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Humanitarian crisis in Nepal

Humanitarian crisis in Nepal

Sri Lanka’s main passport office at Punchi Borella in Colombo went into emergency mode last night to issue scores of rapid deployment soldiers new passports to go to earthquake-devastated Nepal in a mission to join relief operations there. Pic by Indika Handuwala. Inset shows people clearing rubble in Kathmandu’s Durbar Square, a UNESCO World Heritage [...]

UPFA insists on dilution of 19A

The United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) has proposed changes to the latest draft of the 19th Amendment and is demanding that they be included during the committee stage of the bill as a precondition for support. “I would like to kindly inform you that the central working committee of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party agreed [...]

Lanka’s disaster-response team flies to quake-hit Nepal; death toll tops 1,200

Sri Lanka early this morning sent a team of 159 relief workers, including four doctors, to earthquake-hit Nepal where more than 1,200 people were confirmed dead by last night with thousands more reported missing. The disaster-response team largely consisting of military personnel left on a Sri Lanka Air Force transport aircraft. The move came after President [...]

UPFA splits for May Day: Two rallies

The United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) for the first time, since its formation 11 years ago, is to hold two different May Day rallies after last minute appeals to hold a united rally failed. UPFA General Secretary Susil Premajayantha said yesterday that former President Mahinda Rajapksa, a patron of the party had been invited for the [...]

Kerry here Saturday; will open Vesak pandal

United States Secretary of State John Kerry is to arrive in Sri Lanka on Saturday for a 24-hour visit, Foreign Ministry officials said.  It is the first official visit to Sri Lanka by a US Secretary of State since the visit of William Pierce Rogers in July 1972. Secretary Kerry will arrive in Sri Lanka [...]

Asylum-seeker returns with shattered dreams

Asylum-seeker returns with shattered dreams

For the past two years, Vaithilingam Linagaraja, a fishermen from Kaddaikadu off Elephant Pass in Jaffna, had been languishing in a refugee camp in Paula New Guinea after his bid to illegally enter Australia failed. Mr. Linagaraja last week voluntarily decided to return home after realising he had no chance of entering Australia. “I realised [...]

Just 6 years on and Sigiriya museum already gone to the monkeys

Just 6 years on and Sigiriya museum already gone to the monkeys

Run down and desolate, it is pleading for attention. The state-of-the-art Sigiriya Museum and Information Centre, with the majestic rock fortress, a UNESCO World Heritage Site as its backdrop, is in a bad state. Just six years down the line, it is a poor shadow of what it was when it was opened with much [...]

Research vessel’s crew ‘harboured’ for 18 months

Research vessel’s crew ‘harboured’ for 18 months

Authorities are looking into a complaint that a 14-member all Russian crew are currently virtual prisoners aboard a Russian research vessel that has remained in limbo at the Colombo Port for the past 18 months, a senior official said yesterday. “The matter has already been raised by the Russian Embassy in Colombo and steps are [...]

Lanka frantic to win back billion-rupee EU catch

Lanka frantic to win back billion-rupee EU catch

Sri Lanka is frantically fighting for time to get its house in order before the next visit of the European Commission scheduled in June to get back its share of fish exports to the European Union (EU) market. It is planning to fix 1,500 multi-duty boats with the vessel monitoring system (VMS), a requirement by [...]

Belated festivities or public nuisance

Belated festivities or public nuisance

Despite a week having passed since the dawning of the national new year and vesak being almost upon us, avurudhu festivities have still not come to an end especially in urban areas.. Urban dwellers who left for rural areas during the holiday season, were seen organising ‘avurudhu festivities’ in the Colombo city and the suburbs [...]

End of war does not necessarily bring peace- CBK

End of war does not necessarily bring peace- CBK

The present Government has prioritised resolving land issues, developing infrastructure, enhancing livelihoods, especially in women-headed households, ensuring accountability through investigations into alleged war crimes committed by both parties during the end of the war, and finding a durable solution for the Tamil equation by arriving at a political solution acceptable to all, said former President [...]

Toothless NBRO challenged by new landslide

Toothless NBRO challenged by new landslide

Six months after the Meeriyabedde landslide tragedy, this week saw another slide covering almost six acres close to the same area. The landslide occurred on Monday morning in the Nikapotha area in Haldumulla, an area still not identified as high-risk by the National Building Research Organisation (NBRO). Fortunately, no casualties were reported as the area [...]

Port City company says it has required government approvals

Port City company says it has required government approvals

CHEC Colombo Port City (Pvt) Ltd (Project Company) this week responded to what it termed as “inaccuracies” in an article titled ‘To sink or swim with Port City’ by Eng. Channa Fernando published recently in the Sunday Times. Following are excerpts from their statement: The writer acknowledges there could be gaps due to non-availability or [...]

Electoral Reforms: Minor, Minority Parties major stumbling block to consensus

Political parties were struggling yesterday to reach consensus on the proposed Electoral Reforms with diverse opinions presented to the Cabinet for consideration. All main political party representatives, barring the Mahajana Eksath Peramuna, Ceylon Workers’ Congress and the Upcountry People’s Front, met with the Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya and representatives of the Legal Draftsman’s Dept at [...]

Eng. Channa Fernando responds

My article aspired to draw public attention to some real facts in wider national interest, when other misinformation was in circulation. It was clearly stated that there was no intention to bring any party into disrepute; and that the objective was to rectify and learn from mistakes. The shortcomings could be of the SLPA, Government [...]

150 people to get dual citizenship on Thursday

The dual citizenship facility for people of Sri Lankan origin with foreign citizenship will be available from nest Thursday after a gap of three years, Public Order Minister John Amaratunga said yesterday. He said the first batch of 150 applicants from 400 applications would receive Sri Lanka citizenship on Thursday while interviews for the remaining [...]

Dept. claims coral, beach defence plans in hand

Dept. claims coral, beach defence plans in hand

Plans to protect threatened beaches and corals have been drawn up by the Coastal Conservation and Coastal Resources Management Department. The department’s new Director-General, Prabath Chandrakeerthi, said officials had already completed a project to prevent beach erosion at Unawatuna and plans to apply the same technique to Marawila area after finding massive coastal erosion taking [...]

Excise Dept. and Customs to jointly stop illicit entry of Ethanol

The Excise Department along with Customs will work together to stop the illicit import of Ethanol into the country, a senior official said yesterday. A joint meeting between these two state agencies is scheduled for next week to work out modalities Excise Commissioner L.K.G. Gunawardene told the Sunday Times. Initial investigations have revealed that the [...]

Rules to govern sale of Buddhist flags and atapirikara

The government will issue on Tuesday standards for Buddhist flags sold in the open market and impose strict conditions on the quality of “atapirikara’ sold in the market, Public Administration Minister Karu Jayasuriya said. “There is a standardised version of the Buddhist flag but some people have begun to modify it and sell it,” the [...]

Prime Minister handed over deeds to families

Prime Minister handed over deeds to families

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday handed over deeds to families living on estates who have hitherto not had ownership of private property. Each family was given six perches of land and the inaugural ceremony was held at Bandarawela Town Hall. Pic by Ishan Sanjeewa

Probe attack on social worker’s family: Muslim academics

A number of Muslim academics and activists are urging authorities to ensure a thorough and fair investigation of the harassment of family members of a journalist and social worker from the Eastern Province, over her opinion on sex workers. The statement bearing over 50 signatories said they are distressed and dismayed at the incidents of [...]

Sea claims mother, 3 children relaxing on the beach

A mother and her three children drowned at sea off Tangalle yesterday, police said. Police quoted eyewitnesses as saying that the family was relaxing on the beach when they were swept into the sea by a large wave. Bodies of the mother and two children have been recovered while the search continues for the third [...]

Opposition to ask for sacking of CB Governor Mahendran when House meets tomorrow

Opposition to ask for sacking of CB Governor  Mahendran when House meets tomorrow

Opposition politicians are reiterating demands that Central Bank (CB) Governor Arjuna Mahendran should be sacked over what they claim is the irregular Rs. 10 billion Treasury Bond deal, saying they were equally shocked that he had returned to work this week despite investigations that are pending. The Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) and the Jathika Hela [...]

Probe into corruption allegations continues

Probe into corruption allegations continues

The Financial Crime Investigation Division (FCID) and the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption this week continued investigations in cases in which politicians and officials of the former regime were implicated. Many politicians, former top level Government officials and their relatives have been summoned before the FCID, the Bribery Commission or have turned [...]

Summoning MR to Bribery Conmmission brings out sharp differences

The decision by the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery and Corruption (CIABOC) to summon former President Mahinda Rajapaksa before it has led to the sharp differences of opinion among Government and Opposition legislators with both sides arguing the validity of such a move. The former President is to be questioned over allegations that his [...]

Specialists desert GMOA to join AMS as latter holds AGM

The Association of Medical Specialists (AMS) is due to hold its annual general meeting (AGM) this morning in Colombo amidst a flood of resignations by specialist doctors from the membership of the powerful Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) in recent weeks. With a large number of specialist doctors breaking away from the GMOA, the AMS [...]

Bill to include fingerprints in passport

Government will on Monday present a Bill in Parliament to amend the Immigrants and Emigrants Act, to include fingerprints in passports. These amendments will empower the Department of Immigration and Emigration to “for the inclusion of fingerprints in the passport, of a person applying for or renewal of a passport.” Under the new regulations, new [...]

Customs say deputy minister tried to get seized copper rods released

Customs officials have thwarted an attempt by a deputy minister to secure the release of an impounded container of copper rods from Dubai on a duty free basis, a top Customs officer said. He said Deputy Justice Minister Sujeewa Senasinghe visited the Customs to secure the release of the container of copper rods worth millions [...]

Alleged Rs. 4,000 m fraud by CSN: Yoshitha, Sajin Vaas summoned

Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s son Yoshitha Rajapaksa and MP Sajin Vass Gunawardena have been directed to appear before the Financial Crimes Investigation Division (FCID) next week for questioning on allegations of money laundering and failure to pay dues amounting to a staggering Rs. 4,000 million to the Government. A senior police officer said they were [...]

Get to know what’s included and excluded in RTI Bill

A wide-ranging bill that guarantees the right of a citizen to get information from public authorities and places an obligation on the Government and authorities to proactively disclose information has been approved by Cab inet. The Right to Information (RTI) Bill sets out procedures for obtaining information and specifies grounds on which access may be [...]

Six and half feet long crocodile was released

A crocodile that had strayed into a private property in the Sirammbiadiya area in the Puttalam district was released into the Eramudugaswewa waterway within the Tabbowa sanctuary. The animal which was about six and half feet long was released into the wilds by officials of the Wildlife Department at Karuwalagaswewa. Pic by Karuwalagaswewa Jayaratne Wickramaarachchi

Lankan-origin candidate at UK polls receives death threats

Lankan-origin candidate at UK polls receives death threats

In an unexpected twist to a hard fought British election, a Conservative candidate of Sri Lankan ancestry has threatened to sue incumbent MP for Cambridge from the Liberal Democratic Party who is one of her opponents and who she accuses of having distorted her remarks about mental health patients. Meanwhile the candidate Chamali Fernando has received [...]

Two little lives lost in three -wheeler accidents

Three-wheelers continue to claim many lives in road accidents with the latest victims being two infants. On April 19, five-month-old Sandun from Waga died while traveling with his father and mother in a mobile ice cream-selling three-wheeler. The infant who sustained severe head injuries when the vehicle toppled, died at the Lady Ridgeway Children’s Hospital. The child’s [...]

Vesak- festival of lights, in all its grandeur this year

Vesak, now known as the “Festival of Lights”, will be celebrated in all its grandeur. The Vesak Kalapa (Vesak Zones), replete with pageantry and colour, will be held this year as well, mostly in and around Colombo, though they have filtered into the outstations too. This year, with the approval of President Maithripala Sirisena, seven days, from [...]

Yahapalanaya: Potential statesman on a tightrope

Yahapalanaya: Potential statesman on a tightrope

In the mid ’70s, when J.R. Jayewardene was challenging Sirima Bandaranaike for power, he was ridiculed for the way he said ‘koranawa’. In 1977, Ms. Bandaranaike — who presided over the Non-Aligned Movement summit in Colombo and chaired the movement — lost to JR. During the last presidential election campaign, Maithripala Sirisena was scoffed at for [...]

Mahindodaya with borrowed funds by another name

Former and present Education authorities wrangled over the name for the project to establish Technology Laboratories in underprivileged Secondary Schools islandwide to upgrade them to National Schools, to provide equal opportunities for rural students. Heated words were exchanged between United National Party (UNP) Education Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam and United People’s Freedom Party (UPFA) MP [...]

Kelaniya Uni undergrads protest Intake Reduction

Kelaniya University Students Union protested on Thursday (23) against reducing the student intake including monks at the University. The protest commenced near the Kandy Road with 500 students. The students protested for an hour on the main road, and had tried enter to the University’s administration building which was closed. The students chanted slogans against [...]

Cabinet approves Rs 42m for Dhamma school teachers’ uniforms

Cabinet on Wednesday approved Rs 42 million to purchase textiles for uniforms of Dhamma school teachers this year, said Cabinet spokesman Dr Rajitha Senaratne. From 2004, Government is implementing a programme of providing uniforms to voluntary teachers in Dhamma schools. A proposal was put forward to the Cabinet by Minister of Public Administration, Provincial Councils [...]

Japan offers Higher Education MEXT Scholarships Programme for 2016

The Japanese Government is offering Undergraduate, Postgraduate and Technology scholarship opportunities to Sri Lankan students under its (Monbukagakusho: MEXT) Scholarships Programme 2016. Graduate Degrees are offered for Science (Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry), Electrical & Electronics (Electronics, Electrical Engineering, Information Engineering), Mechanics (Mechanical Engineering, Naval Architecture), Civil Engineering & Architecture (Civil Engineering, Architecture, Environmental Engineering), Chemical [...]

Classroom comes to disabled student- Viva Visakha!

A disabled child who was deprived of attending classes in a leading Colombo school due to an issue over accessibility, was this week granted relief with the intervention of the authorities, officials said. Prasansa Lakmini of Grade 8, whose disability from birth compelled her to use a wheelchair, was unable to attend classes at Visakha [...]

WP Deputy Principals ‘discount’ service to avoid transfer alleges AVK

National School Deputy Principals (DP) in the Western Province (WP) who have served for over 6 years, will be transferred with effect from May, said Minister of Education Akila Viraj Kariyawasam. According to the Minister, the Ministry has received forged documents with adjusted service records, when it requested for service documents. “Some have served the [...]

Education Ministry interdicts Principal for ‘incorrigible’ insubordination

The Education Ministry has interdicted the Principal of Poramadulla National School in Hanguranketha, for enrolling students in violation of Ministry instructions, and failing to report to work despite his transfer to the Provincial Education office. Ministry Secretary Upali Marasinghe said the Ministry had received a number of complaints on admitting outside students to Grade 6, [...]

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