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Selection of Vice Chancellors:

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SJB: Govt. changing procedure in favour of SLPP henchmen

By Saman Indrajith

Chief Opposition Whip and Kandy District SJB MP Lakshman Kiriella yesterday accused the government of changing procedures to appoint SLPP henchmen as Vice Chancellors of universities.

 “Since this government came to power, it has changed the method of appointing Vice Chancellors. Earlier the Senates of universities selected the names of the persons suitable for the posts. The Senates would select three names and send them to the President to pick one of them. That method was abolished. You have introduced a method of giving marks through interviews to the applicants. The previous method ensured independence of universities. When I was the Minister of Higher Education during the Yahapalana government the nominees for the post of vice chancellor were selected through Senate votes.”

“Independence of universities is under threat. This is part of the government plan to consolidate its power in universities. How much power do you need? You have a two-thirds majority. You got the 20th Amendment passed. When would you end this campaign to obtain more powers? Do not destroy the university system in this manner.”

  There is a crisis with regard to the appointment of the Director General of Health Services. The appointment you have made raised many eyebrows. You have not appointed the most suitable person to that post. There was one director from Kandy by the name of Ratnayake. He is the most qualified person for the post. He is the brother of C.B. Ratnayake. The government wanted to appoint their own man and called for an interview and gave 15 marks underhand to their man and appointed him to the post.”

MP Kiriella said the yahapalana government had realised the need to produce more doctors and initiated a programme to establish three more medical faculties at Wayamba, Sabaragamuwa and Moratuwa universities.  



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Six nabbed with over 100 kg of ‘Ice’

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By Norman Palihawadane and Ifham Nizam

The Police Narcotics Bureau (PNB) yesterday arrested six suspects in the Sapugaskanda Rathgahawatta area with more than 100 kilos of Crystal Methamphetamine also known as Ice.

Police Media Spokesman, Deputy Inspector General of Police, Ajith Rohana told the media that the PNB sleuths, acting on information elicited from a suspect in custody had found 91 packets of Ice.

A man in possession of 100 kilos of heroin was arrested in Modera during the weekend and revealed that a haul of Ice had been packed in plastic boxes.

The PNB seized more than 114 kilos of Ice from the possession of a single drug network.

According to the information elicited from the suspects, more than 100 kilos of Ice were found.

The PNB also arrested six persons including two women with 13 kilos of Ice, during an operation carried out in the Niwandama area in Ja-Ela on Sunday.

DIG Rohana said the ice had been packed in small plastic boxes and hidden in two school bags.

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PM intervenes to iron out differences among coalition partners

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By Norman Palihawadane

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday said that he was confident that differences among the constituents of the SLPP coalition as regards the May Day celebrations and the next Provincial Council elections could be ironed out soon.

Leaders of all SLPP allied parties have been invited to a special meeting to be held at Temple Trees with the PM presiding on April 19.

Prime Minister Rajapaksa said it was natural for members of a political alliance to have their own standpoints and views on matters of national importance. “This is due to the different political ideologies and identities. It is not something new when it comes to political alliances world over. In a way, it shows that there is internal democracy within our alliance.

The PM said: “As a result of that the allied parties may express their own views on issues, but that does not mean there is a threat to the unity of the alliance. An alliance is more vibrant and stronger not when all the parties think on the same lines but when the member parties have different ideologies.”

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Thilo Hoffman remembered

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A copy of the book “Politics of a Rainforest: Battles to save Sinharaja” was handed over to Dominik Furgler, the Swiss Ambassador in Sri Lanka by the author of the book, Dr. Prasanna Cooray at the Swiss Embassy in Colombo last Tuesday, to be sent to the family of the late Thilo Hoffman in Switzerland.

Hoffman, a Swiss national, who made Sri Lanka his second home for six decades, was a pioneering environmental activist who led the battles to save Sinharaja from the front in the early 1970s, abreast with the likes of Iranganie Serasinghe, Kamanie Vitharana, Lynn De Alwis and Nihal Fernando of the “Ruk Rekaganno” fame. That was the era when the trees of Sinharaja were felled for the production of plywood by the then government. Hoffman was also a livewire of the Wildlife and Nature Protection Society (WNPS) for a long time. Hoffman died in 2014 at the age of 92.

The book includes a chapter on Thilo Hoffman.

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