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Dispute with Health Minister: PHIs pull out of all duties

Dispute with Health Minister: PHIs pull out of all duties

In a face-off with Health Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi, the 2,445-member Public Health Inspectors’ (PHIs) Union has pulled out of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases control duties, inlcuding dengue control, while charging that the health guidelines gazetted with regard to the conduct of the parliamentary election were inadequate. “We stopped COVID-19 work at 12.30 p.m. on [...]

TNA seeks NE merger, self-determination

The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) is, once again, calling for a fresh mandate from Tamil people to work for a North-East merged federal solution in an undivided country for the decades-long-ethnic question. This was highlighted in its manifesto for the August 5 parliamentary elections. Releasing the manifesto at the Jaffna office of the Ilankai Thamil [...]

De-radicalisation process for Easter Sunday suspects and others

The government will introduce a de-radicalisation process for terror suspects who hold violent extremist ideologies and are currently detained under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA). They include those arrested in relation to the Easter Sunday attacks. Under the programme, the authorities will look into all those in detention for holding violent extremist views, those [...]

Former refugees return secretly to escape COVID

With the coronavirus galloping free in the neighbouring state of Tamil Nadu, the Navy is on high alert for Sri Lankan-origin refugees willing to risk illegal sea passage home to escape a worsening health crisis coupled with economic difficulties on foreign soil. At least seven such refugees have reached home since the pandemic hit Tamil [...]

Drug prices: NMRA and pharma firms trade charges

The pharmaceutical industry yesterday accused the drug regulator of arbitrary decision-making after the latter issued notices of cancellation of licences of some products of five importers over pricing issues. The importers who have been issued notices of licence cancellations for 10 medications and supplements by the National Medicines Regulatory Authority (NMRA) are: Hemas Pharmaceuticals (Pvt) [...]

Sri Lanka negotiating with India to secure 20 Trinco oil tanks

A delegation from the Power and Energy Ministry conducted an inspection tour to the Trincomalee oil tanks this week, amidst ongoing negotiations with India to secure around 20 of the tanks for Ceylon Petroleum Corporation to run by itself. India and Sri Lankan have a Memorandum of Understanding to operate the complex as a joint [...]

Parents’ marital status no longer relevant for baby’s birth certificate

A long overdue decision announced yesterday by Registrar General Former National Child Protection Authority Chairperson hails move as step in right direction Future birth certificates will no longer contain a question about the marital status of parents, thus eliminating the stigma associated with children born out of wedlock. The decision was announced by Registrar General N [...]

Regulations breached at PM’s meeting

Regulations breached at PM’s meeting

Significant breaches of health guidelines were observed yesterday at one of the first election meetings attended by Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa after the gazetting of the COVID-19 (Elections) Regulations. The guidelines state that not more than 300 people shall attend such meetings or, where the leader of a political party or independent group attends, not [...]

Police give lessons on wearing masks

Police give lessons on wearing masks

An awareness programme was held at the Police Field Headquarters in Colombo yesterday for nearly 500 persons who were found not wearing face masks in public places. Under the programme, held under the patronage of Senior Deputy Inspector General of Police (SDIG) Deshabandu Tennakoon, officials explained the importance of wearing face masks and engaging in [...]

EC ready to face any challenges in conducting polls

The Election Commission will introduce measures to meet COVID-19-related contingencies with the intention of conducting the August 5 poll, notwithstanding any challenges that may crop up, officials said. The Election Commission has summoned District Secretaries to Colombo on July 26 to discuss aspects of the poll including potential health obstacles related to COVID-19. Even if [...]

No infections among loved ones who visited Kandakadu

No infections among loved ones who  visited Kandakadu

Several major decisions including the postponement of the reopening of schools and the airport were taken this week, as a top health official said that none of the family members who visited the Kandakadu Treatment & Rehabilitation Centre on July 4 has tested positive for COVID-19 so far. It is difficult, however, to predict when [...]

Too early to predict whether community spread is on – GMOA

It is too early to predict whether community spread of COVID-19 has begun because for such transmission to be established, unrelated clusters need to be reported, said Dr. Haritha Aluthge of the Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA). This vocal representative of the GMOA said that according to the World Health Organization (WHO) there are four [...]

No go for Expressway buses

No go for Expressway buses

Bus drivers and conductors of luxury buses deployed on the expressways say the number of passengers in their buses has reduced by more than 50% since the emergence of the Kandakadu COVID-19 cluster. Pic by Amila Gamage  

Colombo’s Nawam Mw earmarked for development projects

The Urban Development Authority has targeted large tracts of land, including 28 acres in Nawam Mawatha, for sprawling mixed development projects, UDA Director General Prasad Ranaweera said. Around 10 acres of this land will be used to put up high rise buildings to accommodate around 2,200 households, mostly low-income, that will lose their homes as [...]

Infighting perks up dull campaign in the south

Political parties have slowed down their campaigns but the pandemic has not reduced sparring over preferential votes. While election monitoring groups say campaigning is taking place without violence, internal disputes over preferential votes were externally visible, said Manjula Gajanayake, the National Coordinator of the Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV). The Galle District was calmer [...]

O/L, A/L students to resume lessons on July 27, others from August 10 onwards

Yesterday, the Education Ministry postponed the reopening of schools by another week. Accordingly, all schools will be closed until July 27. The Ministry however, noted that classes will only recommence for Grades 11, 12 and 13 on this date. While schools will reopen for the above grades on July 27, all schools in the Rajanganaya [...]

Some provincial schools throwing caution to the winds, charge unions

Some provincial schools throwing caution to the winds, charge unions

Teachers in some provincial schools have been summoned even when there was no work while other schools were teaching multiple grades and holding parent-teacher meetings despite the Government shutting down educational institutions again this week, General Secretary of the Ceylon Teachers’ Union Joseph Stalin said. Education Ministry orders were being openly flouted in the quest [...]

People Vs police: Angulana erupts in violence again

People Vs police:  Angulana erupts in violence again

All Amith Karunaratne had wanted was to get to work. The 39-year-old father-of-four was a fisherman. He left home with four others around midnight on July. They were heading towards their boats anchored at the Lunawa Lagoon. Less than 30 minutes later, he was dead—shot by officers from the Angulana police manning a temporary roadblock [...]

Prison locations pose hurdle to nab gangs throwing parcels over walls

Prison locations pose hurdle to nab gangs throwing parcels over walls

Prisons being located plumb in the centre of cities are the biggest challenge to authorities now cracking down on mobile phones, drugs and other contraband being smuggled inside. Smuggling attempts are highest at the female ward of the Welikada prison as well as the Magazine, Negombo, Galle and Kalutara jails, said Prisons Commissioner General Thushara [...]

Desperate to come home

Desperate to  come home

The number of Sri Lankans perishing of COVID-19 in West Asia has risen to 44 with many of them residents of Saudi Arabia. There are no flights in the near future to repatriate Sri Lankans from any countries abroad. They were suspended on July 14 after the eruption of the Kandakadu cluster and there is [...]

If no aroma, not fluffy when cooking, you’re being duped; it’s not Basmati

If no aroma, not fluffy when cooking, you’re being duped; it’s not Basmati

“Fake” Basmati rice has infiltrated rice markets, warned the Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA), as it started an island-wide search this week for traders selling long grain white rice as Basmati to unsuspecting customers. If Basmati rice bought from a retailer or a lunch packet purporting to contain Basmati lacks the aroma or fluffy nature when [...]

Committee set up to separate protected areas and bare lands

Committee set up to separate  protected areas and bare lands

A committee has been set up to segregate lands into protected areas and bare lands, as the controversy over the proposed revocation of Circular 5/2001–which brought unregulated State land under the Forest Department’s protection–continued into another week. The team will first identify special forest areas, catchment areas, elephant corridors and other similar lands and bring [...]

Racketeers selling off large tracts of state forest foiled at last

Racketeers selling off large tracts of state forest foiled at last

An organised attempt to illegally seize some 20 acres of state land in the Eluwankulama area has been foiled by the Wanathawilluwa Divisional Secretary – but residents say the practice is rife. The property, including forested land, had been cleared with backhoes and various structures built on it. Area residents said those responsible had even [...]

Govt. sandbagged by victory ruling for environmental group

In a victory for the environmental lobby, the Court of Appeal has mandated licensing for the transport of sand, soil and clay, reversing a Cabinet decision last year that was interpreted as suspending the requirement to issue permits. The court ordered all transportation to be carried out lawfully and ordered the Acting Inspector-General of Police [...]

Senadhipathi’s complaint to CoI challenged: CA to hear petitions from JVP leader, ex-CID chief

The Court of Appeal will take up for hearing two writ petitions filed by Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake and former Criminal Investigation Department (CID) Director Shani Abeysekera seeking an order preventing the Commission of Inquiry (CoI) appointed to look into political victimisation from summoning them. The JVP leader’s petition will be [...]

Pay us Rs. 10,000 raise: Ex-pensions chief, 95 pensioners go to court

Ninety-five pensioners including a retired Pensions Department Director General have filed a writ petition in the Court of Appeal challenging the Government’s decision to suspend the increments of pensioners. The petitioners, including former Pensions Director General K.T. Thilakarathne, are seeking an order from the CA directing the Government to pay the Rs 10,000 increment from [...]

Focus on Kandakadu from where the latest COVID-19 cluster mushroomed

Focus on Kandakadu from where the latest COVID-19 cluster mushroomed

Remote but in a picturesque jungle setting, where flows the Mahaweli and roams wild elephants, just about four kms from the Somawathiya Chaithya is the Kandakadu Drug Treatment & Rehabilitation Centre. It was from here that the latest cluster of COVID-19 has mushroomed, even though precautions have been taken and now measures are being implemented [...]

Who are those in rehabilitation? Sons, siblings, husbands and fathers

Who are those who have fallen victim to substance abuse and are undergoing rehabilitation at Kandakadu? On the threshold of youth, he was just 21 years old when his parents realized that he was not what he used to be when schooling. Living and schooling in a village in Galle, he had passed his Ordinary [...]

Hambantota’s human- elephant conflict exacerbates

Hambantota’s human-  elephant conflict exacerbates

Continued failure to issue a gazette placing the proposed Hambantota Managed Elephant Reserve under the Department of Wildlife Conservation (DWC) has exacerbated the human-elephant conflict there. The reserve is meant to provide a new habitat for the elephant population displaced by large-scale development projects in the Hambantota district from 2009 onwards. About 50,000 hectares were [...]

Abandoned art

Abandoned art

Sri Lanka has a long and rich history when it comes to wall murals. The country recently experienced a trending street art wave. Some hailed the new street art wave as a turning point in the country, where young people were working to spread both positive energy and social awareness through graffiti. As with most [...]

Pick of the Pix

Pick of the Pix

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