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The first murder convict to take oaths in Parliament

The first murder convict to take oaths in Parliament

The murder-convict parliamentarian Premalal Jayasekera is seen paying his respects to Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardene who decided to allow the MP to take oath and sit in Parliament. This came after the Court of Appeal ruled that the murder-convict could take his oath, but told the Speaker to take the final decision if he could [...]

SIS called in to end ragging in universities

The State Intelligence Services (SIS) has been called in to help end ragging in universities. Defence Secretary Kamal Gunaratne told the Sunday Times that the MoD (Ministry of Defence) had assured the University Grants Commission (UCG) that the SIS and “other state Intelligence agencies” would be provided to help end ragging in the universities. “We [...]

New laws to seize bank accounts and vehicles of drug barons

The Government will introduce laws to seize money in bank accounts and vehicles of convicted drug barons and their allies. Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa will meet the officials of the Treasury, Attorney General’s Department and law enforcement authorities to discuss the parameters of this legislation. The new move will empower the government to seize funds [...]

Murder-convict MP taking oaths: AG won’t appeal against CA’s order

The Attorney General does not intend to go before the Supreme Court to appeal against the interim order issued by the Court of Appeal ordering the Prisons Commissioner General to allow murder convict Premalal Jayasekara to attend Parliament sittings, the Sunday Times learns. This is despite the AG earlier taking up the position in the [...]

State auditors slam 20A; nearly 120 state-owned companies exempt from Auditor General’s scrutiny

Nearly 120 State-owned companies including the debt-ridden SriLankan Airlines will be exempt from Government audit under the proposed 20th Amendment to the Constitution. Among scores of other business entities to be excluded are Lanka Electricity Company (LECO), Sri Lanka Insurance, Lanka Hospitals PLC, Litro Gas Lanka Ltd, Lanka Sathosa, multiple plantation and electricity companies and [...]

Amid oil slick, CID probes New Diamond’s safety procedures

As the crippled super tanker MT New Diamond began to discharge oil in the sea off the southeast coast of Sri Lanka, the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) has launched a probe to ascertain if the vessel’s crew ignored safety procedures. Colombo’s Chief Magistrate Lanka Jayaratne on Friday ordered the ship owner’s local agent to provide [...]

Journalist Zacky Jabbar death: JMO report inconclusive

Police probing the death of Journalist Zacky Jabbar (60) will report to Court tomorrow the findings of their investigations, after the post-mortem examination failed to ascertain the cause of death due to the decomposed state of the body. Thalangama Police Sergeant Ervin Wijekumara Kumarapeli said that they recorded statements from neighbours and colleagues as part [...]

Treasury revokes temporary ban on CSR projects of SOEs

The Treasury has reversed an earlier decision to temporary suspend Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities of State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs). The Government suspended all CSR activities of SoEs soon after last November’s presidential election. A circular issued by Treasury Secretary S.R. Attygalle at the time, noted that SoEs had been executing a vast number of CSR [...]

NARA identifies places for trawling amid protests from fishermen

Despite the ban, hundreds of locally-owned mechanised trawlers still use bottom-trawling, prompting the National Aquatic Resources Research and Development Agency (NARA) to recommend specific sea areas for such purposes. The NARA move came in the wake of protests by local fishermen who say their livelihood is threatened by both Indian and Sri Lanka trawlers which [...]

Squatters on State lands to be allowed to submit ownership bid

At least 600,000 families residing on State lands, or running business ventures without any permits or deeds, will be given an opportunity to obtain legal rights for the lands before the end of this year. Land Commissioner General R.M.C.M. Herath told the Sunday Times her department, after scrutinising applications, would issue legal documents to those [...]

Lawyers barred from taking phones inside, security strengthened

Lawyers attending sittings of the Commission of Inquiry (CoI) probing the Easter Sunday terror attacks have been barred from taking mobile phones inside the commission hall effective from tomorrow. The decision was taken after it emerged that a lawyer for a Maulavi attached to the All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulama (ACJU) had helped the latter to [...]

Met Dept. in a storm: More than US$ 2m down the drain

The Met Department has failed for the past thirteen years to install a Doppler radar system in Sri Lanka and more than two million dollars from a World Meteorological Organisation-administered trust fund was squandered on one unsuccessful project which started as early as 2007. The costs incurred have been “a complete loss by now”, the [...]

Sri Lankan-founded Virtusa acquired by Hong Kong-based investor

Sri Lankan-founded Virtusa acquired by Hong Kong-based investor

Sri Lankan-founded Virtusa Corporation, based in the US which sprang a surprise this week announcing a takeover by a Hong Kong-based investor, is likely to see the exit of founder-chairman Krish Canekeratne and his wife, Thushara from the company’s list of shareholders. In Colombo, senior management attached to the company’s development centre, declined to comment [...]

Veggie prices bounce to new highs on lack of fertiliser

Veggie prices bounce to new highs on lack of fertiliser

Fertiliser shortages and extreme weather have once again triggered a sharp rise in vegetable prices at a time the government is aiming for a ‘waga sangramaya’, or a cultivation revolution. The prices of nearly every vegetable, including carrots, beans, pumpkin, bitter gourd, snake gourd, cabbage, drumsticks, ridged gourd, (wetakolu), ash plantain, leeks, knol khol, and [...]

Sri Lanka still in murky waters over MT New Diamond

Sri Lanka still in murky waters over  MT New Diamond

 Extent of damage to  environment from oil slick yet to be determined  High level talks  underway on insurance claim   Uncertainty remains over the fate of the 270,000 metric tons of crude oil on board    Authorities have confirmed that an oil slick from the stricken oil tanker MT New Diamond has caused some environmental damage, [...]

Ban stays despite market being swamped with tainted turmeric

Despite the severe shortage of turmeric powder in the country and several importers and organisations requesting that stocks detained at the Colombo Port be released, the government is standing firm in its decision to stop imports. The Sri Lanka Customs (SLC) last week said that about one million kilograms of turmeric seized will be re-exported [...]

Teacher union says ICT has no department director

Information and Communication Technology (ICT), a popular subject of most Ordinary Level and Advance Level students, has no proper In-Service Advisor at the Education Department, a teacher union has claimed.  The Ceylon Teachers Union (CTU) said the subject followed by about 30,000 students required an In-service Advisor (ISA) to monitor the syllabus and give instruction [...]

Islandwide crackdown reveals network of illegal weapons, drugs and secret accounts

Islandwide crackdown reveals network of  illegal weapons, drugs and secret accounts

Crime Syndicates operating countrywide held over 100 illegal weapons, carried out drug sales and held secret bank accounts, a senior police official revealed yesterday. Deshabandu Tennakoon, Senior Deputy Inspector General of police said this came to light after 400 members from 25 different groups were identified. He said these operations will continue. The operation which [...]

SJB, UNP General Secretaries say they will campaign against 20A; merger between the parties not ruled out

SJB, UNP General Secretaries say they will campaign against 20A; merger between the parties not ruled out

Whilst the Samagi Jana Balavegaya (SJB) is planning protests over the impending 20th Amendment to the Constitution, its one time parent, the United National Party (UNP), still has not named a young member to be its leader.   We are moving towards a dictatorship. We will campaign against this, SJB General Secretary Ranjith Madduma Bandara [...]

Book Fair to be held with strict health guidelines in place

Book Fair to be held with strict health guidelines in place

The Colombo International Book Fair will be held under strict health measures from September 18-27 from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. with around 500,000 people walking through the halls of the BMICH, the Sunday Times learns. “We have got approval from the Health Ministry to hold the Book Fair,” said the President of the Sri [...]

No major issues on the internal front – Kandakadu cluster putting out sporadic cases

Sri Lanka has no community transmission of COVID-19 but health experts in one voice are of the view that to keep this triumph as a long-lasting success, people should strictly stick to the preventive measures of hand-hygiene, wearing face-masks and maintaining social distance in public places. “The authorities are keeping all the entry-points into the [...]

In-school support boost to head off alarming rise in child abuse

The National Child Protection Authority (NCPA) is speedily setting up school protection committees following alarming reports of physical and sexual abuse by school and tuition teachers and even shop-keepers operating near schools. A dance teacher in his 40s was arrested for molesting a schoolboy late one evening after a school event, the NCPA said. The [...]

Sepsis – the silent killer

Sepsis – the silent killer

It is a medical emergency and every minute counts. Don’t delay if you or a loved one experience the three symptoms of fast breathing, an altered level of consciousness such as feeling drowsy or sleepy and reduced urine output along with a suspected or confirmed infection. For, these symptoms could give an early indication of [...]

Kataragama Tank attracts Sayakkarayas

Kataragama Tank attracts Sayakkarayas

Migrant birds are a familiar sight for pilgrims visiting Kataragama these days. The birds from the family of cranes can be seen at the Datagramuwa Tank near Kataragama town. Area residents call these birds “Sayakkaraya”. Pic by M. N.Piyaratne Kataragama

State-sponsored breeding grounds

State-sponsored breeding grounds

State institutions have failed to maintain their lands within Colombo, creating breeding grounds for deadly mosquitoes as well as tarnishing the city’s beautification projects which cost millions of rupees. Our photographs show a number of lands and premises coming under State institutions such as the Sri Lanka Railways and the Colombo Municipal Council, located in [...]

Pick of the Pix

Pick of the Pix

Floods easing, but rain will increase

Floods easing, but rain will increase

More downpours and winds are expected as the south-west monsoon hangs heavily over the island, but floods are gradually subsiding, the Department of Meteorology’s Deputy Director of Forecasts, Meryl Mendis, said. Heavy falls of about 50-100mm are likely in some areas, particularly in the south-west. Gusty winds about 50kmph at times can be expected, particularly [...]

Pilot project for school system reforms; semesters instead of terms, new exam format

Passing exams not the only objective of the new school system. Students will have practical assessments too. The Education Ministry is to introduce a pilot project to make changes in the education system in place in schools, Education Reforms Ministry State Secretary Upali M. Sedere said. Initially the project will be introduced in 100 schools, [...]

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