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People’s expectations are high; don’t fail them, Mr. Minister

People’s expectations are high; don’t fail them, Mr. Minister

The much-awaited mini budget where salary increments and other relief measures to be given to the people being finalised yesterday by Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake at his ministry office in Colombo. Pic by Indika Handuwela.

CJC-type tribunal to probe massive corruption, parallel probe by all-party committees

The tribunal set up to probe corruption will be an improved version of the Criminal Justice Commission (CJC) of 1972, justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe said yesterday. “We will have to work out special laws to deal with corruption in mega projects and do it fast and effectively,” he told the Sunday Times. In 1971, the [...]

State banks, Stock Exchange, corporations under scrutiny: PM

A number of state financial institutions will be probed for corrupt activities and mismanagement, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe revealed yesterday.’ “These will include the Central Bank, the Bank of Ceylon, the People’s Bank, the Stock Exchange and the Insurance Corporation,” he told the Sunday Times. Premier Wickremesinghe was commenting after the National Unity Government’s first [...]

Mangala leaves for Brussels, seeks postponement of fish export ban

Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera will leave for Brussels on Monday to negotiate a postponement of the European Commission’s ban on fish exports from Sri Lanka. “We will try to see if we can get a postponement of this ban for at least for six months till we rectify whatever was not correct at ground level,” [...]

CJ 44 won’t go; Govt and BASL losing patience

Chief Justice 44 Mohan Peiris is refusing to relinquish office and now demanding a plum diplomatic posting in return for vacating his post despite a demand by the country’s lawyers that he step down. His choice is either as Ambassador to the UN in New York or as High Commissioner in London, but Prime Minister [...]

Dhanapala to hold talks with UN Human Rights Chief

Jayantha Dhanapala, President Maithripala Sirisena’s Senior Adviser on Foreign Relations, will go to Geneva, tomorrow for talks with UN Human Rights Commissioner Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein. Mr. Dhanapala is going as a special emissary of the Government to discuss the ongoing probe into war crimes allegations by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human [...]

High-level drug menace to face powerful taskforce

High-level drug menace to face powerful taskforce

Battling a “really powerful” drug ring, the newly-appointed Minister of Public Order, Disaster Management and Christian Affairs, John Amaratunga said a special taskforce will be appointed to tackle the escalating flow of drugs into the country. “We will set up a task force that will be headed by a senior DIG and the Commissioner of [...]

JVP application seeking arrest of ‘KP’ to be taken up on Tuesday

JVP application seeking arrest of ‘KP’ to be taken up on Tuesday

A Writ Application filed by the JVP seeking an order to arrest and prosecute former LTTE leader Kumaran Pathmanathan alias ‘KP’ will be taken up for hearing on Tuesday. The petition filed in the Court of Appeal on Monday demanding the arrest and trial of ex-LTTE leader who is believed to be the head of [...]

Carlton Foundation vehicles found in Colombo 4 land

Carlton Foundation vehicles  found in Colombo 4 land

The aerobic instructor for the former First Lady Shiranthi Rajapaksa was this week questioned by police in connectionwith the find of eight vehicles including two ambulances on an empty land situated at Lauries Road in Colombo 4, police said yesterday. Bambalapitiya Police officials said they had recorded the statement of Kanthi Ranchagoda, proprietor of Dance [...]

Bribery body begins probes even as Cabinet decides to remove its Director General

Bribery body begins probes even as Cabinet decides to remove its Director General

Investigations have commenced on over 30 complaints received since the Presidential election concluded, the Bribery and Corruption Commission claimed. Two passports of respondents have been impounded while several more are under consideration. The passport of another individual – a political appointee of the previous government – is set to be impounded while two more individuals [...]

Scramble for different foods as veggie prices skyrocket

Scramble for different foods as veggie prices skyrocket

Sri Lankans are giving themselves a change in diet to cope with the severe shortage of popular vegetables. The shortage and sky-rocketing prices provide a challenge for the new Ministry of Food Security, which says it is taking steps to avert such situations in the long term. There is no respite, however, in the current [...]

‘This is Sri Lanka’s Burma moment, everyone should help us’

‘This is Sri Lanka’s Burma moment, everyone should help us’

When he returned to the Foreign Ministry last week, Mangala Samaraweera first rearranged the furniture so his office would look as it used to. Then he flew to New Delhi—to do the same for India-Sri Lanka relations. Mr. Samaraweera has taken charge of diplomatic affairs after an eight-year hiatus. He was foreign minister in Mahinda [...]

Opposition, poll monitors urge Govt. action against its supporters’ post-poll thuggery

Opposition members and polls monitoring groups have urged the Government to take stern and urgent measures to stop post-election violence alleging that, their supporters are being subjected to threats and intimidation. Since the conclusion of the January 8 presidential poll, two people have been killed, People’s Action for Free and Fair Elections (PAFFREL) sources said, [...]

Expert body to guide and promote food chain efficiency

Expert body to guide and promote food chain efficiency

A food security committee has been set up to monitor and control the production, harvest, distribution, and pricing of essential food items produced locally to create a balancing act between the consumer, producer and the trader, it was announced earlier this week. The committee will comprise officials and experts from the Ministry of Agriculture, Mahaweli, [...]

Unscheduled re-fuelling cargo carrier allowed to leave sans inspection

A foreign transport plane that made an unscheduled landing at Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport (MRIA) early Wednesday, with unidentified cargo, was allowed to leave the country the same evening, without being checked, airport officials said. They said the Antonov cargo carrier had arrived from the US en-route to Australia with an unidentified load of heavy [...]

R2I Bill is coming, Media Minister assures prelates

A Committee of 15 members has been appointed to go into the proposed Right to Information Bill to be introduced in Parliament shortly, the new Media Minister Gayantha Karunatilleke told the Mahanayake Theras yesterday. During separate meetings with the Asgiriya Chapter Mahanayake, the Ven. Udugama Sri Buddharakitha Thera, and the Malwatte Chapter Mahanayake, the Ven. [...]

3-member delegation Saudi bound to convey SL’s condolences

A three-member delegation left yesterday to convey Sri Lanka‘s condolences on the death of Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz al Saud. The delegation comprising Minister of Urban Development, Water Supply and Drainage, Rauff Hakeem, Minister of Muslim Religious Affairs, Abdul Hakeem and A.H.M. Fozwie from the main Opposition Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), were picked [...]

Govt. to announce further relief measures

Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayaka will announce in Parliament on Thursday several measures to lower the high cost of living, in keeping with the promises made by President Maithripala Sirisena in his election manifesto. These include relaxing of custom duties on 10 essential food items, as well as a pay hike of Rs 10,000 for public [...]

President Sirisena agrees to SLFP participation at Constitutional amendments

President Sirisena agrees to SLFP participation at Constitutional amendments

The Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) has sought approval from President Maithripala Sirisena to include a representative from the Party in the proposed committee to draft amendments to the country’s Constitution, a senior member of the Party said. SLFP General Secretary Anura Priyadharshana Yapa told the Sunday Times that the request was made during the [...]

SLPI and Global Media Ethics Forum organise 5th global forum

The Sri Lanka Press Institute (SLPI) in partnership with the Global Media Ethics Forum, is organising the 5th global forum titled, ‘Media Ethics in the Age of Globalisation’ on January 27 and 28, at Kingsbury Hotel, Colombo. The Forum will comprise media practitioners and scholars from Africa, Australia, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Pakistan, UK and USA, [...]

Lanka seeks WB help to track dirty money stashed in Seychelles

The Government is to seek the assistance of the World Bank in a bid to track down illegal deposits that allegedly had been stashed by members of the former Rajapaksa administration in the Seychelles, Deputy Minister of Policy Development and Economic Affairs Dr. Harsha de Silva said yesterday. He said the main focus at present [...]

It’s back to park duty

It’s back to park duty

The upkeep of the Viharamaha Devi Park which was disrupted for a couple of days after the election has returned to normal with workers of the Civil Defence Service back at their task. They are paid an allowance of Rs 600 a day for the work. Visitors to the Park said soon after the election [...]

Ex-Cabinet minister allegedly involved in illicit warehouse, distribution centre for liquor

An illicit warehouse and distribution centre in Colombo, used by a leading distilleries company in Kurunegala, allegedly on the direction of a former Cabinet minister, is under investigation by the Organised Crimes Division (OCD) of the Police and the Excise Department. The investigation follows the detection of 60,000 bottles of ‘Wayamba Arrack’ at the warehouse [...]

SLFP moves to save local councils

Sri Lanka Freedom Party members of local councils controlled by the party have been warned disciplinary action would be taken against them if they supported the opposition to take control of the councils. SLFP General Secretary Anura Priyadharshana Yapa told the Sunday Times that the warning was issued at the Central Committee meeting presided over [...]

UDA projects to continue subject to review

Projects that had already begun under the Urban Development Authority will be continued, Urban Development Ministry Secretary Karunarathne Hettiarachchi said. He said, however, ongoing and future projects would be reviewed for their viability and cost effectiveness. “We will not stop any projects unless the review shows that it was not viable,” he said.

Police fish out 18 fertiliser bags of Govt. files from a well

Following a tip-off, 18 fertiliser bags of files belonging to a Coordinating Secretary of former Prime Minister D.M. Jayaratne were yesterday recovered from a well in Minuwangoda, Police said. Police said the bags were completely filled with files, while some of the bags had the emblem of the Prime Minister’s office on them. Police officers [...]

Return of the General

Return of the General

Former army chief Sarath Fonseka who was this week exonerated of all charges including treason by a presidential pardon declared that he would concentrate on a political career and sees no role with the military. Mr. Fonseka told the Sunday Times at his party office, in Kotte, that he would now prepare his party for [...]

FM recalls 27 political appointees; career diplomats to make up 70%

Some second-level Foreign Service officers are in line for promotions under Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera’s plans to depoliticise Sri Lanka’s diplomatic corps. The Minister said he intends to restrict the number of politically-appointed heads of missions to 19, while the country has 66 overseas missions. It was not immediately clear whether Sri Lanka had sufficient [...]

Let performance be the judge, says Presidential sibling

Let performance be the judge, says Presidential sibling

P.G. Kumarasinghe, the President’s younger brother, sifts through a generous pile of laminated paper qualifications. He picks one out and says, “This is important”. It was a certificate awarding him membership of the Chartered Institute of Accountants of Sri Lanka. There are many more diplomas, degrees and post-graduate accomplishments in the two cardboard files he [...]

Transport fares slow to follow fuel price cuts

Transport fares slow to follow fuel price cuts

Consumers are enjoying the drop in fuel prices but transport providers are being either slow or recalcitrant in passing on the benefits to the public. Despite claims that private buses have already reduced charges commuters are yet to gain the benefits while state-run buses are awaiting instructions from the Transport Ministry on a price reduction. [...]

Ceylonkarans, our lost tribe in Kerala

Ceylonkarans, our lost tribe in Kerala

Tears well up and roll down her cheeks despite a struggle to maintain her composure. A sob escapes as she wipes the tears away with the ragged cloth she is wearing. “Mata Lankawa mathak wenawa. Ehe inna mage gedara aya mathak wenawa (I miss Sri Lanka every day. I miss my family there),” Jayawickrama Gamage [...]

A dying breed

A dying breed

Ours is an age when most entertainment is limited to the screen… so it is natural to feel nostalgic at the sight of a gypsy with a monkey on a leash or with a cobra in his basket. These gypsies who have resisted the lure of modern careers, are frequently zapped by animal rights activists [...]

Special Unit to investigate corruption within State schools: Minister Kariyawasam

The Education Ministry is setting up a special unit to investigate cases of corruption within State Educational institutions including schools, Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam told the Education Times. He said the decision to set up the unit was taken in the wake of information about politicisation of the Educational institutions leading to corruption. “There are [...]

From the one who knows better

From the one who knows better

The EdEx Education and Career exhibition was held on Jan.23 at the BMICH. Here Seshani Gunatilleka, who scored the highest marks in the Commerce stream at the 2012 GCE AL, is seen counseling AL Commerce students at the AAT stall. Pic by Athula Devapriya

Former Higher Ed. Min. SBD allegedly acquired Colombo 7 property on forged deeds

Colombo Chief Magistrate Gihan Pilapitiya on January 19 ordered the police to investigate a complaint that a house located in Cinnamon Gardens, Colombo 7, valued at over Rs 180 million, and gifted to the Colombo University’s Medical Faculty, has been acquired by former Higher Education Minister S.B. Dissanayake using forged documents. The two-storey house located [...]

Prof Premalal De Silva appointed Competent Authority of East Uni. Trincomalee Campus

State Minister of Higher Education, Prof Rajiva Wijesinha, under powers vested in him by the Universities Act, has appointed Prof Ranjith Premalal De Silva as Competent Authority (CA) for the Tricomalee Campus, with effect from January 15, 2015. The decision to appoint a CA was taken because the Administration of the Trincomalee Campus of the [...]

Fixed school hours- 7.30 am to 1.30 pm: Education Minister

Principals will no longer be able to decide on the time to commence school sessions, and will have to observe fixed times of 7.30 am to 1.30 pm, Education Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam has decided. This follows complaints from parents and teachers of Mahinda Rajapaksa Maha Vidyalaya, Homagama, where school hours are from 7.30 am [...]

Re-open schools closed during ‘Eelam War’- CTU to NP Gov.

The Ceylon Teachers Union (CTU) urged the newly appointed Northern Province Governor H.M.G.S. Palihakkara to reopen 89 schools in the Province, which were closed during the conflict period. CTU General Secretary, Joseph Stalin told the Education Times that, of the 1,082 schools in the region, 89 schools remain closed as most of them are located [...]

IN: Student input into decision-making; OUT: Leadership prog.- Prof Wijesinha

A system where councils and other decision-makers are accountable to students of the decisions they take, will be established immediately, said new State Minister Prof Rajiva Wijesinha. The Minister intends to meet current students, once every two weeks. He has also decided to scrap the controversial ‘Leadership’ programme and recommence the English programme, a pet [...]

St Benedict’s College, Kotahena, celebrates 150 years with ‘Walk’

St. Benedict’s College, Kotahena, will celebrate 150 years of providing “Human and Christian Education in Sri Lanka”, this February, with a series of programmes, with the Benedictine Walk as its highlight. Founded in 1865 by the De la Salle brothers, the school has been nurturing boys from varied backgrounds- mostly drawn from Colombo and its [...]

‘World Hindi Day’ by Indian Consulate General, Hambantota, on Jan.31

The Consulate General of India, Hambantota, is organising ‘World Hindi Day’ on January 31, at the Consulate General of India, 107 B, New Road, Hambantota, from 2 pm onwards. It will feature Hindi Speaking/Hindi Singing/Quiz in Hindi competitions, with attractive prizes and certificates for the winners. Entrance to the function will be free. For further [...]

New Education Minister vows dedicated work ethic to solve people’s problems

The Education Minister vowed on January 21 that he will work with dedication, in order to provide solutions to the problems faced by the people. Though it was the first people’s day of the newly appointed minister, a large crowd was gathered to meet him. The Minister said that the Government will fulfill its promise [...]

Cabinet of Ministers : Who is responsible for what?

Cabinet of Ministers : Who is responsible for what?

Several changes have been made to the subjects and functions assigned to the Prime Minister and Cabinet Ministers in the new Government appointed by President Maithripala Sirisena. The President has retained the Defence portfolio as well as the Ministry of Mahaweli Development and Environment. The Central Bank and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) which were [...]

Power and Disaster Management Ministries teams to study situation

Power and Disaster  Management Ministries teams to study situation

Power company says no way it is responsible A three-day hunger strike was yesterday called off by residents of Chunnakam against alleged oil leakage from the Northern Power Plant (NPP) after their representatives were given assurances by government authorities that immediate remedies have been taken to address their issues. The residents of Chunnakam, medical doctors [...]

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