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New Sri Lanka company law seen having tax advantages

May 23 (LBO) The new company law gives companies a better chance to avoid paying tax on investment income, a corporate law expert said Tuesday. The new Companies Act No. 07 of 2007 provides for general business purpose companies with no objects clause, said Naomal Goonewardena, attorney-at-law and Partner, Nithya Partners. more..

Sri Lanka clearing VAT refunds backlog, govt revenue recovering: Treasury Secy

May 23 (LBO) Government revenue is improving and the Inland Revenue Department hopes to clear most of the backlog in value added tax refunds in 3-4 months, Finance Ministry Secretary P.B. Jayasundera said Tuesday. "We've streamlined the VAT refunds process and closed some loopholes," he told a seminar organized by the Sri Lanka Institute of Taxation. more..

Sri Lanka, Maldives to set up business council

May 23 (LBO) Sri Lanka and the Maldives plan to set up a bilateral business council this week to promote trade and investment between the two countries, the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce said Tuesday. The Maldives is Sri Lanka's the third largest trading partner in south Asia with the trade balance being in favour of the latter. more..

44,000 job opportunities created through investment

May 23 (GDI) Government will be launching a massive employment creation drive with major foreign investment. The Government has been able to innovate 44,384 new job opportunities, through attracting a total investment of Rs. 191 billion by approving the establishment of 251 local and foreign investment projects in Sri Lanka. more..

MIG 29 deal is another fraud of the Rajapakse family- UNP

May 23 (LeN) The United National Party says the MIG 29 deal that is about to take place might lead to a massive fraud as the statements made by the president and the defense secretary Gotabhaya Rajapakse are contradicting each other. The charges are being leveled against the government by head of the UNP media unit Lakshman Kiriella and UNP MP Sagala Rathnayake. They say that the public wants to know who is lying. more..

Rs. 1.1 billion to be pocketed by a top politician by selling SLT to a Malaysian company - Weerawansa

May 23 (LeN) Leader of the JVP parliamentary group Wimal Weerawansa told the parliament today that a high ranking officer of the government will be granted a sum of 1.1 billion rupees through the deal to sell SLT shares belonging to the Japanese NTV company to a Malaysian company. Weerawansa also told that Ananda Krishnan who is the owner of the Malaysian company keeps close contacts with the LTTE and more..

JVP Pradeshiya Sabha contestant arrested regarding Delgoda murders

May 23 (LeN) Police have arrested two persons connected to the JVP in connection with the murder of five of the same family in Delgoda recently. It is being reported that one of them has contested to the Delgoda Pradeshiya Sabha while the other has contested for the Mahara Pradeshiya Sabha. The one from Delgoda had been arrested last afternoon and released after interrogation. more..

JVP trade unionist urines to patients' food

May 23 (LeN) A degrading action of a JVP trade unionist attached to the All island suwa Sewa Sangamaya is being reported from a Colombo hospital. Apparently the relevant trade unionist has urined to the food that was being cooked for the patients in the hospital while the health sector employees staged a strike opposing to use the finger print signing in system. more..

Indigenous people in Hennanigala lack food and face hardships

May 23 (AT) Indigenous people in Hennanigala, Dehiattakandiya say , that they face a number of problems and also suffer from lack of sufficient food. Thapal Bandiya –leader of the Indigenous people of the Ampara district said the authorities never hear of their prevailing problems and the indigenous people need intervention of the President Mahindha Rajapaksha to solve their grievances. more..

WFP express satisfaction over IDPs resettlements

May 23 (AT) Anthony Banbury, WFP Regional Director for Asia paid an official visit to Sri Lanka from 14-18 May 2007. On 15 March 2007, at a meeting with Foreign Secretary, Dr Palitha Kohona at Mr. Banbury’s request, while expressing sympathy for people who have suffered from the conflict in Sri Lanka and strongly condemning the LTTE’s continuing atrocities on the civilian population, commenting on the Government programmes of IDP settlement in the East, more..

Military deployed to run hospitals amidst island wide strike by hospital workers

May 23 (RW) The Government deployed Army Navy and Air Force personnel today (22) to ease inconveniences faced by hospitals affected by an island wide hospice worker strike against the introduction of a finger print system to mark attendance. When the island wide strike threatened to bring routine hospital activities to a complete halt the Army, Navy and Air Force volunteered to help doctors and patients and create normalcy in hospitals. more..

Sri Lanka gift Moody goodbye win

May 23 (CI) Last-gasp cameos from Tillakaratne Dilshan and Lasith Malinga ensured that Sri Lanka came within sight of the 300-mark after some rash strokeplay and indifferent running had threatened to derail the innings. The eighteen that came off the last over bowled by the otherwise impressive Rao Ifitkhar meant that Pakistan needed to reach a target of 297 in order to complete a 3-0 whitewash. more..

Human bombs at work in Jaffna

May 23 (FL) AROUND 10.30 a.m. on April 29, a team of the Sri Lanka Navy surrounded the Mudipillaiyaar temple at Velanai West, an area situated off the Jaffna peninsula. Also with them was the temple's priest, whom they had picked up from his house at Kanthasamy Koviladdy because they wanted him to open the temple. The Navy, which has control of the region, was acting on a tip-off that a squad of the LTTE was hiding in the temple. more..

The govt's confrontationist approach towards the international community has perplexed observers

May 23 (FL) With the undeclared war between the Sri Lanka government and the LTTE literally reaching the skies, the belligerence of the Mahinda Rajapaksa regime within and outside the island nation has touched a new high. On May 11, Colombo put New Delhi on a 48-hour notice to either retract Defence Minister A.K. Antony's statement in Parliament that the Sri Lanka Navy killed 77 Indian fishermen from 1991 to mid-April 2007 or risk a strong rebuttal. more..

Stifling democracy to promote family rule

May 23 (ML) The presidential election of 2005 was a turning point in Sri Lankan politics. The LTTE had rejected the best chance for peace by preventing the Tamil voters from exercising their franchise to conclude the peace process which was ongoing at the time the United National Party (UNP) Government ceased to hold office in April 2004. more..

Jeyaraj demands more security for CBK

May 23 (ML) A senior Cabinet minister yesterday came to the defence of former President Chandrika Kumaratunga and supported her need for additional security and also declared that the recent Supreme Court ruling curtailing her entitlements did not include a ruling on the number of security personnel. Chief Government Whip, Jeyaraj Fernandopulle said that some of his recent remarks about the reduction of security for Kumaratunga had been misinterpreted to be a critique on the court ruling. more..

SLMC locks horns with govt. over unapproved foreign colleges

May 23 (ML) In Sri Lanka, a significant number of medical officers in active service today are graduates who have qualified from foreign universities. While foreign qualified graduates were very few and far between a few decades ago they are now in their thousands, thanks to the liberalisation of the economy which has allowed Sri Lankan children to be educated abroad. more..

UNP defectors hail President’s courage to solve ethnic problem

May 23 (ML) The UNP defectors have in their proposals to the All Party Representatives Committee (APRC) identified the ‘Province’ as the unit of devolution and hailed President Mahinda Rajapakse’s courage and determination to put an end to the ethnic issue. They have also said that the solution offered must not be anything less than what is in the present constitution. more..

Kuwait, Sri Lanka Sign Two Agreements

May 23 (AN) Kuwait and Sri Lanka yesterday signed two agreements on cultural and technical cooperation and exchange of sentenced prisoners between the two countries. Kuwait Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah and visiting Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse oversaw the signing ceremony held at the Bayan Palace. more..

Why have we forgotten our Republican Day May 22?

May 23 (TW) The 22nd of May 1972 was a historic day for Sri Lanka. That was the day when the last link of the chain that bound Ceylon to the British Crown was severed and the independent Republic of Sri Lanka was born. The newly elected Coalition Government of the SLFP,LSSP and CP, led by Prime Minister Sirimavo Bandaranaike, set up a Constituent Assembly on 21st July1970. more..

Lost opportunities

May 23 (TW) Many opportunities which offered an honourable settlement to the ethnic problem were lost due to the forces of destruction and extremism. Two outstanding instances come to my mind. First the Bandaranaike-Chevanayagam (B-C) Pact which was signed exactly 50 years ago. A British researcher, Walter Schewarts, had this to say: “This is one of the few statesmanlike compromises between two extreme oppositions ever to be in Sri Lanka.” more..

Sri Lanka unveils separate flags for disputed provinces

May 23 (Xinhua) The Sri Lankan government said Tuesday that separate flags have been unveiled for the war-torn Northern and Eastern provinces, the focal point of the island's long conflict. "We have unveiled two separate flags for the Northern and Eastern provinces in terms of the Supreme Court ruling separating the two provinces," said Janaka Bandara Tennakoon, the Minister of Local Government. more..

Colombo will shun peace, until LTTE demonstrates futility of military option- Gajendrakumar

May 23 (TN) Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam, TNA parliamentarian and Member of the Parliamentary Consultative Committees for Constitutional affairs, in an interview with TamilNet Tuesday, said that Sri Lanka will not pursue a political solution until it finds itself unable to prosecute a military solution, and the only option open for peace is for the LTTE to demonstrate that Colombo's military agenda will not succeed. more..

Archbishop's statement an observation, not endorsement of military action- Bishops

May 23 (TN) Amid continuing controversy following comments by the Archbishop of Canterbury which appeared to justify President Mahinda Rajapakse’s military action against the Tamil Tigers, two Sinhala Bishops Wednesday defended Archbishop Rowan Williams, saying his comments had been taken out of context. In a letter to TamilNet, Rt Revd Kumara Illangasinghe, Bishop of Kurunagala, and Rt Revd Duleep de Chickera, Bishop of Colombo, said more..

Ambassador Schaffer links hands with Dr. Saravanmuttu to promote confederalism rejected by the Americans

May 23 (AT) Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) is promoted as an independent and prestigious think thank. But its output on Sri Lanka and its activities related to Sri Lanka question the quality of its thinking on strategic and international issues. Its South Asia Program is directed by Ambassador Teresita C. Schaffer. She comes to the post with credible credentials. more..

Norway admits loss of 130,000 passports; Interpol and NAT links lost passports to terrorists

May 23 (AT) A Norwegian embassy press statement released yesterday has confirmed that the Norway has reported the loss of stolen 130,000 Norwegian passports to Interpol. Norway has also admitted that a Norwegian policeman had sold nine blank passports to “a Norwegian national of Sri Lankan origin.” Norway has denied that there is any link between this and the allegation that the LTTE “has redistributed Norwegian passports to Al Qaeda.” more..

Journalist assaulted, ID and equipment forcibly confiscated - FMM

May 23 (ISL) Journalist S.M.M. Ramsan (32) of the weekly Tamil newspaper "Engal Thesam" was assaulted by group of persons while he was covering a tsunami related meeting at school in Maradamune, in Ampara district yesterday. We, the five largest media organizations in the country, express our concern and dissapointment over this incident and also register our strong disquiet over the increasing harassment of provincial correspondents in Sri Lanka. more..

An epidemic of lawlessness

May 23 (ISL) After observing the situation of the rule of law in Sri Lanka for several years and meticulously observing recent developments, the Asian Human Rights Commission is compelled to announce that what Sri Lanka is facing now is a situation of lawlessness of epidemic proportions. Such lawlessness is manifested by the ongoing abductions and forced disappearances, the spate of crime in all areas of life, the increase of violence in civil society where more..

Sri Lanka tea industry mulls futures market

May 23 (LBO) Sri Lanka's tea industry and the Securities and Exchange Commission are considering introducing a tea futures market as part of efforts to develop the island’s capital markets and provide an opportunity for tea producers to hedge risks. The tea industry and the market regulators have been studying the tea futures market proposal which has won the support of the Asian Development Bank. more..

Sri Lanka's tsunami affected areas get schools from United States

May 23 (LBO) The United States has subcontracted a Sri Lankan firm to construct five schools in the south of the island a week after it awarded a contract to build four schools in the east, the US embassy in Colombo said. The US Agency for International Development (USAID) has contracted a 50 million dollar tsunami reconstruction program to CH2M Hill, a US firm which subcontracted 5.4 million dollars of work to Access Engineering of Sri Lanka. more..

Sri Lanka commission probing failed finance companies calls for public information

May 23 (LBO) A presidential commission appointed to probe failed finance companies is calling for members of the public to contact the commission before the end of May. "The Commission after perusal of such representations may invite any individual or organization for further discussion and/or to testify before the Commission," the commission said in a statement. more..

Mannar Bridge reconstruction work to be completed in 2010

May 23 (GDI) With a view of enabling the main Mannar island t be re-connected to the mainland of the country, Government is expecting to complete the reconstruction work of the Mannar Bridge will in the year 2010. The reconstruction work will be carried out with the development assistance of the Government of Japan. The rebuilding of the Mannar Bridge and its cause way is based on the Tokyo Declaration on Reconstruction and Development of Sri Lanka in 2003. more..

Omanthai Entry point closed again

May 23 (GDI) The Omanthai entry/exit point will be temporarily closed again due to the withdrawal of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). The ICRC withdrew from its positions in the Omanthai entry/exit point following an incident in which the LTTE fired upon a civilian van trying to proceed towards government controlled territory around 4 p.m. yesterday (22), said a media release issued by the Media Centre for National security (MCNS). more..

President Completes Five Days successful visit to Middle East

May 23 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the Sri Lankan delegation returned to Sri Lanka last night after completing a five days successful visit to Middle Eastern countries, Jordan and Kuwait. President Rajapaksa left for Jordan on last week to attend to the G-11 Summit and to address the occasion. Sri Lankan delegation and the President returned to the Island by a special air craft belonging to the ‘Mihin Lanka’ airline, around 8.00p.m last night. more..

Afghan jobs for Lankans

May 23 (GDI) A vast number of jobs will be open to Lankan professionals in the reconstruction process of Afghanistan, Afghan President Hamid Karzai has assured President Mahinda Rajapaksa. President Karzai has made this pledge during bilateral talks with President Rajapaksa on the sidelines of the G-11 Summit in Jordan, President’s Secretary Lalith Weeratunga told. more..

Strong fiscal policy framework in place

May 23 (GDI) The Government is now in the process of formulating a strong fiscal policy framework to convert the revenue account into a surplus as against the country’s day-to-day expenses, within the next three to four years, Treasury-Secretary, Dr. P. B. Jayasundera said. "Our revenue account in the budget during the last 30 years was above day-to-day expenses. It has been the legacy or salient characteristic for some time," more..

Suicide boat found at Vakarai

May 23 (PISL) A boat used by the LTTE for launching suicide attacks on the Sri Lanka Navy was detected by Army troops Monday (21) in Panichchankerny lagoon in Vakarai acting on a tip-off from civilians. It was fitted with four claymore mines that could be self-activated, one 120 mm mortar plus an additional explosive tube, the Army confirmed. more..

UNP Reformists` constitutional proposals drop `unitary` status

May 23 (LNP) `We do not believe in the provision of Unitary State at all, but will recognize sovereignty, territorial integrity and economic unity,` Group Leader Karu Jayasuriya told a media conference at Sethsewana yesterday. The set of constitutional proposals by the UNP Reformists` Group for providing a stronger devolution package was handed over to Prof.Wiswa Warnapala and SLFP General Secretary Maithripala Sirisena yesterday. more..

Curbs on mobile phones in B`caloa region

May 23 (LNP) The government has been forced to suspend cellular phone services to the Batticaloa region as part of the efforts to deny information to the LTTE. A senior military official said this was necessary to prevent the enemy from receiving information relating to ongoing action in the area. On and off suspension of services would be essential, he said, expressing regret over inconvenience caused to the subscribers. more..

Japan can help if only Lanka desires: Akashi

May 23 (LNP) Japanese Peace Envoy for Sri Lanka Yasushi Akashi giving an exclusive interview to the Daily Mirror at his private office in Tokyo on Tuesday said Japan was `mindful` of the human rights situation in Sri Lanka and was concerned, irrespective of whether the violations were by the LTTE, the government or any other party. `We are `very observant` of the human rights situation in Sri Lanka,` he noted, more..

Ranil wants CBK`s security beefed up

May 23 (LNP) Opposition UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday urged the government to increase the number of security personnel assigned to former President Chandrika Kumartunga. Mr. Wickremesinghe told Parliament this could be done through a fresh cabinet paper, regardless of the recent Supreme Court ruling on the matter. `The Cabinet can increase the security of any Minister after conducting a threat assessment`, he said more..

Measures to deny ‘refugee cover’ to LTTE

May 23 (SAMN) The government is taking tough measures to prevent the LTTE from infiltrating civilian centres in the East, particularly in the Ampara-Batticaloa region. "We are in the process of implementing a series of security measures to neutralise the threat posed by infiltrators," a senior security official said adding that all internally displaced persons are required to carry a special identity card issued by security authorities. more..

SLT deal: UNP, JVP take Govt. to task

May 23 (SAMN) JVP parliamentary group leader Wimal Weerawansa Tuesday accused a powerful person in government of accepting a US$ 10 million commission to facilitate the sale of SLT shares to a Tamil businessman from Malaysia. Weerawansa made this allegation amidst growing controversy over the sale of SLT shares to Maxis of Malaysia. He also charged that the President as Finance Minister must take responsibility for this state of affairs. more..

40,000 teachers on leave daily

May 23 (SAMN) Around 40,000 teachers are on leave daily out of the 200,000 teachers, said Education Minister Susil Premajayantha. “The teachers have to be on duty only on 201 days per year. But 40,000 teachers are on leave daily. In other words, one out of five teachers is on leave every day. But others in Government service have to work on many more days,” he added, calling for a change of attitudes among teachers. more..

Publicise Commission findings: Ganeshan

May 23 (SAMN) The findings of the Mahanama Tilakaratna Commission on abductions and disappearances, should be tabled in Parliament and placed before the public, Convenor of the Civil Monitoring Committee (CMC) and Parliamentarian Mano Ganeshan said Tuesday. Ganeshan emphasised that since both the interim and final reports of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry are a matter of national concern, its findings must be publicised. more..

Delgoda murder: Suspects’ houses torched

May 23 (DN) Five houses belonging to prime suspect in the Delgoda multiple murder case and his relatives were set on fire by enraged villagers yesterday morning following the burial of the victims. Five persons from the same family including two children who were brutally hacked to death on Saturday over a land dispute, were buried on Monday amid a large gathering in Mahawatta, Delgoda. more..

Health Ministry will not withdraw fingerprint system

May 23 (DN) Some members of Suva Seva Sangamaya have caused damage to hospital property and threatened health sector workers attached to several other trade unions that did not support the failed trade union action taken by Suva Seva Sangamaya. In one instance, a member of Suva Seva Samgamaya has urinated into the cooked food prepared to distribute among the patients in a main hospital, a Healthcare and Nutrition Ministry spokesman said. more..

Claim of 7.4 % economic growth false: UNP

May 23 (DM) The UNP said yesterday in Parliament the government’s claim of 7.4 percent economic growth was false because the northern and eastern provinces had been excluded in calculating it. UNP MP for the Kurunegala district Dayasiri Jayasekara said the government had made a totally misleading statement in this regard. He said there was only four or five percent overall economic growth in reality. more..

TNA sees Govt. hand in abduction of students

May 23 (DM) Tamil National Alliance (TNA) in Parliament yesterday accepted the government’s right to arrest, detain and question LTTE suspects in accordance with the law. However, the Party severely criticized the government for killings, disappearances and abductions of innocent persons, specifically pinpointing the recent abduction of four Advanced Level students in Jaffna by a group of armed persons on motorbikes. more..

22-year-old Sri Lankan refugee arrives alone in boat

May 23 (PTI) A 22-year-old Sri Lankan refugee arrived at Dhanushkodi near here alone in a fibreglass boat early this morning from Trincomalee, leading police to suspect that he might have been accompanied by some others. Police maintained that it was not possible to come alone in a boat for such a long distance and he might have been accompanied by some others, possibly militants. more..