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This is the way we come to class

With an influenza virus spreading in the South and several deaths reported in the aftermath of the floods, a teacher and students at Olcott Vidyalaya in Galle are seen wearing face masks as a preventive measure. Pic by Gamini Mahadura

Private company to operate new train services in H’tota District

The Government wants the private sector to build and operate rail services in a US$ 800 million (Rs. 127 billion) project in the Hambantota district, a senior official said yesterday. In terms of the proposal approved by the cabinet, worldwide tenders will be called to construct railroads from Beliatta to Hambantota, Kataragama and the Mattala [...]

As Govt seeks to legalise unauthorised buildings, UDA launches flying squad

A week after the Sunday Times revealed a Government move to bring in a Bill that seeks to legalise unauthorised constructions in state-built condominiums, the Urban Development Authority has come up with a proposal to deploy flying squads to ensure that private and state sector constructions are being carried out according to approved plans. UDA [...]

Hi-tech methods, transnational links to fight crime

The use of video conferencing technology, joint investigations comprising investigators from Sri Lanka and other countries or specified organisations and search of computer data are to be included in a new amendment to the Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Act of 2002. The amendment — to be taken up in Parliament on Tuesday– identifies offences [...]

Crime: Minimum age raised to 12

The minimum age limit for criminal responsibility is to be increased from eight to 12 years, according to a Penal Code amendment to be introduced in Parliament soon. Justice Ministry Secretary W.M.M.A. Adikari said it had been found that children Under 12 who were involved in criminal activity were not mature enough to realise the [...]

Explosive report on hazards of Norochcholai coal power plant

Explosive report on hazards of Norochcholai coal power plant

The Lakvijaya coal power plant in Norochcholai does not have a valid ‘scheduled waste management licence’ as required by law for a facility that generates hazardous matter, says an explosive report by an organisation called the Coalition against Coal (CAC). The campaign against coal is growing after the Cabinet recently sanctioned a new electricity policy [...]

IMF releases US$ 252m for Lanka; notes progress in Fund-supported programmes

The International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) Executive Board completed its fourth review of Sri Lanka’s Economic performance as per the programme supported by a three-year Extended Arrangement under the Extended Fund Facility (EFF). The completion of this review enables the disbursement of the equivalent of Special Drawing Rights (SDR) 177.774 million (about US$ 252 million), bringing [...]

Office of Missing Persons under Fowzie

The Office of Missing Persons (OMP) has been brought under the purview of the National Unity and Coexistence State Minister A.H.M. Fowzie. Presidential Secretary Austin Fernando issued the gazette on behalf of President Maithripala Sirisena assigning the subjects and OMP functions to Mr. Fowzie’s Ministry. The Office for National Unity and Reconciliation (ONUR), the chairperson [...]

What Rajitha saw and did not see at Dambulla hospital

Health Minister and Vice President WHO, Dr Rajitha Senaratne on a visit to Dambulla hospital this week had apparently avoided visiting overcrowded wards including the one pictured here, in spite of pleas that he visit the ward. He had instead told those around him that new buildings will be contructed to ease the situation.  Pix [...]

Confiscated sand and timber for places of worship and state bodies

Sand and timber confiscated by courts are to be released to places of religious worship and government institutions at concessionary rates, the Justice Ministry has decided. The ministry in a circular has informed High Court judges and magistrates that this directive is in terms of a Cabinet decision. In the case of confiscated sand, release [...]

Doctors, staff protest coroner’s ruling that medical negligence led to death of 24-year-old pregnant woman

A ruling by Colombo City Coroner Iresha Deshani Samaraweera that negligence on the part of doctors and nursing staff, appeared to have contributed to the death of a 24-year-old pregnant woman at the National Hospital, has drawn protests from the doctors and staff. The deceased Dilani Perera from Bloemendhal Road, Colombo 13, passed away at [...]

Purchase of Edirisinghe Group: Investors in a labyrinth of multiple companies

A director of the consortium investing in the troubled Edirisinghe Group is a close business partner of R.M. Manivannan, Chairman of SupremeSAT, which claimed to have launched Sri Lanka’s first communications satellite in 2012. Mr Manivannan is also a long-time business partner of Jaya Sudhir Jayaram, the Malaysian businessman who till recently was negotiating on [...]

Hike in gold smuggling after Govt. imposes tax

Smuggling of gold into the country, after the Government raised taxes on gold imports, is on the rise, Customs officials said. The latest two detections this week were one on Thursday, when a Polish national with 10 kg of gold and yesterday a local carrying 1 kg of gold, were detected at the Bandaranaike International [...]

Vegetable prices increase again

Vegetable prices increase again

Vegetable prices are on the increase again. At the Dambulla market too the prices were high with a kilo of beans selling at Rs 350 on Friday. The price of other vegetables too were on the upward trend. Pic by Kanchana Kumara Ariyadasa

Indian SC judge to deliver talk on social media limits

Indian Supreme Court judge Jasti Chelameswar will deliver the keynote speech on “Should there be limits on social media? Global perspectives” at 3 p.m. tomorrow at the Dr. H.W. Jayewardene QC Auditorium, BASL head office in Colombo 12. The event is being organised by the BAR Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) in collaboration with the [...]

RTIC warns of grave impact of Audit Bill on evolving RTI regime

Sri Lanka’s Right to Information Commission (RTIC) cautioned on Friday (June 1) that the proposed Audit Act tabled before Parliament prohibiting Right to Information requests in respect of ‘any information’ in the custody of several officials, including even non-audit officials, may impact negatively on the country’s embryonic RTI regime. Expressing particular concern in regard to [...]

Central Bank’s CCTV tender challenged as being biased

The Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) last week denied the allegations of a company participating in a CCTV tender, that the pre-qualification criteria had been designed to favour a pre-selected entity. Akro (Pvt) Ltd, which has done maintenance of the CBSL’s CCTV system for a decade, said it had written to the Regulator, complaining [...]

Airport police nab woman attempting to smuggle in 24 bottles of liquor

Airport police nab woman attempting to smuggle in 24 bottles of liquor

A woman who attempted to smuggle 24 bottles of imported liquor valued at Rs.165,000 was taken into custody by Airport Police last morning. Police said the woman (44) was a resident of Colombo and a frequent traveller to India for business purposes. She had used her contacts to buy the large stock of expensive imported [...]

‘Good’ polythene makers lose out as baddies skip around rules

‘Good’ polythene makers lose out as baddies skip around rules

Major polythene bag makers who turned to the production of biodegradable polythene bags and compostable lunch sheets following the government’s ban on high-density products say they are losing money while smaller businesses flout the rules and grab their business. The Polythene Manufacturers and Recyclers Association (PMRA) said its members had transformed the industry by changing [...]

Tilted vessel makes big noise about ownership

Tilted vessel makes big noise about ownership

The Sri Lanka Ports Authority came to know only recently that a vessel which tilted to a side during the recent stormy weather did not belong to the Navy but to a private company which now owes the SLPA a huge amount in anchoring fees. The vessel had initially belonged to the Navy, but two [...]

Rail technical workers pocket fat pay raise and perks

Rail technical workers pocket fat pay raise and perks

Salary grievances of railway engine drivers, guards, station masters and engineers, who had demanded a double-digit percentage increase in their pay packet will be settled, following a Government decision. The Railway Technical Services Trade Union had, over the past few weeks, agitated for a salary increase of 12% for 12,000 rail workers, including casual workers [...]

Flood toll reveals sad fate of homeless

Flood toll reveals sad fate of homeless

As the floodwaters recede, some 157 families face a bleak future, with some homes lost to the waters and almost 7,000 other homes damaged across 21 districts. The Disaster Management Centre (DMC) said initial compensation payments of Rs.10,000 had been distributed, and the remaining amount would be paid once estimates were received from each district. [...]

SL Human Rights Com. gets ‘A’ status from Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions

The Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka has been designated as a body that is fully compliant with the Paris Principles, adopted in 1993 by the UN General Assembly. In broad terms, the Paris Principles require rights bodies to protect and promote human rights. There are many other obligations, too. The Global Alliance of National [...]

Thousands of old cases of torture being dealt with by HRCSL, says chairperson

The Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) has started reviewing complaints of old torture cases which were suspended without being investigated, HRCSL chairperson Dr. Deepika Udagama told the Sunday Times. “There were many cases of disappearance and torture that were suspended. Some cases were as old as seven to eight years or sometimes more,” [...]

Health Ministry sounds ‘red alert’ on rat fever

Health authorities are warning of a high risk of the spread of leptospirosis (rat fever) in the aftermath of the recent heavy rains. While many diseases tend to spread with the onset of the rainy season, rat fever poses a particular threat, the Health Promotion Bureau of the Ministry of Heath, Nutrition & Indigenous Medicine [...]

Environmental groups hit out at moves to relocate the last two elephants of Sinharaja

Environmental groups hit out at moves to relocate the last two elephants of Sinharaja

Four major environmental organizations have raised strong voices of protest against reported moves to relocate the last two elephants living in the Sinharaja Rainforest, a World Heritage Site. “We are appalled that a political decision has been made to capture and relocate the last two elephants remaining in the Sinharaja Rainforest, as indicated by media [...]

Finance Ministry to hold islandwide exhibitions to attract investors and promote exports

The Finance Ministry, in order to increase Investor opportunities and promote exports has drawn up plans to conduct an exhibition every 3 to 4 months at selected locations islandwide. Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera and State Finance Minister Eran Wickremaratne on Wednesday briefed investors on the proposed programme which coincides with the 2025 Vision programme launched [...]

Elephants wander into Hambantota villages disrupting lives

The human-elephant conflict has intensified in Hambantota, Suriyawewa, Lunugamvehera and other areas under the purview of the Tissamaharama Divisional Secretariat, and wild elephants invade villages in the night. Many families in the Hambantota district have become destitute as a result. Suriyawewa Divisional Secretary Subash Nanayakkara said that elephants from the Madunagala sanctuary roam into nearby [...]

Wildlife officials chase back three elephants into Hambantota sanctuary

Wildlife officials chase back three elephants  into Hambantota sanctuary

The Wild Life Department carried out a special operation on Friday night to chase away three wild elephants who had entered the Dehempura area in Beragama in Ambalantota. The elephants had entered the villages and destroyed some of the plantations, villagers complained. The jumbos had moved out of the wildlife sanctuary area in Hambantota and [...]

Conservation land released for development projects, RTI response shows

Conservation land released  for development projects,  RTI response shows

Large extents of public conservation land in the North Central and Eastern Provinces have been released to public and private sector developers, despite concerns over threats to endangered fauna and flora, documents obtained under the Right to Information Act reveal. The Environmental Impact Assessment report, one of the documents obtained from the Mahaweli Authority by [...]

University of Pera opens anatomy museum to the public

University of Pera opens anatomy museum to the public

The Vice Chancellor of the University of Peradeniya Upul B.Dissanayake speaking at the opening of the anatomy museum at the Medical Faculty of the Peradeniya University invited the public and especially students to interact with the university. In an effort to interact with the public, the head of the university invited the public to use [...]

Defiant Nasheed wins MDP primary for presidency despite MEC’s tough warnings

Defiant Nasheed wins MDP  primary for presidency despite MEC’s tough warnings

Former Maldivian president Mohamed Nasheed who led his campaign from Colombo has won the main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party’s presidential primary with more than 40,000 votes in favor, the party announced. Speaking to media in Colombo after casting his vote on Wednesday, Mr. Nasheed told the Sunday Times he believed MDP members must have an [...]

Hold PC polls under PR system as an interim measure

Hold PC polls under PR system as an interim measure

The country’s experience at the Local Govt (LG) Elections held in February 2018 is nothing to be happy about. After delaying the Elections for 3 years, the outcome, under the amended Laws of 2017, left much to be desired. While the respective political parties crunched the figures to show they had made progress in winning [...]

Pick of the Pix

Pick of the Pix

Pix by Indika Handuwala, M.A.Pushpa Kumara, Sameera Weerasekera, Hiran Priyankara Jayasingha and Priyan De Silva.

Aluthgama: Now an eyesore

Aluthgama: Now an eyesore

Aluthgama –once a tourist attraction- which falls within the purview of the Beruwela Urban Council is in a bad state of neglect. Creepers and wild plants abound, giving the appearance of a jaded neglected scrub jungle. The roads are in a terrible state of disrepair. Pot-holes filled with rain water and thick undergrowth, provide excellent [...]

Shortage of doctors: Clinics at Debarawewa base hospital suspended

Dr. Prabath Liyanaarachchi Chief Medical Superintendent of the Debarawewa base hospital said, the hospital had suspended clinics for patients from Thursday due to a shortage of doctors. According to Dr. Prabath while the hospital needed 52 doctors to function, today only 31 doctors serve at the hospital. He said under these circumstances it had become [...]

Kandy’s Halloluwa tunnel to be extended, says Kandy Mayor

Kandy’s Halloluwa  tunnel to be extended, says Kandy Mayor

The Halloluwa tunnel in Kandy will be extended further with assistance from the Megapolis Ministry, Kandy Mayor Kesera Senanayake said. The tunnel was reopened for vehicular traffic last Sunday after it was closed due to earthslips and rocks falling at the Anniewatte end of the tunnel. Over the years, during the rainy season, there have [...]

Kataragama beggars have nowhere to go

Kataragama police say they are facing a dilemma as institutions that are supposed to take in the beggars at Kataragama–who reportedly behave in an unruly manner towards pilgrims in the sacred city– are refusing to accept them. Chief Inspector Upali Kariyawasam said police have been ordered to arrest these vagrants, under the Sacred City Development [...]

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