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Govt unveils people and biz friendly Budget

Nov 21 (FT) Unity Govt yesterday presented what the Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake described as a Budget for all providing relief to the masses, the working class and the private sector, initiating reforms, opening up the economy for foreigners and non-residents as well as heavily taxing vices. Govt MPs hailed the 2016 Budget but Opposition members breathed fire saying it reflected failure and spelt disaster more..

Higher mission of television

Nov 21 (DM) We mark World Television Day today and as the UN General Assembly resolution says, we need to focus not on the tool -- which some cynics describe as an idiot box or a stranger in the home -- but rather on the philosophy which it represents, a symbol for communication and globalization in the contemporary world. According to the United Nations, the global exchanges of television programmes focusing on peace, security, economic and social development and more..

Is development possible sans pollution?

Nov 21 (DM) Man has been engaged in polluting the environment from the dawn of human existence. Consequent to the population explosion, industrialization, concentration of human habitats, over exploitation of natural resources; the problem of pollution has risen to alarming levels and the problem of protecting the environment has become a global challenge, a challenge against the very existence of mankind. The adverse consequences of haphazard industrial development is not the more..

Cybercrime rise worries authorities

Nov 21 (ST) Cybercrime is spiralling out of control, especially with the younger generation falling prey to hackers infiltrating social networking sites and other websites, a senior official of the Sri Lanka Computer Emergency Readiness Team (SL-CERT) warned. So far this year, 2,250 complaints of cybercrime have been received. Most cases – around 80 per cent – relate to Facebook and primarily involved in use of fake profiles but more..

Monopoly in vehicle emission testing?

Nov 21 (SL) Questions have been raised as to why the previous as well as present govts have allowed two private companies to earn profits amounting to millions of rupees from motor vehicle owners in the country from the vehicle emission tests (VET). It was in 2008, the then govt through a cabinet decision no: 08/ 1514/ 358/ 054, made it compulsory for all motor vehicle owners to obtain the VET certification for the annual more..

'Sri Lanka is not the only belle on the block'

Nov 21 (Island) Sri Lanka being located in the middle of Indian Ocean did not mean there was any special investment advantage. There were other coastal countries in the region having same advantages as Sri Lanka. Still China attacheda little more importance on China-Sri Lanka cooperation, stressed Yi Xianliang (Chinese Ambassador to Sri Lanka) on 20 November in Colombo. more..

Sri Lanka's feudal serfdom, nepotism, in pensions for ruling class may end

Nov 21 (EN) The practice of Sri Lanka's elected ruling class to appoint family members as personal staff to get a pension for life after five years may end if a proposal to have a contributory pension scheme for all state workers from January 2016 is implemented. Analysts say the pro-state JVP, which supports increased state burdens on the self-employed and private sector workers will be a key obstacle in ending this feudal-style more..

Sri Lanka hikes import duties, credit card levy on payments

Nov 21 (EN) SL has raised import duties across the board and also hiked a tax on credit card payments abroad, worsening trade barriers and regressive taxation, while widening an income tax threshold on employment income. SL raised the highest import tax band from 25% to 30%, undermining claims to have a social market economy. 7.5% band would end and items that are not taxed at zero now would be taxed at 15%. more..

Lankan tea in a soup as refuse tea becomes big organised racket

Nov 21 (ST) Illicit export of refuse tea (sweepings) has become a large scale, organised racket and the Tea Board is facing an uphill task to protect the image of Sri Lanka’s internationally renowned Ceylon Tea. Every year more than 300,000 kilos of refuse tea is detected in raids at warehouses, carried out mainly by STF, while tens of thousands of kilos of more refuse tea enters the local market or is smuggled overseas. more..

TNA demands answers on Trinco underground cells

Nov 21 (CG) The TNA today demanded answers from the authorities on the underground secret cells at the Trincomalee navy camp, in light of an admission by former navy Commander Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda that those cells were used to detain people. In a highly charged speech in Parliament today during the debate on budget, MP M A Sumanthiran questioned as to why people like Karannagoda more..

Enter MS, exit MR

Nov 21 (DM) President Maithripala Sirisena‘s presence at the tea party after the budget and the quick exit of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa avoiding the reception were notable features in Parliament. MP Wimal Weerawansa who also boycotted the reception was seen making a quick remark that he did not understand a single word of the budget speech made by Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake. more..

Budget 2016: Some relief for masses

Nov 21 (Island) Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake yesterday delivered what the govt called a progressive and budget. He took away the duty free vehicle scheme generally enjoyed by the govt sector while granting much needed relief to the hard working private sector by raising the PAYE tax threshold. He requested that a pay hike of Rs 2,500 be given to the private sector workers. As for ordinary people, more..

Secret torture chamber at Trinco base: Karannagoda debunks UN claim

Nov 21 (Island) War-time Navy Chief Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda strongly rebutted accusations that there had been a secret detention facility within the Trincomalee naval base during the eelam war IV. He said that during the war renegade LTTE cadres had been accommodated at the Trinco facility which some interested parties now wanted to portray as a torture chamber. "We didn’t operate torture chambers at Trinco base more..

Woman held with foreign currency worth over Rs 28m

Nov 21 (AD) A Sri Lankan woman has been arrested at the BIA in Katunayake for attempting to leave the country with foreign currency worth over Rs 28 million. She was arrested by customs officers at the departure terminal while preparing to board a Bangkok- bound flight (TG 308) at 12.45am today, spokesman Leslie Gamini said. Several stacks of foreign currency notes including pound sterling, US dollars, Swiss Francs, Euros and Saudi riyals were found inside her luggage, he said. more..

Govt acquiescence in anti-govt propaganda

Nov 21 (CT) An example of the sort of abuse that took place came to my notice in those first few months, when Norbert Roepers of the Berghof Foundation told me about an organization he had helped the LTTE set up in Switzerland, hoping that it would contribute to the peace process. It was that organization that had arranged a Sri Lanka bashing meeting in Geneva to coincide with the last Sept 2009 session of UNHRC. Head of the CPA and also various LTTE activists had criticized the govt, more..

Ceylon Today Cartoon

Universities to be linked with SME

Nov 21 (Island) Minister Mohan Lal Grero said they would link universities with Small and Medium Scale Enterprises SME enabling university students to join their respective field after graduation. He said they would implement UBL (University Business Linkage) project to link five universities as the pilot project. SME sector was recognised as the backbone of the economy accounting for 52% of the GDP. Govt would also give priority to the development of the SME sector in the country more..

Budget: Who cares!

Nov 21 (CT) Yahapalana Govt entered its tenure as the interim govt with its equally interim budget with which they proposed to run the country in their interim tenure. This Budget for 2014 and 2015 reduced the prices of 13 essential commodities, for the obvious reasons of showing the countrymen that sirisena-Wickremesinghe govt was a good one - a better one in comparison to their predecessors – since it came like Santa Claus in the night with a bunch of goodies. more..

Sri Lanka to sell-off state shares in Hilton, Hyatt, hospitals and telco firms

Nov 21 (EN) Sri Lanka's will sell-off non-strategic enterprises including hotels, hospitals and a telecom firm, including ones that have been included in corruption scandals in the recent past. Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake in his budget speech for 2016 said Hotel Developers Plc - which owns a building that houses Colombo Hilton was expropriated by the Rajapaksa regime while being a listed company - would sold in CSE. more..

Kit Siang urges international community to continue pressure on Sri Lanka govt

Nov 21 (SD) The international community has been urged to continue to put pressure on the Sri Lanka govt and the UN to ensure the wrongs endured by Tamils during the civil war are righted. Gelang Patah MP Lim Kit Siang said no efforts should be spared until the Tamils in that country were restored to their human rights and the truth. He said the reconciliation process as called for by OHCHR investigation into Sri Lanka should be justly and meaningfully completed. more..

Lal Kantha calls on UPFA ministers to resign

Nov 21 (AM) JVP Political Bureau Member K.D. Lal Kantha called upon UPFA Ministers in govt to resign from their ministerial portfolios and vote against the budget, since it does not recognize people’s aspirations. “Pension for workers of the public sector is to be abolished. Workers who join govt services after the 1st January, 2016 would not receive the current pension. A monthly sum would be reduced from their salary according to newly proposed pension scheme” Lal Kantha pointed out. more..

SL mission tries to block rights forum

Nov 21 (MK) On July 23, 2013, a documentary on Sri Lanka ethnic massacre of Tamils called No Fire Zone by British director Callum Macrae was abruptly stopped and cancelled by the Malaysian police and immigration officials. The screening organised by Pusat Komas, a human rights organization, was meant to highlight and to bring to public knowledge about the horrendous plight of Tamils in the north and east of SL. more..

Kilinochchi residents nab armed gang

Nov 21 (CG) Residents in Kilinochchi caught a group of armed men who had arrived at a location with the intention of robbing several houses. A six member gang with knives and swords had arrived at the YMCA residential area in Kilinochchi early this morning on three motorbikes. Residents in the area, on being alerted of the move by the gang to rob the houses, surrounded the men and attempted to catch them. The area residents caught four of the men while two managed to escape. more..

More rain misery in the next few days

Nov 21 (Island) Meteorology Department predicted another rainy spell over the country during the next few days. Heavy showers were expected mainly in Northern and Eastern Provinces due to the wavelike disturbances. Puttalam, Gampaha, Jaffna, Mulaitivu, Kilinochchi, Mannar and Anuradhapura and some areas in the southern province would receive heavy showers during the weekend. According to Met Department Eastern, Uva, North-Central and Northern Provinces would receive showers more..

Current govt allocates largest fund for education: President

Nov 21 (PSL) President Maithripala Sirisena says the new govt has allocated the largest ever fund for education from the budget of 2016, while previous govts could never allocate this much for education from their annual budgets. He said this amount is four times bigger than the fund allocation for education by former govts during last few decades. President was addressing the gathering of prize giving more..

AG and BC asked to take legal action against Sarath Kumara

Nov 21 (DM) The PRECIFAC has requested the Bribery Commission (BC) and the Attorney General’s Department (AG) to take legal action against former Deputy Minister of Fisheries Sarath Kumara Gunaratne and two others with regard to misusing of Fisheries Corporation funds, an official of the commission said. A senior official of PRECIFAC said that commission had received a complaint against Mr. Gunaratne with regard to misusing of Fisheries Corporation funds. more..

Compensation for fire victims?

Nov 21 (DN) Owners of houses destroyed in a fire at Meetotamulle on Thursday will be paid compensation to rebuild their houses by the Ceylon Petroleum Storage Terminal Ltd. or can move out to another location of their choice if the investigation into the cause of the fire determined that it was caused due to a leak in the oil pipeline. This follows a directive issued by Minister Chandima Weerakkody when he visited the scene of the fire on an inspection tour on Thursday, more..

2016 Budget to impact vehicle prices

Nov 21 (AD) Vehicle importers association says that the introduction of a unit rate for vehicles which will be the minimum value and the tax increase through the 2016 Budget proposal will likely increase the prices of vehicles. The import tax on 1000cc hybrid vehicles has been increased from 50% to 70% and that this would result in the prices of popular vehicles Wagon R and Aqua increase by around Rs 400,000. more..

TNA will not be destroyed: Kodeeswaran

Nov 21 (CT) The attempt to split the TNA over the Sumanthiran-Wigneswaran issue and other plots to destroy the party into pieces would be thwarted, said Kavindran Kodeeswaran, Ampara District TNA MP at an event held at Karaithivu Vivekananda College. Since S.J.V. Chelvanayakam, attempts have been made to weaken the Tamil political movement. But today the TNA has the support of the Tamil community and no one has the power to split the TNA for their selfish motives. more..

Sri Lanka's haves, have nots and have yachts

Nov 21 (EN) Sri Lanka's latest budget has scrapped unfair privileges accorded to elite state employees that widened the gap between the haves and the have nots. Minister Ravi Karunanayake in unveiling his first full budget proposed that Sri Lanka becomes a nation of haves and have yachts. He removed the super luxury taxes on yachts, caravans and any outdoor camping gear. He wants to encourage yacht ownership in a country that is building two marinas -- Port City Colombo and Galle -- and more..

'No one complained about torture chambers in Trinco Naval Base'

Nov 21 (ENS) Chairman of Presidential Commission on Disappearances and War Crimes, Justice Maxwell Paranagama, says that none of the witnesses who appeared before the panel complained about the existence of torture chambers in Lankan naval base at Trincomalee. He was reacting to the observation of the UN Working Group on Enforced & Involuntary Disappearances that they had seen a secret underground detention more..

WDJ assures better working environment for workers in ME

Nov 21 (DN) Special attention will be given to Sri Lankan workers employed in Qatar and the Middle East when changing labour laws and regulations, Minister W.D.J. Seneviratne said. Steps will be taken to ensure a better working environment for migrant workers in the Middle East through mutual understanding and negotiations with international trade organisations. He said this during a meeting with International Corporate Attorney and a specialist operating in ME, Das Gupta. more..

Galle Dialogue 2015 to begin

Nov 21 (GDI) The International Maritime Conference, Galle Dialogue 2015, organized by the Sri Lanka Navy under the aegis of the Ministry of Defence, will get underway in port city of Galle on 23rd Nov for the sixth consecutive year. Local and foreign scholars and experts in naval and maritime affairs representing 37 countries and 10 international organizations will share their expertise at two-day dialogue held under the theme, Secure Seas through Greater Maritime Cooperation: more..

SL appeals death sentence for housemaid

Nov 21 (AN) Colombo has appealed the death sentence handed to a Sri Lankan woman in Riyadh for adultery. Upul Deshapriya, spokesman of the SLBFE, said that the maid was recently sentenced to death after being found guilty of having an illicit affair with a Sri Lankan bachelor. Saudi court ordered the man be punished with 100 lashes. SL Embassy in Riyadh has contacted Saudi authorities to explore possibilities of more..

Questions over attack on Maldives man in SL

Nov 21 (Haveeru) Despite the arrest of a three-wheel driver in connection to the attack on a Maldivian man in Colombo last week, new information has raised question marks over the attacker. Usman Nooraddeen, 45 of Thaa Atoll Vilufushi island was in critical condition as he had suffered severe head trauma in the mugging, his family had said. He has since been transferred out of intensive care. A family member had earlier said that Usman was attacked while more..

Samantha Power in Sri Lanka

Nov 21 (DM) US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power arrived in Sri Lanka this afternoon for a three-day official visit. Ambassador Samantha Power is the U.S. Permanent Representative to the UN and a member of President Obama's Cabinet. She formerly served as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights at the National Security Council. During her visit, she will highlight US' commitment to strengthening bilateral partnership, more..

Banks to cease leasing from June, charges on cash withdrawal

Nov 21 (LBO) Banks asks to cease leasing activities from 1st of June next year and pawning will be limited to 5% of total lending while large withdrawals will be taxed, Minister Ravi Karunanayake said. “Honourable Speaker, I propose that licensed banks should concentrate on their core banking activities,” he said. “Leasing business, has become a distraction to core banking functions and as such Banks should cease in engaging in more..

Govt to pursue an open sky policy to attract international airlines

Nov 21 (GDI) The Government will pursue an open sky policy with restriction free traffic in a move to attract international airlines to the country's two international airports and make Sri Lanka a preferred destination. Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake presenting budget proposals for 2016 to parliament pointed out that there is considerable travel between Africa and East Asia and it is estimated to grow substantially in next 10 years. He proposed to SL Tourism Promotional Bureau more..

Mixed reactions from ministers and MPs

Nov 21 (DM) The 2016 budget presented by Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake drew mixed reactions from Parliament with govt members hailing it while the opposition, said it failed to meet expectations. Opposition Leader R. Sampathan: It seems a development oriented budget. Most of the proposals seem acceptable. Minister Rishad Bathiudeen: It is one of the best budgets, and has granted relief to the people by reducing prices of essential commodities. more..

Govt lifts ban on several pro-LTTE outfits

Nov 21 (ENS) By a gazette extraordinary issued on Friday, Sri Lankan govt lifted the ban on several outfits and individuals previously thought to have been working for the LTTE. On March 21, 2014, 16 organizations and 424 individuals were proscribed under the UN Act No: 45 of 1968. But the latest gazette notification bans only eight organizations and 155 individuals. De-listed organizations are: Global Tamil Forum (GTF); more..