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Police fire ballots for the polls

Police fire ballots for the polls

With Police winning accolades for strictly implementing election laws during the ongoing campaign for general elections and not using bullets or teargas as they did before, our picture shows enthusiastic policemen queuing up outside a centre to cast their postal ballots in Matara. Pic by Krishan Jeewaka Jayaruk

PSD disbanded, STF takes over President’s security

The Presidential Security Division (PSD) has been disbanded after its involvement in criminal activities, Public Order Minister John Amaratunga disclosed yesterday. He said the Special Task Force (STF), the commando arm of the Police, would now be responsible for the security of President Maithripala Sirisena. The first assignment was providing close protection at a Kandy event [...]

Army chief bans party politics for troops

Army Commander Crishanthe de Silva yesterday banned army personnel from getting involved in any form of election campaigning. The directive applies to all ranks including those in the volunteer force while those violating it would face disciplinary action, Military Spokesman Jayanath Jayaweera told the Sunday Times. The directive came following instructions from the Defence Ministry after [...]

Polls chief cracks down on errant state officials

Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya has cracked the whip on errant state officials for not cooperating with him in his efforts to conduct a free and fair election. The latest instance is the transfer of two additional secretaries of the Ministry of Skills Development and Vocational Training. The Minister in charge is Piyasena Gamage. Elections officials said [...]

Separate passports for children also from tomorrow

Children under the age of 16 from tomorrow will be required to have a separate passport instead of including their names in the parents’ passports, a senior official said. Public Order Ministry Secretary T.M.K.B. Tennakoon told the Sunday Times that the purpose of issuing passports for children was to include the details into the data base. [...]

Italian job visa scam: Rome orders full probe, investigation extends to embassy here

Italian authorities have ordered a full probe on the alleged scam involving the misuse of 480 Italian job visas and has sought the cooperation of the Government for this, officials said yesterday. In a tough message issued to the Italian Embassy in Colombo, Italian authorities had said a quick and full probe should be conducted immediately [...]

Saudi Ganu-Denu of Lankan maid scratches surface of problem

The Sri Lanka embassy in Riyadh has been directed to track down the Arab sponsor who allegedly offered to sell his Lankan maid for SR 25,000, a senior official said yesterday. “This matter is being treated seriously and the officials in Riyadh have been instructed to take the matter up with the highest authorities in that [...]

Deputy Justice Minister, 5 others absent from court, Magistrate orders notices pasted on homes

Homagama Magistrate Y.R.B. Nelumdeniya this week ordered Deputy Minister of Justice Sujeewa Senasinghe and five others to appear in courts next Wednesday, over an incidence of violating election laws. The Magistrate ordered Police that, in the event they could not serve notice on the Deputy Minister, to paste the notice at his residence. The Magistrate gave [...]

No Polling card by Aug.17, collect it from Post Office using NIC: PMG

Polling cards can be collected by voters who do not receive them before the August 17 Elections at their respective Post Offices by proving their identity, said Postmaster General D.L.P.R. Abeyaratne. Mr Abeyaratne said they started distributing poll cards from July 29, and by Wednesday (5) nearly 7.3 million cards had been distributed. Mr. Abeyaratne said [...]

Suspect and car used in Bloemendhal shooting in custody, says CID

Police investigating the shooting at a political gathering in Bloemendhal on July 31, have arrested a suspect, along with the car used in the incident, officials said yesterday. The suspect, Vidhane Gamage Amila, 27, a Physical Training Instructor, was picked up by Criminal Investigation Dept (CID) sleuths, while he was leaving the Fort Magistrate Complex on [...]

Independent Group 9 pledges ‘Power of Recall’ of non-conforming MPs

Independent Group 9 contesting from the Colombo District, came together as a result of the Campaign for Clean and Competent Candidates launched by the Swarajya Foundation. They have initiated their campaign with a pledge to give those who wish to support the Group, with the Power of Recall. The Power of Recall, first introduced by [...]

Protection to victims and witnesses from Aug.15, six months after Parliamentary approval

The provisions of the Assistance to and Protection to Victims and Witness Act will come into effect from August 15, six months after the Bill was approved by Parliament. Justice Minister Wijedasa Rajapaksha who is authorised to fix the date on which the provisions of the Act will come into operation, has notified it will be [...]

No Paracetamol in State hospitals as MSD, SPMC point fingers

State hospitals are facing a shortage of Paracetamol, one of the most commonly used items in the essential drugs list. “The Medical Supplies Division (MSD) is unable to provide the drug to hospitals until the State Pharmaceuticals Manufacturing Corporation (SPMC) supplies fresh stock,” said MSD Director General, Dr. Lal Panapitiya. “Hospitals are facing a shortage [...]

Basilica renovation runs into stormy seas

Basilica renovation runs into stormy seas

The renovation of the Tewatta Basilica of Our Lady of Lanka by the China Harbour Engineering Corporation (CHEC), builders of the controversial Colombo Port City, has started despite protests. In a statement to the country’s Catholic community, the Archbishop of Colombo, Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith, has insisted that “any other projects in which the contractors are [...]

202 ex-MPs re-contesting, but how have they performed?

The use of data analysis to make a business decision is a key tool for a CEO. Similarly, data can help inform citizens when they cast their vote at an election. Contesting the upcoming elections are 202 MPs from the last Parliament. Using the dataset, which comprises more than 28,000 Hansard records between May 2012 [...]

K’gala campaign: Between the rock and hard politics

K’gala campaign: Between the rock and hard politics

UNP claims winning converts, says best show of force in decades UPFA’s campaign currency; former president Mahinda Rajapaksa After nine years at the helm as President of Sri Lanka, Mahinda Rajapaksa, paradoxical enough, is at the crossroads in many aspects. One is geographic but the others are political. This rock city, the capital of the [...]

Kalutara: The battle is on for 10 parliament seats

Kalutara: The battle is on for 10 parliament seats

In the Kalutara district too the main parties are carrying out vigorous campaigns for the 10 parliament seats. Twenty two parties and independent groups have fielded 286 candidates. According to the 2014 electoral register, 897,349 voters from 3 27,132 households in the Kalutara District will be eligible to vote at the coming parliamentary elections. The Bandaragama [...]

Gampaha: Posters come up where they should not

The Gampaha district with the largest number of voters amounting to 1.6 million is set for the polls with the final rounds of campaigning in progress. Candidates from the main parties and independent groups are set to address a series of meetings while their supporters are involved in house-to house-campaigns. In addition to the cutouts and [...]

8 days more to go and violence could increase – monitors

8 days more to go and violence could increase – monitors

Election monitoring bodies say going by the trend of past elections, there could be an increase in polls related violence in the final week of campaigning ahead of the August 17 General Elections. This is in spite of Police being tough with election law breakers with nearly 200 arrests being made this week. A recent concern [...]

Declaration of assets: Most candidates have met deadline say party seniors

Nearly 75 percent of the candidates have submitted their assets declarations to meet the extended deadline of July 30, announced by the Department of Elections. Both major parties had taken steps to make it compulsory for their candidates to submit their asset declarations. The Elections Department had stated that candidates who failed to furnish their [...]

Our voices have to be heard in Parliament — Dr. Perera

For the past 20 years politicians have failed to address the needs of the country’s biggest minority- people with restricted abilities- even though they had the power to make a change and it is time that people who have first hand experience change the fate of this group for a better future, said Dr. Ajith [...]

Polls Comm. Gives ok for revision of tri forces personnel pensions

Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya has given the green light this week to revise the pensions of tri forces personnel who retired before 2006, a senior official of the Public Administration said. The revision would also benefit widows of tri forces personnel. Secretary to the Ministry of Public Administration, Local Government and Democratic Governance J. Dadallage [...]

Remembering his legacy as we head for polls

Remembering his legacy as we head for polls

A decade ago this month, an LTTE assassin snuffed out the life of Sri Lanka’s best known and widely admired Foreign Minister, Lakshman Kadirgamar, also known as ‘LK’ by the stalwarts at the Colombo Foreign Office. Much has happened since. The armed conflict, the resolution of which the late minister was deeply seized of, had [...]

Vehicle invasion: A scene from the future

In 20 years our roads will be choked with motor vehicles, experts warn Poor public transport the reason, BRT, MRT systems the way out The statistics are alarming. In just twenty years, there will be three times more vehicles on Sri Lanka’s roads than today. Car registrations hit an all-time record in June 2015 and [...]

FCID probes Rs 2.2 billion fraud at Foreign Employment Bureau

The FCID is investigating a complaint lodged against a large scale fraud at the Foreign Employment Bureau (FEB), leading to losses of around Rs 2.2 billion, with the former Minister in charge of the subject claiming the probe was politically motivated. The misappropriation of funds came to light after the new government took office and [...]

Colombo Port to become regional cruise hub

Moves are underway to make Colombo a regional hub for passenger cruise services, an official said yesterday. Ceylon Shipping Corporation Chairman Sashi Dhanatunge said the Corporation was expanding its passenger cruise services beyond India to promote the tourism industry. He said Sri Lanka’s strategic location in the Indian Ocean was an advantageous factor in promoting trade [...]

Women have the vote, now give them the seats

Female representation in the next parliament is likely to remain low with less than 10 per cent of the 6,151 candidates contesting the election being women. Only 556 of the candidates from 21 political parties and independent groups contesting the election are women – just 9.2 per cent of the total. “Female representation in the last [...]

Southern leftists back Tamil secession

Southern leftists back Tamil secession

The United Socialist Party (USP) is the only leftist party in the south to recognise the right of Tamil self-determination, USP Colombo District leader Srinath Perera says proudly. The party’s General Secretary, Srithunga Jayasuriya, is contesting in the Jaffna electorate with the party declaring its platform is based on the principles of combating racial hatred, capitalism, [...]

Innocent animals die because we speed through their habitat

Innocent animals die because we speed through their habitat

A doe and her fawn were killed last week by a speeding vehicle near Yala. Although roadkill is frequent in wilderness areas this accident brought tears to all those who shared the images of helpless animals lying gasping for breath on the side of the road. A man who saw the dying animals a few [...]

Maintain code of ethics when reporting, writing: NCEASL to journalists

Professional journalists have been called upon to maintain a code of ethics when reporting or writing features on incidents or issues involving religious or communal tension. The call came at a workshop convened recently by the National Christian Evangelical Alliance of Sri Lanka (NCEASL) attended by senior print and electronic media journalists. The recommendations made after [...]

The writing’s on the wall for election posters

The writing’s on the wall for election posters

Posters depicting political parties or candidates can be seen pasted on parapet walls, boulders and other areas where voters are likely to see them. While the illegal practice continues police officials are working around the clock to remove them. Despite strict rules against the use of posters being introduced by the Commissioner of Elections, police [...]

10-hour shifts to produce ballot papers

Ballot papers for all 22 districts were printed and dispatched this week amid tight security, Government Printer W.A.A.G. Fonseka said. Election Department officials supervised the handover of ballot papers to an official of each District Secretariat. “We started to print ballot papers from July 15 for 10 hours at a stretch every day and managed to [...]

UPFA’s “Tiger, Tiger” cry worked in 2010, but not now

It was intriguing to read Viruddha Paakshikaya’s reply to me last Sunday because he only writes about so-called lapses of the UNP. There is not a single word about what his UPFA would do, if it wins the election — and that is in stark contrast to his party’s manifesto, which is full of promises, [...]

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