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Progressive Budget likely despite polls year

Nov 21 (FT) President Rajapaksa will present the Budget for 2014 today, which many expect to be progressive despite an election year whilst critics claimed ordinary people wouldn’t have much to cheer from a bankrupt regime. 2014 Budget is the 5th since the end of the conflict and comes when recent GDP data suggests a rebound in the economy and even the IMF acknowledging there aren’t any serious immediate risks. more..

Waking to reality after CHOGM

Nov 21 (DM) In the afterglow or aftermath of the CHOGM, whatever way in which different analysts may chose to look at it—the Rajapaksa regime’s eighth budget will be presented in Parliament today. The 2014 budget outlining the measures through which the govt wants to bridge the huge gap between growing expenditure and insufficient revenue will be presented by President Rajapaksa in his capacity as the Minister of Finance and Planning. For the past 25 years or more the budget has more..

Those who supported the war now demand war crimes inquiry

Nov 21 (DM) The British Prime Minister, speaking at the summit of Commonwealth nations over the weekend, repeated demands for an independent war crimes inquiry and set the deadline for March, before pressing for an international probe under UN auspices. Of course President Rajapaksa refused, and the govt suggested an internal arrangement. He lamely insisted that his regime has already started its own inquiries on reconciliation and missing persons, and relief was under way. more..

Kurshid’s valid concerns and Cameron’s bee in his bonnet

Nov 21 (DM) Political events over the last few days were dominant with the news that came from the CHOGM. Indian Minister Salman Kurshid had been busy dealing with multiple concerns related to bilateral issues in a very diplomatic way. Meanwhile, it seemed British PM David Cameron had one single obsession about the human rights record of SL, particularly in terms of the war carried out to end brutal terrorism more..

Mother alleges her infants were abused by husband

Nov 21 (SL) Questions have been raised as to whether the law enforcement authorities in the country are there to safeguard the politicians and their stooges or to maintain law and order in the country. If these institutions exist merely to look after the interests of the politicians and their kith and kin how can one expect justice from the country’s law enforcement authorities. It has been exactly the case of 39-year-old Lalini more..

'Country's economy is beyond restitution'

Nov 21 (DM) UNP MP Ravi Karunananayake, speaks to Daily Mirror expressing his views on the upcoming budget discussions in the aftermath of the CHOGM and the current political and economical situation of the country. Karunanayake who has been a MP for 19 years was also the former Cabinet Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs. Q: The budget discussions for 2014 are starting today. Where do you think the country is headed for with the 2014 budget? more..

SLN counters Aussie propaganda as ITAK prepares to launch new campaign

Nov 21 (Island) The ITAK is planning to launch a fresh campaign down under, close on the heels of Australia and Sri Lanka reaching a historic agreement to block Sri Lankan ‘illegals’ reaching Australia. ITAK General Secretary Mavai Senathirajah, MP, is expected to attend two fund raising events in Melbourne and Sydney, in late November and early December, respectively, to press for Australian intervention here. more..

Video: UK politicians want Sri Lanka to be made into a colony - Sajith

Nov 21 (AD) British MPs have unanimously proposed that Sri Lanka be made a colony of the UK, UNP MP Sajith Premadasa stated. Referring to the parliament sessions held in the UK, he stated that the British politicians, regardless of their political affiliations, had decided that an independent international inquiry needs to take place in SL and that this decision was in a way an attempt to make SL a colony. more..

'We understand PM's compulsion for skipping meet'

Nov 21 (AD) Q: Are you happy with level of India's participation at CHOGM? A: Commonwealth Summit was held in Asia after 24 years, therefore, highest-level participation from India was expected. Many in Sri Lanka were disappointed that the prime minister could not make to the CHOGM. But, our political leadership understood the political compulsions before the PM. To my mind our region would have benefited from Indian PM's more..

Three new hostels within three months

Nov 21 (CT) The Minister S.B. Dissanayake, at a discussion held with students from the University of Colombo yesterday, promised to build three new hostels within the next three months. The students had held a protest march at the Thunmulla Junction, against the administration of the university and their policies, pertaining to students' accommodation, demanding that the issues in this regard are addressed. more..

Secretary Defense calls on Pope Francis

Nov 21 (IL) His Holiness Pope Francis received Secretary of Defence Gotabaya Rajapaksa at an audience in the Vatican on Wednesday. Mr. Rajapaksa who visited the Vatican as the Special Envoy of His Excellency the President, conveyed to Pope Francis an invitation from President Mahinda Rajapaksa to visit Sri Lanka in the near future. During his visit, the Secretary also paid courtesy calls on dignitaries of more..

Opposition boycott budget speech

Nov 21 (CG) The opposition has decided to boycott the budget speech in Parliament today. President Rajapaksa will present the budget in Parliament. UNP and the JVP said they will not attend the speech. UNP MP Gayantha Karunathilaka said that the UNP Parliamentary group met today and decided to boycott the budget speech over several concerns. He said that one of the main concerns was the failure by the govt more..

Live blog: Budget 2014

Nov 21 (DM) 14.03 - Speaks about poultry, milk industries. 14.02- 20,000 milk cows to be imported to the country in order enhance milk manufacturing. 14.00 - I Proposed increase taxes for importing fish. Speaks about the importance of rejuvinating the fisheries industry throhg both infrastructre development, boats, and other methods. 13. 58 - Japan, India and China- we are trying to increase more avenues for export more..

What about everyday efficiency and courtesy?

Nov 21 (CT) The exemplary manner in which the Police Department handled the intricate traffic arrangements in Colombo throughout last week's CHOGM, especially during the peak hours, deserves every citizen's commendation. The continuous flow of vehicles transporting the VVIPs and their entourages without any major hiccups paved the way for the organizers of the CHOGM to adhere to their schedules with a certain degree of precision. Perhaps it helped that most of the more..

Pro-govt academics distorting Sri Lanka’s history – Kodituwakku

Nov 21 (CG) Some pro-govt academics by trying to make out that Sri Lanka obtained full independence only in 1956 were distorting the country’s history, the UNP said. Former Minister and current Kolonnawa organiser of the UNP, Karunasena Kodituwakku said that it was tragic to see so-called educated people deliberately distorting facts or displaying their ignorance. The argument adduced by them, Kodituwakku, noted was that Sri Lanka, then Ceylon by entering into a defence pact with more..

Daily Mirror Cartoon

No blood testing at Kalubowila Hospital

Nov 21 (CT) President of the Association of Medical Laboratory Technologists (MLT), Janaka Nishantha, charged that thousands of patients including those suffering from dengue who came to the Colombo South Teaching Hospital, Kalubowila, yesterday were highly inconvenienced due to the Ministry of Health's failure to buy the chemical (reagent) required for three coulter machines. The Hospital has five such machines that test blood - but three are reportedly out of order more..

Hardly any buses after 8 p.m.

Nov 21 (CT) The CHOGM in Colombo maybe over but there is yet another situation adding to the woes of commuters. There is a dearth of buses operating at night and by 8.00 p.m. in Colombo Fort, there are long queues of people waiting for buses to go home after work. General Secretary of the All Ceylon Private Bus Operators' Federation (ACPBOF), Anjana Priyanjith, said, "Right now there are no buses running in Colombo at night because the timetables have not been scheduled. more..

Females prime victims of internet hackers

Nov 21 (Island) Records available with Sri Lanka Computer Emergency Readiness Team (SLCERT) show that females are prime victims of internet hackers in the country. The exponential growth of the internet and computer technology over the past few years has led to the growth of online crime, dubbed cyber-crime, throughout the world. SLCERT Engineer Roshan Chandragupta said that females were prime targets of hackers, more..

Sri Lanka aims to increase trade with China

Nov 21 (Xinhua) President Rajapaksa on Thursday presented his govt's budget for 2014 projecting an economic growth of 7.5%. The budget contained a slew of important policies which were laid down to increase economic growth including trade with China, Japan and India. "We are trying to increase more avenues for export through bilateral exports with these countries," President Rajapaksa told parliament. This followed close on the heels of Sri Lanka and China holding discussions to more..

John says no case against Colombo Mayor

Nov 21 (Island) UNP MP and Chief Opposition Whip, John Amaratunga, said that Colombo Mayor A.J.M. Muzammil would not be asked to explain why he attended the recently concluded CHOGM in spite of a party decision to boycott the event. The UNP first decided to attend the CHOGM but following a protest at Siriotha, it decided to boycott the event in protest. However, the second decision had not been conveyed to Muzammil, who went ahead to attend the opening of CHOGM and gave his reasons more..

Dual citizenship: To offer or not to offer

Nov 21 (DM) Having dual citizenship status is literally having the best of both worlds. Many Sri Lankans who hold dual citizenship had a sense of superiority. They can enjoy all the benefits and facilities enjoyed by any Sri Lankan and also entitled to all the benefits and facilities of their adopted country. Some diaspora who obtained dual citizenship in the past used to engage in activities detrimental to the country. more..

Mahinda condoles with Russia

Nov 21 (CG) President Rajapaksa, in a letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin, offered his condolences to the families of those who lost loved ones when a passenger airliner crashed in the Russian city of Kazan earlier this week. “It is with deep sorrow and dismay that I learnt of the tragic loss of many lives in the air crash in the city of Kazan in the Tatarstan Republic of the Russian Federation on 17th Nov,” President Rajapaksa wrote in the message to President Putin. more..

Dr. Nonis, Mr. Azwer and clumsy PR

Nov 21 (CT) What was reported in western media in the aftermath of CHOGM sheds light on serious lapses on the part of the govt in terms of ‘Perception Management’ among the international community. One has to admit the fact that the Sri Lankan govt stepped into hosting CHOGM and threw itself into the limelight on a relatively bad wicket, so to speak, vis-à-vis the strong propaganda initiated by pro-LTTE Diaspora demonizing the Sri Lankan govt and armed forces over what happened during more..

'SL must punish human rights violators'

Nov 21 (PTI) Joining international demands for a proper inquiry into the alleged human rights violations during the war against the LTTE, Finance Minister P Chidambaram on Thursday. said Sri Lankan govt must investigate and punish those responsible for them. "I think the Sri Lankan govt owes a responsibility and a duty to its own people and the people all over the world to investigate the allegations of human rights violations and more..

Kelaniya PS Chairman guilty of corruption

Nov 21 (CT) "The corrupt practices of the Chairman of the Kelaniya Pradeshiya Sabha (PS), will no longer be tolerated," said five SLFP members of the PS. Kelaniya PS members, Dr. Jayantha Cabraal, Thilak Weerasinghe, N.P. Rohitha, Hishantha Athukorala and Indika Gooneratne, said the Chairman, Prasanna Ranaweera, will no longer have their support at the Kelaniya Pradeshiya Sabha. Dr. Cabraal said, "Our loyalty to the SLFP stopped us from revealing the Chairman's more..

Old Market Road in Matara re-named as Sir Ponnambalam Ramanathan

Nov 21 (GDI) Naming roads in the south with the names of Tamil leaders of the calibre of Sir Ponnambalam Ramanathan and the roads in the North with the names of leaders with Sinhala origin who had done immense service to the country, certainly would pave the way for inter-racial peace and harmony to get rid of the existent divide between the majority community and the other minorities living in Sri Lanka, said Minister Douglas Devananda. more..

Sri Lanka nationalist group protests against UK warning

Nov 21 (PTI) A Sri Lankan Buddhist nationalist group today staged a protest against British PM David Cameron’s warning to institute an international inquiry into the alleged human rights violations during the war against the LTTE. Activists of Ravana Balaya demonstrated in front of the UK’s embassy here demanding that Britain investigate the crimes of its own troops in British Ceylon in 1818. more..

UNP to keep Sajith’s name

Nov 21 (CG) The UNP Leadership Council (LC) which met at the parliamentary complex today, has decided to maintain the names of Sajith Premadasa and Thalatha Athukorala as members of the council despite both of them refusing to accept the positions. Both Premadasa and Athukorala had refused to be part of the LC when it was formed, citing several shortcomings. The LC was tasked with leading the party and will be the main decision making body of the UNP by taking over most more..

UK MP demands justice

Nov 21 (CG) British Parliamentarian Simon Danczuk has reiterated calls for justice for British tourist Khuram Shaikh who was killed in Tangalle in 2011 as a trial date has not yet been set. In an email to the Colombo Gazette, the British MP said that everyone connected with the campaign to achieve justice for Khuram and his family were pleased to see two of the most powerful people in Britain directly raise his case with President Mahinda Rajapaksa. more..

Sri Lanka raises telecom levy, ups taxes on foods, removes VAT exemptions

Nov 21 (LBO) Sri Lanka has raised a tax on telecom services and imposed import taxes on a series of foods and other goods to help favoured businessmen and removed value added tax exemptions. A tax on telecom services which include voice calls has been raised to 25% from 20%, but broadband services will continue to be taxed at a lower 10%, a budget for 2014 said. A 2% nation building tax has been extended to banks. more..

Maruti to Sri Lankan govt: Ease 60% mandatory export rule

Nov 21 (MC) Country’s largest carmaker Maruti Suzuki has asked the govt of Sri Lanka to relax the mandatory export clause for manufacturing, reports CNBC-TV18's Ronojoy Banerjee. According to domestic rules in the island nation any automaker setting up a manufacturing plant has to export a majority 60 percent of the cars produced this in an effort to position Sri Lanka as an export destination. This however, defeats the very purpose for which Maruti is setting up an assembly plant. more..

Iran Deploys Submarine to India & Sri Lanka

Nov 21 (TD) A submarine-escorted naval fleet set sailed from southern Iran for Mumbai and Colombo on Wednesday. As if Asia’s waters weren’t crowded enough with subsurface vessels, Iran has deployed one of its heavy submarines to South Asian waters as part of a larger naval fleet, according to the semi-official Fars News Agency, which has close ties with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). On Wednesday afternoon, Fars quoted Admiral Siyavash Jarreh, had said Iran’s Albor more..

'Ties with Lanka will continue to strengthen'

Nov 21 (PTI) India asserted that the PM's decision not to visit Sri Lanka for CHOGM was absolutely no "reflection" on the strength of the bilateral relationship and that the two countries need to work together as they cannot "wish away" each other. A top govt source also denied that by not going to Sri Lanka, India has lost some kind of "leverage" and said India's style of conveying its point was different from that of the UK. more..

Putin congratulates President on C’wealth Chairmanship

Nov 21 (AD) Russian President Vladimir Putin, in a phone conversation this evening, congratulated President Rajapaksa on the assumption of the Commonwealth Chair in Office. President Putin also reiterated his govt’s desire to continue the strong bilateral relations with Colombo, a sentiment that President Rajapaksa reciprocated. As the Head of Govt of the host nation, President Rajapaksa assumes the Chair in Office of the Commonwealth for the next two years. more..

There are 1050 betting and gaming centers in the country

Nov 21 (GDI) The Inland Revenue Department said that there are over 1050 prominent betting and gaming centers in the country and though these centers pay taxes to the Department, there is a large number of many other betting and gaming centers that evade taxes. Commenting on this subject, Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardene assured that the government will not issue any new licenses to open gambling centers but will regulate the ones that had been operating in the country. more..

Sri Lanka beat New Zealand and win series

Nov 21 (CI) Sri Lanka captain Dinesh Chandimal won the toss and chose to bowl first against New Zealand, on a grass-tinged Pallekele surface expected to assist seam bowling early in the evening. Offspinning allrounder Ramith Rambukwella was given a T20I debut for Sri Lanka, after several good List A and Twenty20 performances in recent months, particularly with the ball. His inclusion meant there was no place more..

Mobitel introduces ‘mCash’

Nov 21 (DM) Living by its credo of ‘We Care. Always.’ the National Mobile Service Provider, Sri Lanka Telecom Mobitel has introduced another life-style convenient service to its customers called ‘mCash’. ‘mCash’ will be available for all Post-Paid and Pre-Paid Mobitel customers by registering for a ‘mCash’ account via #111#. Customers can make monetary transactions and withdraw money from their ‘mCash’ account as well. Over 4,000 ‘mCash’ merchant points would more..

Sri Lanka gains popularity at Emirates Holidays

Nov 21 (LBO) Sri Lanka has become one of the top 10 most popular destinations in after being included in Emirates group's travel arm, officials said as outbound packages were also launched to customers in the island. "One of the fastest growing if not the fastest growing destination in our portfolio is Sri Lanka," Marc Bennet, senior vice president of destinations and leisure management said in Colombo. "As we roll out our technical abilities to sell holidays on and more..

Sri Lanka raises taxes on banks to increase revenue

Nov 21 (Reuters) President announced a 2014 budget that aims to help produce faster growth, a smaller budget deficit and a bigger stock exchange in Colombo. President Rajapaksa, who is also the finance minister, announced as well that a 2% "nation-building tax" that some industries already pay will be extended to banks and financial institutions. "We need money, and banks have plenty of money," more..