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Pros and Cons of Budget 2016

Nov 23 (ST) Minister Ravi Karunanayke presented the maiden budget of the national govt on Friday. Many parties have commended the budget saying it was a positive budget. However, some of the opposition parties have differing views. JVP claims that the budget aims at pushing the country towards a totally liberal economy. NFF is of the view that it is a photocopy of UNP’s Yali Pubudamu Sri Lanka concept, more..

How trailblazer Rex de Silva made journalism’s sun shine

Nov 23 (ST) The year was 1964. Clad in blue jeans, Rex de Silva walked into the office of the chairman of M.D. Gunasena bookshop in Olcott Mawatha even without a by your leave, introduced himself, said he was a Catholic and a member of Catholic Action and asked the boss of this predominant Sinhala Buddhist publishing company, Sepala Gunasena whether he could be found suitable employment in the organisation. Intrigued at the nerve of the young man with long hair and more..

Are we progressing towards Good Governance?

Nov 23 (GV) I wish I could answer this question with an unqualified yes, but I cannot. There has been significant progress on several issues, but also stagnation and even regression on several others. The gap between our hopeful expectations and the emerging reality is widening. Like perhaps a majority of our population, I rated the administration that was ousted in January this year to have been not only the worst since we attained independence, but also so firmly entrenched in authority more..

Who is Samantha and why is she here?

Nov 23 (CT) “So in Sri Lanka’s case, I don’t think anybody’s disputing the right of a sovereign govt to put down a rebellion within its territory, never mind one as brutal as the LTTE, but the question is, how you go about doing that and whether you observe the laws in war. Again, my govt – Louise Aarbour is here from the International Crisis Group that has done very important work on Sri Lanka, on the ground there, in terms of what was done. more..

Editorial: Juggling with many balls

Nov 23 (Island) There has been a mixed reaction to the government’s maiden budget Minister Ravi Karunanayake presented in Parliament on Friday. Govt calls it progressive, but the joint Opposition and the JVP have torn it to shreds. Budget 2016, on the positive side, seeks to offer something for everybody. Prices of eleven commodities including gas, and kerosene have been brought down; funds have been increased for research and development, PAYE tax free threshold has been raised more..

Rubber industry to revive with comprehensive master plan

Nov 23 (DM) The troubled rubber industry will soon receive fresh focus with the Plantations Industries Ministry having conceptualized a comprehensive master plan that would be executed with a number of competitive and operational strategies. The Rubber Industry Master Plan 2015 – 2014, which aims to revive and develop the sector, is to ensure the landscape will stand tall to become one of the key revenue contributors to the nation’s economic development. more..

Chamber welcomes Budget as Investment and Development Oriented

Nov 23 (LBO) Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, welcomed the 2016 Budget for its measures to boost private investment and promote inclusive economic growth. Budget 2016 has shown a commitment to enhancing private sector participation in the economy through PPPs, begin to rationalise state expenditure, undertake some much needed reforms in pensions, subsidies and welfare and renew focus on the competitiveness of more..

Diplomatic guerrilla operation in Ottawa

Nov 23 (Island) Many of us in Toronto realised that the High Commission in Ottawa was doing nothing to counter the LTTE which was very strong in Toronto. But, the High Commission could have done a lot if they wanted to and worked together at a crucial period in Otawa. Having got permission from President Rajapaksa and Foreign Secretary Palitha Kohona we kept the then Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama in the dark for obvious reasons and decided to make representations in Ottawa more..

I feel sorry for the youngsters: Tamara

Nov 23 (DN) Five times national champion and Sri Lanka player said that she feels sorry for the younger group of players who have no proper national coach to guide them. "Our junior standard is really good they have a very bright future but our biggest drawback is that we don't have an independent national coach," said Tamara. "The coaches we have are all involved in private coaching and as a result they favour their pupils. When they go abroad coach who accompanies the team more..

‘Northerners’ trust in govt will never be betrayed’

Nov 23 (DN) The govt will never forget the trust the Northern people placed on the it, Minister Kabir Hashim said. He made this observation in Parliament on Saturday in response to TNA MP Sumanthiran during his speech joining the second stage debate on the budget proposals. “The govt could win the international community within 11 months,” he said and added that the govt will place special focus on reconciliation. more..

Record 396 Commandos graduate & pass out in thrilling ceremony

Nov 23 (SLA) Passing out Parade of the 45th batch of the Commando troops, including 4 officers and 392 soldiers took place on Saturday at Uva-Kudaoya Commando Training School (CTS) premises. Karunasena Hettiarachchi, Secretary to Defence graced as the Chief Guest at the premises at the invitation of the Commander of the Army. On arrival at the venue, Chief Guest was received by Lieutenant General Crishanthe De Silva, Commander of the Army in the company of more..

Making Colombo a Global Financial Centre

Nov 23 (PF) Since the change of govt early this year, country’s new leadership has announced a few mega development projects, which when implemented, can catalyse economic transformation. Pathfinder Foundation in this article wishes to highlight the links between the high priority mega development projects and the objective of establishing Colombo as an important world class financial centre. The development of financial centres is of great interest to businessmen more..

Sri Lanka set to rewrite constitution

Nov 23 (ENS) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe will soon present a resolution in Parliament to turn it into a Constitutional Assembly to draft a new constitution for the island nation, The Sunday Times reported. The process is to be on a fast track given the fact that the promulgation of a new constitution was an election pledge of President Maithripala Sirisena early this year, and last Wednesday, the cabinet had given formal approval to his proposal. more..

SEC chairman lauds budget, tax privileges

Nov 23 (LBO) Chairman of Colombo Stock Exchange, Vajira Kulathilake has lauded the tax breaks and other support given by a budget for 2016 to the stock market. He has also praised the removal of a small share transaction levy, which however tended to raise transaction costs. The budget cut corporate tax to 15% from 28% for most companies. It also cut corporate tax for listed plantations companies in which the state has shares. Budget also proposed the use of retirement fund more..

Three arrested with illegal explosives

Nov 23 (CT) Three suspects were apprehended with illegal high range explosives in two separate incidents in Hungama and Ella on Saturday. The Hungama Police patrolling in the Thalunna area had arrested the two suspects while they were transporting explosives in a motorcycle. Accordingly, Police seized 15 detonators, seven sticks of dynamite, one parcel of 1.3 kilograms of ammonium from the suspects. The suspects, 40 year old residents of Hakuruwela and Thalunna more..

Liquor prices up with Budget

Nov 23 (DM) Prices of liquor both Arrack and beer had been increased with immediate effect as proposed in the 2016 budget that was announced on Friday. Price of a liter of govt authorized Arrack (Palm/Coconut) has been increased by Rs. 255 which was from Rs. 1,595 to Rs. 1,850. A liter of locally manufactured foreign liquor has been increased by Rs. 170 which is from Rs. 1,860 to Rs. 2,030. more..

SL believed to be in mix to host Ind-Pak

Nov 23 (CI) The much-anticipated meeting between the BCCI and PCB heads took place in Dubai on Sunday afternoon, at the ICC headquarters. BCCI president Shashank Manohar, who is in Dubai in his role as the ICC chairman, met PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan to discuss a way to break the deadlock over the staging of a bilateral series between the two countries. Although there has been no official information on the outcome of the meeting yet, it is understood that one possible solution more..

SLTPB Chief’s post to be advertised

Nov 23 (ST) Sri Lanka Tourism Promotional Bureau (SLTPB) will place newspaper ads to fill the organisation’s top post. Tourism Minister John Amaratunga said that currently the post of chairman was vacant since they have to “select the correct man” as it is a crucial post. He noted that they would be advertising for a competent person with experience in advertising and promotion in this regard. He pointed out that these matters in selecting a suitable candidate more..

Ex-NDDCB chief asks for asylum

Nov 23 (Island) Former Chairman of the Dangerous Drugs Control Board, Dr. Nilanga Samarasinghe, is planning to leave the country, claiming his life is in danger. He said that he had recently written to British, Norwegian, Canadian, Australian and US diplomatic missions in Colombo, seeking asylum. He had decided to leave the country due to threats from politicians and their henchmen involved in heroin trade. more..

London museum bird accidently lands in Sri Lanka with a stolen ring

Nov 23 (HN) The lesser crested tern is a seabird of the tern family has stolen a ring from London museum has landed in Sri Lanka. Lesser Crested tern which was used in London bird museum’s research has flown more than 12000 kilometers distance and has landed in Puttalam. An injury is to be seen on the bird’s foot. The bird has been spotted by a man near Puttalam lagoon and he has caught and made arrangements to hand the bird over to forest department officials. more..

Sri Lanka Customs revises vehicle valuation twice within a month

Nov 23 (ST) Sri Lanka Customs has revised the vehicle valuation for the second time within a month based on actual manufacturers’ value of brand new vehicles cancelling the previous ad hoc valuation system which was introduced on Sept 30. The new revision in the basis on which Customs calculates the values of imported vehicles for the imposition of taxes came into effect from Nov 11 following the pressure exerted by vehicle importers’ associations, motor traders said on Wednesday, more..

Presidential Commission probe: 15 out of 16 mega corruption cases dropped

Nov 23 (Island) The PRECIFAC has dropped investigations into at least 15 cases on the grounds that the state didn’t suffer revenue losses due to those transactions. Having completed investigations into 16 cases, Commission had recommended further legal action as regards only one of them, authoritative sources said. The Commission late last week informed the Attorney General and the CIABOC to initiate action against more..

Ranil seeks to fix pension anomaly for ex-Presidents

Nov 23 (FT) PM and Minister for National Policies and Economic Affairs, Ranil Wickremesinghe will move a motion in Parliament on Saturday, increasing the pensions of former SL Presidents from Rs. 25,000 to Rs. 97,500 per month. The surviving spouses of late Presidents will receive this increased monthly pension. The motion will be based in terms of Paragraph (1) of Article 36 of the Constitution where the Parliament is authorised to determine the salary, allowances and more..

Indian Navy chief RK Dhowan arrives in Sri Lanka for maritime conference

Nov 23 (PTI) Indian Navy chief Admiral RK Dhowan today arrived here for a two-day conference being attended by 36 countries with a focus on maritime security cooperation. Dhowan will take part in the 'Galle Dialogue' starting here tomorrow. "The focus of the Dialogue is cooperation on maritime security. India plays a crucial role in the region when it comes to maintaining security in the blue water," Navy sources said. At least 36 countries are being represented at the Dialogue. more..

ITAK leader worried intra-party spat might not go down well with public

Nov 23 (Island) ITAK leader Mavai Senathirajah has, at a recent meeting, told party members that infighting should stop as it would ruin the image of the party. The spat between TNA MP M.A. Sumanthiran and Northern Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran may have prompted the ITAK leader to issue the warning. ITAK is one of the four constituent parties that make up the TNA. The simmering war of words between more..

Four young Samaneras missing in jungle trip

Nov 23 (DM) A joint search operation was in progress by the police, army and the Special Task Force this evening when after four Samanera monks aged 11 to 13 years from a temple in Aralaganwila did not return after trekking into the jungle. The four Samaneras attached to Danajaya Raja Maha Viharaya in Kandegama had reportedly left the temple around 11.00am yesterday while its chief incumbent was away. Chief incumbent who returned to the Viharaya at about 6pm had learnt that more..

TUs will protest budget: Lalkantha

Nov 23 (CT) Thousands of trade union members will gather in Colombo and protest the 2016 Budget proposals which failed to provide salary increments to public and private sector employees. National Trade Union Centre (NTUC) President K.D. Lalkantha said that Govt not only failed to increase the salaries of the public servants, but also failed to add allowances to the basic salary as well. "PM Ranil Wickremesinghe pledged to add all the allowances to the salary of public servants. more..

GTF calls for deproscription of all groups, individuals

Nov 23 (Island) The Global Tamil Forum (GTF) called for delisting of all proscribed organisations and individuals in Sri Lanka. UK based spokesperson of the GTF, Suren Surendiran said that the grouping would continue to press for its demand. Surendiran was responding to govt declaration that eight organisations and 157 individuals continuing to espouse separatism would remain proscribed. The previous govt proscribed 16 organizations more..

‘Some estate workers may use uniform vouchers for boozing’

Nov 23 (Island) Education State Minister V. Radhakrishnan says that the govt may withdraw the school uniform voucher system if the desired objectives aren’t achieved within one year. A state institution which was expecting to secure the contract to provide school uniform materials in a bid to turn itself around has been left high and dry, according to sources. He said it was sad but true that some estate workers did not consider their children’s education important. more..

GMOA unhappy with budget: Secretary

Nov 23 (DN) The GMOA is not happy with the Budget 2016 because it had not granted any salary increase or relief to professionals. This budget has also done away with the vehicle permits which had been granted to them, GMOA Secretary Dr. Nalinda Herath said. According to Dr. Herath, a special central committee meeting will be held on November 29 to discuss the issues. "During the meeting, we hope to discuss the above issues including the tax increase on electric vehicles. more..

Wiggy spells out concerns to Power

Nov 23 (DN) Northern Province CM C.V. Wigneswaran during his meeting with US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power, raised a number of issues concerning political prisoners, land rights and military presence in Jaffna. One of the main issues discussed during the 35 minute meeting was that of political prisoners. Power assured that US Embassy would continue to exert pressure on the govt for a sustainable solution, more..

Budget for a better tomorrow

Nov 23 (DM) The much awaited 2016 budget presented to Parliament on Friday in a four and half hour speech by Minister Ravi Karunanayake received a generally good response from economic analysts and social justice advocates welcome the emphasis on job-oriented education and sustainable eco-friendly agriculture. Business Times said, business community was generally happy with the budget though it did not address foreign exchange crisis & problems of implementing proposals. more..

‘Yes sir, no sir, three bags full sir’

Nov 23 (DM) The kitchen of the Wallside Restaurant and Bar was in turmoil that morning. Shelton Perera, the owner of the place was pitching into the man in charge of the gastronomy department of the booze and side-dish house, Jamis. (Peiris Gedera Don Jamis Singho was his real name). “I am telling you just once more; if I get any more complaints of under-fried pork bites from a customer, out you go. DO you understand? Do you understand that?” the bar owner shouted. more..

Helpful Budget not going all the way: Public

Nov 23 (ST) Public’s reactions to Minister Ravi Karunanayake’s Budget 2016 were mixed. The Govt focused on Economic reforms and granted allowances to farmers, public sector officers and others. It also introduced fixed prices for essential items such as food and gas. Here’s what the people had to say: Anthony Thisera - A farmer from Sigiriya: “I have been involved in paddy cultivation for the past 15 years. As a farmer, I am happy with more..

Ravi to liberate Sri Lanka's homeless from grip of protectionists

Nov 23 (EN) Minister Ravi Karunanayake has proposed to cut protectionist taxes on steel and sanitary wear which was making housebuilding expensive for struggling young families who were trying to put a roof over their heads. "To address the short supply and high prices of building materials such as steel, tiles and sanitary ware, import related duties will be revised downwards" he said in budget speech. more..

IUSF launches five-day protest march to pressure govt over contentious issues

Nov 23 (Island) State Minister for University Education Mohan Lal Grero has assured university students that he will willing to meet them and discuss their problem, the Inter University Students’ Federation yesterday announced a five-day protest march from Kandy to Colombo to highlight its grievances. It will commence today. Minister Grero said that he was ready to meet IUSF representatives anytime. more..

Ten month National Govt brought changes nation longed for over 40 years: President

Nov 23 (DN) The 10 month national govt has brought about a number of outstanding political and social reforms that the nation aspired for over 40 years, President Maithripala Sirisena said. He was addressing a meeting after the inauguration of the newly constructed Imaduwa Township in Habaraduwa, Galle. President Sirisena inaugurated a number of completed new development projects at the new Imaduwa Town in Ahangama, Galle. more..

Sri Lanka to promote ancient cinnamon trade internationally

Nov 23 (LBO) Govt will set up an authority to develop the cinnamon trade, its main spice export, along with strengthening research and undertaking an international branding exercise, minister of finance said. The spice trade in Sri Lanka dates as far back as 7th Century, but has underperformed in an economic sense, he said. “Value chain of Cinnamon is under many different agencies which stifles growth of the industry,” more..

Fate of Avant Garde-RALL agreement unclear

Nov 23 (SL) Avant Garde, which has been in the center of controversy in the recent past, has been allowed to operate an on board security service for ships at sea on a level playing field, SL Navy says. Earlier, Avant Garde was accused of holding a monopoly and was considered only private company allowed to operate the service and to also have a floating armory, under a deal reached with former govt. more..

President, UK envoy discuss UN Resolution

Nov 23 (CG) President Maithripala Sirisena and the British High Commissioner James Dauris met today and had talks on Sri Lanka’s progress in implementing the recommendations of the UN Resolution. They also discussed this week’s CHOGM in Malta, the UN Climate Change Conference (COP21) and other issues. The President met the High Commissioner after planting a Na tree in the garden of official residence of more..