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Movie directors released on bail, express support for Tamils

Jan 30 (IANS) A huge crowd of admirers greeted Tamil movie directors Seeman and Ameer on their release here Friday after spending a week in jail for making allegedly seditious speeches in Rameshwaram during a demonstration to express solidarity with the Sri Lankan Tamils. After their release on bail Friday, the two said they "rued their freedom as the killings of minority Tamils in Sri Lanka had not ended in more..

The most important phrase for expats in Colombo, Sri Lanka: I know a guy

Jan 30 (WSJ) ”I know a guy” is the single most important and commonly used phrase in casual business conversations in Colombo. This South Asian city has a surprisingly sophisticated corporate scene, excellent internet connections, an array of professional advertising and digital marketing agencies – but it has hardly any human resources companies, few, if any, head hunters and nothing much in the way of talent-matching more..

'General election: President will lead SLFP campaign; victory assured'

Jan 30 (Island) Opposition Leader Nimal Siripala de Silva said that the on-going SLFP general election campaign had received a tremendous boost with President Maithripala Sirisena promising to spearhead the project. SLFP parliamentary group received an assurance from the President at the Presidential Secretariat on Wednesday evening. A confident de Silva said that President Sirisena’s assurance to the SLFP more..

Sri Lanka to re-apply for EU trade concession

Jan 30 (Xinhua) The Sri Lankan govt on Friday said it will seek to obtain trade concession from the European Union which was withdrawn under the previous govt. The EU Trade concession known as GSP plus was withdrawn as the previous govt headed by Mahinda Rajapakse failed to comply with certain human rights related regulations. "We will send a high level delegation for discussions with the EU members but right now we are looking more..

EC enables the people to cast their votes

Jan 30 (SL) Timely action taken by the Elections Commissioner’s Department was able to prevent election violations by creating a fear psychosis amongst the voters in the Jaffna Peninsula and in Trincomalee district on the elections day, Leader of the Akhila Ilankai Tamil Mahasabha and former MP Dr. K Vigneswaran said. Hailing the Elections Commissioner (EC) Mahinda Deshapriya and his officials for taking quick more..

Scramble for different foods as veggie prices skyrocket

Jan 30 (ST) Sri Lankans are giving themselves a change in diet to cope with the severe shortage of popular vegetables. The shortage and sky-rocketing prices provide a challenge for the new Ministry of Food Security, which says it is taking steps to avert such situations in the long term. There is no respite, however, in the current situation. There is a visible drop in vegetable curries in lunch packets. “These days, most of lunch packets more..

Marsh was sacked due to concerns of seniors

Jan 30 (DM) A recent Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) document has shed some light on SLC’s mysterious sacking of Geoff Marsh as national coach in 2012 and claims that it came as a result of an official complaint made by the then national captain Tillakaratne Dilshan and concerns expressed by senior players. SLC administrators were roundly criticized when the former Australian player and national coach was sacked from his job more..

Sri Lanka budget hits Rajapaksa family-run sports channel

Jan 30 (PTI) Sri Lanka's new govt has slapped a one-time tax of Rs 1 billion on the only sports television channel in the country which is owned by former president Rajapaksa's son. Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake slapped the tax on Carlton Sports Network (CSN), owned by Yoshitha Rajapaksa, saying the sports channel has not paid a single penny to the govt, since its inception. It has been alleged that CSN was favoured by more..

Bandula Jayasekera and Cronies remain while Thisara Samarasinghe recalled

Jan 30 (CT) Politicization of Sri Lanka’s diplomatic Missions reached unprecedented levels under the Rajapaksa regime. Not only family and friends, but mistresses and girlfriends of the powerful few were lavishly indulged as diplomats with tax payer money. Australia saw some of the worse political appointments in the system. These included the Consul General in Sydney, Bandula Jayasekera, sent off on DPL posting because he had to be taken out of the Presidential Media Unit. more..

Rajitha tells US envoy govt determined to implement national drug policy

Jan 30 (Island) Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne, who met the Acting American Ambassador Andrew Mann in Colombo yesterday, confirmed that the govt would implement the National Medicinal Drug Regulatory Authority Act within 100 days. Minister Senaratne pointed out to the US envoy that since successive governments had striven to develop the free health services in the country, Sri Lanka had been able to have impressive health indicators among the countries in South Asia. more..

Ada Cartoon

People's budget

Jan 30 (CT) As expected, the budget of President Maithripala Sirisena's coalition party, the NDF, mainly comprising Sri Lanka's two principal political parties, the UNP and the SLFP, which presented its maiden, and possibly last budget before general elections are held in another five months' time from now. Those included the reduction in a cylinder of cooking gas by Rs 300 to Rs 1,596, sugar by Rs 10 a kilo, a 400 gram packet of milk powder by Rs 61 to Rs 325, wheat flour by Rs 12.50 a kg, more..

Stocks plunge 2.7% on 'super gain' tax

Jan 30 (EN) Stocks suffered their steepest fall in almost four years Friday, down 2.7%, with 101 billion rupees wiped out of stock values after the new govt's interim budget imposed hefty taxes on big companies. The 196.46 point drop in the All Share Price Index was the benchmark's biggest daily fall since the 14 Feb 2011 plunge of 204 points, exceeding the 2.9% (170.14 point) drop on 28 August, 2013. ASPI ended at 7,180.05 while the S&P SL20 index, slumped 4.17% more..

Sri Lanka's inflation rises to 3.2% in January

Jan 30 (EN) Sri Lanka's inflation accelerated to 3.2% in January 2014 from 2.1% in December, with a sharp rise in food prices, data from state statistics office showed. In the month of January the Colombo Consumer Price Index rose 1.7%, the sharpest gain seen since June 2012 when the index gained 1.9% during the month. Food prices have risen 12% in the 12 months to January, with prices rising 3.8% during the month. more..

A new approach to eradicate poverty in SL

Jan 30 (CT) Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake’s mini-budget with substantial offers to ordinary people – will be most welcome by many. Clearly, the minister must have taken the oncoming parliamentary election into account in designing the budget. However, occasional salary increases and random price-reduction of essential items are neither durable nor eliminate endemic poverty. The new govt’s 100-day program, in contrast, clearly has the potential to make a worthy contribution to more..

Chief kapuwa calls for independent Basnayake Nilame

Jan 30 (CT) Chief kapuwa of the Kataragama Devalaya, Somipala Ratnayake, requested President Maithripala Sirisena and PM Ranil Wickremesinghe to appoint an independent Basnayake Nilame, who can maintain the dignity of the position. Stating that Kataragama is a sacred site venerated by all, Ratnayake said that appointing a politician as Basnayake Nilame would be harmful to the Devalaya. He added that supporters of many political parties come to Kataragama seeking more..

Finance Ministry affirms probe into Seychelles operations

Jan 30 (AM) An official audit and investigation process will be initiated to inquire into the non-strategic investments at Seychelles, Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake said. “Seychelles is a country reputed worldwide as a tax haven has a handful of Sri Lankans living there as expatriates. Another issue of concern is to rationalize the reason for an international Branch of a state Bank to be established at Seychelles. more..

Banned toxic chemicals freely available

Jan 30 (Island) Five harmful agrochemicals such as Chlorpyrifos, Carparji, Proparji, Carbofuran and Glyphosate banned for sale, distribution and import by a special gazette notification in 2014 December in worst chronic kidney disease affected areas were freely available in areas such as the Moneragala and Kurunegala districts, CKD Research Scientist Dr. Channa Jayasumana said. He said that as the urine tests done on most kidney patients had revealed that the residues of more..

Ravi, what is this?

Jan 30 (AM) A day after Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake proposed that all ministries and departments to stop the publication of political advertisements in news papers with immediate effect, several advertisements were carried in today’s papers in appreciation of Karunanayake who, according to advertisers, presented a people-friendly budget. Although the advertisements seemed like private ones, they reflected badly on the Finance Minister who was very specific in his more..

JKH to continue the Waterfront property project

Jan 30 (LBO) Sri Lanka’s John Keells Holdings said it will continue the Waterfront property project as planned despite the new govt’s amendment to restrict the ability to rent space for gamin facility. The company said this in a stock exchange filling today. JKH says even though the proposed amendment will constrain the ability to command premium rentals on this component of the project the company will engage with the govt more..

'Fonseka’s return to Parliament hinges on Attorney Generals opinion'

Jan 30 (Island) Former Army Commander and Ex MP Sarath Fonseka who was on Wednesday restored with his Four Star General rank, medals and pension that he was deprived of, following court convictions in 2010 and thereafter, is likely to return to the national legislature today. Minister Rajitha Senaratne asked by The Island, as to Fonseka’s chances of regaining his parliamentary seat, which he also lost following convictions by both military and civilian courts replied more..

Loku Seeya's sons demand justice for their murdered father

Jan 30 (CT) The two sons of Loku Seeya, the former kapuwa of Ragama Devalaya, who was kidnapped and tortured to death, lodged a complaint at the CID stating the urgency of justice for their dead father. Mohammed Nizan and Mohammed Nijad, after lodging the complaint, declared that they requested the CID to take up the complaint produced by former Minister Mervyn Silva regarding the murder of their father. "It has been three years since our father's demise. Why was he killed? more..

India, Sri Lanka discuss voluntary repatriation of Lankan refugees

Jan 30 (PTI) India-Sri Lanka today held talks on voluntary repatriation of SL refugees in the country, within days of deciding to "re-engage" on the issue during a meeting between their foreign ministers. During the first meeting between the officials of the two countries, in which Indian side was led by the Joint Secretary in-charge of Lanka in the External Affairs Ministry, the two sides talked about various aspects related to repatriation, more..

CJ Peiris treated worse than a labourer

Jan 30 (Island) NFF Media Spokesman Piyasiri Wijenayake questioned the validity of decisions delivered by the former Chief Justice Mohan Peiris and the lawyers who had taken their oath before him during the period he held office from January 15, 2013 to January 28, 2015. He asked, "If the appointment of former CJ Peiris is void at its inception then what will happen to the court’s decisions and lawyers who had taken their oaths before the CJ Peiris?" more..

Paddy harvest begins in Ampara

Jan 30 (CT) The Maha paddy harvesting season, in the Ampara District, has just begun with the rapid deployment of harvesting machines in hundreds of acres in the district. 68,967 hectares of land was cultivated during this Maha and the farmers of the district showed greater enthusiasm in paddy cultivation and the respective departments too extended their fullest support. However, the scarcity of water at the very beginning, floods as a result of unusual heavy rains, when the crops were more..

Video: Even Ravi K. has to pay Mansion Tax: JVP

Jan 30 (DM) The JVP said today Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayke should be aware that he too would have to pay the newly imposed ‘Mansion Tax’ of Rs.1 million. “The Finance Minister is also subjected to this tax. We commend the Mansion tax as a means of acquiring money from those who have. The funds accrued from this tax should be properly monitored to make sure that the benefits will trickle down to ordinary citizen,” more..

ICC announces umpire and match referee appointments for World Cup 2015

Jan 30 (ICC) The ICC today announced the umpire and match referee appointments for the pool stage matches of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, which will be staged in Australia and NZ from 14 February to 29 March. Marais Erasmus and Nigel Llong will be the on-field umpires for the tournament opener between New Zealand and Sri Lanka in Christchurch on 14 Feb. S. Ravi and Simon Fry will be the third and fourth umpires, respectively, while David Boon will be the match referee. more..

Grade 5 scholarship cut off marks released

Jan 30 (DM) The cut off marks for the grade 5 scholarship examination were released a short while ago by the education ministry. Royal College and Visakha Vidyalaya, Colombo requires the highest marks for entrance. The cut off marks released are as follows: Royal College, 186 marks: Visakha Vidayalaya – 185; Ananda College Colombo and Dharmaraja College, Kandy – 183. The full list GRADE FIVE SCHOLARSHIP SELECTION LIST - 2014 (SINHALA MEDIUM – Boys Schools) more..

SLC to investigate Suresh Raina

Jan 30 (SK) Suresh Raina is being investigated by SLC because four years ago, he was seen with a woman who has been linked to a bookie. The Sri Lankan board is set to form a committee to investigate the matter. The decision to look into the issue was supposedly taken during an SLC executive meeting over a month ago. The panel, which will investigate Raina, includes Shammi Silva, Gamini Wickramasinghe and other more..

Ban hopes Sri Lanka works with UN

Jan 30 (CG) UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon hopes Sri Lanka works with the UN on the investigations over the war despite launching a new domestic investigation. Ban’s spokesman Stéphane Dujarric said that the UN is trying to verify how Sri Lanka will cooperate with the UN on the investigation. The Govt had yesterday announced it will launch a domestic investigation into the war and obtain the assistance of foreign experts if required. “We’ve seen those reports. more..

We’ll not tax owners of old houses: Harsha

Jan 30 (DM) Policy Planning and Economic Development Deputy Minister Harsha De Silva said today the Mansion Tax would not apply to owners of old houses which they had inherited but on the rich who had built huge mansions without any paying any taxes to the Government. “This is not meant to tax owners ofold houses they had inherited. It is a means of obtaining funds from those who have built huge mansions without paying taxes owed by them to the Treasury,” he said. more..

SL keen to cooperate with UN investigation

Jan 30 (Xinhua) Sri Lanka's govt has received encouragement from the UN to cooperate on an ongoing investigation into its human rights record, the Foreign Ministry said. President Maithripala Sirisena's senior advisor on foreign affairs, Jayantha Dhanapala, met the High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein in Geneva and briefed him on the new govt's policies. more..

Nimal praises ITN, lashes out at govt

Jan 30 (Island) Opposition Leader Nimal Siripala de Silva, challenged the new govt to prove allegations against members of the previous administration so that anyone found guilty by a court of law could be deprived of an opportunity to contest next parliamentary election. The new govt and various interested parties had made a spate of accusations at different forums and lodged complaints with the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption, MP de Silva said. more..

Docs get assurance from Health Minister about schools for their children

Jan 30 (Island) Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne had assured the admission of doctors’ children to the best schools following annual transfers, GMOA Assistant Secretary Dr. Navin de Soysa said. He pointed out that the new Education Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasm had announced that the quota system offered to various categories of high officials to admit their children to suitable schools had been nullified. As a result many doctors were worried about the education of their children more..

James Packer's Crown pulls plug on $400m Sri Lanka casino plan

Jan 30 (AFP) James Packer's Crown Group says it will not go ahead with a proposed plan to develop a $400 million luxury hotel and resort in Sri Lanka, following a decision by the govt in Colombo to scrap tax concessions for the project. On Thursday SL's new govt decided to cancel generous tax concessions for three foreign resort developments – including Mr Packer's resort – and said it would not issue them licenses more..

Sri Lanka Govt and 13th Amendment

Jan 31 (NS) It has been a pleasure to read the 100 days implementation program by the new regime, 2015, in a country that practices, bribery, corruption, thuggery, gang warfare, religious conflicts, racial and regional ethnicity conflicts. Citizens of Sri Lanka should appreciate and welcome the changes. The change has been change of governance, may be, in agreement with some western influence and manipulation, because of their falcon formation, defence/offence strategy. more..

Future state of the nation: A response

Jan 31 (CT) I refer to the article by Dr Dayan Jayatilleka under the caption “Pre-Independence Day Thoughts 2015: The Future State Of The Nation” where he discusses the sentiments expressed by TNA politician Mr. Sumanthiran that the “full implementation of the 13th Amendment is no lasting solution.” He extrapolates from such sentiments to surmise that the removal of the roadblocks to the full implementation of the 13th Amendment is not enough for the TNA MP more..

President Maithripala Sirisena: Simplicity personified

Jan 31 (SO) I come to office early morning and take a telephone call to one specific number once in a while. A person answers the phone in a gentle and polite manner. He is not in a hurry as many other leading politicians. He never said ‘no’ to any of the questions I asked him despite my not being close to him at that time. After a telephone conversation one morning, I went to him for an interview at his official residence. more..

Does one violate Buddha’s teaching by worshiping objects?

Jan 31 (CT) I have read the article entitled “The President’s Faux Pas” written by Sharmini Serasinghe in CT. Referring to President’s homage to Bo tree, she observes: “, it is with deep despair, that I as a Buddhist noted, you President Maitripala Sirisena paying homage to a Bo tree, even though it is venerated by a majority of the Buddhist populace of this country. Furthermore, by paying homage to a Bo tree, you Mr. President are also openly violating the teachings of the Buddha, more..

Interesting challenges for the new govt

Jan 31 (NS) It is a good start for the new govt. Number of Cabinet ministers being reduced to 27 was a significant victory. It promotes cost effective solution and thereby leads to good governance. But the govt should also focus on other important issues. The co-partners of this govt are UNP, UPFA members who crossed over, JHU, TNA , SLMC, All Ceylon Muslim Congress and Digambaram’s Party. The 100 day program would be a result oriented program. more..