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Rail strikers, see the plight of the commuters

Rail strikers, see the plight of the commuters

The two-day railway strike left thousands of commuters stranded with only a few trains being operated. This picture portrays the commotion and chaos with people getting even into the guard’s compartment and more pleading to get into it, because the rest of the train was packed to capacity. Pic by Priyanka Samaraweera

Sirisena may stay out of Presidential race

President Maithripala Sirisena, in a new turn of events, may decide not to contest this year’s presidential election and, instead, support the opposition candidate. This is said to be the rationale behind his remarks to the Sri Lanka Freedom Party’s Women’s Front on Wednesday that there would be an “honourable decision which will not cause [...]

Cabinet approves four coal power plants, moves to reduce PUCSL’s authority

The Cabinet has sanctioned four new coal power plants—two in Norochcholai and two in Trincomalee—and a proposal to amend the Sri Lanka Electricity Act to weaken the industry regulator, Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL). Approval was granted this week on a Cabinet paper containing these and several other recommendations. It was signed by [...]

Train services normal from today, but strike threat still on track

Train services will return to normal from today, Railways General Manager Dilantha Fernando said yesterday He told the Sunday Times the unions had informed him that they would operate normal services from today. Those on strike included locomotive operators, guards, controllers, station masters, and supervising mangers. The Railways Chief said the unions had told him [...]

CBK laments division and hatred in Sri Lanka

Former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga told a select London audience that her country was riven with division and hatred and took a swipe at “an inept political class” for making this worse. Ms. Kumaratunga was in London last week to receive the 2019 award for her “vision, courage and commitment to peace and reconciliation” presented [...]

Plan to deport more than 8,000 visa overstayers

Nnearly 8,000 foreigners are overstaying their visas, and the Home Affairs Ministry will seek Cabinet approval shortly to obtain funds and make logistical arrangements to deport them, a senior official said. The Immigration and Emigration Department’s Controller General, Pasan Ratnayaka, told the Sunday Times that after the April 21 attacks the Department’s Intelligence unit had [...]

China’s Exim bank offers US$ 1 b for Central Expressway project

China’s Export-Import Bank has extended a loan of nearly one billion dollars for the Kadawatha-Mirigama part of the Central Expressway, but the Government has to raise the money to pay the contractor’s advance. The loan is 85 percent of the total contract of US$ 1.1 billion and Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera wants to raise Rs [...]

Opposition has its say, Govt. has its way

The Government passed the Revival of Underperforming Enterprises or Underutilised Assets (Repeal) Bill on Thursday (20), despite vehement protests from the Opposition. Some Opposition parties saw the Bill as a sinister move to hand over the Pelwatte and Sevanagala sugar factories to Minister Daya Gamage. United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) MP Gamini Lokuge told the [...]

WHO post routine and for country, but Rs. 6.7mn spent on Rajitha’s show

The title that Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne was granted last year for “being elected” Vice Chairman of the World Health Organisation (WHO) is not a national honour despite Rs 6.7mn having been spent on a ceremony to confer it upon him, officials said. The WHO’s four Vice Chairmen posts are also granted to countries–not individuals–following [...]

State of emergency extended by one more month

The State of Emergency entered its third month, after President Maithripala Sirisena issued an extraordinary gazette notification extending it by another month effective from Friday. The proclamation, signed by the President, notes that the emergency was being declared “in the interest of public security, the preservation of public order and the maintenance of supplies and [...]

Crash victim left to die on roadside: Threewheel driver arrested

A threewheel driver who had allegedly left a man to die after knocking him down in Wellampitiya was arrested five days after the incident, police said. On Friday, June 14, a construction site employee identified as Athanagoda Ravindra Niroshan (42) was returning home after work around 7 p.m. when he was knocked down by a [...]

Kalmunai satyagraha called off after assurances

Kalmunai satyagraha called off after assurances

A five-day sit-in Satyagraha protest led by a Buddhist monk, demanding the authorities to upgrade the Kalmunai North sub Divisional Secretariat (DS) was called off yesterday after assurances that the matter would be resolved shortly. Among those who gave assurances was Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) General Secretary, the Ven Galagoda-Aththe Gnanasara Thera. He assured the [...]

Another Easter Sunday bomb blast victim dies

A woman injured in the Katuwapitiya Easter Sunday bomb blast succumbed to her injuries on Thursday. She was identified as J.K Chrishenthia Perera, a resident of St Sebestian Mawatha in  Katuwapitiya. Her son, Sanath Roshan Fernando, a Katana Pradeshiya Sabha member and her daughter-in-law were killed in the blast.  The funeral of Ms Perera took [...]

NCPA seeks donations to treat child victims of Easter Sunday blasts

Seven children who received head injuries following the Easter Sunday bomb blasts require special treatment and surgery and the National Child Protection Authority (NCPA) is seeking public donations to help them.Addressing a news conference NCPA chairman H.M Abeyrathne said the children had sustained serious skull injuries. He said 23 children were killed in the Easter [...]

Richard Pathirana’s wife passes away

Vijitha Pathirana, the wife of the late Education and Higher Education Minister Richard Pathirana, passed away yesterday. She was the mother of UPFA MP Ramesh Pathirana, Iromi Pathirana and Dinusha Pathirana. Her remains are lying at their residence, Silvereen, Richard Pathirana Mawatha, Kithulampitiya, Galle. The cremation will take place at 5 p.m. tomorrow at the [...]

Researcher pays dearly for Horton Plains native plants

Researcher pays dearly for Horton Plains native plants

Three people, including a professor, who illegally collected samples of 12 indigenous plants in the buffer zone (pera kalapaya) of the National Horton Plains in Nuwara Eliya have been fined a total Rs 420,000 by the Nuwara Eliya Magistrate’s Court. The senior professor and two others were accused of uprooting four kinds of Nelu plants [...]

Cigarette imports under fire: Health Minister warns of grave consequences

A decision to allow the import of cigarettes could have grave consequences as they are cheaper and will drive more people, especially youths, to become addicted, Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne has warned. He told the the Sunday Times that Chinese cigarettes were being smuggled into the country by Chinese workers and sold in the illicit [...]

ECMO saves Chanduli’s life

ECMO saves Chanduli’s life

All smiley is the slip of a girl in a green frock as she walks into a roomful of people – some clad in saree, some in shirt and tie and others in uniform, who clap enthusiastically. The little star of this show, 11-year-old Chanduli, was going home that day and it was to bid [...]

Samaritan driver helps one trainload but thousands left in chaos

Samaritan driver helps one trainload but thousands left in chaos

Passengers on an Ambepussa-bound train from Colombo Fort became some of the first victims of the railway strike that left tens of thousands of commuters in chaos and others stranded. Then their driver walked away even before the strike was due to begin. He, like some other drivers, claimed they had to leave their posts [...]

Conservation agencies should be under a single ministry, says former DWC DG

Conservation agencies should be under a single ministry, says former DWC DG

All conservation agencies should be under one ministry. In countries which manage their conservation sectors well, these agencies are under one ministry and that ministry does not have any other mandate other than conservation. As long as the sector is fragmented with different agencies having conflicting mandates, the problem will never be addressed. These were [...]

Sri Lanka’s political culture and the case of Kabir Hashim

Sri Lanka’s political culture and the case of Kabir Hashim

Reports in several newspapers last week brought to the fore, weaknesses in the country’s political culture that impact on the country’s democracy in an adverse manner. The newspaper reports referred to an incident that took place in the Anuradhapura District 10 years ago, during the 1999 Presidential Election. According to the reports, the acting Magistrate [...]

Pick of the Pix

Pick of the Pix


It could be resolved at next Party leaders’ meeting, though he was not consulted: Ranil

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on Friday told Parliament that the issue over the appointment of Prasad Kariyawasam as Advisor to the Speaker, could still be resolved at the next meeting of Party leaders. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe pointed out that he was not consulted over the appointment of former Foreign Ministry Secretary Prasad Kariyawasam as [...]

Rodney Perera assumes duties as Sri Lanka’s new Ambassador to the US

Rodney Perera assumes duties as  Sri Lanka’s new Ambassador to the US

Rodney Perera assumed duties as Ambassador of Sri Lanka to the US, on Monday, ending a 22-month hiatus in the ambassadorial post at the Sri Lanka embassy in Washington DC. Prior to this appointment, Ambassador Perera was Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to Belgium, Luxembourg and the European Union (EU). After assuming duties at the Sri Lanka [...]

Flood of information on Zahran but somewhere there was a dam

Flood of information on Zahran but somewhere there was a dam

Further allegations that authorities failed to act despite receiving prior information regarding the violent extremism of Zahran Hashim were made this week before the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) probing the Easter Sunday terror attacks. The PSC was also told that intelligence pertaining to preparations by Zahran and his associates to launch an attack was not [...]

Police probe reveals drug promotion through Facebook parties

Police probe reveals drug promotion through Facebook parties

Facebook group parties are part of a countrywide programme by drug dealers to promote narcotic drugs among young men and women, investigations have revealed. Excise Department sleuths and Special Task Force personnel last Sunday raided a Belihuloya hotel and arrested 54 people, including four women and found in the possession of revellers ecstasy pills, cocaine, [...]

Malnourished infant’s death leads to inquiry

Officials are trying to determine if dereliction of duty led to the death of a malnourished infant from a destitute family living in Tissamaharama. Eleven-month old Malith Mihiranga Rajapaksa passed away on May 14. There are thousands of families living in poverty in the Hambantota District. The Hambantota District Secretary has begun an inquiry to [...]

Polonnaruwa residents turn to RTI over non-completion of highway

Thirteen residents, having gathered data from the Divisional Secretariat Dimbulagala, under the Right to Information Act have filed action before the Manampitiya Magistrate for non-completion of the highway between Aralaganvila – Kandegama in Dimbulagala of the Polonnaruwa District. The plaint filed under clause 106 of the Criminal Procedure Code charges five public officers for causing [...]

KMC meeting ends without solution to waste dump problem

The Gohagoda waste dump at Katugastota, in the Kandy Municipality has been in existence for the past 40 years. It is said the dump can no longer take in any more waste and is in danger of collapsing. People living in the vicinity of the dump have been shifted out of the area to another [...]

Kandy councillor calls for Special General Meeting on the Colombo-Kandy highway

A Special General Meeting (SGM) of the Kandy Municipal Council (KMC) has been called for, to impress upon the government the need for the Colombo-Kandy highway, to go beyond Galagedera as originally proposed. Though this proposal has been on the books for sometime and has been a promise at all elections, including the Presidential elections, [...]

Up on the roof, solar concerns grow over tariff changes

Up on the roof, solar  concerns grow  over  tariff changes

A plan to force households to sell the solar energy they produce to the government instead of being able to use it themselves has angered thousands of green energy consumers and experts say the scheme threatens the booming rooftop solar industry. Under the proposed tariff, the board (CEB) wants to keep the monopoly option of [...]

Avant Garde ship captain still languishes in Sri Lanka; sick, but unable to return home

Avant Garde ship captain still languishes in  Sri Lanka; sick, but unable to return home

The Ukrainian ship captain is a sick man. Serious blockages in his heart need immediate surgery. But Gennadiy Gavrylov doesn’t dare to go on that operating table – because if he dies, he won’t have his family around him. Gennadiy, now 52, has been in Sri Lanka for four years. Ten months of this were [...]

Greed, stupidity and endangered lives

Greed, stupidity and endangered lives

The demand for venison continues to pose a serious problem. In the Hambantota district, hunters not only set traps to ensnare these beautiful and harmless creatures, they have also turned to poisoning water holes inside forest reserves to kill the animals. Recently, officers from the Hambantota Wildlife Office arrested three poachers while they were inspecting [...]

Public banished from parking spaces to protect VIPs

Public banished from parking spaces to protect VIPs

Despite claims of Colombo returning to normalcy following the Easter Sunday bloodbath, the police have shut out people from parking spaces in several areas including around Galle Face. Parking on the Galle Road near the Galle Face green is prohibited mainly because of VIPs. Some 200 small businesses have been badly affected, says E.C. Dias, [...]

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