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Grade one fraud

Jan 14 (NS) In the wake of irregularities reported in grade one school admissions at Royal College, the Ministry of Education has decided to introduce an island-wide school board system by the end of this year. According to the proposed system, there is to be one board per each main school and one board per several small schools in educational zones island-wide. Also, the Ministry while acknowledging the lack of more..

NCPA studying child rights abuses

Jan 14 (NS) National Child Protection Authority is closely monitoring the tourism sector with regard to reports of commercial sexual exploitation of children and would submit a report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC). The CRC monitors the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Child rights activists had earlier raised concerns over frequent reports of the commercial sexual exploitation of children especially by foreign nationals. more..

Bribery case: MR’s ex-security officer given time to respond

Jan 14 (NR) The evidence hearing of five cases against a former Chief Security Officer of former President MP Mahinda Rajapaksa Neville Wanniarachchi has been postponed till the 8th of February. The order was issued by Colombo Additional Magistrate Aruni Atigala. Five cases were filed against Neville Wanniarachchi by the CIABOC for failing to declare his assets. He was charged for failing to declare his assets from 2010 to 2014 while holding the post of Major of the Army. more..

Sri Lanka clamps down on tuk-tuks as death toll mounts

JJan 14 (AFP) SL tightened the rules governing the around one million tuk-tuks - rickety three-wheel taxis - on its streets after road traffic accidents claimed a record 3,000 lives last year. The transport ministry said all tuk-tuks must now have head and tail lights, and made it an offence for drivers to smoke while carrying passengers. All three-wheelers will also have to be fitted with fare meters and issue receipts to passengers, it said more..

'Steps taken to eradicate Thalassemia'

Jan 14 (NR) Minister of Finance Ravi Karunanayake says the govt has taken the necessary measures to eradicate Thalassemia in the island. Speaking at an event held in Colombo, the Finance Minister said a hospital dedicated to treating Thalassemia, the first of its kind in the world, is due to be constructed in Sri Lanka. Minister also said 500 million rupees has been allocated from the budget, in order to supply Thalassemia patients with necessary health facilities. more..

Bond Scam: Over 200 TUs to storm CB

Jan 14 (CT) Over 200 private sector Trade Unions are planning to storm the Central Bank (CB) over the alleged loss of a sum of Rs. 15 billion to the EPF through the CB bond scam. Informed sources said, that representatives of some 200 private sector trade unions, who had convened in Colombo last Sunday, had agreed to undertake this course of action. These trade union representatives had stated that they had sent several reminders to the current CB Governor to take corrective action on more..

Brampton mayor continues to feel heat over Sri Lankan sister-city proposal

Jan 14 (BG) Linda Jeffrey continues to feel the fall out over the confusion her office caused after announcing the mayor would formalize ties with a SL municipality — an act that would bypass council's approval. “This is not the kind of behaviour council or taxpayers expect from a mayor who claims to bring transparency to city hall,” said Regional Coun. Elaine Moore, adding fuel to concerns that she tried to bypass councillors more..

SLFP favours proposals not requiring referendum: Dilan

Jan 14 (DM) SLFP is in favour of constitutional proposals which do not require the people's approval at a referendum, Party spokesman and Minister Dilan Perera said. He said President Sirisena's mandate was to carry out changes which did not need a referendum because holding a referendum could be risky given the trend in some other countries where govts had been defeated. “See what happened in Italy, Colombia and Britain where the people did not vote on the question asked more..

India owes its cultural vibrancy to communal harmony: Niriella

Jan 14 (DH) Sri Lankan theatre personality Parakrama Niriella has said that irrespective of the number of languages spoken by Indians, the country maintains communal harmony as people here are known as Indians and not according to the languages they speak. He inaugurated the international multi-lingual theatre festival Bahuroopi organised by Rangayana and department of Kannada and Culture at Vanaranga. “In India conflict between languages does not exist more..

Wijeyadasa vows to oppose Ravi’s resident visa scheme for foreign investors

Jan 14 (Island) Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe said that he was opposed to the proposal by Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake to grant foreigners resident visas for a minimum investment of US$ 300,000. Asked if the required legislation was in place, Rajapakshe replied that Karunanayake’s proposal had not been presented to the Cabinet of Ministers. "I will oppose it if and when submitted to Cabinet. more..

Let’s all celebrate festival of Mother Nature

Jan 14 (DM) The first ever national reconciliation and integration week comes to a significant climax today with the celebration of Thaipongal, the most important festival for the Hindu community.    This festival is celebrated on the first day in the month of Thai of the Tamil calendar. Thai is the first month of the Tamil Almanac and Pongal is a dish of sweetmeats including moong dal, jaggery and milk. Essentially, it is a thanksgiving ceremony in which the farmers celebrate event to thank nature, more..

Is there a tie, or a snake?

Jan 14 (DM) President Maithripala Sirisena has a penchant for getting worked up over things most of us take for granted. This time, it was a tie. Having spotted a Divisional Secretary wearing a tie at a Pirith ceremony in Polonnaruwa, he was moved to ask if a tie was necessary for the occasion (mama ehuwa Pirith nisa tie eka oneda kiyala).   He was told that a circular issued by a former president required public servants to be in Western attire at official functions. more..

Why is Police silent?: Chamal

Jan 14 (NS) Former Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa speaks on the recent clash in the Hambantota port premises and the current political status quo. Q: An unexpected clash occurred at the Hambantota port. Why didn’t you all think to resolve this by way of discussion? A: It is with that precise intention that I intervened and along with the monks took the Prime Minister the previous day to the Walawa temple and discussed about this. more..

Wilpattu Deforestation Takes Religious Twist

Jan 14 (SL) The deforestation of the Wilpattu reserve has taken a religious twist with Muslim MPs accusing the govt of failing to look into the welfare of the Muslims. President last week gave instructions to the relevant authorities to issue a gazette notification declaring a larger Wildlife reserve, including the surrounding forest area which is not under the purview of the Department of Wildlife, further expanding the forest area more..

Sirisena’s presidency travails amidst dilemmas of a double-headed Govt

Jan 14 (ST) Two years ago today, Maithripala Sirisena contested Mahinda Rajapaksa for the Presidency.  Few expected him to win. Sirisena won, defying opinion polls, political pundits and astrological predictions. President Maithripala Sirisena was sworn in the very next day in a chaotic public ceremony at Independence Square, only hours after the final results were announced. Immediately afterwards, more..

World Affairs Council of Washington features Sri Lanka

Jan 14 (SLE) The World Affairs Council – Washington D.C. (WAC-DC) commenced the New Year with a programme on Sri Lanka at a reception hosted by Ambassador Prasad Kariyawasam for members and guests of the WAC-DC at the SL Residence on Jan 12. This event coincided with the National Integration and Reconciliation Week observed in SL and 2nd anniversary of inauguration of Prez Sirisena. more..

Civil society tears into govt over corrupt deals

Jan 14 (Island) A group of civil society activists accused the UNP-led ruling coalition of pursuing an agenda extremely inimical to the national economy. The grouping said that, having campaigned for restoration of democracy and accountability, the govt was causing unbearable losses to the economy. Dr. Nirmal Ranjith Dewasiri, Rajith Keerthi Tennakoon, Dr. Lalithasiri Gunaruwan and Chameera Perera alleged that more..

Sri Lanka ratifies the ILO Maritime Labour Convention

Jan 14 (NR) The Govt this week has deposited with the International Labour Office (ILO) the instrument of ratification of the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006 (MLC, 2006). Sri Lanka is the 81st ILO Member State and the 16th Asian State to have ratified the Convention. In depositing the instrument of ratification, the Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations in Geneva, Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha, has stated that more..

Man accused in human-smuggling trial was owner of Tamil ship: Crown

Jan 14 (G&M) The Crown began its closing submission at the MV Sun Sea human-smuggling trial Friday, alleging one of the accused not only arranged supplies, accommodation and transport for SL Tamil migrants, but was also the owner of the ship. Kunarobinson Christhurajah, Lesly Emmanuel, Nadarajah Mahendran and Thampeernayagam Rajaratnam have each been charged under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act more..

SL's first Smart Class Room opened at Sri J'pura Vidyalaya in Pitakotte

Jan 14 (DN) The previous regime failed to introduce any constructive changes to the education sector. Hence, the dark shadows of that regime still haunt the education sector, Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam said. He added that certain people used to get undue commissions from various projects and there was a great reluctance to go for change. He made this observation at the opening ceremony of SL’s first Smart Class Room more..

Lester’s and Sumitra’s abode of 47 years sold without their knowledge

Jan 14 (ST) Nonagenarian and internationally acclaimed film director Lester James Peries’ and his wife Sumitra Peries’ days at the residence they have occupied for more than 47 years may be numbered after its owner sold it to a property developer without their knowledge. The couple had been living in the house on Lester James Peries Mawatha (formerly Dickman’s Road) since 1969 as tenants. “Last October we received more..

Sri Lanka hit by record drought from Indian Ocean Dipole event

Jan 14 (EN) SL's record drought in 2016, perhaps the worst in over 40 years was due to a stronger than usual sea temperature fall in the Western Indian Ocean, officials said. SL's main South East monsoon from May to August effectively failed with most of the rain confined to a few days, and the North East monsoon was delayed until mid-December and brought about half the rainfall compared to an average year up to now, more..

The moral factor in our politics

Jan 14 (CT) I have done my share of reading and thinking about morality, a pursuit that could be very interesting but also very difficult and very time consuming. I stopped that pursuit sometime in the first half of the ‘nineties after browsing through a biography of John Dos Passos at the American Library. He was not a philosopher but a writer of fiction whose trilogy USA will I believe come to have classic status. I hold that most creative artists capable of attaining classic status more..

Right thoughts matter more than talent

Jan 14 (CT) Sri Lanka is abundant with cricketers from what you see when travelling around the country, especially during school holidays. The call for cricketers from the outstations to be a part of the game at national level has been echoing for a long period now. In its early days of a possible first appearance internationally, the call grew louder. But it was the lone voice of Abu Fuard with that calling out for the inclusion of outstation players in teams of Colombo clubs. more..

එජාප මන්ත්žරී අජිත් මාන්නප්පෙරුම

Popular artiste Deepal Silva passes away at the age of 48

Jan 14 (NR) Popular local artiste Deepal Silva has passed away this morning. He was aged 48 years when he passed away at around 7:30am at the Ragama Teaching Hospital. Chairman of the SL Singers’ Association (SLASA), Keerthi Pasquel said the final decision on the funeral service will be taken this evening. Deepal Silva rose to popularity with hit singles such as Ananda Bhavan, Maduruwanta Purudu Karamu Mal Pani Bonna, Ayukthiyata Hisa Namanne Ne & Dawale Payana Chandraya. more..

Thai Pongal shows us the value of sustainability: PM

Jan 14 (GDI) The Thai Pongal Festival that started as a celebration of the first harvest during the time of Chola kings in South India, has today become a major religious festival  commemorated by Tamils living all over the world. The rising of the sun is observed as the dawning of the New Year at Thai Pongal - it also signifies the strong bond maintained in agrarian communities with nature - the sun, the rain and the animals who contribute towards a bountiful harvest. more..

Commonwealth chief offers Sri Lanka technical assistance

Jan 14 (CG) C'wealth Secretary-General, Patricia Scotland has offered Sri Lanka technical assistance in the process to draft a new Constitution. She made the offer when she met Foreign Minister  Mangala Samaraweera in London, the Commonwealth Secretariat said. Samaraweera had expressed hope that the Commonwealth will continue to fight for the values that have strengthened Sri Lanka in recent times, more..

President meets Police top brass

Jan 14 (DM) President Maithripala Sirisena said yesterday immediate attention should be drawn to eliminate certain negative attitudes of the people towards the police service. He expressed these views when he met a group of top officials of the police department yesterday at the Presidential Secretariat. They discussed at length the programme to make the police service more efficient and people friendly. Action plan of the police on drug prevention was also discussed. more..

GMOA to lead lectures boycott

Jan 14 (CT) GMOA issued a threat to the Govt over the new admissions to the SAITM. GMOA Secretary Dr. Naveen de Zoysa said, "The GMOA will take a tougher stand if the Govt does not immediately suspend new admissions to the medical faculty of SAITM." He said that as a manner of expressing strong opposition to SAITM, all medical students in the State-run universities will boycott lectures from next week and lecturers and all professionals will also join in the boycott. more..

With restoration of GSP+ Lanka can export any product to European market: PM

Jan 14 (DN) We will be able to export any product to the European market without any export levy or duty, with the European Union’s decision to remove significant import duties on Sri Lankan products by restoring GSP+ trade access to Europe’s export market, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said in Galle. “Last May, I went to Brussels with a delegation to initiate discussions with the EU. European Union has decided to remove more..

Drought in Kandy: Water distribution affected for want of bowsers

Jan 14 (Island) Kandy District Coordinating Committee has been told that National Water Supply and Drainage Board (NWSDB) cannot provide water required by those affected by prevailing drought for want of water bowsers. The meeting held at the Kandy District Secretariat was chaired by Minister S.B. Dissanayake, who called for immediate measures to hire additional bowsers. Several areas including Galagedara and Doluwa have been badly affected by the drought. more..

They want Gota as PM

Jan 14 (CT) Several Ministers are hoping to persuade former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa to enter the political fray on the SLFP ticket, informed sources said. These ministers have already had several discussions with the former Defence Secretary, in Colombo. It is also learnt that the former Defence Secretary should even be nominated as the party's PrM candidate from the Colombo District. These Ministers are planning to submit a report to this effect to President more..

MR’s gone twitter-happy

Jan 14 (CT) Former President Rajapaksa took to twitter yesterday to answer questions live posed to him by the twitteratzi. Following are some of the questions by them and his responses. Parthiban @itsparthiban: Do you think Unity Govt will solve the national issue? Response: Good Morning. So far their acts or behaviour has not given us that impression. VajiraSumedha @vajirasumeda: What is your response to President Sirisena's more..

ACPF claims will reveal rice mafia

Jan 14 (CT) National Organizer of the All Ceylon Peasants' Federation (ACPF) Namal Karunarathna yesterday said, in two days time the rice mafia will be revealed and the Minister of Rural Economic Affairs P. Harrison should be prepared to resign his post. He added that he has evidence of a sale of paddy by the Govt to a selected coterie of its supporters. "The Govt will have to take necessary action in order to prevent this issue at least now," he stressed. more..

Dry weather conditions to ease after Jan 20

Jan 14 (DM) A slight change in the prevailing dry weather condition could be expected after Jan 20 with a few showers, Department of Meteorology said. It forecast fair and dry weather, and colder nights and mornings throughout this week. Heavy mist has been forecast at some places in Nuwara-Eliya District, in early hours of the morning. Misty conditions were predicted at some places of the island during the morning, particularly in Western, S'gamuwa, Southern & Central provinces. more..

Construction industry faces worker crisis amidst the boom

Jan 14 (ST) Large scale development projects in post war Sri Lanka have taken the construction industry by surprise, but job vacancies for construction workers are going a begging. The building industry, a sector that contributes almost 10 per cent to the country’s GDP is seeking workers from neighbouring countries to fill in these vacancies, BOI said. Many companies have requested to bring in Indian, Nepalese, more..

Thaipongal show our gratitude to nature and renew our hopes: President

Jan 14 (GDI) Since the dawn of civilization, the humanity’s devotion to the sun that symbolizes the wholeness of nature has remained intact. From among the many traditional festival and rituals of Hindus in veneration of the sun, Thaipongal is the foremost festival that marks the supreme status the Hindus have bestowed upon the sun throughout history. Thaipongal is rendered colourful by the fact that it allows us to show our gratitude to nature and renew our hopes devotedly. more..

Passive euthanasia exists as good medical practice

Jan 14 (ST) The focus was turned to euthanasia, assisted-suicide or mercy killing, as doctors took to the debating floor to look at an issue the country has put on the back-burner. Organised by the Mid-country Psychiatrists at the Tourmaline Hotel in Kandy, the friendly verbal sparring event whether Sri Lanka should legalise euthanasia or not, was preceded by whether abortion should be made legal on December 28. Once again the jury remains out, with no verdict forthcoming. more..

PeaceAir opposes retrenching 400 UL experts

Jan 14 (CT) PeaceAir, int'l airline of SL origin, has confirmed that it has received the SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Transfer) code to acquire national carrier SriLankan Airlines and Budget carrier Mihin. Peace Air Chairman Gamini Wettasinghe has in January written to Ashwin de Silva, Chairman of the NSB Fund Management Ltd, which is also a wholly-owned subsidiary of National Savings Bank more..