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Four-legged Jumbo jets to Mattala

Four-legged Jumbo jets to Mattala

With few if any planes coming to the Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport and excess paddy being stored there, the scent of the paddy drew wild elephants which broke past fences and tried to move into the storage depots of the airport. Alert officials stopped them from entering the airport. Pic by Rahul Samantha Hettiarachchi

Hybrid court in US draft resolution

The United States which earlier backed a “credible domestic inquiry” to probe alleged war crimes now appears to be in favour of “international investigators, prosecutors and judges in Sri Lanka’s justice process.” Its new position is spelt out in a five-page draft resolution circulated among members of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. This [...]

Probe on state funds for Rajapaksa guild

Officials from 29 state institutions are to be questioned by the Financial Crimes Investigation Division (FCID) on how state funds amounting to Rs. 80 million were transferred to an organisation known as the ‘Mahinda Chinthana Sahurdha Sansadaya’ (Mahinda Chinthana Fraternity Guild). The FCID has obtained an order from the Maligakanda magistrate’s court to record statements [...]

Dollar hits Rs. 140 mark; IMF welcomes move

The recent ‘free float’ of the rupee against the US dollar and other currencies was on Friday welcomed by a visiting mission from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) which also urged Sri Lanka’s Central Bank (CB) to further relax foreign currency controls. The CB move earlier this month has helped exporters but saw an escalation [...]

Prices of essential food items going up

Essential imported food times have gone up in price with the rupee ending weaker against the dollar, officials said. The prices of dhal, dried chilies, cowpea, sprats, gram, big onions, potatoes and other items have increased as the rupee fell to a record low of Rs. 140.98 against the US dollar on Friday. In view [...]

Drug deal within court premises

A prisons officer and two guards were interdicted yesterday as a full probe was launched on how an international drug dealer in prison custody was allowed to meet an associate inside a detention cell in the Colombo Chief Magistrate’s court, Prisons Commissioner General Rohana Pushpakumara said. The big drug dealer, Mohamed Siddique, a resident of [...]

Lanka sails fast to meet EU’s fishing deadline

Sri Lanka is going all out to meet 57 conditions set by the European Union for the lifting of the ban on fish exports, a senior Fisheries Department official said yesterday. Fisheries Director General Christy Fernando said Sri Lanka had already fulfilled 36 conditions and was confident of meeting the rest before the deadline next [...]

Seya’s tragedy: The search, the discovery and heartache

Seya’s tragedy: The search,  the discovery and heartache

She enters the room supported by two women. A faint sob escapes her as she looks at the man seated at the edge of the bed, his head in his hands. “Lamayage walata pas tikakwath danna yamuda? (Shall we go and put some soil on our child’s grave?),” she asks her husband. She is greeted [...]

India sees in Ranil a partner with whom it can do business

India sees in Ranil a partner with whom it can do business

“The smiles were wide, the body language was great, everyone was happy.” So said an Indian official of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s visit to New Delhi. “It couldn’t have been better”. The absence of a joint statement, raising eyebrows in Sri Lanka, was barely commented upon in India. Wickremesinghe is what the former US Defence [...]

NCPA calls for strict implementation of laws against child abusers

NCPA calls for strict implementation of laws against child abusers

The National Child Protection Authority (NCPA) has called on authorities to strictly enforce laws against child abuse.NCPA Chairperson Natasha Balendra said there were 4,000 child abuse cases pending in courts. Ms Balendra said more officers should be appointed to handle these cases and they also needed professional training. Under the Penal Code, the minimum sentence [...]

Why India is excited about Sri Lanka’s new Ministry of Megapolis

When Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe put together a new cabinet after his election victory in August, he surprised many by creating a new portfolio, the Ministry of Megapolis and Western Province Development, handing it over to the right-wing Sinhala-Buddhist leader Champika Ranawaka, who is part of the United National Party-led coalition. Ranawaka’s brief: [...]

Millions paid to US lobby firms to do basic embassy work

Millions paid to US lobby firms to do basic embassy work

There were small companies, big companies, medium sized ones. There were others which many on Capitol Hill had not heard of. They drafted media statements, propaganda material, speeches and talking points for Sri Lanka’s Ambassador in Washington, DC. They scheduled meetings, made phone calls and sent out emails. They carried out many tasks that well-trained [...]

Jumbos at receiving end with no let up in conflict

They are maligned, hooted, jeered, taunted and shouted at, ‘showered’ with terrifying fire-crackers and spattered with buckshot leaving festering wounds which make them suffer in slow agony. These days, after a series of episodes in the tragic human-elephant conflict (HEC), these majestic animals are getting deeper and deeper into the bad books of people. Emotion [...]

We can’t massage lies: Weeratunga’s lobby claims dismissed

Lalith Weeratunga, Secretary to President Mahinda Rajapaksa, told editors and senior journalists in January last year that Sri Lanka could get nothing done in Washington without lobbyists. According to a Congressional aide contacted by the Sunday Times, nothing is further from the truth. “It’s one thing to hire a lobbying firm, to help with communication, [...]

Bus drivers will need PTT before hitting the road

Private bus drivers and conductors will soon have to possess a certificate of Passenger Transport Training (PTT) from the Motor Traffic Department (MTD) before getting on the job. Commissioner General, A.H.K Jagath said that the department has launched a programme to educate crews of private busses in order to provide an efficient service to the [...]

Accidents mount but officials say figures show otherwise

Accidents mount but officials say figures show otherwise

The sharp increase in the number of accidents on our roads in recent times has made many people sit back and take note of the tragic deaths caused by road traffic accidents. In the first three weeks of September alone, 75 people were killed and several others seriously injured in accidents that took place in [...]

Recycling polythene, cement for asbestos to overcome national health issues

Following President Maithripala Sirisena’s instructions to officials to present a work plan to minimise the use of polythene and plastics, and recommend low-cost alternatives for asbestos, the National Building Research Organisation (NBRO) has submitted several suggestions. The NBRO last week said that, following a comprehensive study on alternative, safe roofing material, it advocates using cement [...]

Keels Super patrons score with eco-friendly bags

John Keels supermarkets, ‘Keels Super’ has introduced a novel concept to encourage patrons to use eco friendly bags when shopping at their outletss. Assistant Manager- Operations, Amila Kuruppu said customers who come with cloth bags or any traditional woven bag, to shop at their outlets islandwide will be rewarded with points. Accordingly, every customer will [...]

Bird smugglers after Blu and Jewel

Bird smugglers after Blu and Jewel

- Lanka hub for illegal global trade; Customs rescue exotic birds in PVC pipes – Environmentalists sound alarm; foreign animals can spread new diseases – Racketeers thrive in the absence of proper monitoring; macaw priced at Rs. 1.2 m An increasing number of Customs detections in recent months of attempts to smuggle in exotic birds and [...]

A company demands its ‘pound of flesh’

A company demands its ‘pound of flesh’

The Lanka Electricity Company (Private) Limited (LECO), has disconnected power supply to the Maggona Railway Crossing over an unpaid electricity bill. As a result for the past week the signal lights and bells that warn passengers and motorists alike of an oncoming train have stopped working. Daily, thousands of buses, school vans and other vehicles traverse [...]

Solution to man-beast conflict lies with stakeholders:Top researcher

Solution to man-beast conflict lies with stakeholders:Top researcher

With the new Government’s manifesto promising a solution to the human elephant conflict, the new Wildlife Minister Gamini Jayawickrema Perera says he will treat it as a priority, calling for a report by Tuesday. Many blame Wildlife Officers for not providing a viable solution to the problem. However, the Department of Wildlife Conservation (DWC) alone [...]

Resettlement in the north: Be mindful of human elephant conflict

The talk of the town these days is the UN’s Human Rights report mainly discussing the plight of the victims of the war in northern Sri Lanka. But if development and resettlement efforts in the Northern Province is carried out in a haphazard way, the people in the area will have to face another intensified [...]

Why no goals for vital health sectors, asks Rajitha

Why no goals for vital health sectors, asks Rajitha

As the United Nations General Assembly focuses on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in New York next week, Sri Lanka raised several concerns at a high-level regional health meeting in early September as to why certain important indicators had not been identified in the health-related SDG. Why have no indicators been identified to monitor malnutrition, immunisation [...]

The zoo is not a refugee camp says Director

National Zoological Gardens director P.M Anura de Silva yesterday called on authorities not to use the zoo as its hospital or Pinnawala as a dumping place for animals smuggled and detected at the Customs. “A zoo plays an important role. We exhibit animals that are good specimens to educate the public as well as carry [...]


tropical diseases It is with creased brow that Regional Director Dr. Poonam Khetrapal Singh turned the spotlight on “neglected” tropical diseases and urged member-states to renew commitments and efforts to eliminate them. These tropical diseases, a bane in the region, which disable, disfigure and kill people, are leprosy, lymphatic filariasis, kala azar, yaws and schistosomiasis. [...]

President marks the 151st birth anniversary of Srimath Anagarika Dharmapala

President marks the 151st birth anniversary of Srimath Anagarika Dharmapala

To hang or not to hang as MS seeks Parliamentary consensus

Sri Lanka is likely to face objections from EU nations as well as human rights groups against moves to reintroduce the death penalty, despite growing support in the country for its implementation, said Justice Minister Wijedasa Rajapakshe. The Minister said the heinous nature of crimes being committed in the country has led many civil society [...]

Hospital withholding deceased for unpaid bill: 3-member Health ministry panel to inquire

A three-member committee was appointed by the Health, Nutrition and Indigenous Medicine Ministry on Friday (18) to inquire into the incident where the body of a 62-year-old man was held back for a week by a private hospital, till their bill was settled. The deceased, Daluwatta Patabadige Thilak Daluwatta from Ragama was admitted to Lanka [...]

Lalith Weeratunga, Anusha Palpita indicted for alleged misappropriation of Rs. 600m

The Colombo High Court on Friday (18) directed former President’s Secretary Lalith Weeratunga and former Sri Lanka Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (SLTRC), Director General Anusha Palpita to appear before Court on October 7. The two officials who served under the former regime have been indicted by the Attorney General (AG) in connection with the misappropriation of [...]

Learner driver kills pedestrian

A pedestrian was run over and killed by a person taking driving lessons on the Kaduwela road last Sunday (13), a coroner’s court heard. The driver had lost control of the vehicle and hit the accelerator before crashing into three cars and running over the man. Three other individuals were injured in the accident. The [...]

Galle DIG probes SSP for alleged harassment of two businessmen

The Deputy Inspector General’s office in Galle is investigating a Senior Superintendent of Police for allegedly harassing two businessmen by making them walk on their knees. The complaint about the harassment was made to DIG Galle, S.D.A.S. Gunewardene, by two businessmen from Hikkaduwa.The two businessmen had gone to a restaurant in Arachchikande, Hikkaduwa, to complain [...]

Fishermen in North to boycott next round of talks

The fishermen in the North decided this week not to participate in the next round of fishermen level talks with their Indian counterparts on the Palk Strait fishing dispute as the Indian side continues to persist with its demand for a licence to fish in Lankan waters. Jaffna Fishermen’s Association leader Naganathy Ponnambalam told the [...]

New ministry secretaries gazetted

The names of Secretaries to 45 Ministries have been gazetted, with a few revisions. B.M.U.D.Basnayake who was appointed Secretary to the Ministry of Defence by President Sirisena in January was moved to the Ministry of City Planning and Water Supply while Karunasena Hettiarachchi was appointed as the new Secretary Defence. Former Customs Director General Jagath [...]

Who climbs up and who climbs down?

Who climbs up and who climbs down?

We are a nation with a great culture. Our values teach us to be concerned about others. Visitors to this country have admired our noble quality of helping the neighbour. The culture of our ancestors was to serve others first.  But today this has changed. We mainly serve ourselves and our charitable acts are minimal. [...]

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