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Govt. bikes at Sirisena rally

Govt. bikes at Sirisena rally

Some of the motorbikes given by the Government at a bargain price to public servants were significantly seen at a motorcycle parade held before the Matara rally of the opposition’s common candidate Maithripala Sirisena. Pic by Krishan Jeewaka Jayaruk

Bird flu in Kerala: Lanka on alert

With the outbreak of bird flu or avian influenza in the southern Indian state of Kerala, the Sri Lanka Navy and veterinary surgeons in coastal areas have been placed on alert to prevent Indian poultry products from being smuggled into the country . Animal Production and Health Department Director Dr. A. Sivasothy expressed concern that as [...]

Political diplomats recalled for polls work

Several political appointees working as heads of diplomatic missions are being recalled, apprently to handle various aspects of President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s election campaign, authoritative sources said. They include Admiral Thisara Samarasinghe, High Commissioner in Canberra; Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda, Ambassador to Japan; Bandula Jayasekera, Consul General in Sydney; Lakshman Hulugalle, Deputy High Commissioner in Canberra; and Udayanga [...]

Oil politics shatters CPC plans

Presidential polls have ruined the Government’s chances of keeping fuel prices at current, high levels aimed at wiping out losses at both the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) and the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) even though crude oil prices have fallen sharply overseas, local oil traders and economists said. Just two days after Petroleum Industries Minister [...]

BT-RCB survey on ‘expectations of the people’ from upcoming poll

The Business Times (BT) and the Colombo-based Research Consultancy Bureau (RCB), which jointly pioneered the concept of twin polling – email and the street – for many years, this week concluded an interesting poll on expectations of the people from the upcoming presidential election. Detailed results of the poll coupled with views from the people [...]

US embassy denies bribe charge

The United States embassy yesterday dismissed as “baseless” allegations made by Resettlement Minister Gunaratne Weerakoon that he was offered a bribe by the US ambassador in Colombo. “The allegations by Minister Gunaratne Weerakoon are baseless. They reflect a fundamental misunderstanding of our engagement with senior government officials and our policy towards Sri Lanka as well as [...]

Another controversy over coal shipment: Why from Russian port?

In the aftermath of allegations of a fraud involving about Rs. 1.5 billion in the purchase of coal from Australia, the awarding of a three-year contract to a Singapore-based shipping company has created another controversy. According to officials, the contract has been awarded to the company for transportation of coal after adjusting tender requirements – a [...]

BASL gets tough with Mayor and CMC

The Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) has issued an ultimatum on Friday to the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) that if the Council does not take measures to remove election campaign hoardings in the City by Monday, it will be compelled to take legal action against the Mayor and the Municipal Commissioner. Earlier the BASL [...]

Lanka airlifts drinking water to Maldives facing severe shortage

Sri Lanka will send over 100,000 bottles of drinking water to the Maldives to help the country deal with the severe water shortage it is facing since Friday after the nation’s sole water purification plant was completely destroyed in a fire. The initial consignment of 5.8 metric tonnes of bottled water was dispatched aboard a [...]

Online payment for motor revenue licences in three provinces

Three more Provinces will make available online payment facilities for motor revenue licences within the next six months. The programme which is supported through the Information and Communication Technology Agency (ICTA) under its E-services programme, will next be introduced in the Eastern, North-Western and Central Provinces. The service also enables users to make payments through [...]

Pope’s visit: Advance teams arrive to assess security situation

Pope’s visit: Advance teams arrive to assess security situation

Two separate teams from the Vatican this week visited Sri Lanka to assess the security situation ahead of Pope Francis’ proposed visit next month, officials and church sources said. One of the teams yesterday visited Galle Face Green in Colombo where the main Holy Mass of Pope Francis is due to take place and the [...]

JR’s sandalwood tree at Botanical Gardens survives attack

JR’s sandalwood tree at Botanical Gardens survives attack

The sandalwood tree planted by former President J.R. Jayewardene in the Peradeniya Botanical Gardens was recovering after it was vandalised last week in an attempt to cut it down, a Gardens official said. Director General of the Department of National Botanical Gardens Dr.Siril Wijjesundera said the cut marks on the trunk had been treated. He [...]

Death fall for man who climbed roof to repair leak

A man who fell from a height of 40 feet, after climbing up to repair the roof of his house, succumbed to severe injuries to his spinal cord and skull. Hemachandra Jayasekara from Nittambuwa and a father of two, had climbed onto the roof to repair a leak when he stepped on a broken gutter [...]

Schools slide under ministry’s corruption radar with ‘donations’

Grade one school admissions for next year have been finalised, and education unions claim most of the students admitted to leading schools had been made to pay “donations” to secure their entry despite a ban on such payments. Education Ministry Secretary Mr Anura Dissanayake conceded that the practice was taking place despite regular circulars and [...]

Presidential Election 2015

Presidential Election 2015

Maithripala Sirisena “Equality, democracy and people-friendly governance once elected” The Opposition’s Common Candidate for the presidential election Maithripala Sirisena pledged equality, democracy and people-friendly governance, once he is elected to office. He made the pledge after he signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) at the Viharamahadevi Park open air theatre, where representatives of parties backing [...]

Disorganised planning leaves landslide victims in limbo

Disorganised planning leaves landslide  victims in limbo

Confusion reigns among the government units tasked with providing transitional housing for families left homeless after the landslide disaster in Meeriyabedde, with the evacuees still camped in makeshift evacuation centres such as schools and temples more than a month after the tragedy. A plan to build transitional shelters costing Rs. 60,000 each has been drawn [...]

Do you see anything ‘common’ among these gentlemen and lady?

Do you see anything ‘common’ among these gentlemen and lady?

The entire nation, it seems, has been caught up in the frenzy of an election which, despite the various Opposition claims of stifling democracy, are being held nineteen to the dozen. And, surprise, surprise, the Opposition has found a ‘common’ candidate, Maithripala Sirisena — from our own party, the SLFP! My heart goes out to [...]

Flooding brings heartbreak for students sitting O/L

Flooding brings heartbreak for students sitting O/L

Flooding in five districts has caused severe problems for more than 5000 people, including hapless schoolchildren who face sitting for next week’s GCE Ordinary Level examinations without textbooks, uniforms or shoes. More than 750 families in the Puttalam district were affected when the Periyankulam tank’s upper bund was damaged. An estimated 323 coastal families of [...]

Presidential contenders get 90 minutes to air their views

All Presidential election candidates, who place deposits with the Elections Secretariat, have each been allocated 90 minutes of television time and radio time, Elections Additional Commissioner U. Amaradasa said. “Each candidate would be able to claim 90 minutes in one go or could claim it on a 30 minute or 15 minute basis,” he said [...]

The ‘Christmas nip’ will bite this year

The ‘Christmas nip’ will bite this year

For most people the chilly December breeze is a reminder of a joyous festive season ahead, but for 69-year-old Dissanayake it is a cold and joyless night; this homeless man gets soaked in the rain and lies shivering throughout the night while others sleep under warm sheets in their homes. Dissanayake pleaded for a sheet [...]

Special traffic, security arrangements around Elections Secretariat for Nomination Day

Special traffic and security arrangements will be in place tomorrow around the Elections Secretariat at Rajagiriya, as candidates gather to hand over their nominations for the January 8 presidential poll. President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the Opposition’s Common Candidate Maithripala Sirisena will be among nearly 18 candidates who will come to the Secretariat to hand over [...]

A comedy of errors

A comedy of errors

Despite the flags of opposition parties mixing harmoniously at rallies where supporters of diverse political parties gather to greet common candidate Maithripala Sirisena, it is the image of president Mahinda Rajapaksa that dominates the cityscape today. Our cameramen captured a few of these images. Some of them, taken with the ground realities of today in [...]

Police inaction despite evidence spirals attacks on Opposition supporters

Police inaction despite evidence spirals attacks on Opposition supporters

The Election Complaints Centre at the Election Secretariat said it has received 46 complaints to date, with 11 of them categorised as serious violations, a senior Elections Department official said. The rest of them are regarding use of State property for election campaigning, State employees being used for campaigning activities and transfers, illegal posters and [...]

North in a debt trap

North in a debt trap

Incessant campaigning by finance companies, including door-to-door canvassing, has caused rising debt in the Northern Province amongst people who are only just emerging from a debilitating war, community leaders say. Newspapers are writing of suicides related to an inability to settle dues, although there has been no scientific research to connect these deaths with indebtedness. [...]

Regulations governing polls related material to be implemented soon

The Ministry of Environment and Renewable Energy will implement regulations and criteria within three months, on displaying election campaign materials, following approval from Minister Susil Premajayantha, , a legal officer attached to the ministry said. The move comes after the Centre for Environmental Justice (CEJ), a Non Government Organisation (NGO), moved court for legal action [...]

Gas price further slashed

The price of a 12.5 kg cylinder of domestic gas has been reduced by Rs. 250 and a 5 kg cylinder of gas by Rs. 100 with effect from midnight yesterday, the Ministry of Cooperatives and Internal Trade said. Yesterday’s reduction was the second in two months. In October, ahead of the Budget, the government [...]

Crying over onions

Crying over onions

In spite of increasing the import duty on big onions and the govt. announcingt that Sathosa outlets would buy onions from local farmers at Rs. 90 a kilo, many farmers in Dambulla have no means of selling their products that are rotting in their humble homes. Pic by Kanchana Kumara

Suspect in fraud case given time to pay remaining Rs. 70,000

Kandy Chief Magistrate M.T. Vasantha Kumar ordered the accused in a fraud case to settle the balance Rs. 70,000 on January 19 next year, when a suspect in a fraud case pleaded guilty to having illegally withdrawn Rs. 370,000 on a Visa Card. In this case .Ginhani Premaratne of Rosawtta Kandy complained to the Kandy [...]

Govt. delegation EU bound to discuss implementation of its recommendations

A high level team will leave the country tomorrow to discuss its implementation of the EU’s recommendations, preventing Illegal, Unreported, Unregulated Fishing, Acting Minister of Fisheries Sarath Kumara Gunaratne said yesterday.  This is the second meeting with EU representatives in two weeks. He said the team comprising Deputy Finance Minister Dr Sarath Amunugama, Director General [...]

UNP-SLFP nexus not against SLFP but against Rajapaksa clan: Ranil

UNP-SLFP nexus not against SLFP but against Rajapaksa clan: Ranil

The United National Party (UNP) and the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) have joined forces to defeat the Rajapaksa regime at the upcoming election. This force is not against the SLFP, but the Rajapaksa family, said Party Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe. Addressing the UNP’s special convention yesterday (6), Mr. Wickremesinghe said that, in 2001 and 2010, [...]

Journalist allegedly assaulted by UPFA supporters threatened in hospital

A journalist receiving treatment for assault injuries at the Eppawala hospital, has been threatened by a group of men who arrived at the hospital premises yesterday. Media groups in Anuradhapura have requested police to provide protection to the injured journalist. The victim, Anuradhapura Regional Correspondent for Hiru TV and our sister paper Ada newspaper Tisara Samal [...]

Peaceful Indian Ocean a must for regional economic prosperity: India’s NSA

Peaceful Indian Ocean a must for regional economic prosperity: India’s NSA

Trilateral maritime cooperation among India, Sri Lanka and the Maldives is significant for greater economic development and efficient security for the nations, observed India’s National Security Advisor, Ajit Doval, at the fifth ‘Galle Dialogue’ held in Galle. Delivering the keynote speech, Mr. Doval also mentioned that, if the Indian Ocean has to contribute to the prosperity [...]

Students protest OUSL’s alarming increase in Course fees

Students protest OUSL’s alarming increase in Course fees

The Open University of Sri Lanka (OUSL), the country’s premier open and distance learning hub, is at the centre of a battle between student groups and management, with students charged a staggering increase in fees, in an apparent attempt by management to privatise the semi-government university, while management says it cannot bear the increasing visiting [...]

2,000 more to be admitted into varsities in 2015

Two thousand more students will be admitted into campuses next year, the Higher Education Ministry has decided. Ministry Secretary, Dr Sunil Navaratne told Education Times that this was in keeping with a proposal by President Mahinda Rajapaksa to increase the student intake. He said that, accordingly, some 26,000 students will be enrolled, as against the [...]

Intake of 1,800 Technical Degree students into 13 Universities in 2016

It is intended to enroll 1,800 students to follow Technical Degree courses in 13 universities in 2016, the Consultative Committee of Parliament on Higher Education was told recently. In keeping with this enrolment plan, each university has been directed to submit development proposals to be included in the Budget to provide facilities for this purpose. [...]

Teachers’ Union condemns assault on teacher by SLFP’s Kuliyapitiya UC member

The Ceylon Teachers Service Union (CTSU) has condemned the assault of a teacher of the Dharmaraja Pirivena in Kahamulla, by an SLFP member of the Kuliyapitiya Urban Council Teacher, Kapila Wijesinghe had been conducting classes, voluntarily and free of charge, on November 30, for students preparing for the GCE Ordinary Level exam, when the assault took place. [...]

Korean funded ICT classrooms handed over

Korean funded ICT  classrooms handed over

An innovative ICT classroom project was handed over to the students of Mahinda Rajapaksa Vidyalaya, Homagama, by Minister of Education, Bandula Gunwardane, last Wednesday (3). The project was completed with the Rs 50 million grant by the Korean gGovernment. The classrooms were equipped with state-of-the-art equipment, while several teacher-training programmes were also conducted by the [...]

Sustainable Development thro’ Innovations: 3rd International Conference held at Eastern Uni.

The 3rd International Conference on Sustainable Development through Innovations was held this week at the Eastern University, Vantharumoolai, Batticaloa. The keynote address was delivered by Vidyajothi Professor Dayananda S. Wijeyasekera. Subjects discussed at the Conference were Agriculture, Food & Nutrition, Applied Sciences & Technology, Business & Entrepreneurship, Climate Change & Environment, Healthcare Sciences & Humanities [...]

Drug ring near schools smashed in Dematagoda

A key suspect behind a drug ring that targeted students in and around the Dematagoda area, was arrested and 75 kg of tobacco and 100 packets of a narcotic substance also recovered from the suspect, police said. The packeted narcotic substance turned out to be locally grown cannabis mixed with grated arecanut and shredded tobacco, [...]

577,000 sit for GCE OL starting Tuesday 9

A total of 577,000 students will sit at 4,200 centers island-wide, for the GCE Ordinary Level exam starting on Tuesday, 9, said Examination Commissioner W.M.N.J. Pushpakumara. Special security arrangements involving the Education Ministry and Provincial Education authorities have been put in place to ensure against question paper leaks. Police will provide security for the transport [...]

Transparency Int’l protests UPFA’s use of schools for polls propaganda

The Programme to Protect Public Resources (PPPR), the election monitoring arm of Transparency International (TI), has complained to the Elections Commissioner over the UPFA’s misuse of school buildings for its presidential election campaigns. In a petition detailing four instances of misappropriation of school buildings in four provinces, TI had demanded the Election Commissioner to take [...]

20 Additional inventors for inter-varsity contest

Twenty new inventors are to be afforded an opportunity to participate in an inter university inventors’ contest, “Signs of a Miracle” to be telecast on National Rupavahini in February 2015. The programme has been organized by The Ministry of Higher Education and the University Grants Commission. Though there were 20 contestants selected, 20 more applicants [...]

Ed. Min. directs school heads to forward Grade 5 Scholars’ applications

The Education Ministry requests school Principals to fill and forward applications of the latest batch of Grade 5 Scholarship recipients, to the Director (Education), Schools Affairs Branch, Ministry of Education, on or before December 10 The new, reduced cutoff mark for 2014 Grade 5 Scholarship exam was released following the 2015 Budget that granted 25,000 scholarships [...]

Sujata Jayawardena memorial oration: “Religion, Philosophy and Science”

The Sujata Jayawardena memorial oration was delivered by Professor Emeritus Carlo Fonseka recently on the theme “Religion, Philosophy and Science.” It was organised by the Alumni Association of the University of Colombo. Pix by Nilan Maligaspe.

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