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Sri Lanka to raise taxes to fund deficit, civil servants' pay

Nov 18 (Bloomberg) Sri Lanka will raise taxes on goods and services to help cut the budget deficit and fund pay increases for government workers, easing investor concern that individual and corporate taxes may rise as part of the 2005 budget. more..

Embezzlement of Estate Pension funds suspected

Nov 19 (TN) Workers of the estates under the Agrapatana Plantation Ltd have reported to the Labor Relations Officier (LRO) of the Ceylon National Workers Union at its office in Haputale, that the EPF and ETF of nearly 40,000 workers have not been deposited in the bank since 2002, more..

UNP deserter rewarded with Ministerial portfolio

Nov 19 (AT) Sri Lanka’s President Chandrika Kumaratunga today appointed Rohitha Bogollagama M.P., as a Minister for Advanced Technology and National Enterprise Development. more..

Lankan Tamils avoid taking sides on Kanchi seer's arrest

Nov 19 (HT) The Kanchi Shankaracharya's arrest and incarceration in a sensational murder case in neighbouring Tamil Nadu have not made any visible impact on Sri Lanka, though the island's Hindu Tamils and Buddhist Sinhalas are ardent devotees of Hindu Gods and seers. more..

New Chief of Defence Staff speaks to soldiers in Jaffna

Nov 19 (SLA) Newly-appointed Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) Vice Admiral Daya Sandagiri who is also the Commander of the Navy was on a tour to the Jaffna peninsula, Wednesday (17), the first of its kind upon his assumption of office as Chief of Defence Staff. more..

Liquor, bootlegs in the taxation firing line, with excise duties to go up each year

Nov 19 (LBO) Liquor and bootlegs are in the taxation firing line, as duties on the two are to go up progressively each year, with effect midnight tonight. Excise duties on hard liquor will go up by Rs. 15 per proof litre and by Rs. 5 per proof litre for beer. more..

Sri Lanka raise fine on brothels by 500 fold

Nov 19 (LBO) Sri Lanka Thursday announced a whopping 49,900 percent increase in the fine for running brothels in a bid to stem a flourishing business deploying foreign and local prostitutes. more..

Houses for migrant workers and public servants and cess on contractors

Nov 19 (LBO) The government plans to revive the local construction industry with housing schemes for migrant workers and public servants and a cess on contractors. The budget on Thursday announced that the Construction Industry Guarantee Fund would be enlarged to Rs. 500 mn more..

Tax break for agro sector to woo private investment

Nov 19 (LBO) Agriculture is to be exempt from income tax, with earnings from the cultivation and sale of non-processed plants, non-taxable for five years from April 1 next year. “This should provide incentives for the local private sector to move onto high value agricultural crops including fruits, vegetables, floriculture etc,” more..

Budget Highlights

Nov 19 (LBO) Highlights of Sri Lanka’s 2005 national budget. The UPFA government’s budgetary strategy for the next three years. 1. Raise government revenue, within a medium term framework, to 19 percent of GDP and generate a revenue surplus in the budget equivalent to 3% of GDP. more..

Job loss fears rise as MFA expires in Jan 2005

Nov 19 (F2F) Signs are not positive about the domestic textile industries, while the world is bracing for a revolution within the industry as a major change looms at the end of the year. Reason being, on Jan. 1, 2005, World Trade Organization tariffs that guaranteed poor nations could compete for global textile production will end. more..

India wants Buddhist principles to guide relations with Pakistan

Nov 19 (AFP) Buddhist principles of "mutual respect and peaceful co-existence" should guide relations between India and Pakistan, Indian Foreign Minister Natwar Singh has said. Singh on Thursday urged Pakistan to embrace the Buddhist vision of peace enshrined in the Panchsheel treaty signed on April 29, 1954 more..

President has not answered our question - Thamilselvan

Nov 19 (LT) The question asked by Wanni tiger organization whether the Government is preparing for peace talks with the agreement of all the parties in the Alliance has not been answered by the President says Thamilselvan. more..

Drink a cup of milk a day!

Nov 19 (LT) A packet of 400 gram liquid milk is to be sold at a low price of Rs.18/- by the Ministry of agriculture, Livestock, Lands and Irrigation. This project was recently inaugurated with the participation of Deputy Minister Bimal Ratnayake. more..

Face Value -- Budget 2005

Nov 19 (LT) Sri Lanka's 2005 budget contained several measures to raise revenue and an ambitious target of cutting the revenue deficit to 1.3 percent of GDP from – 3.7 percent this year, and keeping the overall deficit at 7.6 percent of GDP. more..

Cader re-remanded

Nov 19 (LT) Being remanded for more than three months and inquiries have been completed are not special reasons to release on bail said Ms. Sarojinie Kusala Weerawardane, Chief Magistrate of Colombo. She ordered that Abdul Cader, former minister of corporative of the UNP government be re-remanded till 1st December. more..

'Muralitharan's law' promises acrimonious debate

Nov 19 (Reuters) Early next year the International Cricket Council (ICC) will decide whether to re-write the sport's rules on throwing. For some, the proposals would help bowlers to develop new skills in challenging the dominance of batsmen. more..

UNP to oppose SL government budget

Nov 19 (TN) Sri Lanka's main opposition United National Party (UNP) decided Thursday evening to oppose the maiden budget of te UPFA government, UNP sources said. The UPFA ousted the UNP from power in the general election held on April 2 this year. more..

Sri Lanka's power demand peaks last night as people plug in for the Budget

Nov 19 (LBO) Sri Lanka’s power demand peaked at a new high of 1559.9 MW last night, as people plugged in to watch and listen with bated breath to the government’s maiden budget. The System Control division at the CEB said demand hit a record high at 7.30 pm last night over the usual night peak which hovers around 1521 MW. more..

Making babies, the UPFA way

Nov 19 (LBO) Adorned in a very western two piece suit, Sri Lanka's Harvard and University of France educated Finance Minister Dr. Sarath Leelananda Bandara Amunugama Thursday presented the United Peoples Freedom Alliances maiden budget speech in Sinhalese. more..

Stiff fines for hanging out in cemeteries, reckless driving, casinos and betting shops

Nov 19 (LBO) Sri Lanka Thursday slapped heavy taxes on casinos, alcohol and luxury goods and increased fines while granting a 40 percent salary increase to state employee despite a ballooning budget deficit. more..

Sri Lanka stocks up midday, unruffled by 2005 budget

Nov 19 (Reuters) Sri Lanka stocks were sharply higher during mid-session trade on Friday, unfazed by a new tax on purchases and sales of shares that Finance Minister Sarath Amunugama proposed in his 2005 budget on Thursday, brokers said. more..

Sri Lankan reaction to Bush victory: a declaration of dependence

Nov 19 (WSWS) The Sri Lankan political establishment has sent a series of congratulatory messages to George W. Bush on his reelection as US president that go far beyond the routine diplomatic greetings dispensed on such occasions. more..

VAT exemption & positive budgetary measures brings cheer for apparel industry

Nov 19 (F2F) While announcing the maiden budget, Finance Minister, Dr. Sarath Amunugama has completely exempted the apparel industry from the Value Added Tax (VAT). On the earlier allocated for issuance of government guarantees for small and medium apparel manufacturers of Rs.600 mn, the working capital has been raised to Rs. 2 bn in the budget. more..

Govt condemns: Killing of two – an army soldier and civilian

Nov 19 (AT) Sri Lanka Government has condemned the killings of the of an Army soldier Cpl. Ajith Dassanayake and Vasanthanayagam Prabhakaran, a Tamil civilian, who were shot by two motorbike-mounted gunmen on a street in Polonnaruwa in eastern Sri Lanka on Thursday. more..

We are not ready to dance to the tune of Prabakaran – Wimal Weerawansa

Nov 19 (AT) Wimal Weerawansa, Propaganda Secretary of the Janatha Vimukthi Perumuna (JVP) said that the JVP and the Government of Sri Lanka is not prepared to dance according to what LTTE and it’s Leader wanted. He added that they are not prepared to do so. more..

Ethnic divide persists in Sri Lanka

Nov 19 (AP) More than two years ago, a cease-fire with Tamil Tiger rebels brought a semblance of peace to this tropical island nation savaged by nearly two decades of civil war. But talks broke down more than a year ago, neither side trusts the other and enduring peace remains a distant ideal. more..

Sri Lanka president urges talks

Nov 19 (BBC) Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga has urged the Tamil Tiger rebels to restart negotiations. The president told the BBC she was willing to discuss the Tamil Tigers' proposal for interim self-rule and also a long-term federal solution. more..

No War - No Peace enters fourth consecutive year

Nov 19 (PIS) The 'No War - No Peace' situation will enter its fourth consecutive year next month. In December 2001, with the UNP assuming office, a favourable environment was created paving the way for the signing of the Ceasefire Agreement between Ranil Wickremesinghe and Velupillai Prabhakaran. more..

President's visit to Iran will strengthen ties, says Deputy Minister

Nov 19 (DN) President Chandrika Kumaratunga's upcoming visit to Iran will further strengthen relations between the two countries, visiting Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Ministry Spokesman Dr. Hamid Reza Assefi said. more..

Sri Lanka raises casino tax, fines in welfare budget

Nov 19 (AFP) Sri Lanka slapped sin taxes on casinos, alcohol and luxury goods and increased fines while granting a 40 percent salary increase to state employees despite a ballooning budget deficit. more..

Sri Lanka Businessmen Welcome '05 Budget; Deficit A Worry

Nov 19 (DJ) Sri Lankan business chambers Friday gave the thumbs up to the government's 2005 budget proposals, which focused on safeguarding local industries and boosting small- and medium-sized companies. more..

Sri Lanka coalition’s first budget runs into resistance

Nov 19 (FT) Sri Lanka’s main opposition party on Friday rejected the ruling leftwing coalition’s first budget, but parliament is likely to approve new taxes to try and curb a yawning fiscal deficit and fund a soaring oil import bill. more..

Lanka populist budget may pave way for constitutional change

Nov 19 (HT) The Sri Lankan government's manifestly people-oriented annual budget, presented on Thursday, may have had an eye on winning support for President Chandrika Kumaratunga's plan to change Sri Lanka's Constitution from a presidential to a parliamentary one. more..

Sri Lanka accuse Tigers of breaking truce

Nov 19 (AFP) Government accused Tamil Tiger guerrillas of breaking a Norwegian-arranged ceasefire by killing a government soldier and a military informant. The government said in a statement that Thursday's killing of a soldier from the military intelligence unit and an informant had all the "hallmarks" of the rebel LTTE. more..

High court judge shot dead in Sri Lanka's capital

Nov 19 (AP) A high court judge who took a tough stand against Tamil Tiger rebels was shot and killed outside of his home Friday in Sri Lanka's capital, police said. Judge Sarath Ambepitiya was fatally shot by unidentified gunmen who also killed his bodyguard before escaping in a van, said police official Rienzie Perera. more..

President condemns killing of Judge; orders immediate investigation

Nov 19 (PSL) President Chandrika Kumaratunga on learning of the murder of High Court Judge Sarath Ambepitiya directed the IGP Chandra Fernando to initiate an immediate investigation. Judge Ambepitiya was killed this afternoon by unknown gunmen close to his residence in Colombo. more..

Judge shot dead in Colombo

Nov 19 (BBC) A high court judge and his police bodyguard have been shot dead in Colombo by unidentified gunmen on Friday. Colombo high court judge Sarath Ambepitiya has been fatally shot in front of his residence at Sarana road in Cinnamon Gardens. more..

Ball in the Tigers' court : President

Nov 19 (BBC) Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga has urged the Tamil Tiger rebels to restart negotiations. The president told the BBC she was willing to discuss the Tamil Tigers' proposal for interim self-rule and also a long-term federal solution. more..

Give Talks priority over self-serving constitutional reforms, TNA tells SL President

Nov 20 (TN) The Tamil National Alliance, in a statement issued to the media Friday, said that the President, by her recent statement, is attempting to "deflect focus from contradictions and inconsistencies that prevail in her own government," and more..

Two killed as gunmen fire on football game in VVT

Nov 20 (TN) Two youth were killed and one wounded when gunmen riding a motorbike fired at random into a group of men playing football in Valvettithurai Friday evening around 6.10, Police said. The gunmen had used a T-56 type assault rifle. "They could not be identified as they were wearing rain coats and helmets", a youth who escaped the firing told TamilNet. more..

'Science has vindicated me,' says Murali

Nov 20 (CI) Muttiah Muralitharan has spoken out yet again as the chucking controversy rumbles on. He says that despite years of suffering comments about his action, science has finally vindicated what he already knew - that he is not a chucker. more..

Govt has decided to implement a housing project for cinema artistes

Nov 20 (Rupavahini) Finance minister Dr. Sarath Amunugama disclosed that this project will commence from next year. He was speaking at a ceremony held in Colombo to present life insurance cover for cinema artistes. more..

Police interrogate two suspects in soldier's murder

Nov 20 (SLA) Two Tamil suspects taken into custody on suspicion on Thursday (18) after an Army soldier and a Tamil civilian were gunned down at KADURUWELA town by two motorbike-riding pistol men are to be produced before the court shortly after interrogations. more..

Teenaged hostage flees LTTE camp

Nov 20 (SLA) A seventeen-year old minor from PERIYAPILLUMALAI abducted and subsequently detained in an LTTE camp for days in want of his brother who had deserted LTTE ranks has managed to escape from LTTE custody and returned home. more..

Shaukat Aziz arriving Colombo on Sunday

Nov 20 (APP) Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz will arrive Colombo on November 21 (Sunday) on a two-day visit in his capacity as Chairman of South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation (SAARC). It is a SAARC tradition that the Chairman makes farewell calls to SAARC capitals before the next summit. more..

Money Minded

Nov 20 (LBO) The Treasury Secretary says Sri Lanka's national budget for 2005 is geared to generate funds internally without waiting for donor assistance. "If donor assistance fits into our development strategy, we take it. But if we can consider better ways, we do that - and the best way is taxation," more..

Jaffna undergrads urge India not to support Colombo

Nov 20 (TN) Jaffna University Students Union (JUSU) Friday wrote to the Indian Prime Minister Mr.Manmohan Singh not to extend his Government's support to Sri Lanka government in its attempts to crush the freedom struggle of Eelam Tamils by providing financial assistance for the implementation of the Palaly airbase runway project in Jaffna district, more..

1000 Tamil medium teachers to be selected

Nov 20 (TN) North East Provincial Ministry of Education is to hold interviews to select one thousand GCE Advanced Level qualified teachers from about 1,500 who were successful in a competitive examination held by the Commissioner of Examinations several months ago, provincial education ministry officials said. more..

Stay on track in Sri Lanka

Nov 20 (TI) Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but for independent travellers on the Indian sub-continent, foresight is even better. Start taking anti-malaria tablets weeks before you leave. Once on the move, phone ahead to confirm all flights and hotel rooms. more..