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Earth hour: Let’s save our beautiful planet

Earth hour: Let’s save our beautiful planet

At 8.30 pm yesterday, in Sri Lanka and worldwide, millions of people were called upon to switch off their lights to mark earth hour in a global celebration of their commitment to protect our planet, which is still beautiful though facing a possible catastrophe because of pollution and global warming. One of our planet’s most [...]

Horana tyre factory: Tycoon agrees to pay more

Controversial businessman Nandana Lokuwithana has agreed to pay a higher lease premium for the Horana land earmarked for his tyre factory, export more of his output and develop site infrastructure at his cost. Mr. Lokuwithana consented to the new terms in negotiations with the Board of Investment (BOI), official sources told the Sunday Times. He [...]

Hambantota deal: Major changes in final draft

China Merchant Port Holdings Company Ltd (CMPort) which has clinched majority shares of the Hambantota Port joint venture company will sell a quarter of them within the first ten years to a Sri Lankan party at a “fair value” determined by an independent valuer, the final draft of the concession agreement between the company and [...]

Pressure from Tamil Nadu politicos: Rajinikanth not coming

South Indian Superstar Rajinikanth has cancelled his visit to Sri Lanka following agitation by Tamil Nadu politicians who insisted he should not visit Sri Lanka because they believe that “Tamil concerns” are yet to be addressed. Issuing a statement, the actor said he decided to cancel his trip after requests made by Viduthalai   Chiruthaigal [...]

Airbus contracts end up in London court

An international company through which SriLankan Airlines extended leases on three A330-200 aircraft has filed action in London after the national carrier attempted to overturn the contracts saying they were not legally binding. This transpires against the backdrop of a major clash within SriLankan’s board of directors, with a faction saying CEO Suren Ratwatte signed [...]

No investigative officers to probe disciplinary inquiries against Postal Dept. workers

Nearly 2,500 files relating to disciplinary inquiries against Postal Department employees are gathering dust, primarily due to a shortage of investigative officers to probe these cases, the Sunday Times learns. Postal Department trade unions claim that the problem has been exacerbated because the department failed to hold the competitive examination to recruit investigation officers for [...]

Gov. Mahendran gave arbitrary instructions to raise interest rate while auction was on, says witness

The Central Bank’s former Governor Arjuna Mahendran gave instructions to change the Bank’s deposit interest rate from 5 percent to 6.5 percent while the controversial bond auction was going on, the Central Bank’s Monetary Board Secretary H.A. Karunaratne said. He was testifying before the Commission of Inquiry (COI) looking into the issue of treasury bonds [...]

Conservation forest declared near Wilpattu

Nearly 100,000 acres of land adjoining Wilpattu National Park have been declared a “conservation forest” with immediate effect to prevent further encroachment by people, Forest Conservator General Anura Sathurusinghe told the Sunday Times. He explained that the President urgently signed the gazette during his visit to Russia thereby stopping people with political backing clearing more [...]

No one to investigate millers poisoning rice in storage

No one to investigate millers  poisoning rice in storage

A highly toxic  fumigant that can cause liver and kidney damage as well as damage to the lungs, nervous system and circulatory system, is allegedly being used in warehouses storing Sri Lanka’s staple food, rice. But food safety and health officials, the consumer watchdog and the pesticide regulator are toothless in the face of the [...]

President pays respects to the ‘unknown soldier’

President pays respects to the ‘unknown soldier’

BASL in “hands off” policy over High Court Judge R. Kannan’s removal

The Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) this week decided not to get involved in recommending the removal of High Court (HC) Judge R. Kannan, whose appointment was opposed by the Judicial Services Association (JSA), saying, the removal of the judge now needs to be done only on the basis of disciplinary action recommended by [...]

Influenza raises head in NWP

Influenza virus is spreading in the North Western Province (NWP), mainly in  Puttalam and Kalpitiya. Puttalam Hospital Medical Superintendent Dr. Sumith Attanayake said the number of patients seeking treatment rose sharply from around 450 patients per day to 750 patients at the beginning of this week. Dr. Attanayake said one of the symptoms of viral [...]

Maldivian opposition condemns govt. move to postpone polls due to outbreak of H1N1

The Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has strongly condemned the decision by the country’s rulers to postpone local government elections citing the recent outbreak of the H1N1 flu as the reason. The Saudi Arabian King’s visit to the Maldives was cancelled two weeks ago and the government said this was due to the H1N1 flu outbreak. [...]

Moratuwa MC gets pro-active with RTI

In a pro-active approach to the Right to Information (RTI) Act the Moratuwa Municipal Council will be posting information of public interest on a dedicated website. Municipal Commissioner, C.C.K. Mannapperuma said the website that is currently being designed, will carry information on the projects undertaken by the Municipality. On February 27, the MC also published [...]

RTI two months old but public still face hurdles

Close to two months after Sri Lanka’s Right to Information (RT) law became operational in Sri Lanka, the continuing absence of a clear direction on the part of the Government’s implementing agencies is making it harder for citizens to access information, despite the law being ranked third best in the world. The Government’s Right to [...]

Pay hikes for Chief Justice, puisne judges and Court of Appeal judges and president

Salaries of the Chief Justice (CJ), puisne judges, the President and judges of the Court of Appeal will be revised and implemented in five phases, retrospective from January 2016. Accordingly, the CJ’s salary from January 1, 2016, will be increased to Rs 145,000. With an annual increment of Rs 7,250, the CJ’s salary will be [...]

Pick of the pix

Pick of the pix

The following images for this week’s Pick of the pix were captured by the following photographers Indika Handuwala, Augustin Fernando, Rahul Samantha Hettiarachchi, and Anurada Bandara.                                                                   [...]

New laws soon to replace old ones, says PM

New laws soon to replace old ones, says PM

  The Government will introduce a host of laws from this year to modernise the country’s legal system, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said yesterday. Speaking at the 43rd Annual Convocation of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) and the induction of the BASL’s new President last evening, the Prime Minister who was the Chief [...]

Colombo largest local govt. body with 66 members from 47 wards

The Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) will be the largest local government body with 66 members to be elected from 47 Wards, under the new system of elections, according to the Delimitation Report (DR) that demarcated borders and allotted the number of members for each local authority. The CMC will consist of 31 single-member and 16 [...]

Dr. Wijesuriya: The first doctor to treat those injured

Dr. Wijesuriya: The first  doctor to treat those injured

The first doctor on the scene of the London terror attack rushed to help the injured, even though he wasn’t on duty. Dr Jeeves Wijesuriya, a junior doctor, ran to the aid of those wounded in the attack on Westminster which killed four people. At the scene outside Parliament, Dr. Wijesuriya performed emergency treatment on [...]

Drivers blaring high-decibel horns will get an earful from the law

Drivers blaring high-decibel horns will get an earful from the law

Vehicle owners using ear-splitting, high-decibel air horns and modified silencers face being muffled under noise pollution laws. But police say no one is officially complaining. Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Palitha Fernando told the Sunday Times, that incessant noise is tantamount to public nuisance under the law. But, he said, it was surprising how only a [...]

Megapolis Ministry seeks cabinet approval to get wheels moving on bus lanes

Megapolis Ministry seeks cabinet approval to get wheels moving on bus lanes

The Megapolis Ministry will seek cabinet approval to implement the bus-priority-lane system after a trial run confirmed the need to do so, Megapolis Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka said. He said the 11-day trial period gave them ample proof that giving priority to public passenger transport could help ease traffic congestion in and around Colombo City. [...]

A haven for the ‘Abhimans’ of our wilds

A haven for the ‘Abhimans’ of our wilds

Just two years old, Abhiman is their beloved baby – not to keep forever, though they have ‘adopted’ him. His ‘foster parents’ are privileged to love and cherish him from afar, seeing his antics, maybe for another three years until he gains his rightful freedom. For Abhiman, his rightful freedom will include roaming the jungles [...]

Rivalry within rivalry as crucial Tamil Nadu by-election nears

Rivalry within rivalry as crucial Tamil Nadu by-election nears

The political situation in Tamil Nadu, home to Dravidian fanaticism and Tamil chauvinism, is rapidly changing. To make the story short, the so-called Dravidians are fighting among themselves till the rivals fall dead. It is reminiscent of the incident from the great Indian Epic Mahabharatha where Yadavas, the descendants of Lord Krishna, fought each other [...]

Ravi gets best finance minister award

Ravi gets best finance minister award

                        Sri Lanka’s Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake receiving The Banker magazine’s award for the best finance minister in the Asia Pacific region from the magazine’s editor Brian Caplen at a ceremony in London on Friday. The Finance Ministry had earlier said the prestigious ‘The [...]

Building boom endangers sand and gravel resources

Building boom endangers sand and gravel resources

Sri Lanka’s lawmakers this week approved a proper mechanism to mine sand, gravel, and rocks from lands belonging to the Mahaweli Authority and Forest Department where applicable. The decision aims to ease the demand for these and other building materials. A cabinet paper states that only lands that are not declared as ‘protected areas’ will [...]

A hospital sans drugs

A hospital sans drugs

The Divisional Hospital at Sigiriya  is supposed to provides medical facilities not only to local residents, but to foreign tourists as well. Unfortunately over the past few months, the stock of  pharmaceuticals at the hospital has run out and and patients visiting the facility have been forced to purchase drugs from a private pharmacy in [...]

Threatened dugongs thrown a lifeline

Threatened dugongs thrown a lifeline

The dugong is the most threatened marine mammal likely to disappear from our waters, but there are efforts to save the species. Thirteen dugongs were killed last year, according an informal survey in the North Western coastal areas by marine activists. This is one dugong killed every month and considering their rarity, is worrying, says [...]

Some insights into the attempt to impeach President Premadasa

It was as usual a sunny morning in Sri Jayawardenepura – Kotte in August 1991 when Anil Moonesinghe, MP, walked into my room and sat down. He opened his conversation by saying, “Nihal, you will be at the centre of a big controversy very soon”. I was quite puzzled by this remarks and asked him [...]

Misunderstood Ekala landfill remains an option, council insists

Despite public protests and opposition from politicians and religious leaders, the Colombo Municipal Council confirmed that it will dump garbage at the proposed site in Ekala. The director of Solid Waste Management of Colombo Municipality Council Mrs Y  Sylvester, believes the public does not understand the site. “People believe this is a dump site. But [...]

Blame game takes centrestage in Parliament as garbage mounts

JVP MP Vijitha Herath this week moved an adjournment motion in Parliament on the garbage problem confronting Gampaha District residents, and spoke in detail about it. Following are extracts of views expressed during the debate. Gampaha District JVP MP Vijitha Herath:   Due to the dumping of garage in heavily populated areas in the Gampaha District, [...]

Kinniya dengue cases rise, while anti-mosquito struggle continues

Intense mosquito control measures are continuing in Kinniya, which is in the grip of a dengue epidemic. “We identified and got rid of possible mosquito breeding places. These sites had been overlooked by the public because they didn’t know such places could turn into breeding sites,” said Dr Preshila Samaraweera, consultant community physician at the [...]

Death breeds in garbage piles

More than 23,000 confirmed dengue cases have been reported islandwide in the first two and half months with almost 41 per cent from the Western Province, according to the Epidemiology Unit of the Ministry of Health. The number of cases has surpassed the 13,819 cases in the first three months of last year. Last year [...]

2016: 452, 934 houses had potential mosquito breeding places

2016: 452, 934 houses had potential mosquito breeding places

One in every five houses checked by officials last year had potential mosquito breeding places, the Epidemiology Unit said. The unit in response to a Right to Information Application filed by the Sunday Times said 2.2 million houses were checked by officials and 452,934 had potential mosquito breeding places. Rs 80 million had been spent [...]

Garbage collection dysfunctional, council handicapped, say officials

Garbage collection dysfunctional, council handicapped, say officials

  Despite lingering concerns over public health issues such as the uncontained spread of dengue and a dysfunctional waste management system in Colombo, officials say they are handicapped — no staff, not enough waste trucks, decades old fleet, no investment, no technical knowledge, and ageing, unproductive workers, and worse — more than 1,000 metric tons [...]

Cattle menace to be driven off the roads

Cattle menace to  be driven off the roads

Cattle roaming the roads of the Western Province are being rounded up to help reduce road traffic accidents. Animals will be removed to a farm in Embilipitiya in the Mahaweli area and owners who want to secure their release will be fined. The Megapolis Ministry Secretary Nihal Rupasinghe said owners will have to contact the [...]

The Eurozone is still vulnerable

BRUSSELS – Despite recently experiencing an overall economic uptick, the eurozone remains fragile and uninsured against the risk of another crisis. And a major reason is that it is still vulnerable to asymmetric boom-and-bust cycles. Simply put, while all eurozone members can benefit during good times, some suffer far more than others during busts. This [...]

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