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Ceylon Chamber on 2015 Budget

Oct 28 (CT) The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce issued a measured statement on the 2015 Budget and while commending many proposals, it raised concerns about revenue generation and the 'over emphasis' on subsidies and welfare transfers sans productivity improvements, and requesting the State machinery upgraded its financial accounting standards. "The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce welcomes the commitment to continued fiscal consolidation in the Budget 2015, particularly the projected lowering more..

Colombo port city is to undergo a multidisciplinary marina study

Oct 28 (LBO) Sri Lanka’s Colombo port city is to undergo a multidisciplinary marina study by Atkins, one of the world's leading design, engineering and project management consultancies, a media release said. Atkins has been appointed by China Harbour Engineering Company to assess the opportunity of incorporating a marina into the proposed 2.5sqkm mixed use Colombo Port City development in Sri Lanka, atkinsglobal said. The full text of the media release issued by atkinsglobal more..

NatWealth Securities says the Mahapola Fund exceeds Rs.6 bn with efficient management

Oct 28 (ST) In the wake of Sri Lanka university student’s recent allegations of financial misappropriation and irregularities against the management of Mahapola Scholarship Trust Fund and demand of increasing Mahapola bursary, NatWealth Securities Ltd (NWSL), a unit of National Wealth Corporation (NWCL), managers of the fund says that they are managing it efficiently with strength and stability. A top official of the company in an e-mail communique to more..

NCCSL says Budget 2015 is future-oriented

Oct 28 (FT) The National Chamber of Commerce of Sri Lanka (NCCSL) yesterday welcomed Budget 2015 and described it as being “future-oriented and inclusive.” “It is inclusive since it has looked at not just the industries and business communities, but also health, education and benefits for students and pensioners. I say it is future-oriented because some of the initiatives that taken are really looking at the 2020 scenario, a time at which the world will be a different place,” more..

MPMC carries out 100th delivery at OPL

Oct 28 (FT) MPMC carried out its 100th delivery at OPL Hambantota on the 25th of October 2014 to MV Gelbray Express. The vessel was on its way from Australia to the Gulf with a full load of livestock, which was on a tight schedule. The vessel was supplied 400mt of IFO at anchorage within four hours from arrival to departure. MV Gelbray Express is a Singapore-flagged brand new vessel built in 2014 on its voyage from Freemantle, Australia to Eilat in Israel with a full cargo of 4,315 cattle. more..

Moody’s says Budget 2015 signals continued deficit reduction; debt burden a concern

Oct 28 (FT) International rating agency Moody’s yesterday that the 2015 Budget presented by President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Friday signalled continued fiscal deficit reduction. “Authorities were able to more than meet their target for the budget deficit in 2014, and aim to bring the deficit lower in the next year. Continued deficit reduction is premised on stronger economic and higher tax revenues, as expenditures will rise further in 2015. more..

Corporates react to Budget 2015

Oct 28 (CT) Still seeking consistency, corporate leaders commended some of the proposals in the 2015 Budget but expressed concern that these gains would be negated by other proposals in the same budget and by a lethargic, colossal bureaucracy at implementation stage. The following corporate leaders shared their thoughts with Ceylon FT: Hayleys Group Senior Economist, Deshal de Mel: "The budget envisages an increase in government expenditure of around 15%. more..

UNP MPs granted bail

Oct 28 (CT) Six persons, including four UNP MPs, who were accused of forcibly entering a govt facility in the Colombo Port were granted bail yesterday by Colombo Fort Magistrate, Thilina Gamage. The Colombo Fort Magistrate released the UNP MPs Ravi Karunanayake, Namal Bandara, R. Yogarajan and Ajith P. Perera on personal bails of Rs 1 million each. The Fort Magistrate last Thursday ordered the MPs to appear before the Court yesterday for allegedly forcing their way into more..

Bangladesh to export 50,000 T rice to Sri Lanka

Oct 28 (Reuters) Bangladesh will export 50,000 tonnes of rice to Sri Lanka for the first time under a govt-to-govt deal at $450 a tonne including cost, freight and insurance, Food Minister Mohammad Karmul Islam said on Monday. Strong output and good government stocks have prompted the Bangladesh govt to initiate the plan to export rice. "We have sufficient stock, and our production is also good. So there will be no crisis due to rice export," more..

Google Earth takes close up of North

Oct 28 (CG) Google Earth today announced that it had made available satellite images of a village in Nagarkovil in Northern Sri Lanka to help humanitarian work in the area. Julian Mann, Skybox co-founder and Developer Advocate of Google Earth Outreach said that HALO Trust previously cleared landmines in this area and used updated imagery to help verify that people are returning, having built 84 houses and cultivating over 40 hectares of agricultural land. more..

2015 Budget a rap version of past ones: Kabir

Oct 28 (FT) Highlighting similarities and certain promises made since 2005, Opposition lawmakers claimed the 2015 Budget was nothing more than a “rap version” of the previous Budget speeches delivered since 2005 by President Rajapaksa. Kicking off the debate on the Appropriation Bill, Opposition lawmaker Kabir Hashim stated that key factors essential for any Budget were missing and the proposals were nothing more than an attempt to fool the public in order to remain in power. more..

Two-thirds of Lankan refugees want to remain in India

Oct 28 (Hindu) A survey by Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Mumbai, conducted among the one-lakh-odd Sri Lankan Tamil refugees in India has found that 67% of those interviewed wanted to remain in India. Only 23% of the 520 families surveyed wanted to return to the island nation, while 4% wanted to migrate to a third country where they have relations, according to the survey. Study titled ‘Exploring Durable Solutions for SL Tamil Refugees more..

More MPs from both sides absent

Oct 28 (CT) The habit of Govt and Opposition members keeping away from the House during oral question time was now on the rise, Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa said. Opposition had often criticized govt ministers for keeping away from the Chamber at question time. But, yesterday, Speaker noted that that trend had spilled over to the Opposition. "Now, Opposition MPs, who ask questions, and ministers who are supposed to answer them, are both absent, and it seems to be a growing habit," more..

SL women’s cricket sex scandal to be investigated

Oct 28 (DM) Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) Executive Committee decided at an emergency meeting yesterday to conduct an immediate inquiry into claims that members of Sri Lanka women’s cricket team management and national selectors had to be bribed sexually by Sri Lanka women’s cricketers if they were to get selected to the national team and keep their places. These shocking allegations had been made in a local media report last week, and the exco members had felt more..

S&M rice millers close down

Oct 28 (CT) Consequent to the government’s biased and lopsided policies on agriculture, small and medium paddy mill owners in Pollonaruwa face grave difficulty, the All Ceylon Peasant Farmers’ Union (ACPFU) said yesterday (27). ACPFU National Convener, Namal Karunaratne, said the problems had led to many small and medium paddy mills going out of business. He added, government’s policies were directed at assisting large scale paddy mill owners. more..

Four DIGs among police transfers

Oct 28 (CT) Four Deputy Inspectors General (DIGs), with several high ranking police officials, have been transferred with immediate effect. In addition to the four DIGs, four Senior Superintendents of Police (SSPs) three Superintendents of Police (SPs) and Assistant Superintendents of Police (ASPs) have been given transfer orders. Eight Officers-in-Charge (OICs) have also been transferred effective yesterday. Police said that transfers were made according to service requirements. more..

Elections Chief off to New Delhi

Oct 28 (Island) Commissioner of Elections Mahinda Deshapriya left this morning to participate in the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Association of Asian Elections Authorities (AAEA) scheduled to be held in New Delhi on Oct 29 and 30. The discussions would centre on the methods to restore and hold elections in a transparent manner with monitors, so as to uphold democracy in Asia. Commissioner was accompanied by a senior member of the Elections Secretariat Rizwan Manzil Hameed. more..

Sharma offers more help to the LLRC

Oct 28 (CG) Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma today offered to continue assisting in the implementation of the recommendations of the LLRC, as required. Sharma made the offer when he called on President Mahinda Rajapaksa at Temple Trees this morning to brief the current Commonwealth Chair-in-Office on the ongoing work and progress of objectives agreed upon at the CHOGM 2013 that took place in Colombo last November. more..

Probe over UNP carrots in Parliament

Oct 28 (CG) An investigation was ordered into some carrots brought inside Parliament by UNP MP Nalin Bandara Jayamaha. UPFA MP Janaka Bandara, who chaired Parliament proceedings at the time the carrots were placed on the table in front of the UNP MP, issued instructions to investigate the issue. Govt raised concerns over the carrots being brought into the House saying it could be a security threat. The Parliament Chair then issued instructions to Parliament security to see if more..

'JHU has still not decided to leave govt:' Rathana Thera says after meeting MR

Oct 28 (AM) JHU MP Athuraliye Rathana Thera - who met President Rajapaksa for a special meeting this evening - said that the JHU has still not decided to leave the govt." Govt also wants us to stay and we too need to bring the govt to the right track" Rathana Thera, who took part in a political talk show on TNL, soon after the meeting said. "Our attempt is to tame the govt and point out its mistakes. We are not here to start any fight, " Rathana Thera said clarifying the stance of the JHU. more..

Top UN team to visit Jaffna while here

Oct 28 (CG) The United Nations Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED), which begins a three-day focused country visit to Sri Lanka, today, will also visit Jaffna, the UN office in Colombo said. The official mission to Sri Lanka, which will stress the importance of a comprehensive approach to countering terrorism in accordance with the principles of the rule of law including human rights, as requested by the Security Council, more..

Where's the money to give "goodies"

Oct 28 (CG) Former Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva said last Friday's Budget does not disclose how the govt proposes to bridge the huge budget deficit, that will occur when the several concessions mentioned in it are delivered to the people. He said a Budget is all about income and expenditure and how the deficit is to be bridged, "but in this Budget it is all expenses and no income." He said that if the Budget proposals are carried out, the govt is going to fall into more..

Sleeping Nimal Siripala says Budget 2015 is not a Bonanza

Oct 28 (AM) While denying allegations that the government has bribed the public with the Budget 2015, Minister of Irrigation and Leader of the House Nimal Siripala de Silva said budget proposals offered formidable solutions to issues on the ground. “The President has always provided for the needs of the people, this times Budget is a turning point for the country, the President should be appreciated unconditionally for his commitment to grant this relief”, more..

One arrested for collecting signatures on blank UN war crimes complaint forms

Oct 28 (Island) Acting on information received from the public, the police have arrested a person tasked by the TNA to collect signatures on blank ‘UN war crimes complaints forms’ in the Vanni region. A senior security official said that the suspect had undergone compulsory LTTE combat training for about a month during the war. Responding to a query, official alleged that the suspect had been seen in the Mulankavil area, arrested over the weekend more..

UPFA continuing to flog a dead horse

Oct 28 (DM) It has been confirmed now that a presidential election is to be held early next year, either in January or March and the people are to be given an opportunity to elect a person to take over their destiny for the next six years or at least four years. However, the basis on which the people are going to elect their next President is not clear because potential candidates are not prepared to present their credentials for the job. Rather they are poised to discredit their rivals more..

A Bhikkhu’s Bouquet for Indian Premier

Oct 28 (DM) The celebrated visit of the Indian PM Narendra Modi, to Japan, stirred considerable interest everywhere in the world. This was the Indian PM’s first official visit to Japan. But, as a Sri Lankan Buddhist monk, long resident in Japan, I am able to discern some facets of this recent visit as Buddhists in Sri Lanka, do in fairness to all Buddhists and to those who believe in religious tolerance. PM Damodardas Modi, is widely reputed as a staunch Hindu devotee. more..

Drought or deluge: Farmers must learn to adapt

Oct 28 (ST) Leading climatologists say Sri Lanka’s farmers must adapt to increasing intensity of weather patterns, whether heavy rains or severe drought, both of which are now simultaneously hitting the agricultural sector. The current combination of drought and heavy rain is producing tons of unsaleable rotting vegetables in some parts of the country while in drought-hit areas paddy farmers face the bleak prospect of more..

A demand for 6% of GDP

Oct 28 (SL) Several education unions went about town holding placards last week in support of countrywide protests staged by both the public and private sectors hoping that their demands would be addressed by the 2015 budget. Many trade unionists are of the view that the only way they could make authorities take notice of their demands is through protests. Education unions have had a list of long-standing demands which included more..


Oct 28 (CT) The much awaited talks between Ven. Sobhitha Thera and UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe to decide on a common candidate, for the anticipated Presidential Election in January, ended in a stalemate last Saturday, informed sources said. The Convener of the National Movement for Social Justice, Ven. Sobhitha Thera and Wickremesinghe met at the Naga Viharaya, in Kotte. more..

EPDP's Thavarajah rants against TNA 'Can't even get its legislation right'

Oct 28 (CT) Northern Provincial Council (NPC) Opposition Leader Sinnathurai Thavarajah charged that the TNA led NPC could not get even its legislation right despite Chief Minister C.V. Vigneswaran being a retired Supreme Court judge. "This is serious, that the TNA has submitted only three statutes within the last one year, two of which have been passed and the third, which has been rejected," more..

Sri Lanka Cricket to hire a Psychologist to break final jinx

Oct 28 (AM) Sri Lanka Cricket Board (SLC) has decided to obtain services of a psychologist for the Sri Lanka National Cricket team. The decision was taken at a special executive meeting held at the SLC premises yesterday. According to SLC sources, the country's cricket authorities have made this decision on the grounds that the Sri Lankan team has failed in two finals in two successive ICC world cups in 2007 and 2011. more..

Pope will arrive on January 13

Oct 28 (Island) Both Presidential Election and Papal visit would take place in January, sources said last night contrary to speculation that the Pope would not visit a country close to an election. Pope Francis would arrive at the BIA on Jan. 13 and meet the Bishops Conference of Sri Lanka at Archbishop’s House, Borella and then proceed to Temple Trees to call on President Rajapaksa. The Pope will also meet inter-religious leaders on more..

Don’t ink MoU on oil supply: Tissa

Oct 28 (DM) The govt should not sign an MoU with the foreign companies for the supply of oil at current price as crude oil prices would tend to go down by next year, UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake said. “International economic experts have forecasted that a barrel of crude oil could be reduced to 50-60 dollars by next year. But the govt is going to sign an agreement with Emirates National Oil Company and Petro China in more..

Presidential Polls SLMC to decide on Friday

Oct 28 (CT) SLMC will meet on Friday to decide on their stand in regard to the forthcoming Presidential Elections. "We are currently gathering comments from the people. On Friday, the Party's high command will meet at our party headquarters to decide on our stand vis-à-vis the forthcoming Presidential Election and we shall most probably state our stand after the official announcement of election has been made," more..

'EU helping revive monster'

Oct 28 (Island) The European Union Court’s decision to de-list the LTTE as a terrorist organisation would not be a challenge to the presidential election scheduled to be held in January, Deputy Minister Faizer Mustapha said. The European Court of Justice (ECJ) recently ordered the Council of European Union to annul the restrictive measures it had ordered in 2006 against the LTTE. By doing so, the EU court had more..

UNP pledges to continue with Gaveshana Charika at any cost

Oct 28 (AM) UNP MP Ajith P Perera said that the party would not halt its 'gaveshana charika' fact finding programme under any circumstance. Under this programme, the UNP MPs visit state run institutions and look into core problems concerning them. Last week, under the same programme, a group of UNP MPs visited the defense training school of the Sri Lanka Ports Authority to see whether state resources more..

Budget day delays: Speaker looks into media grievances, finds quick remedies

Oct 28 (Island) Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa visited the Press Room of Parliament to inquire into complaints of inconvenience journalists had to undergo during the Budget presentation by President Rajapaksa last Friday due to inordinate delays on the part of some officials of the Finance and Planning Ministry and Parliament staff to provide them with fax facility. Accompanying Speaker were Deputy Speaker Chandima Weerakkody, UPFA MP AHM Azwer and more..

A presidency under threat: Information gaps

Oct 28 (CT) In my student days I had a great friend who simplified Wittgenstein into the theory that people simply created their own mythology. That was a satirical idea, used about the more obsessive amongst us, but I fear it is the most suitable image for what is now happening in govt. And the saddest aspect of such personal mythologies is that those who create them begin to believe them, and become enthralled by their own vision of the world, even if it has no connection with reality. more..

Is 'organic' a label in Sri Lanka?

Oct 28 (CT) Common sense dictates that if one consumes the healthiest food to live a good life and in this pursuit of a healthy life, price is immaterial. Marketing tells us, that we need to buy 'organic' food and not the commercially grown food which come with a cocktail of chemicals in it. The question however, is how does the consumer know what 'organic' means? Can he/she trust the label or certificate on the packet? more..

Sri Lanka stocks close higher

Oct 28 (LBO) Stocks closed 0.08% higher with tobacco and beverage stocks gaining amid strong foreign buying into diversified holdings. All Share Price Index closed 6.04 points higher at 7,227.12, up 0.08%. The S&P SL20 closed 6.12 points lower at 4,008.10, down 0.15%. Turnover was 1.66 billion rupees, up from 986.45 million rupees a day earlier with 95 stocks closed positive against 97 negative. John Keells Holdings closed 80 cents lower at 249.10 rupees with eight off market more..