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Northern schools to start at 7.30 a.m. from next year

Nov 26 (ST) All schools in the North including national schools will adopt the island wide norm of commencing school activities at 7.30 a.m. and wind up by 1.30 p.m. ending a three decade practice of starting at 8 a.m., a circular said. The circular which will be effective from January 2 next year was sent to all the schools in the province following a provincial cabinet decision to bring all schools under one time table. Minister of Education, Cultural Affairs and Sports of the NPC more..

Indian coach companies on collision course over tender dispute

Nov 26 (ST) A tender for the supply of passenger coaches to the Department of Railways has been awarded by the Transport Ministry to an Indian company though its prices were more than double those offered by the second bidder. The failed bidder has now taken his case to the Procurement Appeals Board, the ministry’s secretary confirmed. The contract is to supply 160 passenger coaches under the Indian line of credit. more..

President says Castro was an iconic leader

Nov 26 (NR) President Maithripala Sirisena issuing a message of condolence said, Fidel Castro was an iconic leader. Fidel Castro, the father of communist Cuba who led the country for nearly half a century, died at the age of 90. Cuba’s current president, Raul Castro, announced the death of his brother. On his official twitter account, President Sirisena said, “The iconic leader of an era of revolution bids farewell to the world. Rest in peace, Comrade Fidel Castro.” Castro’s death follows a historic more..

Smart meters to cut power consumption

Nov 26 (CT) The CEB is planning to introduce a Smart Meter to all electricity consumers in the country shortly. Deputy Minister Ajith P. Perera said with the introduction of such a new electricity meter system around 50% of the current power consumption could be saved. He said switching over to LED bulbs also contributed to a greater reduction in power consumption. He stated with the introduction of CFL bulbs around 400 megawatts of electricity could be saved. more..

Painting of crossings white to begin on Dec3

Nov 26 (Island) Road Development Authority (RDA) would paint existing yellow pedestrian crossings white in accordance with the existing international standards, according to RDA. The task would be commenced on December 3 by the authority. The decision had been taken in accordance with the Motor Traffic Act, and the Road Markings and Motor Vehicles (Signals) Regulations which was published in the Gazette Extra more..

Right of Reply: Gymkhana set to rob the govt

Nov 26 (DM) Gymkhana Club is one on Colombo’s most prestigious Sporting clubs, being the compilation of the Colombo Cricket Club, the Ceylonese Hockey & Football Club and the Queens Club. It has graced the landscape of Colombo as a premier club since 1863 and is honoured to have produced many distinguished National Sportsmen and Women. The Gymkhana Club has undergone many improvements and enhancements over the last years with a view to provide membership more..

Budget will adversely affect country: GMOA

Nov 26 (NR) The Govt Medical Officers’ Association says the 2017 budget proposals will adversely affect the government services in an unprecedented manner. President of the Association, Dr. Anuradha Padeniya in letter to the PM said several 2017 budget proposals will cause irreparable damage to the govt service in particular and the country in general. Dr. Padeniya urged the PM to rectify and amend proposals that have an detrimental effect on the govt service. more..

Cannonballs for cricketers, lifeline for clubs

Nov 26 (NS) In a probable last ditch effort to salvage the team’s drooping image, Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC), sport’s governor in the country, has deployed two high-powered bowling machines to prepare its players for the future while paying clubs more money to nurture cricketers with a warning that there’ll be zero tolerance if the dough is not spent appropriately. The bowling machines are akin to literally a target practice for both device and more..

Director General punished for opposing tender racket

Nov 26 (LT) It was revealed in Parliament today that the Director General of the Department of Registration of persons Sarath Kumara has been punished by appointing another person for the post. The reason for the punishment is the result of Mr. Sarath Kumara’s objection for the decision taken by the Ministry of Public Administration and Home Affairs to award a tender to print electronic identity cards to the institution that had submitted an expensive quotation. more..

Pardon sought for suspects in remand for several years

Nov 26 (CG) President Maithripala Sirisena was today urged to consider a Presidential pardon for suspects who are in remand prison for over 7 years. JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake told Parliament that there are some suspects in remand custody for over 7 years. Dissanayake said that it is unreasonable for a suspect to be in remand custody for over 7 years. “They may be guilty or not guilty for a crime but some of them may be in for a crime which deserves a 7 year sentence or less,” more..

'SL has opportunity to define persona afresh'

Nov 26 (DN) Sri Lanka has an opportunity to define its persona afresh and chart our path towards equitable and sustainable development, socio-economic progress, a strong democracy with strong institutions, Minister Mangala Samaraweera said. He was addressing the convocation ceremony of the Bandaranaike International Diplomatic Training Institute (BIDTI). A nation that is at peace with itself and with more..

Reliance on road fines questioned by experts

Nov 26 (ST) The move to rely heavily on increasing fines to minimise traffic accidents instead of opting to enforce other methods has been questioned by traffic experts. Retired DIG of traffic, Camillus Abeygoonewardene said escalating road violations could be stemmed by, having a de-merit system, deploying police officers in civies and deploying mobile units using unmarked cars and motorbikes. He said mobile unmarked vehicles were also essential to nab people violating traffic rules. more..

Rs. 7,200 million for Housing Ministry- Sajith

Nov 26 (NR) Minister of Housing and Construction Sajith Premadasa says 7,200 million rupees have been allocated for the Housing Ministry through the 2017 Budget. Minister speaking during the Committee Stage Debate of the 2017 Budget said, the Housing Ministry was allocated 5,200 million through the 2016 Budget. He said the govt has increased the Ministry allocation by 33%. He added with the allocation, the govt can fulfil the promise of constructing 500,000 houses promptly. more..

Jaffna university marks Maaveerar Naal

Nov 26 (TG) Students and staff at University of Jaffna marked Maaveerar Naal (Tamil national remembrance day) on Friday, lighting candles in memory of those who gave their lives to the Tamil struggle. Trees were also planted on the university grounds by a monument commemorating those who had sacrified their lives for freedom. Monument was initially erected in Nov 2006, however was more..

Ban on carrying plastic bottles, containers for fishing

Nov 26 (DN) Fishermen will not be allowed to carry plastic water bottles in their vessels, as a measure to protect the marine environment, Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said. Minister quoting a study, revealed that over 50,000 vessels sail daily for fishing and that they carry over five tonnes of plastic bottles and food items and throw empty bottles, containers and wastage into the sea. “President Sirisena as the Environment Minister undertakes the of protecting the environment. more..

Experienced Zimbabwe tussle against promising SL in title clash

Nov 26 (CI) And so to the tri-series final, where a Sri Lanka squad brimming with promise, but light on experience, will meet a Zimbabwe side who have managed to rise to their feet after a rickety start to the series. Zimbabwe are still the underdogs, but the gulf is not so big that they cannot leap across it if they play to potential. They have the advantage in international experience, and this is their home turf. Sri Lanka crumbled against West Indies' pace and bounce in Harare, more..

Steps to give 1.2m disabled a chance to vote

Nov 26 (ST) Braille polling cards, effective access to polling stations and special voting arrangements will be put in place for future elections to uphold the voting rights of some 1.2 million people with disabilities. Election Commission (EC) is also considering having a wheel chair at every polling centre for those who have mobility difficulties. “This is one of the important issues we have been discussing with representatives of all more..

Abducted student located within hours

Nov 26 (DN) A student of a leading boys’ school in Kandy abducted and assaulted by an unidentified gang on Thursday, was located in Hanthana in the evening. Student was abducted while on his way to a tuition class. Student who is sitting GCE O/L Exam this year, was abducted while walking towards the Suduhumpala area on the New Kandy Road by a gang which arrived in a black van. Student told Police that he was taken to a deserted house near Gannoruwa bridge, blindfolded & assaulted. more..

Govt Analyst’s Department to receive fully-equipped laboratory

Nov 26 (DN) A fully-equipped cyber crime investigation and digital forensic laboratory will be established at the Govt Analyst's Department within the next two months, Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe said at a ceremony held to present the ISO/IEC 17025 International Standard Certificate to the Govt Analyst's Department. He said that Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) has donated over Rs. 400 million to establish the laboratory. more..

Sri Lanka’s role in transition will determine its future: PM

Nov 26 (DN) The country is in transition and the world is in transition. The way Sri Lanka plays its cards will determine the country's future, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said. Delivering the keynote speech at the annual convocation of the BIDT at the BMICH, PM said Sri Lanka needs to look at the ability for Asia and West to work together while restructuring its foreign policy and looking at a new international service for the country. more..

Gifts to School Teachers

Nov 27 (SO) Is it Pandam or, Santhosam? Sri Lankan society is yet debating whether gifts to officials of various kinds – in the public as well as private sectors – are gifts of appreciation of an amicable relationship and service by the gift receiver or, whether such gifts are just plain bribery. The Minister of Education has announced that gifts to school teachers by parents of students will be banned forthwith. Exactly how the ban will be enforced will, likely, be defined by more..

Ravi curbs the licence to kill

Nov 27 (SL) Decision of Minister Ravi Karunanayake to hike fines for seven traffic offences, although it is not much of a revenue collection move, is a logical step to reduce the slaughter of citizens on our roads. Successive govts and tragic police chiefs have tried out various devices to save lives of citizens but not been successful in achieving their objectives. Drastic and shock treatment was called for. That is what Karunanayake had delivered through his budget proposals. more..

Traffic fines discipline road users, but... : Law must apply to all

Nov 27 (SO) Earlier this week following a meeting with all stakeholders, the Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation announced its decision to increase the fines for seven traffic offences to a thumping Rs 25, 000. Rescinding the previous budget proposal to increase the minimum traffic fine to Rs 2,500 amid opposition by transport unions, Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva instead announced that a fine of Rs 25, 000 will be more..

MPs’ Conduct unbecoming continues on live TV despite Speaker’s admonishment

Nov 27 (ST) Speaker Karu Jayasuriya announced this week that daylong Parliamentary proceedings would be telecast live on national television but, along with it came a warning to lawmakers to conduct themselves in a dignified manner befitting of elected representatives. However, a week into the experimental stage of what is expected to be the forerunner to the launch of a TV channel exclusively for telecasting live proceedings of Parliament, within the next three months, more..

Unpopular and wrong

Nov 27 (Island) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe admitted he was making an unpopular proposal and knew that he would be criticized when he said a few days ago that salaries of MPs are grossly inadequate for the work they are required to carry out in their constituencies. He said he was proposing substantially higher wages to reduce corruption and attract better talent to parliament. Nobody shouted him down when he said what he did because if there is anything on which all legislators agree more..

Claims of military coup, false

Nov 27 (SL) UNP MP and National Youth Front Chairman, Dr. Kavinda Jayawardana is of the view that the youth in the country stand to benefit from govt’s efforts the most. “The youth have been given a ladder and it is up to them to climb up that ladder. As young upcoming leaders it is important to identify our priorities and follow the examples of good leaders. Politics will take us to where we belong,” he said. more..

Take middle path on foreign policy

Nov 27 (ST) Govt received a reality check last week in Geneva when the Attorney General (AG) and the chief of National Intelligence (CNI) got a rude shock at a UN committee monitoring torture when they were cross-examined to the point that they had to beat a hasty retreat from the floor. That some of the UN agencies are now agents of the West and its double-standards is a given. Russia has just pulled out of the International Criminal Court on these grounds; one hopes it is not like Hitler pulling more..

Castro: The saga continues

Nov 27 (CT) From femme females to poisoned milkshakes, Fidel Castro ran the gamut of hundreds of assassination attempts (much of it romanticized exaggeration) since he became (rather made himself!) the PM of Cuba in Feb of 1959. He would have well been reminiscing in his years in retirement, Havana cigar clutched between tobacco-stained teeth, with his made-for-drama belligerent and almost Churchillian glare, and guffawing at the CIA's failed attempts to kill him through more..

Vaada Pitiya

Justice Minister’s statement earns ire of Muslim ministers

Nov 27 (SO) After the Rajapaksa family fell out of power in January, last year, almost every ultra-nationalist group representing Sinhala-Buddhist supremacy went into a dormant phase. They stopped holding dramatic press conferences, stopped disrupting public events organized by other religious groups and refrained from storming into govt offices. Their presence was barely noticeable in the country’s political sphere. This was in sharp contrast to their conduct during Rajapaksa more..

Passing the buck

Nov 27 (ST) My dear Ravi, I thought of writing to you when I heard that the budget you presented in Parliament had been passed – by a two thirds majority at that! It reminds us of the times when Ronnie used to present budgets during the JR era and get them approved by a two-thirds majority with hardly a whimper of protest! I’m sure you must be a relieved man after what happened last year. That was when almost each and every one of your budget proposals were changed or scrapped more..

UNP to let urban voter decide its fate?

Nov 27 (Island) Joint Opposition made some startling allegations relating to conflict of interest and financial impropriety against the Minister Malik Samarawickrema and a trustee of Mahapola Higher Education Trust Fund Dr Wickrema Weerasooria. On Friday, MP Mahindananda Aluthgamage tabled in parliament the documents that he and some other MPs in JO including Sisira Jayakody had handed over more..

Lankan Masters go down fighting

Nov 27 (ST) Sri Lanka Masters Hockey team went down fighting in the semi-finals of the Bali International Sixes Hockey Tournament 2016 concluded in Bali, Indonesia recently. SL stickers were most unfortunate to be beaten by Indonesia 2-1 in a hotly contested game. Led by M.G.M. Naleem the senior stickers reached the semi-finals with an unblamish record to register four wins. Thailand, India, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Singapore competed along with Sri Lanka more..

Finger pointing in Parliament

Nov 27 (SO) What an unruly sitting, what an unholy rabble. I speak of Parliamentarians and their meeting in the august House by the Diyawanna on Monday 21st. The rabble roused in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar first met in a street in the market place in Rome to celebrate the victorious return of their greatest general - Julius Caesar. Then again, to hear Brutus explain why he and his co-Senators assassinated this noble Roman accused of being over-ambitious. Mob turned against Caesar more..

Who is China trying to warn by inviting Rajapaksas to its soil?

Nov 27 (CT) IGP Pujith Jayasundara was on his way to attend the passing out ceremony of the 73rd Batch of STF Probationary Sub Inspectors of Police at the STF Training College, Katukurunda on 23 Nov afternoon when he got the news of former STF Commandant retired DIG K.M.L. Sarathchandra being remanded over an allegation of misusing a State vehicle. During this ceremony, IGP Jayasundara witnessed the passing out of more..

Pakistan Food, Shopping & Cultural Festival and Photographic Exhibition in Colombo

Nov 27 (BR) High Commission of Pakistan in Sri Lanka is organizing a three-day cultural festival starting from Nov 27. The event titled Pakistan Food, Shopping and Cultural Festival with painting & photographic exhibition would be held at the Waters Edge Hotel. The festival would be jointly opened by Minister of Health, Dr. Rajitha Senarathne and High Commissioner of Pakistan in SL, Maj. Gen. (R) Syed Shakeel Hussain, said a message received here Saturday. more..

'Marsh was like a father figure to us'

Nov 27 (Island) Sri Lanka’s vice-captain Dinesh Chandimal became the latest cricketer to speak in support of former coach of the national cricket team Geoff Marsh. Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) in 2011 unceremoniously dumped Marsh as the Head Coach of the national cricket team after the team had won the first Test on South African soil under his charge. Marsh successfully sued SLC and the board had to pay a massive compensation for unlawful termination of employment. more..

GSP+ no child’s play

Nov 27 (ST) Negotiations between the government and the European Union (EU) on child rights in Sri Lanka have  centered on the contentious issue of age of marriage as a broad subject in order to regain the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) + benefits by next May the latest. The EU has been negotiating with the govt on a number of issues pertaining to the 15 violations by Sri Lanka as a result of which more..

Distilleries–Melstacorp Arrangement in limbo

Nov 27 (Island) Several inquiries have been made by shareholders of the Distilleries Company of Sri Lanka regarding the swap of Distilleries shares for those of Melstacorp Ltd. finalized by an Arrangement approved both by shareholders and the Commercial High Court of Colombo. Under this arrangement, the swap had been concluded from Oct. 1 and Melstacorp has become the holding company of Distilleries, according to a CSE filing by Distilleries earlier this month. more..

One sport for every student mandatory

Nov 27 (ST) Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasm has advised his ministry officers to strictly follow with their earlier programme of one sport for every student from 2017. This programme was initiated two years ago but it was not successful as most of the school authorities were not keen with this project. In addition, there was a lapse from the Education Ministry as well as their officials failed to monitor the programme. Sunil Jayaweera, Special Consultant Sports Ministry more..