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PM’s Thank You lunch for old Biyagama loyalists

PM’s Thank You lunch for old Biyagama loyalists

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday celebrated the 40th year of his election to parliament and entry into mainstream politics. To mark the event, lunch was given at Temple Trees yesterday to mostly elderly party supporters who helped him win the Biyagama seat at the 1977 general elections. Pic by Ishan Sanjeewa

Shots fired at judge’s car in Jaffna; sergeant wounded

Shots fired at judge’s car in Jaffna; sergeant wounded

An unidentified man seized the pistol of a Police officer and opened fire at a vehicle carrying Jaffna High Court Judge M. Ilancheliyan, wounding his security officer. The incident occurred near the Nallur Kandasamy Kovil in Jaffna last evening. Judge Ilancheliyan, who was unhurt, told reporters he was the target of the assailant and there [...]

Drought devastates North and six other districts

The entire Northern Province and six other districts have been hit by a prolonged drought, the worst in recent times, causing an acute water shortage. In some areas, drinking water is being sold at a premium averaging Rs 300 for 500 litres. “We are taking steps to deploy district level disaster management units to liaise [...]

Central Expressway: Japanese company gets third phase

The Highways Ministry has decided to award to a Japanese company the tender valued at Rs 134.9 billion for the third phase development of the Central Expressway. Highways Ministry Secretary D.C. Dissanayaka said the awarding of the tender had been delayed but it was finalised this week. Work would begin in September and the project [...]

Dengue and garbage: Public Security Act to be enforced

As a measure to prevent improper waste disposal and to combat the deadly dengue epidemic in Colombo and suburbs, the Cabinet has approved a proposal to invoke Public Security Act provisions to check unattended houses and properties and take legal action against owners. The measure was among a series of other proposals approved by the [...]

Uma Oya crisis: Probe on whether sub-standard machinery was used

An investigation is being held to ascertain whether sub-standard equipment was used in the Uma Oya multipurpose project and whether this led to water leaks in the underground tunnel, a cabinet minister said yesterday. The disclosure was made by Minister Mahinda Amaraweera who is also the state Minister of Mahaveli Development and Environment and headed [...]

UN ‘Torture’ report: UK expresses serious concerns

The British Government asked Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner in London to the Foreign Office this week to express its “serious concerns” about the findings of the UNHCR’s Special Rapporteur in his recent report in which he described the use of torture in Sri Lanka as “endemic”. High Commissioner Amari Wijewardene met on Wednesday Mark Field, [...]

Eight Indian fishermen arrested

Eight Indian fishermen who were allegedly poaching in Sri Lankan territorial waters were arrested by the Navy on Friday. Sailors on a Fast Attack Craft belonging to the Northern Naval Command arrested the suspects about 15 nautical miles north of Point Pedro. The fishermen along with their gear and trawler were brought to the naval [...]

Police begin probe on Moratuwa Uni’s animal ‘killing’

Police have launched an investigation following a charge by animal rights activists that stray dogs and cats had been eliminated at the Moratuwa University last Friday. Vice Chancellor Ananda Jayawardene said police recorded his statement and statements from security personal of the University. “The university did not encourage the killing of dogs but only wanted [...]

GMOA says newly formed alliance against SAITM will discuss further trade union action

The Government Medical Officers Association (GMOA) will meet members of political parties and trade unions on Tuesday to decide further trade union action over the South Asian Institute of Technology and Medicine (SAITM). GMOA’s Assistant Secretary Dr. Naveen De Soysa said their newly formed movement “SAITM Virodi Jana Pawra” has attracted members of more than [...]

RDA, Swimming Club make conflicting claims on demolition

RDA, Swimming Club make conflicting claims on demolition

The Colombo Swimming Club (CSC) ignored repeated requests to remove structures from the land acquired from it for road expansion, forcing the Road Development Authority to go to court, RDA Chairman told the Sunday Times. However, CSC President Tony de Livera accused the RDA of using strong arm tactics that saw dozens of foreign tourists [...]

Megapolis minister tells Police Chief to probe Horton Square directors’ dealings

Megapolis Minister Champika Ranawaka has called on Police Chief Pujith Jayasundara to investigate the background and dealings of several directors of Horton Square (Pvt) Ltd, a company which proposes to build two 75-storey towers in Horton Place. Referring to the Sunday Times story last week, Minister Ranawaka said he called upon the IGP to check [...]

SLPI members say reforms only on self-regulatory principles

Media professionals said they would discuss government proposals for a Media Standard Act only on the basis of the principles of self-regulation based on the Colombo Declaration on Media Freedom and Social Responsibility, states the Sri Lanka Press Institute (SLPI) in a press release following the organisation’s 14th Annual General Meeting (AGM). The release states [...]

Veteran scribes to be honoured at the 18th Journalism Awards

Veteran scribes to be honoured at the 18th Journalism Awards

The 18th edition of the Journalism Awards for Excellence will culminate with the annual ‘Awards Night’ on Tuesday, July 25, at the Empire Ballroom of the Mount Lavinia Hotel – the host hotel for the gala event. The event which was launched in 1999 by The Editors’ Guild of Sri Lanka and is now organised [...]

Act fast on accountability issues to avert fragmentation of communities: UN envoy

Act fast on accountability issues to avert fragmentation of communities: UN envoy

A top UN official has called for faster progress in Sri Lanka on key promises such as reparations, accountability and a truth and reconciliation commission, saying that failing to implement these could lead to further extremist language and fragmentation of communities. “Sri Lanka had 30 years of hell,” said Jeffrey Feltman, UN Under-Secretary General for [...]

Young and reckless tipper truck and bus drivers face controls

Young and reckless tipper truck and bus drivers face controls

It may become necessary to raise the age limit for drivers of heavy vehicles such as lorries and buses to curb the rising number of deadly accidents, National Council for Road Safety Chairman has said. Dr Sisira Kodagoda told the Sunday Times that inexperienced youth between the ages of 26 and 28 drive heavy vehicles [...]

Govt. ‘cuts Gordian knot’ on polythene ban; industry in crisis

Govt. ‘cuts Gordian knot’ on  polythene ban; industry in crisis

Polythene manufacturers and recyclers say, while they aren’t opposed to the ban on certain types of polythene, Govt insistence on enforcing it from September is impractical, and will put many in the industry out of business. Industry representatives met with Deputy Minister of Mahaweli Development and Environment, Anuradha Jayaratne as well as senior officials from [...]

Postal workers pocket billions and deliver multi-billion losses

Postal workers pocket billions and deliver multi-billion  losses

Sri Lanka’s Postal Department, which has been incurring multi-billion rupee losses is blowing away billions as salaries to its army of workers, its performance report reveals. Once the revenue is splurged on salaries, there is not much left over for investment to improve public services. But the top management is unmoved and unaccountable. The union [...]

Sathyagraha at the Kande Viharaya in Aluthgama

Sathyagraha at the Kande Viharaya in Aluthgama

DIG said chief suspect not arrested for lack of evidence: SSP

A former Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) this week said he was told by a senior Police officer in the North, that a key suspect was not arrested, only a statement recorded, as there was no evidence against him. Former SSP Lakshman Weerasekara was testifying before the Trial-at-Bar bench hearing the case of Sivaloganathan Vidya, [...]

Tower builders say safety laws being tightened

Sri Lanka’s construction industry says laws are being amended to improve safety in dozens of high rises sprouting across the island. This has gained some urgency in the wake of the recent deadly inferno in the 24-storey Grenfell Tower in London where 80 residents are presumed dead. But as far as fires in high rises [...]

More security for Rajitha as SAITM protests continue

More security for Rajitha as SAITM protests continue

With the controversy surrounding the South Asian Institute of Technology and Medicine (SAITM) showing no signs of abating the Inter University Students’ Federation (IUSF) continued its protest campaign this week and members getting ready to instal themselves outside the University Grants Commission (UGC) in the coming days. With fresh protests planned for next week, security [...]

Constitutional Council to decide on OMP members shortly

The Constitutional Council (CC) will meet shortly to decide on the seven members to be appointed to the Office of Missing Persons (OMP). A CC member said that no date has been fixed for their next meeting but, should be within the next few days, as the OMP Act has become operational from this week. [...]

Govt willing to amend Bill before passage in House: AG’s Dept

The Attorney General’s (AG) Dept informed the Supreme Court (SC) on Friday that the Govt is willing to make several amendments to the proposed Inland Revenue Bill (IRB), before it is passed by Parliament. Ten Petitions have been filed in the SC, challenging the constitutionality of the Bill presented to Parliament on July 5. It [...]

Dengue infections and deaths stretch Lanka to the limits

Dengue infections and deaths stretch  Lanka to the limits

One helpless Sri Lankan falls prey to killer dengue every 28 minutes now and there is no more space in hospitals for beds. There are not enough nurses and staff. The Government, the municipal services, local administrations, and health services are running out of options and ideas. While the army and the police were called [...]

Bug vs bug

Bug vs bug

A ‘harmless’ little bug to battle a ‘harmful’ bug!This is the technique that Australia is offering Sri Lanka, caught in the vice-like grip of a dengue epidemic in the past seven months which has seen more than 100,000 men, women and children falling ill, with 290 deaths. The harmless, naturally-occurring bug or microbe is the [...]

Uma Oya: Moving from crisis to calamity

Uma Oya: Moving from crisis to calamity

The suffering the people of Bandarawela undergo due to the controversial Uma Oya Project appears to be reaching calamitous proportions. Within the last week alone, 43 more houses were added to the official list of damaged houses. The water scarcity becomes more acute with each passing day, while the speedy solution the authorities have promised [...]

Forced to move in search of water

Forced to move in search of water

Joseph Arulraj, a youth from Pungudutivu, one of the northern islands in Jaffna, pays Rs.300 twice a week for 500 litres of water transported in water tankers. “It is a business, six water tankers are in this trade of transporting water to households,” he said. He said since an individual requires around six litres of [...]

SJU team defends EIA report

The team that carried out the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the Uma Oya project has defended its report, but said it was not clear if the recommendations were followed. Team leader Prof. Swarna Piyasiri said the EIA was prepared by professionals who had done their task properly. Explaining the process, she said that in [...]

Forest fires, deliberate in some cases, finish off native plants

Forest fires, deliberate in some  cases, finish off native plants

The Nilgala herbal forest in the Monaragala District from where medicinal plants are obtained for Ayurvedic treatments was among several areas from where wildfires were reported this week. Forest fires, mostly in parts of the Baddulla and Monaragala Districts destroyed plants and animals as well as endemic and rare plants. Adviser of the Uva Provincial [...]

Pick of the Pix

Pick of the Pix

Pix by Athula Devapriya,Indika Handuwala, Sarath Siriwardane,Gamini Mahadura and Thilak Nimalasuriya

Joining hands to eradicate dengue

Joining hands to eradicate dengue

Government, villagers and non-government organizations have launched a multiplicity of programmes aimed at clearing garbage in an effort to minimise the spread of dengue. Last week a group of foreign university students visiting the country joined hands with locals to clean up a stretch of beach in Moratuwa. The foreign students, together with students from the [...]

The Middle East’s next war

BERLIN – With the retaking of Mosul in northern Iraq, the Islamic State (ISIS) could soon be a thing of the past. But the defeat of ISIS and the demise of its self-proclaimed Iraqi-Syrian caliphate won’t bring peace to the Middle East, or even an end to the Syrian tragedy. Rather, it is likely to [...]

Bottom trawling ban: TN Chief Minister’s knee jerk reaction

The reaction of the new Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami to Sri Lanka parliament’s unanimous decision to proscribe (ban by law) motorised and mechansied bottom trawling in Sri Lankan waters reiterates the ignorance and hypocrisy of Tamil Nadu politicians when it comes to Sri Lanka per se and fishing in the Palk Bay [...]

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