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'Power consumers denied concessions worth Rs. 80 billion'

Feb 1 (Island) Electricity consumers would have received concessions worth around Rs. 80 billion in 2014 if the Treasury had permitted the implementation of the "cost based price formula for electricity" worked out by the power regulatory body, Public Utilities Commission (PUCSL),’ a senior CEB official asserted. In 2014, the CEB sought a staggering Rs. 256 billion from the Treasury to cover expenditure, but PUCSL clearly pointed out more..

Appeal Court prohibitory order sought on passing Constitutional changes

Feb 1 (Island) A case has been filed in the Appeal Court seeking a prohibitory order on passing the Constitutional changes as an Urgent Bill. Argument that Constitutional changes cannot be made through an Urgent Bill was presented by Dharshan Weerasekara in a paper that appears in the foreign policy journal of 2012. It has been noted that the Constitution sets out a regular procedure for enacting Constitutional amendments, more..

Litro ‘rejected lower gas tender’ and public paid price

Feb 1 (ST) Consumers were forced to pay extra to purchase gas over the past two years as state-owned Litro Gas Lanka Ltd made an arbitrary decision to obtain gas supplies at a higher price despite international offers available at better rates, former employees have claimed. A complaint lodged by ex- employees of Litro Gas was handed in to the Minister of Finance Ravi Karunanayake last week. more..

Havelock City accident still a mystery

Feb 1 (Island) The death of a four-year-old child, presumed to have fallen from the 22nd floor of the Havelock City apartment complex on Jan. 24, remains shrouded in mystery with investigations continuing. If the girl fell off from where the accident is believed to have happened, the big question is how a child a little over three feet tall could have reached the handle of the emergency exit door to get into the fire escape balcony more..

UN pushes for credible process

Feb 1 (CG) UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has stressed on the importance of Sri Lanka establishing credible accountability mechanisms on the war, which meet international standards. Eri Kaneko at the Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General said that advancing accountability, like other parts of the post-war agenda in Sri Lanka, will lay the basis for the country to make further progress on peace, more..

All UDA projects under microscope

Feb 1 (ST) The Govt is reviewing all projects under the UDA – from low-income housing to mega development schemes – to ascertain their feasibility. The “usefulness and cost estimates and stipulated prices” of some UDA and Land Reclamation Board bear investigation, the newly appointed Secretary to the Ministry of Urban Development, Karunasena Hettiarachchi, said. UDA would maintain completed projects for more..

Oil leak at Orugodawatte

Feb 1 (DM) Nearly one hundred persons have taken oil in containers from the spot where the oil leak took place in Orugodawatte, some employees attached to CPC charged. President of the Jathika Sevaka Sangamaya (JSS) CPC Branch Ananda Palitha said that nearly 100 persons had taken aviation oil from KambikuduwaWatte in Orugodawatte this morning. He said the some have taken as much as 15 liters. more..

‘We are legit’ – CSN insists

Feb 1 (NS) The management of Carlton Sports Network (CSN) insists that the network has been transparent with regard to its dealings and would be meeting govt officials this week in a bid to clarify certain issues. Chief Operating Officer (COO) of CSN, Janaka Ranatunga, said they have sought meetings with both the Media and Sports Ministers this week to explain to them the policies behind the development of a dedicated sports network. more..

An Elephant in the Room

Feb 1 (Island) It is good to see that the new Government taking the positive first steps, giving emphasis to India relations as the nearest regional power and restoring ties with the US and the EU, the biggest export markets rendered vulnerable since some time to human rights concerns. The President’s Manifesto was unusually specific on certain areas of Sri Lanka’s foreign relations, as for example: "Our Indian policy will take into due consideration the diversity of India. more..

Lessons of Syriza victory for JVP-JHU-Sobitha

Feb 1 (Island) Leftist Syriza led by charismatic Alexis Tsipraz won 149 seats in the Greek parliamentary elections of 25 January falling two short of an absolute majority in the 300-member parliament needed to govern without the burden of an encumbering coalition. In 2012 Syriza took 27% of the vote to emerge as the second largest party, last week it won 37% and came first. It got 3.3% in 2004 and 5.4% in 2007. 250 parliamentary seats are distributed proportionally, more..

Debate over CJ overshadows Robin Hood budget

Feb 1 (CT) Exactly 21 days after the masses of the country decided to bring about a change in country's administration through the ballot, the new govt seems to have expressed gratitude through its maiden budget. Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake, making his longest speech so far in Parliament on Thursday, presented the interim budget, which pledged a lot of concessions and benefits to the general public while more..

Canteen owners cut prices

Feb 1 (DM) The canteen owners have announced that prices would be reduced from tomorrow. Accordingly the price of a packet of lunch, Kottu, would be reduced by Rs. 10 while a new price of cup of plain tea would be Rs. 10; a cup of milk tea would be reduced by Rs 5. In addition, the price of hopper will be fixed as Rs. 10. All Ceylon Canteen Owners Association Convener Asela Sampath said a mechanism would be put in place to decide on the prices of food sold in canteens. more..

Wigi backs K. Sripavan as the CJ

Feb 1 (CG) Northern Province Chief Minister and former Supreme Court Judge C V Wigneswaran welcomed the appointment of Justice K Sripavan as the new Chief Justice. Wigneswaran said that Sripavan deserved to be appointed as the Chief Justice adding that his appointment will go well for the legal system in Sri Lanka. “He is a good man and we can expect some good through his appointment,” he said. However he noted that a change cannot be expected overnight more..

Only apples from California contaminated

Feb 1 (NS) Public Health Inspectors (PHI) Union said they had received instructions from the Health Ministry that only apples originating from the US state of California needed to be removed from the market. They revealed that these are suspected to have been contaminated with the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes. Listeriosis is a rare but serious illness caused by eating food contaminated with this bacterium. more..

No move to lift ban on diaspora

Feb 1 (CG) The new govt says it has no intention of lifting the ban imposed on the several Tamil Diaspora groups for their alleged involvement with the LTTE and over attempts to revive terrorism in the country. Deputy Foreign Minister Ajith P. Perera said new govt hopes to maintain the ban imposed on the organisations that were alleged to have links with the LTTE. When inquired if the new govt would consider lifting the ban, he added that there had not been any discussion or consideration by more..

Customs unearth a millions of rupee BOI scam

Feb 1 (DM) In a shocking revelation, Sri Lanka Customs said it had unearthed a massive scam of evading millions of rupees as taxes by two BOI Approved companies in the textile industry that had imported over 300 containers during the last few years without paying duty. A senior Customs official said that the investigation had been conducted for the past few weeks where the detectives have found that the perpetrators had imported various types of fabrics and garments as raw material to more..

Ruwan to check ground situation in North & East this week

Feb 1 (Island) State Minister for Defence Ruwan Wijewardene is undertaking a tour of the Northern and Eastern Provinces later this week in accordance with the new govt’s overall plan to re-examine the ground situation there, senior officials said. Wijewardene is scheduled to receive briefings from the military at Security Forces headquarters in Palaly on Jan. 6 followed by visits to Kilinochchi, Mullaitivu and Vavuniya on the following day. more..

Stock market slump draws foreign buyers

Feb 1 (EN) Foreign investors made use of the collapse in Sri Lankan share prices after a govt budget imposed hefty new taxes on large companies to emerge as net buyers last week, brokers said. Govt's interim budget imposed a 25% retroactive 'super gain' tax on companies which earned over two billion rupees as well as other one-off taxes on telecom and liquor firms. The new taxes aimed at increasing govt revenue largely to fund a massive pay hike given to state workers. more..

Talawakelle demonstrators call-off protest

Feb 1 (AD) The police fired tear gas to disperse a group of protesters near the Talawakelle railway station, a short while ago, Ada Derana reporter said. Badulla -Colombo bound train also had been halted at the Talawakelle railway station, for few hours, as the protesters were blocking railroad tracks, this morning. The protest was launched following the suspicious death of a man who died while in the custody of Talawakelle police, last afternoon. However, police issuing a statement denied more..

Video: Bakers want more to make price cuts

Feb 1 (DM) Bakery owners today came up with fresh demands if they were to maintain price cuts for their products as announced in the mini budget. The All Ceylon Bakery Owners Association (ACBOA) called for the removal of VAT from their products and for the removal of income duty levied from margarine if they were to reduce the price of short-eats by Rs. 5 in accordance with price reduction of wheat flour. more..

Thumbs up for President’s anti-tobacco drive

Feb 1 (NS) We are happy and much relieved that the new government under the leadership of His Excellency President Maithripala Sirisena is committed to good governance, democracy and social justice and had taken another golden initiative to increase the percentage of Pictorial Health Warnings on tobacco products to 80% of surface area of cigarette packs by approving it through the Cabinet, this week. Of the 100 million people died in the 20th century due to tobacco smoking, more..

Death of Army warrant officer on UN peace keeping mission in Haiti

Feb 1 (Island) Warrant Officer II A.P.S. Pushpakumara of II Vijayabahu infantry Regiment (VIR) who had been serving the UN Peace Keeping Mission in Haiti, died suddenly of a cardiac failure on admission to the Level III Hospital in Dominican Republic on Thursday. Warrant Officer II Pushpakumara (39), who had actively contributed to the successful completion of the humanitarian operations during 1995-2009 was awarded the Rana Sura Padakkama (RSP, in recognition of more..

Sovereign Bonds on sale govt to raise Rs 200B

Feb 1 (CT) Sri Lanka will borrow from international commercial markets a sum equivalent to nearly Rs 200 billion (US$ 1.5 billion) in US dollars before the June General Election, to meet its external commitments. This was approved by Parliament, prior to presidential poll. The conversion has been made on the basis that one US dollar is equivalent to Rs 132.20 in administered, interbank spot trading at present. more..

Taxation in a labyrinth of confusion exacerbates budget balancing

Feb 1 (Island) The pre-budget hype was that the government’s 100-day program would be user-friendly and more importantly, result in a reduction of prices of essentials. This would mean that prices of basics would be brought down. Minister of Finance, Ravi Karunanayake adhered to pre–budget speculation and announced price reductions in most basic consumer essentials. Subject to his skills in balancing the budget and how such reductions would bridge the void between largesse and more..

Withdraw proposal to send Tamil refugees back to Sri Lanka: MDMK

Feb 1 (PTI) Erstwhile NDA ally MDMK today urged the Centre not to go ahead with the proposal for sending back Sri Lankan Tamil refugees to their country, claiming that the move is aimed at preventing action against the island nation govt in the UNHRC. "The measures taken to repatriate Sri Lankan Tamils is to prevent action against SL govt for the alleged human rights violation in UN. MDMK urges India to withdraw it proposal to send the refugees to their home towns in Sri Lanka," more..

Maithri Pilisandara | මෛත්රී පිළිසඳර

On Independence Day govt to sympathize with war-affected

Feb 1 (CT) Following the recommendations of the LLRC, Cabinet has approved a proposal to make a statement on peace at the 67th Independence Day Celebrations, to be held on 4 Feb. Ministers Ajith P. Perera and Joseph Michael Perera, taking into consideration the LLRC recommendations, have proposed to express sympathy and cooperation with the war-affected in the country, and to pledge that it will be dedicated in unity to prevent recurrence of such situations in the future. more..

Debate on CJ issue in Parliament tomorrow

Feb 1 (ST) Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa has taken the unusual step of convening Parliament tomorrow by a special Gazette notification, two days ahead of the scheduled date, on a request by PM Ranil Wickremesinghe. Parliament was to meet on Feb 5 after the conclusion of this year’s Independence Day celebrations but due to the demand by several opposition legislators for an earlier date to debate the removal of Mohan Peiris and reinstatement of Shirani Bandaranayake as Chief Justice, more..

Sri Lankan links emerge in probe

Feb 1 (CG) The documents handed over by the US to India in connection with the probe into the plot to carry out terror strikes on American and Israeli consulates in the South have established communication between Sakir Hussain, undergoing jail term in the case, and ‘Shahjee’, a Pakistani national introduced to the accused allegedly by a Pakistani diplomat working in Colombo. NIA, which has carried out the probe into the conspiracy more..

Let realism, not rhetoric, define ties with Colombo

Feb 1 (ENS) The defeat of President Rajapakse in the elections he had called, with two years remaining in his second term, demonstrated the vibrancy and maturity of Sri Lankan democracy to its neighbours and to distant capitals, from London to Washington. While India was circumspect and correct in welcoming the elections as a manifestation of the strength of democratic institutions in Sri Lanka, the results were seen as a rejection of authoritarian family rule. more..

A US$ 16 Mn aircraft ordered by previous regime for President revoked

Feb 1 (GDI) An order placed by the previous govt for a new aircraft with modern facilities to be used by the former President has been revoked, said President Maithripala Sirisena. He said instead, the money would be utilised to buy spare parts for the aircraft of SriLankan Airlines and Mihin Lanka which would be merged. The aircraft, at an estimated cost of US$ 16 million, was to be paid for from Treasury funds, and the decision to halt the purchase was taken in consultation with PM more..

Bribery Commission receives over 300 complaints

Feb 1 (ST) Out of over 300 complaints received by the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption 47 cases are major corruption allegations. Preliminary investigations on all complaints received have started while action is now being taken on complaints received before the election. Passports of a number of VIPs have been impounded in rapid succession. Major complaints received by more..

Sri Lankans have the team to go that extra mile

Feb 1 (GN) Sri Lanka has always been an under rated side when it comes to World Cups. Neither have they been ever tagged as ‘favourite’ nor would have many been bullish on them, apart from their purist supporters. However, repeatedly they have proven they are a unit that cannot be taken lightly. The blue carders have risen to the occasion many a times, stunned the best and have even gone all the way. Having made it to back-to-back World Cup finals in 2007 and 2011, more..

Steep drop in Jaffna vegetable prices

Feb 1 (ST) The prices of many vegetables have reduced sharply in the Jaffna Peninsula over the past one week with farmers saying excess produce was being sent to other parts of the country. A kilo of green chillies was yesterday selling at Rs.300, carrot at Rs. 140, capsicum at Rs. 300, tomatoes at Rs. 240, cabbage at Rs. 100, brinjals at Rs. 100 and string beans at Rs. 120 per kilo, officials at the Thirunelvely vegetable market in Jaffna said. During the whole of last week green chillies were more..

'Govt to investigate LTTE'

Feb 1 (CG) The Govt says it will investigate the LTTE activities over the past few years including its funding and alleged links it had with the former Govt. PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said that the Govt wants to know what happened to the funds of the LTTE. “This is part of our probe on corruption. The former Govt always accused us of having links with the LTTE but it was they who had links with the Tigers,” the PM said. more..


Feb 2 (CT) Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons is a spectacle to behold. Each Wednesday when Parliament is sitting the Prime Minister answers questions asked by MPs in the main chamber. It is theatre full of “histrionics and cacophony”, yet it reinforces everything that is great about British democracy. However, on the 14th of January the mood was sombre following the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris. John Whittingdale, the Conservative MP for Maldon asked more..

'Sri Lanka is ready to take centre stage'

Feb 2 (CT) The caption cited above, is the title of a noteworthy article in the WSJ. It appeared on 28, January 2015. “After a surprising election, the island democracy deserves U.S. attention”. “Maithripala Sirisena expressed interest in counterbalancing a rising China”. These are the prefatory remarks. It’s a presentation by three well known personalities. Mr. Richard Armitage, deputy secretary of State, 2001 – 2005; Ms. Bue deputy assistant secretary of State for political military affairs 2003–2005 and more..

'No mouse droppings in University hostel kitchens'

Feb 2 (SO) Minister Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha said he will not sack the UGC Chairperson Prof. Kshanika Hirimburegama but will address many mistakes done by her. He said that the University system needed reform and even the Dons should be monitored. Praising the Moratuwa VC he said that he is a classic example and other VCs should follow him. Q: Is Higher Education a portfolio that you have bargained for, more..

Interim budget: A necessary corrective to Rajapaksa-economics

Feb 2 (LG) Nov 2006: The Fourth Eelam War was raging. The regime exhorts the populace to make sacrifices – and awards the executive, the legislature and the judiciary massive salary hikes. The steepest increase goes to President Rajapaksa. Nov 2008: The Eelam War is in its final phase. President Rajapaksa gives himself and the entire legislature another massive salary hike. Most Lankan were probably unaware that their rulers were ladling their own plates with unmerited more..

UNP to benefit immensely from mini-budget

Feb 2 (NS) President Rajapaksa has departed the political arena at least temporarily and his exit has left a vacuum in the two political outfits he headed, the UPFA from which he contested and the SLFP in which he politically matured. A curious situation now exists: there is a lack of a credible Opposition in Parliament. The Cabinet is mostly from the UNP, with a few SLFP ‘dissidents’. Meanwhile, the SLFP, which is now headed by President Maithripala Sirisena, sits in the Opposition! more..