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Sri Lanka leader trims VAT, adds handouts in 2015 budget

Oct 24 (Reuters) President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who is expected to soon seek a third six-year term, announced a 2015 budget on Friday that trims the value-added tax and reduces the budget deficit while providing a range of handouts, mainly to rural residents. The value-added tax "will be reduced to 11%" from 12%, said the 68-year-old Rajapaksa, whose political party said on Monday will seek early re-election in January. more..

No tax changes for liquor and tobacco: Budget 2015

Oct 24 (LBO) Sri Lanka President said that there will be no changes in the tax for liquor and tobacco due to the tax hike the government maid recently. He said the government is expecting a 14,000 million rupees of additional income in 2015 though the tax increase. However he said 100 US dollar tax to be charged as entrance fee in casinos and clubs and to increase the turnover tax to 10 percent in order to achieve a revenue of 2500 million rupees in 2015. more..

NIA files chargesheet in ISI spy case

Oct 24 (Hindu) A preliminary charge sheet was filed by the National Investigation Agency in a court here in a case of alleged attempts to spy for Pakistan’s intelligence agency, ISI, and carry out sabotage activities in South India. The charge sheet was filed against Zahir Hussain, Siva Balan and Mohammed Saleem before a designated NIA court yesterday. The charges against them include offences under the IPC and the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act. Over 40 persons have been cited as more..

Budget 2015 desperate and deceptive! - UNP

Oct 24 (AM) UNP dubbed ‘Budget 2015', presented by President Mahinda Rajapaksa to Parliament this afternoon, as a desperate attempt in the direction of hoodwinking the public just before an election. “It’s like a lot of toffees thrown into the sky," UNP MP and economist Dr. Harsha de Silva said soon after the budget. “The govt has tried to please everybody by giving something. But when you look at the inside of it, you cannot see corresponding allocations,” more..

Sabaragamuwa Uni reopens on Monday

Oct 24 (DM) The Sabaragamuwa University that had been closed for more than three weeks will reopen on Oct 27, the university administration said. Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences and Languages Dr. Manoja Ariyaratne said that the academic activities of the first year students would commence on Monday and those of the other students on Nov 3. A tense atmosphere following a protest staged by the students resulted in the closure of the university indefinitely on October 5. more..

Sri Lanka calling

Oct 24 (FI) The Kollupitiya police has begun an investigation against five aides of former star class cricket batsman Aravinda de Silva in connection with alleged burglary took place at his house at Pedris Road Colombo 3. Colombo Fort Magistrate today ordered five mobile phone service providers that telephone details pertaining to five aides be provided to police for further probes. Lodging a complaint with police, former cricketer alleged that cash worth Rs.5.1 million had been stolen by more..

Sharma to review situation in the north

Oct 24 (CG) Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma will visit Sri Lanka from 25-29 Oct to brief the current Commonwealth Chair-in-Office, President Rajapaksa, on the achievement of objectives and implementation of work set at the CHOGM in Sri Lanka in Nov 2013. He will also meet other members of the Govt of Sri Lanka, including the Minister G L Peiris. Secretary-General is expected to meet the Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa, and other political leaders. more..

President invites TNA to join hands with govt

Oct 24 (AM) President Rajapaksa, delivering his 10th budget speech in Parliament, invited the TNA to join hands with the govt to form a “united nation” and to ensure development for every community of the country. “I once again call upon the TNA to join hands with the govt to develop the country,” President Rajapaksa said. However, In his speech, the President also add that he cannot see the logic of devolving land and police powers to provincial councils, as requested by some. more..

UVA PC Governor makes policy speech

Oct 24 (Island) Governor of the UVA Province Nanda Mathew delivered his policy speech for 2015 at the 6th UVA Provincial Council assembly on Thursday morning. The most prominent visitor at the assembly was the Leader of the Veddha community Uruwarige Vanniyaatto besides ex-fellow members, friends, well-wishers, family members and members of the public. The Governor’s vehicle was escorted to the venue by Police cars and motor cycle outriders clad in ceremonial attire. more..

HR charges and fish export ban are different issues

Oct 24 (CT) The ambassador urged Sri Lanka to quickly speed up the process and clinch the opportunity, never to lose it. The ambassador pointed out that the EU fish export ban on Sri Lanka came to pass because the EU is a major fish importing region and they are concerned about the illegal fishing practices that several countries, including Sri Lanka, had been conducting. "The whole issue with Sri Lanka is that more..

Mahinda and the monk

Oct 24 (CT) President Rajapaksa was quoted so, at a meeting of health sector employees called to Temple Trees a week or so ago. The Court that he says the people can go to is not that in Bengaluru which delivered a verdict on TN CM Jeyalalithaa. The Court he says the people could go to is next to “Saanchi Arachchie Watte”. That’s where political stooges ruined the system. Over the past decade or two, nefarious men and women with personal greed for power and position, ruled the nest at Hultsdorp, more..

Healthy people make a healthy nation

Oct 24 (CT) The many thousands of people who pass through Pettah daily patronize the dirty and unclean eating houses operating in this area, thus exposing themselves to severe infections and health conditions that would not only cause disease and discomfort, but also spell death and destruction. There is absolutely no cleanliness in these hotels, either due to deliberate flouting of the health regulations, or not following them due to pure negligence. more..

Presidential Polls on 8th, 17th or 26th ?

Oct 24 (AM) It is rumoured that the snap Presidential election will be held in January 2015 with the possible dates being January 8, 17 or 26. New Indian Express reported that they have received information that President Rajapaksa considers these astrologically determined dates as being “lucky” for him because they all add up to “8”. The News agency asserted that surely enough, Mahinda Rajapaksa had chosen “8” to do all important more..

China gives India assurance on Lanka

Oct 24 (CG) China does not want to overstep into India’s sphere of influence by bringing Sri Lanka and Maldives into the maritime New Silk Road, according to an official of the Communist Party of China (CPC). “We don’t want to get into India’s sphere,” said Luan Jianzhang, Deputy Director General of Policy Research Office at the CPC Central Committee’s International Department. The International Department is mainly more..

Compensations for families of deceased migrant workers

Oct 24 (GDI) The families of the deceased migrant workers in Middle East were given compensation and other redress yesterday at an event hosted by the Ministry of External Affairs. Accordingly, 31 such bereaved next of kin of the victims received Sri Lankan Rupees 51 Million from the Deputy Minister Neomal Perera. The highest amount of Sri Lanka Rupees 8.7 Million was paid to the family of a deceased Sri Lankan more..

Tissa Attanayake confirms secret talks with ruling party parliamentarians

Oct 24 (AM) UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake confirmed that the party was holding discussions with several MPs of the ruling party for a possible crossover. UNP General Secretary said several stalwarts of the ruling party have expressed willingness to join the UNP. “Even the Cabinet ministers are dissatisfied with the present state of affairs in the country. With the outcome of the Uva PC election they realized more..

ACMA lines up trade unions against private medical education

Oct 24 (Island) More than 25 trade unions would take a final decision against private medical colleges on October 26, the JVP affiliated All Ceylon Medical Officers' Association (ACMFA) General Secretary Dr. Jayantha Bandara said. He said the ACMFA would gather in Colombo to decide how to launch the planned protest, with the help of university students university teachers’ unions, Sri Lanka teachers’ unions and trade unions more..

Rajitha alleges sinister force behind Monday’s agitation

Oct 24 (Island) Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne alleged that there was a sinister political force behind Monday’s demonstration in front of his ministry. The minister condemned the attack on the protesting fishers inside the Ministry premises in Maligawatte. Association of Multi-Day Trawler Owners of Wennappuwa and Thoduwawa accompanied by fishermen from several areas took part in the protest, demanding the banning of more..

Govt passes new Atomic Energy Bill

Oct 24 (FT) Preventing the use of atomic energy to create nuclear bombs and channelling the technical knowhow and possible resources for the betterment of country, especially in power generation, the Ministry of Technology and Research brought new regulations yesterday, tabling the Sri Lanka Atomic Energy Bill. The Sri Lanka Atomic Energy Bill will establish two institutions – the Sri Lanka Atomic Energy Board for the more..

'More to UN’s work in SL than is perceived'

Oct 24 (DM) United Nations Resident Co-ordinator Subinay Nandy in an interview with the coinciding with the celebration of the 69th United Nations day today, shared his views on the common perception of the UN in Sri Lanka, the work carried out by the body and its future goals. Q: There’s been a lot of skepticism in this country with regard to the work of the UN. Do you think this skepticism is justified? more..

Countries update travel advice on Sri Lanka

Oct 24 (CG) Several countries have updated their travel advisories on Sri Lanka after the Govt announced recently that foreigners will require special clearance from the Ministry of Defence to travel to the North. Britain, Canada and Australia are among the countries to have issued updated travel advisories on Sri Lanka with Australia and Canada also urging extreme caution. On Oct 15, 2014, strict entry restrictions were imposed for all more..

Bribery, corruption infecting health

Oct 24 (SL) Alleged bribery, corruption and bad administration which reportedly plague the Health Ministry, has resulted the influx of substandard drugs and medical devices to the country. Secretary All Ceylon Medical Officer’s Association Dr. Jayantha Bandara said that the continuous decline in budgetary allocation to the health sector over the years added with the corruption within the Ministry was severely affecting the country’s more..

Little known facts about a well known personality

Oct 24 (DM) The Ministry of Lands and Land Development which the late Minister Gamini Dissanayake presided over for more than a decade was by present day standards and practices, a Mega Ministry; we had eight Govt Departments many of them quite large and highly pedigreed and four statutory Boards and Corporations under our belt. My responsibility as (Permanent) Secretary again for more than a decade was to assist the Minister to oversee that portfolio. more..

A time to keep promises

Oct 24 (DM) The solution for poverty is not wealth but justice. This reality is seen in the world today where more wealth is being generated but with the horrifying fact where 1% of the people, most of them billionaires, own upto 50% of the wealth and resources. After about 40 years of the globalised capitalist market economic system, the latest figures given by world rating agencies show that the monstrous gap between the rich and the poor is growing to alarming levels. more..

Sri Lanka set for populist budget ahead of snap polls

Oct 24 (AFP) Veteran Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse is expected to unveil a populist budget on Friday hoping to shore up sagging electoral support ahead of a troubled bid to win a third term. Rajapakse, who is also finance minister, has advanced the budget for 2015 by a month to give his govt more time to implement widely predicted tax cuts and public sector pay rises ahead of snap elections in January. more..

Public servants to get Rs. 5,000 salary hike; UNP pledges Rs.10,000

Oct 24 (Island) UNP said President Rajapaksa was expected to grant a 5,000-rupee pay hike to public servants but it would give them Rs. 10,000 when it formed a govt. UNP MP Ravi Karunanayake said that the UNP already knew what Rajapaksa’s ‘Presidential Election Budget’ contained. "He will announce a salary increase of Rs. 5000 for public servants after denying them a hike for many years with the exception of meagre allowances which were totally inadequate to meet the skyrocketing more..

Cabinet sub-committee on CKD met only once since Nov 2012

Oct 24 (Island) Deputy Minister Lalith Dissanayake acknowledged in Parliament that he couldn't remember precisely how many times 16-member Cabinet sub-committee appointed in November 2012 to look into chronic kidney disease had met. He was responding to a question raised by UNP MP P. Harrison. He said that some recommendations made by the subcommittee had already been implemented though he couldn't remember the number times the members had met. more..

Sri Lanka hires up in Washington amid war crimes probe

Oct 24 (TH) Govt of Sri Lanka has hired its eighth Washington firm this year as it awaits the results of a UNHRC investigation into alleged war crimes. Levick is subcontracting through Liberty International Group, a govt affairs firm owned by former Rep. Connie Mack (R-Fla.), to represent the semi-autonomous central bank of Sri Lanka. “Levick’s mission is to utilize communications supported advocacy to tell Sri Lanka’s more..

Referendum in the offing?

Oct 24 (CT) After the next Presidential Election is held early January, the govt could hold a referendum to extend the life of the present Parliament by a further six years, under powers vested in the Executive, Minister Jayaratne Herath hinted. Herath also said it was the UPFA that is enjoying the benefits of the Executive Presidency that was introduced by the UNP and added it was President Rajapaksa who ended the war though there were several Executive Presidents before him. more..

Govt unions want 25% hike

Oct 24 (CT) Trade unions, aligned with the government, have requested the President to increase public servants' salaries by 25% and to introduce a minimum salary for private sector workers in the budget, which will be presented in Parliament today. Govt Service Trade Union Convention (GSTUC), the Sri Lanka Nidhahas Sevaka Sangamaya (SLNSS) and the Lanka Trade Union Central Committee (LTUCC) met President on Sunday to discuss budget proposals. more..

'Canada terror attack: Situation similar to post-1983 crisis in northern SL'

Oct 24 (Island) Regretting the loss of lives due to unprecedented terrorist attacks in Canada during the week, Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa said the situation there was very much similar to that of Sri Lanka in the early 80s. He likened the threat faced by Canada to the situation that prevailed in the northern region before the LTTE ambushed an army patrol on the night of July 23, 1983 and claimed the lives of 13 servicemen. more..

Cabraal urges to shift from collateralized banking

Oct 24 (DM) Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal urged the banking fraternity to shift from the traditional mind-set of collateralized lending to serve the financial needs of the emerging middle class. Speaking at the 26th anniversary convention of the Association of Professional Bankers of Sri Lanka, Cabraal stressed the importance of extending non-collateralized lending with ‘earnest’. “You also need to now look at moving away from collateral-based banking. more..

30 expat Tamils to contest Canadian polls

Oct 24 (CT) More than 30 expatriate Tamils of Lankan origin are contesting the Local Govt polls in the Ontario Province, Canada next Monday (27). According to informed sources, this is the largest number of Tamils of Lankan origin to contest the Local Govt polls in Canada. Several of the candidates are in their 30s and early 40s and they belong to the second generation expatriate Tamils who migrated to Canada following the civil strife in the island, sources said. more..

Foul coal deal costs CEB Rs. 1.5 billion

Oct 24 (Island) CEB had suffered a loss of Rs. 1,507,044,116.25 due to substandard coal imported for the Norochcholai coal-fired power plant in 2012, Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi told Parliament. "This loss was due to a massive fraud which took place before I assumed duties as the Minister of Power and Energy. It happened during the tenure of my predecessor. Investigations are underway and I am ready to take action against anyone more..

IUSF slams NMSJ

Oct 24 (CT) IUSF slammed the National Movement for Social Justice (NMSJ) over its approving the present govt's policy of privatizing and commercializing education. Leader of NMSJ, Ven. Maduluwawe Sobhitha Thera recently told the South Asian Institute of Technology and Medicine (SAITM) Parents Collective (PC), that the government's role was to monitor Private Medical Universities and ultimately ensure quality standards similar to the State Universities with regards to more..

Nine-year-old goes missing

Oct 24 (DM) A nine-year-old boy had been reported missing along with a monk from Batuwita, Horana since this morning while they were in Horana, the missing boy’s grandmother complained to the Police. The monk was a relative of the boy and they had gone to Horana with the boy’s grandmother to purchase a bicycle for the boy who was reported missing. The monk and the boy had gone into a shop while the grandmother was at a bank. She had searched for the duo after she got out of more..

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