slow signals frustration for rail commuters

Engine drivers’  go-slow signals frustration for rail commuters

The ongoing ‘Work-to-Rule’ campaign by railway locomotive drivers is set to affect hundreds of thousands of commuters during the forthcoming Vesak holidays, as a solution to the simmering crisis is yet to be reached, trade unionists warned yesterday. Train drivers silently backed by other railway staff, kept up their trade union action this whole week, [...]

Come hell or high water, they find new ways to go

Come hell or high water, they find new ways to go

Extensive campaigning and tightened surveillance by law enforcement authorities have succeeded in reducing the number of Sri Lankans attempting to enter Australia illegally by boat. However, new trends in human smuggling are emerging as some smugglers have started operating from other countries such as Indonesia and Malaysia. Since the authorities started cracking down on the [...]

Cry halt to jumbo captures, say concerned activists

Cry halt to jumbo  captures, say  concerned activists

An elephantine problem in Sri Lanka, involving the illegal capture of baby elephants from the wild, reached crisis-point with environmentalists meeting at a Colombo hotel yesterday to discuss measures to halt such captures. Baby elephants are isolated from their herds in the jungle, captured and transferred to different locations for sale for anything between, Rs. [...]

World Bank funds cancelled: Small hoteliers eat the dust

The World Bank has cancelled a Rs. 2 billion (US$ 16 million) tourism development project at the Government’s request, leaving bewildered smalltime hoteliers — many of whom went through an application and a selection process.Funds from the much-publicised “World Bank Matching Grant for Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) in Tourism” have now been diverted to [...]

Research on leptospirosis was carried out as early as 1971: MRI

Right of reply The Medical Research Institute (MRI) has sent a response to the article ‘Deadly leptospirosis not spread exclusively by rats — New research on disease by local doctor gains international recognition’ by Kumudini Hettiarachchi which appeared in the Sunday Times of April 27. Dr. Lilani Karunanayake, the MRI’s Head, Reference Laboratory for the [...]

ADB provides soft loan to improve rural road network within five years

The Government is to launch a multi-billion rupee rural road network project with the help of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to be completed within a five year period, Road Development Authority (RDA) Chairman R.W.R.Premasiri said. He said the project spanning a 10 year period is estimated to cost Rs. 120 billion which will be [...]

Lankans advised to take drops when going to polio affected states

Sri Lankans travelling to poliovirus (polio) affected states have been requested to take immunisation drops before departure, Dr.T.S.R.Peiris, Assistant Epidemiologist of the Epidemiology Unit told the Sunday Times. He said travellers entering Sri Lanka from affected states too have been asked to do the same. The request came after the World Health Organisation this week declared [...]

VAT fraud case: Convict’s property confiscation if fine not paid within one month

VAT fraud case: Convict’s property confiscation if fine not paid within one month

Former Deputy Commissioner of Inland Revenue, Gnanasiri de Soyza Jayathilake who was sentenced on Thursday to 102 years in prison (to be served concurrently in three years) after he pleaded guilty in the Rs. 4 billion VAT fraud case had valuable assets in Colombo and the outstations, the Court was told. He owned properties in [...]

Navy finds large ammunition cache on Mullaitivu beach

The Navy yesterday unearthed a massive ammunition cache on the beach at Vellamullivaikal in Mullaitivu which was described as the single largest find since the end of the ethnic war in September 2009, a senior Naval official said. Navy Spokesman Kosala Warnakulasuriya said the find included 56,000 rounds of Magnum Pistol ammunition, 120,000 rounds of 9 [...]

Alagaratnam to run for BASL presidency

President’s Counsel Geoffrey Alagaratnam announced yesterday his candidature for the presidency of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL), after nominations were called for the Association’s top office for the next term beginning in 2015. A former lecturer and honours graduate of the Colombo University, Mr. Alagaratnam counts more than 30 years as a legal [...]

Conference looks at how Buddhism could enrich our legal system

Conference looks at how Buddhism could enrich our legal system

Bhutan’s Chief Justice now in Colombo to attend a seminar on “Universaliing Buddhist Jurisprudence” said that the Buddha was a social reformer who saw the law as universal, irrespective of social status or economic conditions. He was speaking at the inauguration of a two-day conference being held at the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute for International Relations [...]

Traditional lantern-makers find Vesak Zones grab their support

Reduced funds, a lack of sponsors and competition from organised groups mean there will be fewer Vesak pandals and lanterns in Colombo city and its suburbs with small-scale craftsmen driven out to look for work in other cities. These craftsmen say the setting up of Vesak Zones, exhibitions and competitions have resulted in declining crowds and [...]

Who cares for Sri Lanka’s main foreign exchange earners?

Who cares for Sri Lanka’s main foreign exchange earners?

Some 300,000 Sri Lankan migrant workers left for West Asia and Lankan migrant workers remitted as much as US$ 6.8 billion (Rs 884 billion) last year. Saudi Arabia is one of the main destinations which attract Sri Lankan labour. But, these migrant workers -mostly those seeking employment as house-maids undergo severe difficulties in securing employment. After [...]

Kidney issue: Indian ‘donor’ died of heart attack

Top Sri Lankan health officials visited two private hospitals this week on a fact-finding mission over allegations of a kidney racket involving Indian patients just as local authorities revealed that an Indian youth died of a heart attack soon after admission to the National Hospital of Sri Lanka (NHSL). NHSL’s Deputy Director Dr. Cyril de Silva [...]

Prison officials picking out gentler name for ‘hangman’

The authorities are sifting through 200 new names to pick one that will replace the word ‘hangman’ in a move to encourage applicants for the job that is currently vacant, a senior prisons official said yesterday.He said that new names such as ‘gallows operator’, etc., had been provided by members of the public who had [...]

Three wheelers freewheeling with no tough laws in sight

Three wheelers freewheeling with no tough laws in sight

Passengers continue to be duped by three wheeler drivers while three wheeler accidents remain an all-time high because of the failure to implement the tough regulations promulgated last year.  The country has over 800,000 three wheelers with a majority in the Western Province. Last year’s gazette included over 15 regulations recommended by Transport Minister Kumara [...]

Is the National List serving its purpose?

Is the National List serving its purpose?

The Parliament of Sri Lanka comprises 225 members: 196 (87 per cent) are directly elected from the 24 districts while 29 (13 per cent) are indirectly elected as National List MPs. The purpose of the  National List: The purpose of having an instrument such as a National list is to enable professionals, academics, and any [...]

Prospective seafarers lose lakhs on bogus jobs while agents delay reimbursements

Hundreds of seafarer-hopefuls have been allegedly ripped off millions of rupees by two marine recruiting agents, after they were promised lucrative employment on foreign ships, in return for a large fee, it was revealed this week. International Transport-workers Federation’s (ITF) Ranjan Perera said that between 100 and 200 seafarer-hopefuls had been duped, allegedly by these two [...]

Green Movement opposes settlement in Wilpattu of displaced people

The Green Movement of Sri Lanka filed a writ application in the Court of Appeal claiming 2,388 hectares of State land in the Wilpattu National Park had unlawfully released for the settlement of displaced Muslims. Citing the Forest Conservator General S. Anura Sathurusinghe, Archaeology Director General Dr. Senarath Dissanayake, Land Commissioner General R.P.R Rajapaksha, Wildlife Conservation [...]

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