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Indonesia and Sri Lanka agree to take forward several bilateral initiatives

Oct 27 (MFA) Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera and Indonesian Foreign Minister Madam Retno Marsudi agreed on Wednesday to take forward several initiatives on the bilateral political and  economic fronts and also strengthen  cooperation within IORA as well as international fora with a view to elevate the relationship. The two Ministers met in Bali, Indonesia on the eve of 16th Council of Ministers of more..

SriLankan explains reasons for delaying flight

Oct 27 (Island) Explaining the reasons for the several hours delay of its flight UL132 at Trichy on Oct 24 the national carrier SriLankan states: Following the arrival of the aircraft in Trichy, during the routine technical walk-around check, a hydraulic fluid leak was observed by the engineer from the #2 Engine Driven Hydraulic Pump. The technical team at Trichy verified that it was a component failure and confirmed that the pump needed replacement before the next departure. more..

Sri Lanka to become ideal export market to access larger markets, says PM

Oct 27 (Xinhua) International investors plan to use Sri Lanka as an export market to access Europe, China, Japan and the U.S. and the crescent of markets around the Indian Ocean, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said in a statement. Reading the statement in Parliament, PM said between the Middle East, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia, there exists a fast growing population currently of over 2 billion people. more..

Though having a population of around 20 mil, SL has only 694,000 Income Tax payers

Oct 27 (ENS) Sri Lanka has a population of over 20 million with about 13 million in the employable age-group. However, less than a million of its residents pay income tax. According to Minister Ravi Karunanayake, there are tax files on only 694,000 in the Inland Revenue Department. He told parliament, that the govt hopes to increase the number of direct tax payers to about 1.4 million. He was speaking on the Bill to increase VAT more..

Indian training for Health Ministry ambulance drivers

Oct 27 (CT) The training received by staff affiliated to the ambulance service sponsored by India, should also be extended to ambulance drivers attached to the Health Ministry, Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne said. He instructed the officials of the Health Ministry to look into the matter and to have a discussion with Deputy Minister Dr. Harsha de Silva. He made these comments at a discussion with ministry officials and trade unions affiliated to the health sector. more..

TGTE urges EU not to grant GSP+ Till SL implements resolution

Oct 27 (CT) Transnational Govt of Tamil Eelam (TGTE) has urged the European Union not to approve GSP plus, till Sri Lanka fully conforms to the UNHRC Resolution, which Sri Lanka itself co-sponsored. They urged for a strong position on Sri Lanka at the March 2017 UNHRC Session. In the TGTE letter to the Vice President of European Union (EU) Federica Mogherini, Manicka Vasagar of TGTE Australia, stated "based on the UN Internal Review Report on Sri Lanka, more..

VAT, NBT effective Nov 1: Full list of goods and services exempted from VAT

Oct 27 (AD) VAT increase and NBT will come into effect from Nov 1. VAT increase from 11% to 15% was approved with the passing of the VAT (Amendment) Bill in parliament yesterday. As per the amendments, the VAT rate will also affect telecom services, tobacco, air ticket fees and private medical services excluding diagnostic tests, dialysis and OPD services.  Threshold on retail & wholesale trade has been increased more..

PAFFREL asks EC to hold polls in 60 LG bodies sans delimitation issues

Oct 27 (Island) PAFFREL has requested the Chairman of the Election Commission to act fearlessly to hold LG polls, where there were no delimitation issues at present. In a letter addressed to the EC Chairman Mahinda Deshapriya, PAFFREL Executive Director Rohana Hettiarachchi has said even though the delimitation review process is completed, there is a risk of further delay in holding LG polls owing to technical issues concerning Act & absence of a timeframe to sort them out. more..

GMOA questions sustainability of gazetted drug prices

Oct 27 (Island) GMOA said it would have to assess the sustainability of the gazette announcing the price reduction of 48 drugs. GMOA Assistant Secretary, Dr Haritha Aluthge responding to questions regarding Friday’s gazette, said there would be cost issues involved regarding prices of certain drugs being imported- especially from Europe. Those incurred in manufacturing and importing and the exchange rate of the dollar would impact on the cost of those drugs for importers. more..

Rs 23 M busted on Arcade opening: Govt initiates turnaround plan

Oct 27 (CT) The previous govt had spent Rs 23 million on the Independence Arcade shopping complex opening ceremony back in 2014, Parliament was informed. Deputy Minister Lasantha Alagiyawanna, stunned the House with this revelation in response to a question raised by Matara District UNP MP Buddhika Pathirana, adding that the UDA was currently spending Rs 192,000 monthly for the maintenance of the fish tank more..

Raviraj case to be tried before Special Jury

Oct 27 (DM) The Colombo High Court today allowed the trial over the assassination of former TNA MP Nadaraja Raviraj in the presence of special jury. High Court Judge Manilal Waidyathilaka made the decision considering the provisions vested in Criminal Procedure Code and the prosecution's request. Earlier, The Colombo High Court allowed prosecution to proceed the trial in the absence three suspects who had gone missing, under Section 241 of the Criminal Procedure Code. more..

JO urges govt to allow CSN to broadcast

Oct 27 (DM) The Joint Opposition today urged the government to reverse the decision to suspend the broadcasting license of Carlton Sports Network (CSN) stating that suspension of the licence would set a dangerous precedent. Joint Opposition group leader Dinesh Gunawardane, who made a statement in Parliament with regard to the matter, said the licence of CSN had been suspended on the grounds that it was working towards the interests of a political party. more..

MCSL concerned by Sagala’s comments on Muslim Marriages and Divorce Act

Oct 27 (AD) Muslim Council of Sri Lanka (MCSL) welcomed the cabinet decisions to appointment another committee to address the reforms needed to the Muslim Marriage and Divorce Act.  Ministry of Justice had earlier appointed a committee of 17 eminent representatives of the Muslim community under the leadership of former SC Judge, Saleem Marsoof to make recommendations to reform Muslim Marriage & Divorce Act. more..

Corruption cases against Johnston, two others fixed for trial

Oct 27 (DN) Five corruption cases filed against former Minister Johnston Fernando and two others were fixed for trial by the Colombo Chief Magistrate’s Court. The three are alleged to have caused Rs.40 million unlawful loss to the government by employing 153 employees of the Cooperative Wholesale Establishment (CWE) for election work during the period 2010 to 2014. The former Cooperative and Internal Trade Minister, former Lak Sathosa Chairman Eraj Fernando more..

Coping with Climate Change and Variability: Lessons from Sri Lankan Communities

Oct 27 (RW) Across Sri Lanka, climate change related weather aberrations and resultant extreme weather events are becoming increasingly common. While this affects the country at large, farmers and agricultural workers face the worst impacts of this variability. The increased frequency of flood and drought incidence in the last ten years has caused severe hardship to poor farmers across Sri Lanka. The Small Grants Programme of the Global Environmental Facility (GEF SGP) in SL more..

Sri Lanka's sick risk losing best drugs after price controls: industry body

Oct 27 (EN) Sri Lanka runs the risk of original drugs going off the shelves, depriving patients of free access of the most effective drugs, after price controls were imposed, an industry body said. "While the SLCPI confirm that there are very effective generic products in the market there are many instances when the quality of some of these products become questionable," the Chamber of Pharmaceutical Industry said in a statement.  more..

Previous CB Governors will also be investigated: Dayasiri

Oct 27 (NR) Minister Dayasiri Jayasekara says investigations into the controversial Treasury bond transaction revealed that such transactions took place during the tenure of UPFA led govt. He further stated that he would submit a proposal to investigate the CB Governor who held the post prior to Arjun Mahendran. He stated that committee considers this a victory, despite various conflicts they were able to agree on amendments adding that the report is a common document and not a divided one. more..

'Vigneswaran’s racism and federalist calls are encouraged by yahapalana appeasement'

Oct 27 (Island) Global Sri Lanka Forum (GSLF) has said that it believes that the racist comments made by CM CV Vigneswaran at the recent Ezhuka Tamil (Tamils Arise) rally in Jaffna represent a much wider separatist agenda that threatens the unitary status and territorial integrity of SL. It said "The Ezhuka Tamil campaign, which calls for a sovereign federal unit through recognizing the Tamil people of N&E as a distinct nation, while also acknowledging and respecting their right to self- determination more..

Under pressure from Prez, officer arrested over Lasantha’s murder released on bail

Oct 27 (CT) The independence of the courts appears to have been affected ever since President Sirisena launched a verbal attack on the arresting and remanding of army intelligence officers, with even Mount Lavinia Magistrate Mohammed Shahabdeen falling under pressure and releasing Army Intelligence Officer Premananda Udalagama on bail despite his involvement in the assassination of Editor of Sunday Leader Lasantha more..

Chief Minister Devapriya blames govt inaction for increasing pollution

Oct 27 (Island) Western Province Chief Minister Isura Devapriya warned that the water quality of the Kelani River was continuously declining as it had been severely polluted with domestic and industrial waste. He was addressing the media at the launch of WARN, a facebook page of the Western Provincial Council (WPC) Waste Management Authority at Shrawasthi in Colombo. Devapriya said that during a meeting with several researchers who conducted research into river pollution, more..

Sri Lankan shares edge up in dull trade ahead of govt budget

Oct 27 (Reuters) Sri Lankan shares ended slightly firmer on Thursday, hovering near a 12-week closing low hit earlier in the week, in thin trade as investors awaited cues from the government budget and five-year plan as well as corporate earnings. PM Ranil Wickremesinghe issued an economic policy statement in the parliament, giving some details of the govt's future economic policies, during market hours on Thursday. Dealers said the market was assessing the PM's statement. more..

Low tax regime & capital allowances from 2017 budget: PM

Oct 27 (LBO) Sri Lanka’s 2017 budget proposals will include proposals to introduce a low tax regime in the island coupled with a program of capital allowances, the premier said. PM Ranil Wickremesinghe making a special statement in Parliament said these new proposals aimed at increasing investment and job creation. “Finance Minister will give the details of the capital allowances and low tax regime for all direct investments more..

Arjuna Mehndran has left the country: MP

Oct 27 (AD) UPFA Ratnapura District MP Ranjith de Zoysa claims that former Governor of the Central Bank Arjuna Mehndran has left the country today. The MP informed Parliament that Mahendran, who has been accused over the controversial Central Bank bond issue, has left the country. Zoysa quipped that a shark escaped and that it was not caught by the Fisheries Minister’s net. The report prepared by the COPE on the bond scam is to be presented to Parliament tomorrow.  more..

Mano Tittawella in dual role

Oct 27 (CT) Mano Tittawella, who also holds the position of Secretary General at the Secretariat for Coordination of Reconciliation Mechanisms appears to be opposing reconciliation instead of fulfilling his duties of promoting reconciliation in the country., a site owned by EAP Holdings, of which Tittawella, is the Chairman, was seen recently promoting a fabricated news story, which originally appeared in the Divaina newspaper with regard to the death of the two Jaffna uni students more..

Taking turns in shooting down Yahapalanaya

Mr President, They kill to hide Lasantha’s murderers

Oct 27 (CT) Lasantha Wickrematunge was killed on the 8th of January 2009 and by now it is clear why the investigation was directed to the TID by Gotabaya Rajapaksa. Terrorism Investigation Division was headed by Gotabaya acolyte DIG Wakishta. The cover up to prevent the murder leading to the actual perpetrators was hatched together with the decision to murder Lasantha. People would recall how White Van abductions, murder and intimidation of journalists more..

Strange things happening in the North

Oct 27 (CT) Could the genesis of the killings of the two Jaffna University students last week have been the July 26 clash between Tamil and Sinhalese students at the Jaffna University ostensibly because the University heads had agreed to demands that a late entry application, be dismissed, for a Kandyan dance to be included in the annual traditional orientation programme of that University? Interestingly, Minister Lakshman Kiriella casually played that incident down more..

Central Expressway on rocky ground

Oct 27 (SL) Controversy surrounds the Central expressway project after it was reported that the cost for the project is to be higher than what was initially proposed. The first phase of the project, which was earlier named the Northern Expressway Project (NEP) commenced from Kadawata near the Outer Circular Highway (OCH) and will proceed upto Gampaha. The expressway was proposed to be constructed in four stages with the contract more..

Bankrupting SL: Health Ministry unable to cure officials’ itch to see the world

Oct 27 (Island) Health Ministry has turned a blind eye to some senior officials undertaking overseas visits in spite of restrictions in place to curb foreign jaunts. Minister Dr. Rajitha Seneratne hadn’t been able to rein in top officials though he strongly advised them to curtail overseas travel. Sources said that Dr. Senaratne had faulted Director General of Health Services Dr Palitha Mahipala too for being frequently out of country last year. more..

Major General Ubaya Madawala is Army Chief of Staff

Oct 27 (DN) Major General Ubaya Madawala has been appointed Chief of Staff of the Sri Lanka Army.  Major General was trained at the Defence Services Staff College in India and at the University of Madras. He holds a First Division Master of Science degree in Defence and Strategic Studies with Instructor Grading.  He was formerly the Sri Lankan Army Security Force Commander (Central & West), more..

Air Vice Marshall D.L.S. Dias is Air Force Chief of Staff

Oct 27 (DN) Air Vice Marshall Dambure Liyanage Sumangala Dias has been appointed Chief of Staff of the Sri Lanka Air Force. Dias was trained at the Defence Services Staff College, India and at the National Defence School in Bangladesh.  He also has Junior Command and Staff qualifications from India, is trained in Joint Air Warfare from IAF and has Aircraft Accident Investigation qualifications from Pakistan. more..

Lankan heroes who fought British still on traitor list

Oct 27 (Island) No action had yet been taken to remove the names of Sri Lankan leaders who had fought for freedom since 1815 from a list of traitors and rename them as national heroes, Parliament was told. Those who had launched the freedom struggle of 1818 and subsequently been branded traitors by British rulers could be removed from the list of traitors if the Ministries of Internal Affairs and Justice initiated action, more..

'No more tax on Tourism Industry'

Oct 27 (DN) The Finance Minister has agreed not to impose any taxes any further on the Tourism Industry, Minister John Amaratunga addressing the Hotels Association AGM. Govt will also explore the possibility to provide duty free concessions in the direction of refurbishment of old hotels. With regard to the issue of minimum room rates applicable for city hotels, he said it was too early to make changes to it. more..

'Split in Govt inevitable at one point'

Oct 27 (DM) NFF Leader MP Wimal Weerawansa, says the period ahead would be decisive in the political circuit as the internal squabbles of the govt are taking a turn for the worse. He says it would result in any eventuality. Q: How do you view the political trend after the recent outburst by President Sirisena? A: For a long period, we, along with other groups and organizers, pointed out that the FCID has been a body more..

'Maithri-Ranil Govt saved war heroes from facing international tribunal'

Oct 27 (DM) JHU stalwart, Megapolis and Western  Province Development Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka, in an interview with Daily Mirror, says that his party is happy about the two major  parties getting together for governance. He says the Sinhala Buddhist  identity should be there not to suppress non-Buddhists or the  minorities, but to ensure the stability and prosperity of the country. more..

Are they too old to hold office and, is politics a hurdle!

Oct 27 (ST) There is a move by Ministry of Sports to limit the age of office bearers of Sports bodies to 70. At the same time, ministry is also eyeing to bar persons in active politics from holding office in Sports bodies. Here are some views of the issue. My views on the new sports regulations’ age limit provision and politicians holding office in Sports bodies, are hotly debated among sportsmen, politicians, sports administrators, more..