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How the Army rescues hostages

How the Army rescues hostages

Commando’s escort ‘hostages’ out of the building to a secure holding area. The canine team sniffs out a kidnapper, who had concealed himself among the hostages. This was the scene at the Army’s hostage-rescue exercise held at the Nelum Pokuna complex. Pic by Amila Gamage

Probe on plot to kill Sirisena and Gota: CID seizes 2 LMGs from TID

Criminal Investigation Department detectives probing the alleged conspiracy to assassinate President Maithripala Sirisena and former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa have seized two Light Machine Guns issued to the Terorrist Investigation Division (TID). They are now trying to ascertain whether the weapons were in any way linked to the conspiracy, particularly in the light of the [...]

Ministers, MPs barred from travel abroad during parliament sessions

Government ministers and parliamentarians will be banned from travelling overseas when Parliament sessions are underway, the Cabinet decided on Tuesday. The only exception will be for urgent medical reasons or for a family emergency. The move came on a recommendation by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. He has been concerned about the mounting number of occasions [...]

Top appointments after President returns

President Maithripala Sirisena, who left for New York yesterday to attend the United Nations General Assembly session, is to make some top level appointments upon his return to Colombo. He is to name Ravinatha Ariyasinha, a career diplomat, to be the new Secretary to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. His last posting was as Sri [...]

SriLankan to serve local cashew nuts, but industry is limping

SriLankan Airlines has been instructed to obtain their cashew nuts from the Sri Lanka Cashew Corporation in the future by the Public Enterprises Development Ministry, a senior official at the ministry informed. Ravindra Hewavitharana, the ministry secretary told the Sunday Times that Minister Lakshman Kiriella made this decision following President Maithripala Sirisena’s recent public outrage [...]

Railway project with US$ 1b loan from China

The Government will seek a loan of one billion US dollars from the Exim Bank of China for what could easily be the costliest project in Sri Lanka – the building of an 88 kilometre rail track from Kurunegala to Habarana. The construction work is to be awarded to the China State Construction Engineering Corporation [...]

Maldives polls today, but Nasheed cries foul from Colombo

The Maldives goes to the polls today (Sunday) amidst claims and counterclaims that rival parties have rigged the elections. President Abdulla Yameen’s Progressive Party has accused the Opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) of bribing voters with funds infused from Western countries while the MDP says voter lists may have been manipulated and the counting process [...]

Military seeks Jaffna Fort, offers to release more land to the people

The Army has requested the Government to release the Jaffna Fort to the military and in turn has agreed to release the lands occupied by three of the main camps within the city limits. The letters requesting for the Jaffna Fort have been sent by Jaffna Security Forces Commander Dharshana Hettiarachchi to President Maithripala Sirisena, [...]

President quashes bid to release contaminated canned fish stocks, orders reshipment

President Maithripala Sirisena has ordered that a large stock of contaminated canned-fish be reshipped to the country of origin after he rejected a request by a Cabinet sub committee to release the five-months-old stocks to the markets. The Presidential directive came at Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting after the Cabinet Sub Committee on Cost of Living submitted [...]

Central Bank to rescue plummetting Lankan rupee using all ‘instruments’

Sri Lanka’s Central Bank (CB) will use all the ‘instruments’ at its disposal to ensure the LKR doesn’t weaken to unbearable levels against the US$, amidst an outflow of US$ 400 million so far this year. The US$ which has rapidly gained against the LKR and touched Rs 170 on Friday, during early trading hours, [...]

SC upholds Commercial HC ruling in Aitken Spence case

The Supreme Court has upheld a 2005 ruling of the Commercial High Court in favour of the Aitken Spence Group in a case filed against Garment Services Group Ltd (GSGL) incorporated in Britain and its directors on the grounds that they had sabotaged the business operations of a subsidiary company called Aitken Spence Garments Ltd [...]

Political instability erodes investor- confidence worsening financial crisis: Rajapaksa

Former president Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday said the Government has lost the confidence of investors and the continuing political instability will see the country’s financial crisis worsening. Speaking at a media briefing at his official residence at Wijerama Mawatha, Colombo 7, Mr Rajapaksa stated that, as long as the Government and the country were unstable, investors [...]

LNG power projects delayed as CEB engineers intensify battle with PUCSL

At least three government-to-government Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) power generation projects are likely to be delayed, with the Ceylon Electricity Board Engineers’ Union (CEBEU) instructing its members to boycott negotiations. The move comes after the CEBEU decided to intensify its trade union action demanding the removal of the Director General of the Public Utilities Commission [...]

RDA in Rs 4 billion debt rut

The Road Development Authority’s (RDA) Construction division ran up nearly Rs 4 billion in unsettled bills, forcing the institution to borrow from the Bank of Ceylon to pay contractors, authoritative sources said. “The situation arose as a result of tenders being called and awarded without sufficient imprest or financial allocation,” insiders said, criticising the “absence [...]

SC raps SLMC for delaying registration of MBBS holder from SAITM

The Supreme Court this week castigated the Sri Lanka Medical Council (SLMC) for unnecessarily delaying an MMBS degree holder from the South Asian Institute of Technology and Management Limited (SAITM) from obtaining provisional registration as a medical practitioner. Justice Prasanna Jayawardena, PC, upheld a Court of Appeal (CA) decision, inter alia, to compel the SLMC [...]

Law students invited to attend two-day conference

The Law Students’ Union will host the National Law Students’ Conference for the second time this year to enable law students across the island to exchange ideas and gain insight into the legal profession. The two-day conference on September 29 and 30 invites students of all institutes providing tertiary legal education. The sessions will discuss [...]

Schoolchildren to be encouraged to cleanup compounds in mosquito eradication programmes

The prevailing weather has prompted the Health Ministry to strengthen its mosquito eradication programmes. The National Dengue Eradication Unit (NDEU) said it will conduct a mosquito control week from September 26 to October 2. NDEU Community Specialist, Dr. Priscilla Samaraweera said through the 175 Medical offices of health (MOH) it is planning to send out [...]

Animal sacrifice ban had the consent of Hindu leaders: Minister

The decision to ban animal sacrifices in Hindu kovils was taken with the consent of Hindu community leaders, Hindu Religious Affairs Minister D.M. Swaminathan said. He said the Cabinet intervened and approved the memorandum prohibiting animal slaughter in Hindu temples, largely because there was no institutionalised structure to regulate Hindu temples’ practices and activities. At [...]

Agriculture Minister to present cabinet paper to lift ban on sale of wildboar meat

Agriculture Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said he will present a Cabinet paper shortly to lift the ban on the sale and transportation of wild boar meat. The move follows several complaints from farmers about wildboar causing damage to crops. It is reported that more than hundred acres of land in Ampara east has been abandoned due [...]

Speaker holds talks with Indian leaders

Speaker holds talks with Indian leaders

  Speaker Karu Jayasuriya led an all-party parliamentary delegation recently to New Delhi for talks with Indian leaders. He held talks with India’s President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Speaker Sumitra Mahajan and Foreign Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. Speaker Jayasuriya and the delegation are seen here at a meeting with President Kovind (above). [...]

Int’l conference to mark 20th anniversary of Colombo Declaration on Media Freedom & Social Responsibility

Representatives from Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, China, Germany, India, Norway, Pakistan and the UK will attend an international conference from September 27-30, to mark the 20th anniversary of the Colombo Declaration on Media Freedom & Social Responsibility, organised by the Sri Lanka Press Institute (SLPI) in partnership with UNESCO and the Royal Norwegian Embassy. The conference [...]

Environmentalists raise heat over coal power plant emissions

The Lakvijaya Coal Power Plant in Norochcholai has been without a crucial environmental protection device for almost a month, resulting in the plant releasing sulphur dioxide levels above the national legal limit, environmentalists charge. The Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) however, counters that it is using ‘low sulphur coal’ and as such, the emissions are still [...]

Colombo Chief Magistrate suspends investigations against Ravi K

Colombo Chief Magistrate Ranga Dissanayake ordered a temporary suspension of all orders related to investigations conducted against MP Ravi Karunanayake on charges of giving false evidence before the Bond Commission. The order was issued after considering submissions made by MP Karunanayake’s attorney, President’s Counsel Shavendra Fernando that the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) had no legal [...]

Global Tamil Forum decries President Sirisena’s move to make plea to UN to drop war charges

A global Tamil diasporic body has condemned the recent announcement by President Maithripala Sirisena that he will make a special request to the UN General Assembly and the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to drop war crimes charges against his troops to ‘settle’ the issue of accountability as being “outrageous and must be censured”. The [...]

Joint subsidiary Co. of CPC, LIOC to develop Trinco oil tanks

Joint subsidiary Co. of CPC, LIOC to develop Trinco oil tanks

Cabinet approval has been granted to the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) and the Lanka Indian Oil Co. (LIOC) to form a Joint Subsidiary Company to develop the 85 tanks at the Upper Oil Tank Farm (UOTF) in Trincomalee. Of these, 16 tanks are to be handed over later to the CPC for its exclusive use. [...]

‘Cormorant Strike 2018′ stages “Hostage Rescue Operation” at Nelum Pokuna Theatre

‘Cormorant Strike 2018′ stages “Hostage Rescue Operation” at Nelum Pokuna Theatre

A ‘Hostage Rescue Operation’ (HRO) was conducted on Thursday (20) at Nelum Pokuna Theatre, as a part of the ongoing “Cormorant Strike 2018″ Military exercise. The mock HRO saw more than 150 Army Commandos from the 4th Commando Regiment and 4 Nepali soldiers work together to rescue 30 “hostages” held by a group of “terrorists”. [...]

A drought that shows no mercy

A drought that shows no mercy

Nearly a million Sri Lankans, or one in every 20, are victims of a prolonged drought in 18 districts, with Jaffna, Batticaloa, Mannar, Kilinochchi and Anuradhapura among the worst affected. Crops have failed leaving farmers’ destitute, residents without drinking water and an the outbreak of disease. The dry conditions have raised fears of a water [...]

Salaries, allowances, increments at SriLankan sans Treasury approval: Ex CEO

Salaries, allowances,  increments at SriLankan sans Treasury approval: Ex CEO

Salary packages and other additional allowances for top management officials at SriLankan Airlines (SriLankan) were not subject to approval by the Public Finance Department of the Treasury, as outlined by a circular, and the practice still continues to this day, a top official told the Commission of Inquiry (CoI) investigating irregularities at SriLankan, SriLankan Catering [...]

Private, state buses mow down hundreds every year

Private, state buses mow down hundreds every year

Fatal accidents caused by private and state-run buses have exceeded last year’s tally, even though the overall number of road traffic accidents have declined in the first eight months of the year. Traffic Police Headquarters data show that private buses were involved in 138 deaths last year while this year, so far, they have been [...]

The National question and democratic discourse in the North

The National question and democratic discourse in the North

During the time of Sri Lanka’s ‘Civil War’, there were regular interventions by Human Rights (HR) activists on the sidelines of the United Nations Human Rights Council sessions. Foreign Ministry officials as well as others such as the Attorney General had to travel to Geneva to present the Sri Lanka Government’s case. Today, the situation [...]

Pick of the Pix

Pick of the Pix

Pix by Amila Gamage, M.A.Pushpa Kumara, Rahul Samantha Hettiarachchi and Hiran Priyankara Jayasinghe.

Get your eyes tested for diabetic retinopathy with sophisticated retinal camera at the Eye Hospital

Get your eyes tested for diabetic retinopathy with sophisticated retinal camera at the Eye Hospital

With the National Eye Hospital in Colombo getting temporary possession of a Non-Mydriatic Retinal Camera, an urgent request is going out to the public to walk in and get their eyes tested for diabetic retinopathy. There is no need for an appointment, no requirement of a prior booking, there are no queues and there will [...]

Bridge expansion halted

Bridge expansion halted

Work on expanding the bridge between the Galle train station and the main bus terminal has been halted since the discovery of stone inscriptions indicating the bridge was constructed during the Dutch colonial period, making it an archeological monument. Prior to the discovery, work commenced earlier this year to add an extra lane to the [...]

Salt makers taste bitter lives

Salt makers taste bitter lives

The salt producers of Kinniya in the Trincomalee District say they have been facing immense difficulties for long, but are being neglected by the authorities. The salterns are spread over around 150 acres in Munaichchanai and Kahchakkoditheevu of Kinniya. This enterprise provides jobs for about 300 people and indirect jobs to another 100. Saltern workers [...]

Triple murder case accused’s challenge to confession backfires

Colombo High Court judge Vikum Kaluarachchi granted permission to mark as evidence the confession made by an accused before the Mount Lavinia Magistrate in a case where he is accused of causing the death of his wife and two children by setting fire to a room while they were asleep in it. The accused Wijemuni [...]

Court seeks details of death-row inmate Sarpaya’s active FB account

Colombo High Court judge Champa Janaki Rajaratna has directed the Attorney General’s Department to obtain from the Facebook head office in California details of an account said to have been maintained by a double murder convict while in prison. The department was instructed to obtain the internet protocol address of the Facebook account, details regarding [...]

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