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Modern and mega ‘integrated city bus terminal’ master plan ready for takeoff

Nov 8 (FT) The master plan for a modern and mega city ‘integrated city bus terminal’ is ready for takeoff, with its completion at an estimated cost of $ 50 million tipped to revolutionise the ease and look of transportation in the commercial capital of the country. Experts at the Ministry of Transport have conceptualised the master plan and finalisation of the traffic plan and detailed construction dynamics with inputs more..

People’s poll results to be made public at FT Budget Forum on Friday

Nov 8 (FT) At tomorrow's post-Budget Forum organised by the Daily FT in partnership with the Colombo University MBA Alumni Association at the Galadari Hotel, a sample of people’s views will be revealed. Under an initiative by SMS partner zMessenger, the conclusions of a public SMS opinion poll will be revealed at the commencement of the Budget Forum, whilst the participants will have an instant opportunity to give their validation as well. For registration/tickets for the 2013 Budget more..

SMEs, exports to get boost from Budget 2013?

Nov 8 (Island) Today’s budget proposals would seek to uplift the SME and export sectors, Treasury sources said. Despite small and medium enterprises, accounting for around 80% of the GDP, they were finding it near impossible to access finance from the domestic banking the sector. It is learnt that the govt was toying with the idea of requesting banks to set aside a certain percentage of the lending portfolio to this sector. While authorities were tight lipped as to the Budget more..

Over 200 foreign investors await approvals for tourism projects

Nov 8 (Island) There were over 200 foreign investors who had sought approval for investments in hotel and tourism related projects and their applications were being scrutinsed, Sri Lanka Tourism Chairman Bhaswara Gunaratna on Monday. He said that among the applicants were some of the well known brands in the world and the govt would give the green light to those eligible in about two months time. more..

‘Impeachment’ of the Chief Justice

Nov 8 (Island) From the moment that Minister Keheliya Rambukwella announced to the media that the CJ would not be impeached, it was rather obvious that that was precisely what the govt intended doing. He fooled nobody. 117 MPs have signed a notice of a resolution containing charges including acts committed in her personal capacity for the presentation of an address and handed it over to the Speaker on 1st November, 2012. The proviso to Clause 107(2) makes it mandatory for more..

Don’t kill Test cricket – Arjuna

Nov 8 (Island) Former captain Arjuna Ranatunga urged the authorities to safeguard the future of Test cricket, after Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) postponed next year’s Test series against South Africa. The Proteas are currently number one ranked team in the world in Test cricket and instead of the high profile Test series, Sri Lanka will be engaged in the much criticized Sri Lanka Premier League tournament. "Cancelling the Test series is a crime and I can’t understand the thinking behind the decision," more..

UNP nominates Kiriella, Amaratunge for PSC

Nov 8 (DM) The UNP yesterday decided to nominate Senior Vice President Lakshman Kiriella and Chief Opposition Whip John Amaratunga to the proposed Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC), which will probe charges against Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake, party officials said. Speaker has asked the ruling party to nominate 7 members and the opposition 4 members to the PSC. more..

Thirappane big onion farmers face hardships

Nov 8 (Island) The big onion farmers in the Thirappane area are facing hardships due to the inability to fetch fair prices for their produce which had been cultivated with great difficulty in the backdrop of the recent debilitating droughts and low yields. They also had to incur extra costs in irrigating the onion crops by pumping water from deep agricultural wells. The drought has also resulted in a reduced harvest as well. A majority of the big onion farmers engaged in the cultivation of big more..

Protest march to Treasury blocked at Hilton roundabout

Nov 8 (Island) A protest march organized by govt, semi-govt and private sector employees, demanding relief from the budget was blocked by the police at the Hilton roundabout yesterday before it reached the Treasury building. Convener of the Govt, Semi-Govt and Private Sector Trade Union Alliance Saman Ratnapriya said that ten trade unions in their alliance had taken part in the march. He said that they needed a salary increase of Rs. 10,000 in view of the rising cost of living. more..

Maid sets up relative in sting to get back pledged passport

Nov 8 (GN) A Sri Lankan housemaid carried out a sting to get back her passport she had pledged for a distant relative two years ago. Fathima Farzana, 30, enticed Tuan Rizwan to meet her at a mall and got him arrested. Farzana has got back her passport but she’s still stranded and cannot travel to Sri Lanka to see her four children, aged between 5 and 11, unless she coughs up Dh18,000 in fines for overstaying. more..

Reviving growth: Let policymakers be serious

Nov 8 (DM) The challenge for Sri Lanka is to develop a policy framework that would stabilize the economy, boost investment and growth and earn rather than borrow reserves. All shades of political opinion are now focused on these issues. The Pathfinder Foundation (PF) is therefore, raising a number of issues in this piece to stimulate thinking and debate. By 4Q 2011, it had become apparent that the country was headed for a serious balance of payment crisis. more..

Ministry plans to plant 1.1m saplings countrywide

Nov 8 (DN) The Deyata Sevana National Tree Planting programme organised by the Environment Ministry for the third consecutive year, will held at the auspicious time of 9.07am on November 15 with the participation of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. It is organised to mark the President's birthday and assumption of office for his second term. The theme this year is 'A Greener Country A Brighter Future'. The programme will be carried out with the support of the public, private sector and NGOs. more..

President to unveil UPFA govt’s eighth budget

Nov 8 (DN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa will present Independent Sri Lanka’s 66th budget in Parliament today. President Rajapaksa who assumed office as the fifth Executive President on Nov 17, 2005, presented his first budget the same year. This will be the eighth budget presented by the President in his capacity as the Finance and Planning Minister. Budget 2013 is expected to contain fiscal proposals that will accelerate the post - war development drive more..

Supplementary allocation for Rs. 20 billion approved

Nov 8 (Island) The govt submitted supplementary allocations, amounting to more than Rs. 20 billion, for parliamentary approaval on Tuesday. The papers for the supplementary allocations for Rs. 20,494,559,203, presented to the House, by Minister Dinesh Gunawardena, sought allocations from the Budgetary Support Services and Contingency Liabilities project appearing under Expenditure Head No 240 of the Department of National Budget 2012. The allocations have been made to 63 more..

Sri Lankan national held at airport with gold chain in shirt collar

Nov 8 (TOI) Smugglers are trying out different methods of bringing gold into the country. A Sri Lankan national was arrested at Chennai airport on Wednesday with nearly a gold chain, worth nearly 8 lakh, in his shirt collar. Last week, 55-year-old Zuraiya Mumtaz, also of Sri Lanka, was caught with 700gm of gold biscuits in her wig. Around noon on Wednesday, police said, Sajeevan of Colombo, who had arrived by an Air India Express flight, was passing through customs. more..

'NPC Election: Govt. planning Muslim Alliance to avoid defeat'

Nov 8 (Island) With the UPFA govt facing the prospect of certain defeat, if and when it held the Northern Provincial Council Election, it had influenced some Muslim religious leaders and organizations with vested interests to coax the Muslims into forming an alliance which would be to its benefit, the UNP said. Unity among Muslims was salutary, but it was the govt’s ulterior motives that need to be questioned, more..

Ambassador Dr. Palitha Kohona visits Utah as guest of the state govt

Nov 8 (AT) Ambassador Dr. Palitha Kohona, Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations visited Utah State as the guest of the Utah State govt and the Utah Valley University (UVU). He addressed the UVU international relations class on "Sri Lanka Looks Ahead - Winning the Peace" and fielded a range of questions from a packed auditorium on Sri Lanka's reconstruction and reconciliation process. There was considerable sympathetic interest demonstrated more..

'CJ hearing cases, unethical, unconstitutional'

Nov 8 (DN) The embattled Chief Justice against whom an impeachment hearing is now pending before Parliament, continues hearing cases from the Supreme Court Bench _ and her hearing cases yesterday in Room 502 of the Supreme Court complex for instance, is in gross violation of all expectations of propriety, legal sources say. The same sources say that her presiding over a Supreme Court Bench is against all tenets of natural justice, and is definitely ethically if not more..

No democracy in the absence of independent judiciary warns Karu

Nov 8 (FT) UNP MP Karu Jayasuriya warned of a great threat to the independence of the Judiciary following the presentation of the impeachment motion in Parliament on Tuesday. “We are compelled to raise our voices once again to protect the independence of the Judiciary. When we look at the behaviour of those who are in power in the present govt and the way things happen, we witness a great threat to the independence of more..

Sri Lanka 2013 budget eyes growth,tariffs to protect industry

Nov 8 (Reuters) Sri Lanka is aiming to accelerate the pace of economic expansion to 7 percent with its 2013 budget, govt officials said, by pumping in money for post-war infrastructure projects while raising import tariffs to protect local industries. President Mahinda Rajapaksa will present the 2013 budget on Thursday, the fourth since the end of a 25-year war that had hindered the island's economy. Sri Lanka is expected to spend over $21 billion on the construction and rebuilding of more..

Judging A Judge

Nov 8 (AHRC) For the third time in 30 years, Members of Parliament have launched impeachment proceedings against a Chief Justice of Sri Lanka setting the stage for a crucial struggle for the preservation of independence of the judiciary and the rule of law. In many democratic countries impeachment of a judge is among the rarest of events reserved for the worst cases of misconduct or incapacity. Yet the fact that the process has been used thrice during the existence of the present Constitution raises questions about more..

All eyes on 2013 Budget today

Nov 8 (FT) For a change from an otherwise overly-political focus in recent weeks, the country in general will be looking forward to today’s presentation of 2013 Budget by the Govt, which is under Opposition flak for bad governance and pressurised to provide relief to people and also cushion the local economy from external shocks and other challenges. At 12:30 p.m. today President and Finance Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa will present the 2013 Budget and the country’s more..

Editorial: Lonely in the planet

Nov 8 (DM) The so-called paradise would look pretty from outside; so pretty that the travellers are tempted to cross many seas to rest their feet on this soil. Even during the troubled times, despite the travel warnings issued by many countries, there were tourists who braved the troubled terrain. Perhaps there is an enchantment that draws them here; may be that is the very reason why Sri Lanka has been named the destination for 2013 by the Lonely Planet. While rejoicing over the more..

FUTA and our future

Nov 8 (DM) FUTA sold out after a long haul and we are yet to hear of the progress with regard to demands and proposals that were discussed at negotiations. The decision to go back to work, despite being apparently dissatisfied with the Govt’s response to the demands, was primarily based on responsibility towards the students. What is most telling is that one component of the demand, back pay of three months salary would be paid; other demands may be dealt with by the Govt and more..

An indictment on the health service

Nov 8 (SL) The difficulties faced by patients receiving OPD and resident treatment at the National Hospital Colombo is appalling given the assurance of a free health care service given by the govt. Among the key issues faced by patients are the lack of quality pharmaceuticals, laboratory services and basic facilities. The failure to implement the National Drug Policy has resulted in the heavy inflow of substandard drugs to more..

Indian prisoners languish in SL jails

Nov 8 (TOI) Despite an accord between India & Sri Lanka to repatriate prisoners many Indian prisoners continue to languish in Sri Lankan jails, some for over a decade. Sources have now told TIMES NOW that these prisoners are victims of red tape as files are stuck between 3 Union Ministries and state governments. While speaking to TIMES NOW the prisoners say all they hope for now is to die in their own country. more..

Delay in publishing population and census results

Nov 8 (ST) Officials of the Dept of Census and Statistics say the delay in publishing the final results of the Population and Housing census conducted earlier this year, is due to a delay in the procurement of a building to carry out the scanning analysis of the data collected. Dismissing charges that the delay has been caused by inaccuracy in the data collected in the first islandwide census in more than three decades, more..

SLFP urges UNP to have faith in its own Constitution

Nov 8 (Island) The ruling SLFP-led coalition yesterday urged the UNP to have faith in the Constitution which was introduced in 1978 in the wake of its landslide victory at the 1977 parliamentary polls. Minister Maithripala Sirisena, UPFA General Secretary Minister Susil Premjayanth and SLFP Treasurer Minister Dallas Alahapperuma stressed that the govt’s action against Chief Justice Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake was more..

Midweek Politics: Game On!

Nov 8 (CT) “The Chief Justice is making a stand: which side you take will define who we are as Sri Lankans,” announced Shaveen Bandaranayake, son of Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake, on his Facebook page, the same day that an impeachment motion against her was handed over to the Speaker of Parliament at an auspiciously chosen time. Since then, with the publicity his impassioned plea received, more..

Allegations in impeachment motion are false

Nov 8 (LT) It has been confirmed that several allegations the govt has brought against the Chief Justice for bringing in an impeachment motion against her are erroneous. The impeachment motion against the Chief Justice entered into the agenda yesterday contained 14 allegations. However, it has been found that allegations 9 and 11 in the impeachment are erroneous. The allegations state a case had been filed against the Chief more..

Agreement for Hambantota Sugar Refinery signed

Nov 8 (GDI) A Sugar Refinery with a total investment of 220 Million U.S.Dollars is to be establishment in the Hambantota Port Investment Promotion Zone. The agreement on the establishment of this sugar refinery plant was signed on Wednesday by Shree Renuka Sugars Ltd., India, via its subsidiary Lanka Sugar Refinery Company (Private) Limited, with Sri Lanka Ports Authority. The signatories were Dr. Priyath B. Wickrama more..

We’ll launch massive programme against deceitful govt – FUTA

Nov 8 (LT) The govt has not fulfilled any of the promises it made to solve issues of university teachers and a massive protest programme would be launched against the deceitful govt states FUTA. The spokesman for FUTA Dr. Maheen Mendis making a statement to the media said, “The teachers are enraged as the govt has failed to fulfill any promises it has made regarding solutions for university teachers’ issues. more..

Sri Lanka President congratulates Obama

Nov 8 (GDI) "This success gives much promise of your continued good leadership on issues of importance relating to democracy, world peace and international relations in the coming years," President Rajapaksa said. His Excellency Barack Obama, President of the United States of America; I am greatly impressed by and warmly congratulate you on the success of your campaign for re-election as the President of more..

'CJ the latest victim of Opp. stratagem'

Nov 8 (Island) Having failed in a series of political projects to undermine the govt, the UNP led Opposition was now exploiting the Chief Justice Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake issue to its advantage, the SLFP alleged. SLFP heavyweight Dallas Alahapperuma said that the Opposition was making a fresh bid to challenge the govt. He said that those shedding crocodile tears for Dr. Bandaranayake had conveniently forgotten more..

UPFA Pradeshiya Sabha member remanded

Nov 8 (LT) The member of UPFA ruled Kobaigane Pradeshiya Sabha Sarathchandra Wijesinghe has been arrested by Nikawaratiya Police. The police have received complaints that he had defrauded several people saying they would be found foreign employment through ministers. According to complaints received by the police the suspect had cheated people from several areas to the tune of Rs. Five million during the last ten years and more complaints are being received by the police. more..

Sri Lanka halves tax on broadband

Nov 8 (LBO) Sri Lanka will halve taxes on high-speed broadband services to 10% to make the service cheaper in an effort to develop the island's budding information communications technology industry, President Mahinda Rajapaksa said. Income tax on the ICT sector will be kept at a maximum 16%, Rajapaksa, who is also finance minister, told parliament, while presenting the budget for 2013. The island's business process outsourcing firms and foreign investors in the sector have more..

Sri Lanka gives tax breaks for sporting events, racing cars

Nov 8 (LBO) Sri Lanka will cut taxes on racing cars and give valued added and turnover based tax relief to sports related economic activities according to a budget for 2013 presented to parliament. President Mahinda Rajapaksa said in a prepared budget speech that the foreign income from sports activities is estimated to be around 50 million US dollars a year and it was expected to be raised to 500 million US dollars by 2016. more..

GL holds talks with Hungarian Foreign Minister

Nov 8 (Island) Hungary’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Dr. Janos Martonyi met Sri Lanka’s Minister of External Affairs Prof. G. L. Peiris at the latter’s ministry and discussed bilateral issues. The Hungarian Minister is in Sri Lanka on an invitation extended to him by Minister Prof. Peiris. "The discussion between the Ministers served to underline the robust nature of the bilateral relations and the opportunities for promoting economic co-operation between the countries, more..

Stocks at 3-wk high as 2013 budget delivered

Nov 8 (Reuters) Sri Lankan stocks edged to a three-week high on Thursday without making major gains as President Mahinda Rajapaksa delivered 2013 budget proposals. Rajapaksa, who doubles as finance minister, said plans called for reducing the fiscal deficit to 5.8 percent of GDP in 2013, while attaining 7.5% economic growth next year. The Colombo Stock Exchange's main index rose 0.18%, or 9.97 points, to end at 5,580.84, its highest level since Oct.19. "While there appears to more..

2013 Budget highlights

Nov 8 (CG) The demand by the FUTA for 6% GDP to be allocated in the 2013 budget was ignored by the govt in the budget presented today. President Rajapaksa announced that only 4.1% of the GDP will be allocated for education next year, a move which is bound to draw strong protests from university lecturers over the next few days. Meanwhile the President also said that the tax on imported milk powder, imported liquor, airport more..