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Sobitha Himi: Servant of Dhamma; Gift to us all

Nov 24 (Island) There was a time when Sobitha Himi did not appeal to the minorities the way he did at the time of his death. Some may still have reservations about some aspects of his past. The recurring challenges of civil governance that brought us together fifteen years ago, however, developed into a close friendship and enabled me to understand, respect and appreciate him as a courageous and timely gift to us all. Among Sobitha Himi’s several contributions to the life of the nation, more..

Galle Dialogue 2015 commences in the port city of Galle

Nov 24 (SLN) International Maritime Conference, Galle Dialogue 2015, organized by SL Navy, got underway in the port city of Galle today (23). Thirteen papers are scheduled to be presented at the two-day dialogue held under the theme, Secure Seas through Greater Maritime Cooperation: Challenges and Way Forward. PM Ranil Wickremasinghe graced the occasion as the chief guest and delivered the keynote address more..

Civil Society in the East appeal to UNWGEID for Demilitarisation

Nov 24 (GV) Members of civil society, including families of those disappeared in Batticaloa, Ampara and Trincomalee have come together to issue a statement to the UN Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances (UNWGEID). In the statement submitted to the UNWGEID, they draw attention to numerous military killings committed in the Eastern Province under the Prevention of Terrorism Act. They also condemned the questioning of family members who testified more..

Editorial: Power Play

Nov 24 (Island) It looks as if visiting American dignitaries far outnumbered ordinary Chinese tourists in this country. The latest US diplomat to land here is Samantha Power, America’s ambassador to the UN and President Barack Obama’s confidante. The incumbent administration’s efforts to curry favour with the western bloc seem to have reached fruition. President Sirisena boasts of a gloveless handshake he received from Queen Elizabeth in London a few months ago. more..

Veggies fall WoW; up 4-98% YoY

Nov 24 (CT) With the weather clearing, vegetable prices in the Pettah retail market saw a sharp drop week on week (WoW) last week, though, year on year (YoY), some of those prices have had skyrocketed by nearly 100%, data showed. While, WoW, in the sample captured, those vegetable prices declined by between 7% and 30%, nevertheless, on a YoY basis, all of the sample captured in this survey, some eight vegetable more..

Budget puts SL’s income tax best in world

Nov 24 (FT) 2016 Budget proposals have ensured Sri Lanka is by far the best in terms of income taxation. Impressive ranking of Sri Lanka was revealed during Ernst & Young post Budget Forum. It was highlighted by E&Y that as per the standard rate Sri Lanka’s 15% puts it as third best or equaling with Germany and only behind Ireland’s 12.5%. However Minister Ravi Karunanayake qualified it saying effective taxation in Ireland was over 16% hence SL’s 15% rate is world’s best. more..

Kapugedera a worthy time investment

Nov 24 (CT) What makes a young cricketer stick to a fairly stable selective mode of play? It is the ability to follow instructions. These are learnt during one's early days in the game and are not necessarily the ones to follow throughout a career. But things you learn always become useful at some stage when going through a cricket career. In Sri Lanka the youngster living in and around either Colombo or any big city is always at an advantage during the early days in the game. more..

President Sirisena & PM Wickramasinghe

Reconciliation will bridge Tamil-Sinhalese gap: CBK

Nov 24 (Hindu) Bridging the gulf that divides Tamil and Sinhalese population in Sri Lanka is essential for the wellbeing of the country, former President of Sri Lanka, Chandrika Kumaratunga, has said. Ms. Kumaratunga, who was on a private visit to Alappuzha, told The Hindu on Monday that she was involved in the national unity and reconciliation initiative being undertaken by the present govt as part of confidence-building measures. “There is a huge gulf between Tamils and Sinhalese. more..

TEA hails Budget 2016’s policies

Nov 24 (CT) The first budget of the new unity Govt presented to Parliament by Minister Ravi Karunanayake receives a warm welcome by the Tea Exporters Association (TEA). TEA, which is headed by Rohan Fernando, a son-in-law of Minister Sarath Amunugama, also hailed the govt initiative to deviate from previous economic policies and align with fundamentals of the world economy. The recognition of global market opportunities and simplifying taxes to attract investments and focus on more..

PM orders halt to Yala constructions

Nov 24 (DN) Sri Lanka Tourist Board will halt all hotel construction projects on land in and around Yala National Park with immediate effect, following a directive by PM Ranil Wickremesinghe, at a meeting organised by the Southern Development Ministry on Nov 22. PM directed officials to prevent anyone - be they business enterprises or individuals - from taking possession of any land in and around Yala National Park. more..

Dhanuna's passport released

Nov 24 (DM) Colombo High Court released the passport of Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka’s ex son–in–law Dhanuna Thilakaratne, who was earlier acquitted from charges of earning profits from arms procurement deals of the Army. Court made the decision following a motion filed before court by Mr. Thilakaratne’s lawyer to release his client’s of bank accounts and passport, since the case was terminated and he was acquitted. Colombo High Court Judge acquitted Dhanuna Thilakartne more..

Firms queue to delist

Nov 24 (CT) The minimum listing rule of 20% on the main board of the Colombo Stock Exchange (in the lesser board it is 15%) and the lack of liquidity in the market has been touted as being some of the reasons why companies are currently opting out from the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE). Equity 1, a Carson Cumberbatch company and Finlays, a company controlled by the Swire Group of London have recently announced that they would be delisting from the CSE. more..

Gandhi Centre’s opening heals old wounds

Nov 24 (Hindu) The inauguration of the Mahatma Gandhi International Centre in Matale, about 150 km from Colombo, on Sunday, marked an end to a three-decade-long unpleasant episode. 1983 anti-Tamil riots saw, among others, the burning down of a building, meant to perpetuate the memory of Gandhi, who made a brief visit to the town in the Central Province in November 1927 as part of his Khadi promotion campaign. more..

Data to grow as Voice costs increase

Nov 24 (CT) Data will take precedence over voice as telecoms taxes increase as per Budget 2016 proposals due to the pass through effects on the consumer, Fitch ratings in a statement insinutated. Rating agency said that it has maintained a negative outlook on Sri Lanka's telecoms sector. Fitch said that this is based on uncertainty over proposals to increase taxes which are likely to lower profitability and increase leverage for telcos if implemented. Fitch said that this is based on uncertainty more..

Paris attack underscores need to tackle terrorism: Navy Commander

Nov 24 (Island) Navy Chief Vice Admiral Ravi Wijegunaratne said that the recent terrorist attacks in Paris reminded the world of the urgent need to find a lasting solution to terrorism. He said: "We have seen in the past how terrorist groups have used the maritime space to carry out attacks on land. When the law enforcement efforts on land are tightened, the terrorists are left with one easy option of using the maritime space. They take advantage of its vastness and lack of policing more..

School uniform issue: Minister defends voucher system

Nov 24 (CT) Recently, Education Ministry decided to provide vouchers to students to buy cloth material for school uniforms instead of the Ministry providing cloth material to students through schools. Teachers' unions have strongly opposed this move, while Ministry is sticking to its decision. Education Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam said, by introducing a voucher system to procure cloth for school uniforms, govt can save Rs 200 m. more..

Train services temporarily disrupted

Nov 24 (DM) Train services had been disrupted for a short time on the main Colombo line due to a tense situation that occurred at the Ragama Railway station this evening, the railway control room said. Passengers on a train was travelling from Colombo Fort to Rambukkana had protested near the Ragama fly-over as the engine driver had said he couldn’t drive the train beyond Ragama as he was not well. Police had arrived and prevented a clash between the passengers and railway staff. more..

Young UNP MP heeds JVP leader’s counsel

Nov 24 (Island) Speaker Karu Jayasuriya prevented UNP MP Buddhika Pathirana from asking a question listed on the Order Paper following an intervention by JVP Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake. MP Pathirana sought names and addresses of male and female students abused by teachers and subject to violence also by teachers in the year 2014. MP Pathirana, in his question, asked the Minister of Education to inform the House of the names, addresses, the schools, the harm inflicted on more..

Toronto temple popular with politicians is a cash cow for terrorists

Nov 24 (NP) The beautifully intricate paintings of Hindu gods inside the Canada Kandasamy Temple are a sacred backdrop for worshippers who come to pray, as well as for the politicians who pass through to have their pictures taken. A garlanded Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne was photographed at the temple last year, and then-defence minister Jason Kenney stopped by during the federal election campaign with more..

Govt taking all measures to secure domestic worker's release

Nov 24 (DN) Govt said that it will take every possible attempt through diplomatic channels to ensure the release of a Sri Lankan female domestic worker who was recently sentenced to be stoned to death after being found guilty for having a clandestine affair. According to Foreign Employment Minister Thalatha Athukorala, Govt has already filed an appeal before the Riyadh Court in Saudi Arabia, on behalf of the Sri Lankan female domestic worker, who was recently sentenced to be stoned to death. more..

SLFP to vote for Budget

Nov 24 (DN) SLFP General Secretary Duminda Dissanayake said that SLFP Parliamentary Group has decided to vote for Budget 2016. A meeting was held between SLFP Parliamentary Group and President Maithripala Sirisena at Presidential Secretariat yesterday. "This decision was taken by Party's Central Committee and every MP should comply with the party's decision," he said. However, Dissanayake did not make any comment on the decision of the other parties in UPFA more..

Uproar over two copies of Budget Speech

Nov 24 (CT) The presence of two different copies of the Budget Speech of Minister Ravi Karunanayake on the tables of MPs led to a commotion yesterday, with Opposition MPs demanding to know the reason behind the move. Few minutes prior to the beginning of the second day of the second reading debate on the Budget 2016, MEP Leader Dinesh Gunawardena rising to a Point of Order brought it to the notice of more..

Minimum salary of Lankans leaving for overseas employment to be increased

Nov 24 (DN) Govt will increase the minimum salary of Sri Lankans leaving for overseas employment to Rs. 45,000 in January, Minister Thalatha Athukorala said. "The programme to increase the minimum salary of the Sri Lankans going for overseas employment to Rs. 45,000 will be implemented from January after the budget is passed in Parliament," she said. Ministry has received reports regarding a number of incidents of Sri Lankans working in foreign countries for a meagre salary of more..

Women entrepreneurs happy with 5% mandatory bank lending

Nov 24 (CT) Women's Chamber of Industry and Commerce (WCIC) congratulates the govt and Minister Ravi Karunanayake for the important step taken in directing banks to lend 5% of their total loan portfolio to women micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) as announced in the new budget proposals for 2015-16. WCIC is particularly thankful that their proposal under their advocacy project Lend to Her to Grow the Economy was accepted by Finance Minister and more..

Thalatha wants Dilan probed: Misappropriation of Rs. 240 mn

Nov 24 (Island) Parliament was told that a foundation established under the name UPFA MP Dilan Perera, during the previous govt, had received funds from the Foreign Employment Bureau (FEB). Perera backed former President Rajapaksa's candidature at the last general election. He was appointed to Parliament through the National List and made a deputy minister. Minister Thalatha Atukorale informed Parliament that more..

Actress in midnight drama near Parliament: Seeks young Cabinet Minister's help

Nov 24 (CT) A teledrama actress driving at high speed in the early hours of yesterday, crashed through several security barriers close to the Parliament causing damage to those barriers, while the Police at the Security Check Point wondered as to why she crashed into the High Security Zone at that time of the day. When the police had questioned this actress she had immediately telephoned a young Cabinet Minister to seek his assistance to resolve the problem, it was reported. more..

Indian Marine Police file case against SLN

Nov 24 (Hindu) The Marine Police of the Coastal Security Group (CSG) have registered a case against the Sri Lankan navy for allegedly attacking fishermen from Rameswaram on November 21, when they were fishing on the high seas, north off Rameswaram fishing jetty. A complaint was filed by Rameswaram fisherman A. Varghis, who suffered head injury in the incident. The Sri Lankan navy allegedly attacked the fishermen with iron balls, stones and bottles. more..

'SL prepeared budget without IMF direction'

Nov 24 (EN) Sri Lanka has done a budget for 2016 without being controlled by IMF, which could also help the country if it wished, Minister Ravi Karunanayake said. "We did it, because we must be able to correct ourselves without anyone telling us what to do," he said. "And we can go to them and say we have done what is good for us." Budget contained several new taxes to get more money to pay hiked salaries more..

Major step towards religious unity

Nov 24 (DM) In a major step towards inter–religious dialogue and unity, the Catholic Church yesterday held an unprecedented memorial service of thanksgiving for the Most Ven. Sobitha Hamuduruwo who passed away on November 8th after giving prophetic, selfless and sacrificial leadership to the movement which led to the people’s silent revolution of January 8. One of the priority goals in the Ven. Sobitha Hamuduruwo’s vision and mission for a new Sri Lanka was multi-racial, multi-religious and more..

Pirates and floating armouries

Nov 24 (DM) There is a severe debate going on at present over the legality of floating armouries (FAs) in the western Indian Ocean operated by a private company which is linked to the Defence Ministry of the Govt of Sri Lanka. Two Ministers and a retired Army Commander were embroiled in accusations and counter accusations against each other over this highly controversial topic earlier and for the past week especially after the President had decided to hand over all the weapons and operations more..

Spotlight on White Van abductions

Nov 24 (SL) A statement made by former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa on the white van culture during the former regime, has put the whole issue back in the spotlight. Rajapaksa had claimed that white vans were used to kidnap criminals and his statement came just as the police arrested FSP politburo member Kumar Gunaratnam, who was also abducted when the former Govt was in power. more..

CB signals vigilance over credit growth

Nov 24 (Reuters) Central bank signalled its vigilance if credit growth continues beyond expected levels as borrowers take advantage of lower interest rates, and it revised down the economic growth forecast to 5.7% this year. In its latest report on economic development posted it its website over the weekend, the central bank also emphasised a need to limit public sector borrowing to encourage private sector investment. more..

Family in dark as mother faces barbaric death by stoning

Nov 24 (ST) The Sri Lankan mother sentenced to death by stoning in Saudi Arabia is in regular touch with her children who are completely unaware that their mother faces this cruel end. Sri Lankan govt is trying to get her sentence lifted or reduced, retaining a lawyer at a cost of Saudi riyal 10,000 (Rs. 350,000) to plead her case, the Minister of Foreign Employment Thalatha Atukorale, said. more..

CEPA: A story of barbers, tailors, bogeymen and spies

Nov 24 (CT) You've perhaps seen the movie Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy or read the bestselling novel the movie was based on. Even then you may wonder what that has to do with CEPA. Right, it was not the movie or the book, it was the fortune-telling nursery rhyme Tinker, Tailor, the first line which was used by the novelist John le Carre, with a slight change for the title of the novel, I was reminded of while reading recent news more..

Ravi's Logic: Tax hike prompted by $100,000 electric cars coming at 2.5%

Nov 24 (EN) Sri Lanka has raised taxes on electric cars to super luxury cars were coming in virtually tax free, Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake said, as the unintended consequence of yet another state intervention came to light. "We saw 100,000 dollar cars coming in at 2.5% tax," he said. "Revenue erosion was taking place. So what we had to do was to correct that one by imposing 50% tax. There were 8 high performance Tesla S cars more..

Sri Lanka says no travel warnings to countries with increased security

Nov 24 (Xinhua) The Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry on Tuesday said it would not issue any travel warnings for its nationals travelling to countries which have enhanced security in the wake of an increase in terror attacks. Officials from the Foreign Ministry said despite the recent attacks in cities such as Paris and Mali, none of its citizens had been injured in the attacks. "We do not plan to issue any travel advisories for our citizens to travel to more..

‘KKS cement factory will deprive Jaffna peninsula of sizeable land mass’

Nov 24 (Island) A sizeable chunk of the Jaffna land mass will be lost if the Sri Lanka Cement Corporation (SLCC) re-commences operations at its Kankasanthurai factory, a former high ranking officer of the Sri Lanka Navy warns. "Different politicians have claimed that the cement factory should be reopened and its full potential trapped, but public money should not be wasted and the feasibility of a factory taken into consideration more..

Murdered Sri Lankan maid: Blood money or punishment?

Nov 24 (DM) The Kuwaiti govt might pay blood money on behalf of Sri Lankan housemaid Jayawathi Ilangasinghe (50) who was murdered recently in Kuwait or the maximum punishment will be imposed on those convicted, Minister Thalatha Athukorala speculated. Woman -a mother of two was found dead with stab injuries at the house in which she was employed in. Her employer’s son had allegedly murdered her more..

Sri Lanka budget has reforms, but deficit spending high: Fitch

Nov 24 (EN) Sri Lanka's budget for 2016 has outlined reforms which can help the economy grow but there is no clear plan to get spending under control, Fitch Ratings has said. "The govt did take the opportunity of the budget announcement to reiterate an ambitious set of economic reforms aimed at raising foreign investment and boosting the private sector's participation in the economy," Fitch Ratings said. "If achieved, these broad objectives more..