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Poetic maverick with wit and grit!

Oct 26 (Island) Muhandiram Dionysius Sepala Panditha Dahanayake of Galle was attending a religious ceremony at his local temple when he received the good tidings that his wife had gifted him with twin sons. The day was October 22, 1902. He named them Wijayananda and Kalyanapriya after his two favourite temples in which he served as a prominent dayaka. No one would have predicted then that the newly-arrived older twin would from humble provincial beginnings blaze a trail to more..

Cold war over coal fraud

Oct 26 (Island) Minister Champika Ranawaka, stated at a press conference on Oct 24 that coal is being imported for the use of Lakvijaya Coal Power Plant in Norochcholai since 2012 without official tender calling. "Coal was first imported for the power plant in 2009. The tender procedure has been highly dubious since then," he said. Minister Ranawaka summoned this press conference after Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi, stated more..

Taxes on Vehicle imports simplified

Oct 26 (Island) Budget 2015 presented in parliament on Friday has attempted to address many of the grievances across sectors. "The one clear thing that is apparent is that the calculation of the various levies on imported vehicles has been simplified with the consolidation of the taxes into one", Gihan Pilapitiya, Chairman of the Ceylon Motor Traders Association (CMTA), said. "The basis of calculation is still unclear but it is quite clear that, if at all, more..

Vehicle prices slashed by 25%

Oct 26 (ST) Prices of some vehicles are set to plunge by an average of 25 per cent with immediate effect, Deputy Treasury Secretary S. R. Arttygalle said. Following a budget proposal to reduce taxes on vehicle imports, taxes on all vehicles would be reduced regardless of engine capacity. The tax on a 1000cc vehicle will be reduced from 202% to 173% while similar tax reductions will apply to vehicles with 1600cc, 2000cc, and 3000cc engine capacity. The duty on cargo vans and 13 to 20 seater more..

France, Germany and the UK unite for cultural interaction with Sri Lanka

Oct 26 (Island) The European Union, particularly France, Germany and the UK signed the UNIC Convention aimed at strengthening cultural cooperation between the National Cultural Institutes of France, Germany and the United Kingdom. The Convention designed to improve and promote cultural dialogue between these countries would in consequence enhance intensive interaction with prevailing cultural mixes currently ongoing between these nations. more..

Moved by Buddhist monk’s work at Yala, family donates bowser

Oct 26 (ST) Moved by the plight of the animals at the Yala National Park a family from Nawala, Rajagiriya has donated a brand new water bowser to the Elephants, deer and monkeys were badly affected by the nine-month drought prevalent in the Hambantota District. Many died of thirst and their carcasses were found in different parts of the park. In a bid to assist these animals the Sithulpawwa Rock Temple Chief Incumbent Ven. Mataramba Hemarathana Thera initiated a novel project to provide more..

Distributing budget proposals: Scribes given step-motherly treatment

Oct 26 (Island) Journalists were inconvenienced during the Budget presentation on Friday due to the inordinate delay on the part of Finance and Planning Ministry officials in distributing copies of the proposals presented to Parliament by President Rajapaksa. The end result was that many in the print media were unable to include the entire contents of the President’s speech in the early editions of their newspapers. Officials assigned to distribute the copies of the Budget proposals more..

Northern travel ban provokes international warnings

Oct 26 (ST) A number of countries have revised their travel advisories to reflect recent Defence Ministry restrictions on foreigners wishing to go north of Omanthai. Among them are the United States, Canada, Britain, Germany, France, Australia and Japan. Most European countries have advised their citizens to exercise caution when visiting Sri Lanka with some urging them to avoid all non-essential travel to “certain areas”. more..

Reactions to budget 2015

Oct 26 (CT) President Rajapaksa presented Budget 2015 to Parliament on Friday amidst talks of a Presidential Election in January. Although the budget proposed a number of welfare schemes and concessions to the public, it came under severe criticism from the Opposition who questioned the practicality of the proposals. On the other hand, President kept criticizing the UNP throughout his Budget Speech, particularly over the privatization schemes carried out during the 2001-2004 period. more..

Japanese Foreign Minister’s Commendation awarded to Sri Lankan

Oct 26 (Island) Japanese Ambassador Nobuhito Hobo formally awarded the Foreign Minister’s Commendation to Lal de Alwis, Vice Patron of the Japan Sri Lanka Technical Cultural Association (JASTECA) on behalf of the Foreign Minister of Japan at a special ceremony held  at the Ambassador’s residence in Colombo  recently. July 24th  this year, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan announced the list of recipients for the Foreign Minister’s Commendation for the fiscal year 2014.  more..

Lone elephant to be sent to NZ Activists cry foul

Oct 26 (CT) Preparations are underway at the Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage (PEO) to send an elephant to the Auckland Zoo, despite allegations by animal welfare activists that the animal will undergo tremendous stress on this long journey. Reliable sources told Ceylon Today that prior to an elephant being sent overseas the animal has to be separated from the rest of the Pinnawela herd four months prior to its long journey and that when more..

Kalpitiya -tourism and encroachers

Oct 26 (ST) It’s been over a decade since govt undertook to transform Kalpitiya into a tourist destination. The Kalpitiya Integrated Tourism Resort Project is easily one of the biggest tourism projects undertaken by any govt to promote Sri Lanka as a tourist destination. Under the project industries are to be established in 14 fishing islands in Kalpitiya. The ownership of the islands have been vested in the state. This tourist destination was to include several areas of more..

Pay US$ 100 to enter a casino

Oct 26 (ST) An entrance fee of US$ 100 will be charged from casino patrons, announced President Mahinda Rajapaksa during the Budget speech on Friday. “I also propose to levy a US$ 100 per person entrance fee to premises where casino entertainment activities take place, and raise the Gaming Levy to 10 per cent of turnover, to raise revenue of Rs. 2,500 million,” the President announced. This is one way in which Government Revenue would be collected so as to provide a wide more..

Budget 2015: Education sector never had it so good

Oct 26 (ST) Education sector received a series of benefits including promotions to teachers, increase in Mahapola Scholarship and an allowance to students from low income families, from the Budget presented in Parliament by President Rajapaksa on Friday. Presenting the 2015 Budgetary allocations, President Rajapaksa also said that they hope to aid students and youth with new inventions and innovative ideas to build machinery within the country. more..

Grade 5 Scholarship exam candidates exceeding Cut-off mark declines

Oct 26 (ST) Grade 5 scholarship exam candidates who qualified to receive bursaries and become eligible to apply to established schools, has been on the decrease in the past few years, Education Ministry statistics reveal. According to statistics, of the 327,648 candidates who sat for the exam in 2014, nearly 32,750 or 9.99% obtained above the cut-off marks, while in 2013, it was 10.12% and 10.76% in 2012. Meanwhile, the percentage of candidates who obtained 70% and more..

Lankans arrested for abducting a Tamil

Oct 26 (CG) The Chennai city police have arrested three Sri Lankan nationals on charges of abducting a 28-year-old fellow national and Tamil filmmaker for a ransom of Indian Rs. 10 lakh. Two more suspects are on the run. The Valsaravakkam police said, the victim, Nirojen, had come to Chennai in 2007 to pursue a college education, and later, began working as an assistant director in various Tamil films. He then went on to make a short film that received much acclaim and more..

16 m Sri Lankans qualify for new Digital NICs

Oct 26 (DM) The Director of the Digital National Identity Card project Janaka Amarasinghe declared that 16 million Sri Lankans over the age of fifteen had qualified to receive the new Digital NICs in the near future. Based on the 2011 census, these individuals had qualified to receive these cards in the year 2016 and all arrangements are being made to issue these cards. These cards with international quality standards would not require more..

JVP mulls legal action over poll

Oct 26 (DM) JVP today said it would file legal action against the Commissioner of Elections if he announced a Presidential Election as anticipated next month, JVP Propaganda Secretary Vijitha Herath told a media briefing that his party would take legal action making the Commissioner of Elections as a respondent if the government declared a Presidential Election. Mr. Herath said his party had already informed this to the polls chief, when a delegation from his party met him recently. more..

Academics’, undergrads’ Innovations to be promoted on SLRC

Oct 26 (ST) Innovations of academics and undergraduates will be promoted with the objective of attracting a commercial market locally and internationally, Higher Education Ministry Secretary Dr Sunil Nawaratne said. He said that, currently, some of the research and innovations of undergraduates and lecturers do not go beyond the university, for want of a mechanism to promote them. He said, as an initial step, these findings will be publicised via TV programmes on Rupavahini, more..

Human rights group slams crackdown

Oct 26 (CG) Amnesty International, a leading international human rights group, has raised concerns over the police crackdown on students who protested near Parliament last week, saying it appears to be an escalating effort by officials to curb student activism. On 21 October, police fired teargas canisters into a crowd of university students protesting near Sri Lanka’s Parliament building, reportedly injuring 20 students, 12 of whom were hospitalized. more..

Fourth best: Disappointing but fair

Oct 27 (SL) Four successive fourth-place finishes is as good evidence as any to confirm Sri Lanka’s place in Asian rugby: Fourth. Though no.4 is a significant improvement on our rankings of between six and ten in past seasons not long ago, the decline from last year’s no.3 nonetheless bruises the ego. We thought we had taken our place in Asia’s top three for some seasons ahead. But after finishing fourth in all three legs of the Asian Sevens series as well as the Asian Games this year, more..

Is this the solution?

Oct 27 (SL) The news that a group of monks, representing the Ravana Balaya raided the office of the Chairman, Foreign Employment Bureau (FEB) on October 16, questioning the Chairman on his failure to protect the Sri Lankan migrant labour force in the Middle East, begs the question “Is this the solution?” The Convener of the Ravana Balaya, Ven. Ittakande Saddhatissa Thera, claimed that our labour force in the Middle East are ill-treated, harassed, sexually and physically abused more..

'Benefits will support five-hub concept'

Oct 27 (SO) The 2015 Budget received overwhelming commendation from the business community and civil society for the support extended to boost small and medium sector enterprises (SMEs), the backbone of the economy. Top corporate personalities hailed the budget for the consistence in government policy to accelerate economic growth through the SME sector which makes a salient contribution to rural livelihood development more..

De-proscription will re-energize LTTE rump

Oct 27 (NS) A European court lifting the proscription on the LTTE this week has generated a political storm but the implications of the verdict should not be taken lightly because it allows the terrorist group to regroup and reorganize and potentially threaten Sri Lanka again. The decision runs counter to the ‘zero tolerance’ policy towards terrorism in whatever shape or form, advocated by the United States and its allies which is presently making a hue and cry about battling the Islamic State (IS) more..

‘Abolish Presidency’ drama

Oct 27 (NS) “Give up Eelam, We will give up Presidency” the news item headline appeared in the media is an eye opener to those who cry for the abolishing of Presidency quite lavishly like a ‘mantra’ for curing all the ills one could have in this country. “Some people are asking a separate state and divide the country. Even the TNA is supporting that concept. Some sections of the Tamil Diaspora are also trying to divide the country. If those parties stop demanding Eealm in Sri Lanka more..

Politics at play – JHU

Oct 27 (SL) The JHU have been critical of the govt’s course of action regarding the country’s economy but said that there was still a possibility of reviving the economy through proper planning. The JHU had recently handed over a set of proposals to President Rajapaksa regarding certain changes that need to be made if the JHU is to remain with the Govt. Venerable Athuraliye Rathana Thera had earlier published a more..

Strategy in public policy: Continuous public consultations a must

Oct 27 (CT) The official name of the country called Sri Lanka is the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. One may wonder what this means because many other countries have chosen to call themselves just Republics. The list is extensive but some notable examples from this region are Republic of Korea, Republic of India, Republic of Singapore, Republic of Indonesia, Republic of Maldives and Republic of the Philippines and so on. The full list of the official names of the more..

Unlawful and unconstitutional alienation of land

Oct 27 (CT) The Bill that has been presented in the preamble says that first, it is in furtherance of the development policies being promoted by the Govt and in the backdrop of a globally integrated environment that it is deemed expedient and necessary to ensure the prudent use of land which is a limited resource. Now this ideal is most welcome and the Bill as a whole, or at least in the direction that it moves, is a welcome one. But there are several inadequacies in this; more..

The lament of a Diaspora Tamil

Oct 27 (NS) I am a Diaspora Tamil. That’s what I am called. Misnamed. Technically, I am an expatriate Sri Lankan Tamil, but the word ‘Diaspora’ reminds people of the Jews and therefore makes a case where there is none. Smart move by whoever started using that self-description. Political smartness doesn’t percolate to us ordinary folk though. It’s not like every Diaspora Tamil has equal rights and privileges. more..

Editorial: Budget - Political messages

Oct 27 (Island) President Rajapaksa’s tenth budget means different things to different people. Govt supporters have welcomed it as a huge relief package and the Opposition has rejected it lock, stock and barrel as complete eyewash. The UNP predicted that President  Rajapaksa would present a budget with an eye on the upcoming presidential election, but now it claims that he has not given any tangible relief to the public! No less a person than Treasury Chief Dr. P. B. Jayasundera said more..

Poetic maverick with wit and grit!

Oct 27 (Island) Muhandiram Dionysius Sepala Panditha Dahanayake of Galle was attending a religious ceremony at his local temple when he received the good tidings that his wife had gifted him with twin sons. The day was October 22, 1902. He named them Wijayananda and Kalyanapriya after his two favourite temples in which he served as a prominent dayaka. No one would have predicted then that the newly-arrived older twin would from humble provincial beginnings blaze a trail to more..

12 Sri Lanka foods visitors have to try

Oct 27 (CNN) The Teardrop of India or Pearl of the Indian Ocean are among many nicknames for Sri Lanka. But a more accurate description of the gorgeous nation might be the Island of Rice and Curry. Making liberal use of local fruit, such as coconut and jackfruit, seafood and an arsenal of spices, Sri Lankan cooking delivers an abundance of incredible dishes. Here are some you shouldn't miss. Fish ambul thiyal (sour fish more..

Capital Market boost expected from tax-linked budget proposals

Oct 27 (Island) The tax exemptions granted to Unit Trusts in Budget 2015 are an incentive given to the Capital Market, financial analysts said at a KPMG-organized session featuring Budget Highlights in Colombo, a few hours after the budget was presented on Oct 24. According to this proposal, profit and income arising or accruing to any Unit Trust from investments made, on or after 1, Jan 2015, in USD deposits or USD denominated securities listed in foreign stock exchange, more..

Seylan Bank to issue Rs. 6bn debenture issue

Oct 27 (LBO) Seylan Bank to issue debenture to raise six billion rupees which will be listed on the Colombo Stock Exchange and a formal application is to be submitted shortly, the bank said in a stock exchange announcement. The bank plans to offer about 30 million rated senior unsecured redeemable debentures at 100 rupees each. The bank says it plans to issue another 30 million of said debenture in the event of an over subscription. The interest rate options and the tenors more..

JVP mulls legal action over poll

Oct 27 (DM) JVP said it would file legal action against the Commissioner of Elections if he announced a Presidential Election as anticipated next month, JVP Propaganda Secretary Vijitha Herath said that his party would take legal action making the Commissioner of Elections as a respondent if the govt declared a Presidential Election. He said his party had already informed this to the polls chief, when a delegation from more..

Alert driver averts teen tragedy

Oct 27 (NS) He reads the newspaper while he waits. It’s just another day in his life, but within the next few minutes UL Ranjith will play a huge role in someone’s life, and he will also teach us all a valuable lesson on being mindful and quick. The morning was coming to an end on October 23, and a group of four were standing by the Wellawatte Beach. The boy strikes the girl, and she attempts suicide by jumping into the sea. The boy shouts for help and a bystander saves the girl. more..

BOI participates at ‘CEATEC Japan 2014’

Oct 27 (NS) The Board of Investment of Sri Lanka participated at CEATEC JAPAN 2014 exhibition which was held in Tokyo Japan from October 7 to 11, 2014. CEATEC JAPAN is a comprehensive exhibition of cutting-edge IT and electronics that provides information to a wide range of users including people in business, both inside Japan and internationally, by presenting the world's cutting-edge technologies, products and services, all under one roof. The exhibition was well attended by more..

Sri Lanka's recovery: Are new roads the way forward?

Oct 27 (BBC) Better, faster, smoother roads have been a central part of the govt's efforts to rebuild Sri Lanka after a long and brutal civil war and the 2004 tsunami. Jasmine Coleman takes a trip along some of these roads to see whether the distances between places - and people - have been bridged. Road north of Trinco takes you past hollowed-out homes - bare concrete stumps between here and the beach. more..

President Briefs SLAS Officers on Budget

Oct 27 (GDI) The govt has strengthened and streamlined the state service to obtain the maximum benefit for the country and the people, President Rajapaksa said. He further emphasised that the benefits of the budget proposals could be reached to the people only if the govt servants are committed to realize them. President was addressing a gathering of Sri Lanka Administrative Service (SLAS) officers at Nelum Pokuna Theatre, Sunday on the Budget 2015 proposals. more..

'SL to continue relaxing exchange controls'

Oct 27 (LBO) Sri Lanka will continue to liberalize exchange controls to encourage the investments that needed to maintain high economic growth and to link more with global business Central bank Deputy Governor P Samarasiri said. “In Sri Lanka, the exchange control environment is almost liberalized,” P Samarasiri, Deputy Governor of Central bank said. “Now the current account is fully liberalized, with no control for import, export or services; it is fully liberalized,” more..