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No more hand in hand

No more hand in hand

“My hands are tied,” seems to be what President Maithripala Sirisena indicates to Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, who is deep in thought, when the duo sat at the same table during the Dilmah Red High-Tea Awards at Waters’ Edge recently. Pic by Ranjith Perera

Stage set for political showdown

Nominations tomorrow for the August 17 parliamentary elections will see the emergence of two principal contenders in most districts — the United People’s Freedom Alliance and the United National Party.  That it would be a one-on-one battle became clear as the two sides concluded their nomination lists last night. A few have been handed over [...]

Upmarket liquor licences under review, hoteliers protest

The licences of 412 liquor outlets – including those in star class hotels, upmarket restaurants and sports clubs – are being reviewed following a directive by President Maithripala Sirisena to the authorities to crack down on those violating the standard regulations. Presidential Secretary P.B. Abeykoon told the Sunday Times the Excise Department and the police [...]

Jayampathy Wickramaratne responds to ST Political Column

The Chairman of the United Left Front Jayampathy Wickramaratne sent in the following letter to the Sunday Times:  “A lot of damage has been caused to me by the news in the political column today that I am on the UPFA national list in the company of several “distinguished persons.” “Please publish the attached media [...]

Tea factories remain shut, prices plummet, go-slow continues

With a global tea crisis brewing, the situation has been made worse by the ongoing go-slow by plantation workers demanding a pay hike, officials said. Tea factories remained shut with no immediate solution in sight after the failure of talks on Friday to resolve the wage dispute between employers, trade unions and labour officials. Last Monday, [...]

US tells Wigneswaran to work with Govt, scale down genocide talk

Northern Province Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran received “tough tuition” from the US State Department during talks last Thursday, the Sunday Times learns.  He was asked to soften his ‘genocide’ rhetoric and instead work with the Central Government in matters relating to reconciliation and the development of the province. The Chief Minister is on a tour [...]

CPC loses millions in fishing coupon scam

A fresh investigation has been launched into how the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) lost millions of rupees through the issuance of duplicate fuel subsidy coupons to fishermen. The Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources sent a team to the CPC last month to inquire into such a scam that allegedly occurred through a popular fuel [...]

Pensioners can retire in peace with enhanced scheme

Contradicting the initial announcement of increasing anomalies from July, for those who retired before 2006, the Pensions Dept said the new Pension scheme will be added from August 10. The directive came from Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe after he directed the Treasury to release funds for this purpose, for the Pre-2006 retirees. The Premier advised [...]

28 Injured, 3 critically, in SLTB-private bus collision

At least 28 persons were injured, 3 critically, after 2 passenger buses, one privately owned and the other State-owned, collided yesterday morning on the Colombo-Horana Road in Gonapala, police said. Meanwhile, 3 traffic fatalities were also reported from Gampola, Settikulam and Kanagarayankulam in the past 24 hours, according to police.

D Day tomorrow as NMRA and CDDRA end tug of war

D Day tomorrow as NMRA  and CDDRA end tug of war

The tug-of-war between the much-awaited National Medicines Regulatory Authority (NMRA) and the Cosmetics, Devices and Drugs Regulatory Authority (CDDRA) chief is set to end tomorrow, the Sunday Times learns. While the NMRA began functioning on July 2, with a concerted effort to clear the massive backlog that had come from the earlier system, CDDRA Director, [...]

A court complex held in contempt

The Nuwara Eliya Magistrate Courts building has been in a dilapidated state for two years. Though it is reported that Rs. 3.5 million has been set apart for its renovation, the dilapidated state of the building does not appear to have caught the attention of the authorities. The building is nearly 50 years old. In [...]

Ranil, et al paint greener picture for Lanka at UNP Convention

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe told the United National Party (UNP) yesterday their choice at the August 17 Parliamentary election was between their future and that of Mahinda Rajapaksa’s. He was addressing their packed annual convention at Campbell Park, which was an upbeat sea of green that didn’t mind when Mr Wickremesinghe arrived over an hour [...]

Lost for 58 years … the prodigal son returns

Lost for 58 years … the prodigal son returns

A quirk of fate has seen a family in Ampara reunited with a brother lost for 58 years.B.M. Babanis and K.B. Sapumali, of Central Camp, Uhana in Ampara were parents of eight boys and two girls. The fourth of the family was B.M. Wijedasa, who was a noted trouble-maker at his school, Siyambalawewa Vidyalaya. The [...]

Who really controls the UPFA nominations?

The looming nomination deadline on July 13 has drawn attention to the power struggle within the UPFA coalition. On reading the UPFA constitution, I will show that President Sirisena’s power to singularly drive nominations is limited and that his control rests on his ability to negotiate with the executive committee of the UPFA. The UPFA [...]

President promises education of the heart

President Maithripala Sirisena pledged on Friday that he and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe would soon implement a comprehensive plan to reform the whole education process and structure so that there would be education not only of the mind but more so of the heart. Addressing a special school assembly to mark the 150th jubilee of [...]

Legal aid denied is justice derailed

Legal aid denied is justice derailed

The work of the Legal Aid Commission (LAC) in the North hangs in the balance as donor funding for many of its centres runs out next month. Contracted lawyers in four out of eight centres — two in Jaffna and one each in Vavuniya and Mannar –have been asked to work for an allowance until [...]

Polls monitors on alert as campaign violence, election law violations begin

More than 100 complaints against election law violations, were this week made to the Elections Dept, as independent monitors commenced operations. The Elections Dept on Friday said there were 111 complaints, which included misuse of public property, transfers, job appointments, violence and illegal election propaganda work. On Thursday, in a clash between supporters of the [...]

Job promotions, appointments galore as election nears

Hard on the heels of calling for nominations, the Elections Department has so far received 73 complaints of granting jobs, promotions and cases of transfers ahead of the polls, monitors said. Over 700 arbitrary appointments made by the Education Ministry of the North Central Province has been referred to the Elections Commissioner, while arresting an [...]

Candidates, state employees, be warned; Elections Commissioner flexes muscle

Candidates, state employees, be warned; Elections Commissioner flexes muscle

The Elections Department has read the riot act to candidates and state employees, warning them that the Commission has now more powers under the 19th Amendment to deal with them, without fear or favour, if they violate election laws. “People thought that the Elections Commissioner is powerless and could not take any action. But now [...]

‘Liberated Tamil Tigers’ eye mainstream politics as NE parties submit nominations

‘Liberated Tamil Tigers’ eye mainstream politics as NE parties submit nominations

Former LTTE group leaders, fighters and war-widows, along with veteran politicians, have handed over nominations to contest elections in the Northern (NP) and Eastern Provinces (EP). The Tamil National Alliance (TNA), Eelam People’s Democratic Party (EPDP), the United National Party (UNP) and the Jana Setha Peramuna (JSP) are among the parties which handed over their [...]

Justice de Abrew now faces sexual assault charge

Justice de Abrew now faces  sexual assault charge

The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) on Tuesday filed a further report in the Mount Lavinia Magistrate’s court charging Supreme Court Judge Sarath de Abrew with sexually harassing his domestic aide. Earlier, Justice de Abrew was granted bail when he surrendered to the same court where he faced charges of assaulting his domestic aide. She was [...]

SC upholds DSG’s assertion: Nobody can challenge presidential gazettes

A Supreme Court (SC) Bench comprising Chief Justice K. Sripavan, Justices Eva Wanasundara and Rohini Marasinghe, Friday refused leave to proceed in a Fundamental Rights (FR) application filed by Sri Lanka Gateway Industries Ltd (SLGIL), challenging the gazette notification issued by President Maithripala Sirisena revoking the release of land in Sampur, Trincomalee, for their investment [...]

Unacceptably high levels of crime worry analysts

Unacceptably  high levels of crime worry analysts

Almost 51,000 recorded grave crimes, an average of one for every 400 people, were committed last year, a tragically high figure blamed on a weak police force, the effects of civil war and a lack of attention to rehabilitation that sees a high rate of recidivism. Political corruption was also to blame, a former high-ranking [...]

Ratnapura pilots Child Labour Free Zone in Sri Lanka

The District Secretary (DS) Ratnapura, Sunil Kannangara said the District Secretariat in Ratnapura had launched a special vocational training programme for potential school dropouts in the district.He added that to identify potential dropouts in the district, a vulnerability study had been undertaken. This vulnerability index is based on factors such as economic background, social status, [...]

Of monsoons and mosquitoes

Of monsoons and mosquitoes

With the onset of the monsoon rains the threat of an outbreak of Dengue is on the rise. Public Health Inspectors in Beruwela carried out inspections of private premises and state buildings. Ironically, the largest breeding grounds for mosquitoes were discovered at none other than the premises of government institutions. Out of the 3,625 properties [...]

Woman of Sri Lankan origin among Brit victims in Tunisia massacre

One of the survivors in the Friday June 26 terrorist attack in Tunisia that claimed 38 lives is a British national of Sri Lankan Burgher origin. Gina van Dort, 30 years, and her husband Chris Dyer, 32, were among the holiday-makers who were relaxing on the beach outside the Imperial Marhaba hotel in the resort [...]

Precious ladies have suffered from experts’ makeovers

Precious ladies have suffered from experts’ makeovers

The Sigiriya ladies were a major media story this week with reports that flash photography was spoiling the masterly frescoes and tourists were jaywalking on the ancient walls but the real problem comes from the “experts”. “Right now, what you see in Sigiriya is the damage done by the people who attempted to preserve the [...]

‘Brain dead’ accident victims’ kidneys to save lives: Health Ministry pilot project

‘Brain dead’ accident victims’ kidneys to save lives: Health Ministry pilot project

The time has come for driving licences to indicate the driver’s willingness to donate his/her kidneys in the event of death by accident. In Australia it is in place said Dr. Anura Abeysinghe, coordinator of a pilot project, at a discussion held under the auspices of the Health Ministry. Dr. Abeysinghe said that in 2014 [...]

Heavy rains, strong winds and rough seas herald South West monsoon: Met Dept.

Heavy rains exceeding 150 mm could be expected in several districts including Colombo, Galle, Ratnapura, Kalutara and Kegalle in the next few days, the Meterological (Met) Dept warned. The Dept issuing a weather advisory valid for the next few days, said that heavy rainfall could be expected in the southwestern parts of the country while [...]

Schoolchildren fed drugs through ‘laced’ soft drinks in new criminal push

Schoolchildren fed drugs through ‘laced’ soft drinks in new criminal push

Separate incidents this week in which schoolchildren became ill after consuming “laced” soft drinks reinforce concerns of drug pushers leading youth into addiction through sweets and fizzy drinks doctored with hallucinogenic substances. Three schoolgirls from a reputed school in Maharagama suddenly became illon Thursday after consuming a soft drink purchased from a shop near their [...]

Lanka ratifies UN e-convention

Sri Lanka has ratified the United Nations Electronic Communications convention that will enable the country to give legal certainty to e-contracts and e-commerce. Sri Lanka becomes the first country in South Asia and second in Asia after Singapore to ratify the convention. The Convention will enter into force for Sri Lanka on February 1 next [...]

STF to play crucial role in curtailing violence at the upcoming polls

The Special Task Force (STF) will be entrusted with additional responsibilities in handling security for the upcoming Parliamentary elections, a senior official said yesterday. Public Order Ministry secretary T.M.K.B. Tennkoon told the Sunday Times that in contrast to previous security arrangements the STF will be made use of to prevent election related violence. “Due to [...]

We need a vision, goodwill and unity

Some politicians are honest. Some are crafty. Some are mere jokers. Some are pretenders. Some are gentlemen. Many are rogues. This is Sri Lankan politics and we have an election involving all these characters. I would like to take your memory back to the past. Former President J.R. Jayewardene in his famous San. Francisco speech [...]

150th Jubilee Milestone of St Benedict’s College, Kotahena

150th Jubilee Milestone of St Benedict’s College, Kotahena

President Maithripala Sirisena was the Chief Guest at the the 150th Jubilee of St. Benedict’s College Kotahena last Friday (10). Others who graced the occasion included Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith and Benedectine Bishops and Priests.

Special NIC counter at Registration Dept. for GCE A/L candidates

The Dept of Registration of Persons has opened a special counter for school candidates sitting the GCE Advanced Level who require National Identity Cards (NIC), a senior official said. Commissioner General of the Dept, R.M.S. Sarath Kumara told the Education Times that the special counters at the Dept will be kept open till end of [...]

HRC rules use of experts for GCE A/L question papers and intellectuals for answer scripts

Examinations Commissioner and Examination Dept officials should ensure they involve experts when setting GCE Exam question papers, and intellectuals with a thorough understanding of the subject to mark the answer scripts, the Human Rights Commission (HRC) has ruled. Chairman, Justice Priyantha R.P. Perera has also ruled that if there are problems in the examination procedure, [...]

GCE A/L Admission Forms posted: Exams Department

Admission forms for the GCE Advanced Level (A/L) exam have been posted to schools, the Exams Dept said. Examinations Commissioner General W.M.N.J. Pushpakumara has instructed school principals to handover admission forms to school applicants without delay. He said if there are any concerns/issues with regard to the subjects, they should notify the Exams Dept immediately. [...]

SLEAS Union decries written exams for Principal’s post

The Sri Lanka Education Administrative Services (SLEAS) Union last week said it was against Government plans for written examinations for eligible Class I, II & III SLEAS officers and principals to fill principal vacancies in National schools. Eastern Province SLEAS Convenor, M.L.M. Mukthar said this is the first time such an exam is being held, [...]

Dr Amunugama moots Exploratorium for awareness in modern Scientific Advancement among young

Dr Amunugama moots Exploratorium for awareness in modern Scientific Advancement among young

The Higher Education Ministry intends to set up an Exploratorium based on the experimental hands-on Museum of Science, Art and Human Perception in San Francisco, United States, with the Colombo Planetarium. An Exploratorium is a Scientific Museum/Learning Laboratory of interactive exhibits, and is able to actively gather knowledge in a participatory process through the use [...]

Rural school sans its own instruments Runners-up at National Music competition

Rural school sans its own instruments Runners-up at National Music competition

Students of Wattahena Sri Sucharitha Vidyalaya, Elpitiya, were Runners-up at the All Island Schools Music Competition, which is a remarkable victory as the school which does not possess musical instruments, performed on instruments borrowed from neighboring schools. The competition was held for schools with less than 1,500 students, and 8 schools from 8 provinces participated [...]

Schools’ Anti-drug campaign to continue sans timeframes: Education Ministry Secretary

An anti-drug campaign has been launched in all schools and will continue indefinitely, said Education Ministry Secretary Upali Marasinghe. He said that, under the programme, every week, schools will be required to conduct awareness programmes on the dangers of drug use. He said there will also be programmes to alert relevant authorities including the Police [...]

Top 6 Grade 5 Scholars for Asia-Pacific Children’s Convention

Top 6 Grade 5 Scholars for Asia-Pacific Children’s Convention

The Asia-Pacific Children’s Convention which fosters peace and friendship will be held for the 27th year in Fukuoka, Japan. Attended by children from nearly 40 countries of the Asia-Pacific region, this year’s convention will be held from July 9 to 22. At a ceremony held at the Ministry of Education on July 8, the Minister [...]

Release Public Service Minute 2015 to avoid irregularities: SLEAS Union to Edu.Ministry

Sri Lanka Education Administrative Service (SLEAS) Union requests the Education Ministry to release the new Public Service Minute (PSM) – 2015, to avoid discrepancies in the appointments and transfers of its officers. SLEAS Convenor, M.L.M. Mukthar said that the absence of the revised PSM 2015 is causing much confusion in the transfers and appointments of [...]

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