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PM offers his weight in sandalwood

PM offers his weight in sandalwood

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe wearing a Veshti and a shawl over his shoulder is seen at the Guruvayur Sreekrishna Temple in Kerala yesterday accompanied by dignitaries. In keeping with tradition, he offered ‘thulabaram’ – 77 kgs of sandalwood equal to his body weight. Please see story on P 6. Pic courtesy The Hindu

20A – SLFP finalises new electoral system

The 20th Constitutional Amendment presented by the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) proposes a mixed electoral system that returns 231 members directly elected to Parliament. This is in addition to 29 members who will continue to enter parliament through the National List. The total number of members will, therefore, be 260. The amendment was circulated [...]

Grounded CB Gov’s lawyer says he’s being singeld out

Beleaguered Central Bank Governor Arjun Mahendran will write to the Bribery or Corruption Commission tomorrow through his lawyers requesting an appointment to make submissions on his own behalf following the impounding of his passport on the orders of the Commission on Friday. Mr. Mahendran is on leave from the Central Bank now for over a month, [...]

Sirisena to unite and relaunch UPFA

President Maithripala Sirisena has invited all constituent parties of the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) for what has been described as a ‘relaunch’ of the alliance, Opposition Leader Nimal Siripala de Silva said yesterday. The meeting is scheduled to be held at the Viharamahadevi open air theatre on April 23. “The meeting is also being held to [...]

President skips Bandung jubilee

President Maithripala Sirisena will skip the 50th anniversary of the Asia-Africa Summit, better known as the Bandung Conference, which will be held in the Indonesian capital Jakarta next week. A President’s Office spokesmen cited personal reasons for the decision by the President not to attend the conference, which Sri Lanka co-sponsored with Burma, India, Indonesia and [...]

Top-level team going to Ukraine for full probe on Weeratunga’s activities

A top-level team including Police and Government officials will visit Ukraine to probe the activities of Udayanga Weeratunga, Sri Lanka’s former Ambassador to Russia. The team’s main thrust will be to obtain more details of the Ukrainian Government complaint that Mr. Weeratunga supplied weapons to pro-Russian rebels who were fighting in that country though a [...]

Leopards and elephants take centre stage

Leopards and elephants take centre stage

Animal lovers will be able to visit the country’s first open air zoological gardens in Pinnawala free of charge until April 30. The 44 acre Open Zoo, that has been built at a cost of Rs. 850 million, was opened on Friday April, 17 by Minister of Tourism and Sports Navin Dissanayake. The Open Air [...]

Miliband’s putthandu faux pas provokes protests

Sri Lankans are up in arms against the Labour Party leader for sending greetings only to the Tamil community here on what he called the “Tamil New Year” ignoring the vast number of Sinhala people who celebrate this joint New Year. This one-sided greeting comes three weeks before the British general elections and many Sri [...]

‘Get fit’ policy planned for office workers

‘Get fit’ policy  planned for  office workers

Office workers will be urged to engage in physical fitness exercises during the working day to combat alarming levels of bad health in those aged 35 years and above. The Health Ministry’s workforce screening programmes have found that most employees aged 35-60 suffer from diabetes, cholesterol, cardiovascular diseases, hypertension and chronic respiratory diseases. The Ministry’s [...]

CAA tips the scales in consumers’ favour from May 1

The public will be able to weigh bread or other goods prior to purchasing them at supermarkets, bakeries and grocery stores and, if items are underweight, they can return or exchange, the Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) said. This will be with effect from May 1 this year, CAA Chairman, Rumy Marzook told the Sunday Times. [...]

A day of fun for Badulla prison inmates

A day of fun for Badulla prison inmates

Inmates in the Badulla Prisons take part in an Avurudu event. Pic By Palitha Ariyawansha.

Wakf Tribunal charges Ministry with neglect

‘Sri Lanka Wakf Tribunal’ (SLWT), the Board which appoints trustees to mosques islandwide and deals with complaints regarding appointments, has been neglected by the Department of Muslims Religious and Cultural Affairs,” said a Managing Trustee of the Shaikh Usman Waliyullah shrine and Masjid (Dewatagha Mosque), Reyyaz Salley. He also told the Sunday Times that the [...]

Electoral reforms: Minor parties meet today to put forward common stand

Minor and minority parties are meeting in the evening today to formulate a common stand on the proposed electoral reforms and put forward their own recommendations. The parties including the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC), People’s Liberation Front (JVP), Democratic People’s Front (DPF) and Eelam Peoples Democratic Party (EPDP) are among [...]

Chief monk escapes drunk PC’s T.56 salvo at temple

A drunken police constable was arrested by Galkiriyagama police for allegedly firing a T.56 weapon on Friday (17) at the temple where the Chief monk of Namal Uyana, Ven. Wanawasi Rahula Thera was residing. The Chief monk had hid himself and escaped injuries, police said, adding that they have recovered empty shells from within the [...]

Police probe death of woman (35) and infant hit by train

Kadugannawa police are investigating the death of Thamilselvam Tharushi (35) from Hantanne Estate in Kandy, and her four-month-old infant, who were hit by a train in Pilimatalawa, while on her way to her mother’s house at Alagala Estate, Kadugannawa. Police are yet to determine whether this was a suicide or the victims were accidentally hit [...]

UPFA invites MR for its May Day rally; wait and see

UPFA invites MR for its May Day rally; wait and see

The United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA), the main party in Parliament in a minority government, yesterday said that it had sent an invitation to President Mahinda Rajapaksa to participate in its May Day rally. UPFA General Secretary, Susil Premajayantha said that invitations have been personally handed over to all members of the Alliance to participate [...]

Commonwealth Rule of Law award for Upul

Commonwealth Rule of Law award for Upul

Former BASL president Upul Jayasuriya was presented the 2015 Rule of Law Award by the Commonwealth Lawyers’ Association at a glittering ceremony on April 13 at the prestigious City Chambers in Glasgow, Scotland. A banquet too was held in his honour at the same venue. Chief Justices, Judges and heads of the Bar from Scotland [...]

BASL urges immediate enactment of 19th Amendment sans further ado

The Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) is urging all parties to set aside their political partisan differences and ensure the immediate enactment of the 19th Amendment. The BASL, in a statement, said that some of the measures included in the 19th Amendment are crucial and require urgent implementation. Among these measures are the re-establishment [...]

Ranil at Guruvayur temple; offers 77kg of sandalwood

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe visited the Guruvayur Sreekrishna Temple in Kerala yesterday. He was accompanied by his wife, Maitree, and Resettlement, Reconstruction and Hindu Religious Affairs Minister D. M. Swaminathan. The Prime Minister and his team arrived at the Sreevalsam Guest House of the Guruvayur Devaswom around 11-15 a.m., Indian media reported. He changed into [...]

This is the way we farmed our lands

This is the way we farmed our lands

Farmers of Giribawa Pollonnaruwa enact a traditional harvesting ceremony to show the youngsters an event that is fast disappearing. Pic by Karuwalagaswewa Jayarathna

Cry over powdered milk as prices plunge in world market

Cry over powdered milk as prices plunge in world market

The price of whole milk powder in the global market plunged by 43 per cent last year, but on Sri Lankan shelves the essential commodity was sold for a fixed price throughout the decline. Prices on Fonterra’s GlobalDairy Trade auction started dropping in February 2014 and slid steadily for ten months. In December, they reached [...]

Asgiri Karaka Sabha meeting to appoint new Mahanayake Thera

The Asgiri Karaka Sangha Sabha, or committee will meet in the next two weeks to decide on a date to appoint a new Mahanayaka Thera following the demise Ven Udugama Dhamadassi Sri Buddharakitha Thera. The practice is that when the Karaka Sangha Sabha meets those whowish to be elected tender their “bio-data ” to the [...]

Suspect, 4 accomplices arrested for selling real estate on false deeds

A large scale fraud by a drug dealer, involving the sale of land with forged deeds has been uncovered by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID). The suspect had been selling land to unsuspecting people for a long time, according to Police Media Spokesman ASP Ruwan Gunasekara. The drug dealer’s modus operandi was to pose off [...]

SL workers in Israel must return when visa expires to safeguard job market: SLBFE

Sri Lankan Agricultural workers in Israel have been advised to return home on expiry of their visas, Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE)- Deputy General Manager, Mangala Randeniya said. The move comes following several instances of overstaying visas and of workers absconding from their workplaces. Mr Randeniya said there are more than 500 vacancies [...]

Hearth-lighting ceremony at the Maligawa

Hearth-lighting ceremony at the Maligawa

Amidst the chanting of seth pirith the traditional hearth lighting ceremony took place at the Maligawa at the auspicious time took place this year too. The practice comes down from the time of King Wimaladharamsooriya under whose rule the Maligawa was built. The Diyawadana Nilame lit the hearth at the Hewisi Mandapaya or the drummers [...]

Accidents and fights beat fireworks in New Year injury toll

At least 700 persons sought treatment at the Colombo National Hospital for accident-related injuries during the New Year season, a 10 per cent increase from last year, the hospital’s director, Dr. Anil Jasinghe said. More than 280 of them had to be hospitalised. Most injuries were due to traffic accidents, Dr. Jasinghe said, a toll [...]

Probes into 52 cases, legal action taken on 26

Probes into 52 cases, legal action taken on 26

The newly set up Financial Crime Investigation Division (FCID) has opened investigations into 52 complaints made by several social organisations, political parties, Government officials and individuals on fraudulent financial transactions. FCID has taken legal action on 26 complaints with a similar number being investigated. Financial corruption on the hedging deal and MiG aircraft transaction, abuse [...]

Govt. hedges on its incomplete 100-Day programme as deadline looms

Any unfulfilled promises in the Government’s 100-Day programme will be delivered following Parliamentary elections expected in June, Economic Development and Policy Implementation Deputy Minister Dr. Harsha De Silva told the Sunday Times. The comments came as Government’s ambitious 100-Day programme reaches its deadline next week. He said even though Government has failed to fulfill some [...]

Main political parties on campaign mode, as polls hover on the horizon

Main political parties on campaign mode,  as polls hover on the horizon

With speculation rife about early parliamentary elections, probably in end June, the main political parties are gearing up once again for the battle which they last fought five years ago. While the United National Party (UNP), this time from a position of strength and having the incumbency advantage, is seeking to reorganise its grassroots campaign, [...]

Buyers bolt from hybrid cars

Buyers bolt  from hybrid cars

Sales of hybrid cars have dropped dramatically following the tariff rise of 30 per cent on all hybrid vehicles in the new government’s interim budget. The Ceylon Motor Traders Association (CTMA) says hybrid vehicles sales have dropped by half since January 2015 when the government slammed an 80 per cent tax on hybrid vehicles. The [...]

News in pictures

News in pictures

Kalpitiya fishermen ride roughshod over beautiful corals

Kalpitiya fishermen ride roughshod over beautiful corals

The Kalpitiya coral banks are being badly damaged by thoughtless and unethical fishing practices and the continuous dumping of garbage into the once-pristine waters. Tourism, which now provides most of the jobs in the area and is dependent on the coral drawcard, will soon be affected, experts say. Kalpitiya Beach is a unique tourist destination [...]

Glimmer of hope for Unawatuna’s lost beach

Glimmer of hope for Unawatuna’s lost beach

The reviled breakwater that has eroded the beautiful beaches of Unawatuna and driven tourists away from a formerly charismatic swimming, diving and coral reef snorkelling area is to be restructured and a new beach built. The Department of Coast Conservation has begun pumping sand onto the 1.5km crescent-shaped beach to bring back its former width. [...]

With faith in their hearts and their bullock carts, devotees make trip to Madu

With faith in their hearts and their bullock carts, devotees make trip to Madu

Following a tradition that was revived in 2013, after a long lapse, a number of devout families in a convoy of bullock carts this week began a 13-day long pilgrimage starting from the village of Mavila in Marawila to Mannar, to visit the holy shrine of Our Lady of Madu. It was the idea of [...]

Fallen Telecom pipeline brings boat safaris to a standstill

Safari boat rides on the Bentota river which were an integral part of the tourist industry have been brought to a complete standstill due to a Telecom pipeline carrying cables and wires alongside the railway bridge collapsing into the river. Boat operators complain that the cables and wires which are floating in the water under [...]

Roads and road safety

Bumpy, uneven roads are a menace to motorists, commuters and pedestrians alike. They all are victims of a tug-o-war between the central government’s road development authorities and local government authorities who are in charge of main roads and sub- roads in any given area. Saman de Silva (37), from Panadura said “motorists have to bear [...]

NEC recommendations to reduce O/L Maths failures to be presented to MS

The National Education Commission (NEC), the body responsible for formulating national education policies, will soon forward to President Maithripala Sirisena a set of recommendations to minimise the rate of failures at the General Certificate of Education (GCE)- Ordinary Level (O/L) Maths Exam. The move follows the 50% failure rate in Maths at the GCE O/L [...]

Kelaniya undergraduates celebrate New Year with Old Habits

Kelaniya undergraduates celebrate  New Year with Old Habits

Kelaniya University undergraduates celebrate Sinhala-Tamil New Year as they continue their protest campaign outside the University. Similar protests were conducted in other campuses as well.

106 National Schools need Principals; applications close on April 30

The Education Ministry is calling for applications for the post of Principals in 106 National Schools island-wide, on or before teh closing date April 30. Those applying for Principal of a National School will be tested for Computer literacy and marks added to the final aggregate. They will receive scores for their experience as school [...]

Anti-narcotic Societies in 100 WP Schools to conduct Prevention programmes

Hundred schools (100) in the Western Province (WP) have been selected to set up anti-narcotic societies in order to prevent schoolchildren from using dangerous drugs. The programme commenced at an event held at the Royal College auditorium this week, with students from the 100 schools of the WP, participating. National Dangerous Drugs & Control Board [...]

President honours pledge with launch of ‘Free Wi-Fi for All’

President honours pledge with launch of ‘Free Wi-Fi for All’

President Maithripala Sirisena launched the ‘Free Wi-Fi for Regional Towns’ programme from the Polonnaruwa District General Hospital premises last Thursday. Simultaneously, authorities unveiled free Wi-Fi zones in 100 major towns in the country. Under the free Wi-Fi programme, Sri Lankans will be able to access the internet up to 100 MB, free of charge per [...]

Nearly 50% of rehabilitated ex-LTTE cadres are Graduates

Nearly half of former LTTE cadres who sat the GCE Advanced Level (A/L) exam while undergoing rehabilitation during the past few years, qualified to enter university and graduated, according to Commissioner General (CG) of Rehabilitation, Maj. Gen. Jagath Wijetilleka. Of some 723 who sat for their A/Ls, 324 gained university entrance. The CG said that [...]

Bhutan’s students to get a better deal in Sri Lanka

Bhutan’s students to get a better deal in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is looking into the possibility of enhancement of scholarships, placements and better facilities for Bhutanese students in Sri Lanka. The topics figured during the recent visit of Bhutan’s Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay, when he met with President Maithripala Sirisena, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and other ministers during his three-day visit. Currently there are [...]

Night School’s light at day’s end

Night School’s light at day’s end

A night school established in a Buddhist temple in Kotavehera in Welimada, in 2002, has been providing free education for less privileged students, irrespective of race or religion. It started when the Ven. Kotavehera Kasyapa Thera began giving night lessons in the Udagama Sri Subadrarama temple for three students from the village, who had failed [...]

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