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Sri Lanka’s delicate balancing act

May 3 (EAF) Sri Lanka’s former pro-Chinese strongman President Mahinda Rajapaksa was voted out of office in January 2015. The new administration, led by President Maithripala Sirisena, is committed to more balanced major power relations. The new government has hit the reset button on Sri Lanka’s foreign policy, with initial overseas visits by Sirisena and PM Ranil Wickremesinghe to India, Japan and the UK. Sirisena also met with Chinese President more..

‘VAT hike not good for business’

May 3 (Island) Value Added Tax (VAT) increased to 15%, was operative from May 2, Minister Ravi Karunanayake said. "Education and pharmaceutical drugs have been exempted from the increase," he said. "Medical care services provided by private hospitals will be liable for VAT. The same goes for telecom services, he said. "Phone call charges will increase because of the removal of the exemption of VAT from telecom services. more..

Nine cricket tours for Sri Lanka ‘A’

May 3 (Island) Sri Lanka ‘A’ team which will take part in nine tours within the next three years have been sponsored by Lanka IOC PLC until 2018. In addition to that IOC has also been named as the official lubricant partner for SL Cricket. Shyam Bohra, Managing Director of Lanka IOC insisted that the development of A-team cricket is vital for the development of any cricket playing country. "We believe that ‘A’ team cricket has a massive impact on development of any cricket playing nation. more..

'Both Committees jointly picked team'

May 3 (CT) Mystery surrounds as to which Selection Committee was responsible in naming the 17-member SL Squad for the 3-Test Series against England. Selection Committee headed by Aravinda de Silva, which included Kumar Sangakkara, Ranjith Madurusinghe and Romesh Kaluwitharana, saw their short term expire on 30 April. Meanwhile, the new Selection Committee headed by Sanath Jayasuriya which also included Romesh Kaluwitharana, Ranjith Madurusinghe more..

ADB upbeat on Sri Lanka

May 3 (FT) Despite its high levels of debt, ADB is confident of Sri Lanka’s growth prospects, which it believes will be enhanced with $1.5 billion assistance from the IMF, though it will remain slightly below the regional average of 5.7%. ADB President Takehiko Nakao said the country has maintained solid growth and the multilateral development agency is confident its economy will expand between 5.3% and 5.8% in 2016. more..

New license for domestic elephants’ owners

May 3 (DN) A Cabinet paper will be submitted shortly to issue new license to owners of domestic elephants, Sustainable Development and Wildlife Minister Gamini Jayawickrama Perera said. The license will have to be renewed annually. The ministry will ensure the safety of the animal before the license is issued, he added. He said the Cabinet paper will include suggestions to end the prevailing human-elephant conflict. “All those living near elephant corridors have to be relocated. more..

Busaidi meets Iranian, SL ambassadors

May 3 (MD) Sayyid Khalid bin Hilal bin Saud al Busaidi, Minister of the Diwan of Royal Court received in his office on Monday, Ali Akbar Sibeveih, Ambassador of Iran and M K Pathmanaathan, Ambassador of SL to Oman. During his meeting with the Iranian envoy, Busaidi bade farewell to Sibeveih at the end of his tour of duty. They discussed matters of common concern. The ambassador expressed his thanks for the cooperation extended to him during the tour of duty. more..

President hands over the 5th consignment of Navy's Thalassemia Infusion Systems

May 3 (SLN) The free distribution of 275 Thalassemia Infusion Systems produced by the Sri Lanka Navy came about today (2) at the President’s Residence Colombo under the patronage of President Maithreepala Sirisena. The event which was recorded as the 5th phase of the Navy’s distribution of Thalassemia Infusion Systems, was attended by the Secretary to the Ministry of Defence, Karunasena Hettiarachchi, more..

Why Sri Lanka’s economic outlook is looking less rosy

May 3 (CNBC) SL's deal with the IMF may have averted a crisis, but the bailout may undermine a key source of strength: the country's impressive economic growth rate. The deeply indebted country inked an agreement for a $1.5 billion bailout, as it faced heavy fund outflows and overseas debt payments amid declining foreign-exchange reserves, which could have caused a balance of payments crisis. Foreign-exchange reserves fell by a third from late 2014 to $6.2 billion more..

'SLC keen to rejuvenate National Team'

May 3 (CT) Just two days prior to the National Team leaving to England for their Test tour, President of SLC, Thilanga Sumathipala, said they are confident of rejuvenating Sri Lanka Cricket along with the current Skipper Angelo Mathews and Vice-Captain Dinesh Chandimal. "We are quite confident of our duo - Captain and Vice-Captain - and we are going to re-engineer, re-structure and rejuvenate the National Team. We have very important tours ahead of us starting with England which more..

Video: LG polls not this year: Mustapha

May 3 (DM) Local Govt & Provincial Councils Minister Faizser Mustapha ruled out the possibility of elections for local authorities this year, because of work involved in delimitation. He said the committee, assigned for sorting out anomalies in delimitation of electoral wards, would be given an extra month to finish the task. “The time limit granted for this purpose will be extended up to September. Earlier, it was to end on Aug 31,” more..

Interpol help sought to arrest kidney trader

May 3 (DM) Police had sought the assistance of the Interpol to arrest the first suspect in the kidney racket Vijithagiri Suresh Lakshman Kumar, the Colombo Crime Division (CCD) told Colombo Chief Magistrate. Lakshman Kumar, an Indian national is believed to be the kingpin in the illegal kidney trade scam. The suspect escaped, while being detained at the Mirihana Detention Centre and had left the country subsequently. The CCD also told Chief Magistrate Gihan Pilapitiya that more..

SLFP calls for full report

May 3 (DN) Central Committee of the SLFP is to call a meeting this week to discuss action to be taken on SLFP members who did not participate in their May Day rally held in Galle, SLFP General Secretary and Minister Duminda Dissanayake said. Organising committee members will submit a full report at the meeting on participation and other contributions made by SLFP members. The committee will decide on the course of action to be taken against those who boycotted the event based on the report, more..

Video: Gammanpila tells Gayantha to remove Bopage from his post

May 3 (DM) MP Udaya Gammanpila requested Minister Gayantha Karunathilake to save the reputation of the ministry and himself by removing Ministry secretary Nimal Bopage from his post if he has expressed his personal opinion through the missive issued by him to the media on the Joint Opposition. MP questioned from Minister Karunathilake how a Ministry Secretary could use the ministry’s letter head and his signature as more..

May Day toll free expressway travel causes loss of Rs. 20 mn

May 3 (Island) The state coffers has suffered a loss of around Rs. 20 million due to a govt decision to make the Southern and the Katunayake Expressways toll free on May Day. 61,583 vehicles had used the Southern Expressway on Sunday and of them 6,469 were buses. The Katunayake Expressway had been used by 22,700 vehicles and of them 1,845 were buses. Most of the vehicles had used the Southern expressways to transport people to the SLFP rally in Galle, more..

Informatics loses derivative action against IFS

May 3 (FT) The Commercial High of Sri Lanka dismissed a derivative action instituted by Informatics International Lanka Ltd. (Petitioner) against IFS AB, Sweden (1st Respondent), the global software vendor giant, and 14 other Respondents, on 26 April. The derivative action was filed under the Companies Act of Sri Lanka by the Petitioner in a representative manner for and on behalf IFS Sri Lanka Ltd., a joint venture company set up consequent to a MoU between more..

CEB gives lukewarm response to Swiss green energy proposal

May 3 (Island) CEB is said to have given a lukewarm response to a contract bid made by a Swiss solar energy equipment producer based in Negombo, at a time SL has emphasized its commitment to developing and utilizing solar power projects, wind power projects and other green projects. This information was expressed by Heinz Walker-Nederkoorn, Swiss Ambassador on an event held in Colombo to launch the world's first more..

TID arrests former senior Tamil Tiger cadre

May 3 (Xinhua) A former high ranking cadre from the Tamil Tiger rebel outfit was arrested by Sri Lanka's Terrorism Investigation Division (TID) in eastern Sri Lanka on Monday. The ex-cadre, known as Krishnapillai Kalainesan alias Praba, was taken into custody in Eravur, Batticaloa, to be interrogated. He is the third high profile former rebel cadre to be arrested by the TID recently. Reports said that Praba had been released in 2013 after being rehabilitated, following the end of the war. more..

Nigerians, Lankans nabbed with cocaine

May 3 (DN) Eight Nigerians and two Sri Lankans with cocaine were arrested by Police. Police found 222 grams of cocaine in the suspects’ possession during a joint operation conducted by the Police Narcotics Bureau (PNB) along with the STF on Sunday. Police said PNB and STF arrested the suspects during raids in Ragama, Kelaniya, Mount Lavinia and Battaramulla. One Nigerian was arrested near a restaurant at Waragoda Road, Kelaniya and the other opposite a textile shop more..

Issues relating to Uma Oya project to be discussed with AG

May 3 (DN) Supreme Court yesterday permitted the Attorney General to discuss the hardships faced by people due to the Uma Oya multi-purpose project, between the govt authorities and relevant parties. Two judge-bench comprising Chief Justice K. Sripavan and Buwaneka Aluvihare made this arrangement to engage in a discussion regarding the Uma Oya multi-purpose project on May 9 at the Attorney General's Department. more..

Sri Lanka seeks to raise US$ 685 mil in revenue from taxes

May 3 (Reuters) Sri Lanka is seeking to raise 100 billion rupees (US$ 685.6mil) in revenue in 2016 by increasing the value added tax (VAT) and new taxes effective from Monday, Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake said. The VAT will rise to 15% from 11% and will be imposed on private sector health services as the govt struggles to reduce a ballooning budget deficit amid a debt crisis. The move is part of govt’s plan to meet a repeated request to raise revenue from the IMF, more..

Mulleriyawa mental patients for SAITM final-year activities: GMOA

May 3 (DN) GMOA has learned of plans to move a number of in-house mental patients from the Mulleriyawa Hospital to the Malabe private medical faculty, for final-year exam related activities, GMOA Secretary Dr. Nalinda Herath said. He said the consent of the patients is to be obtained by promising to pay them for the trip. Since this is a grave violation of the law and patients’ rights the GMOA intends to inform the Health Ministry and SLMC and ask them to hold an inquiry, more..

Sri Lanka hope to take on England with fearless approach

May 3 (DN) On paper Sri Lanka looks like a Test team of no-hopers for their tour of England which begins at the end of the week with a three-day game against Essex at Chelmsford. That is because the side lacks the experience that is required to survive under early English conditions. However skipper Angelo Mathews feels that what they lack by way of experience his young side can overcome by their fearless approach more..

Bopage: Minister failed to see misuse of position

May 3 (DM) Parliamentary Reforms and Media Ministry Secretary Nimal Bopage may be correct, in a way, when he said in a statement last week that the term Joint Opposition used by a group of Parliamentarians was wrong, since it connotes the entire Opposition in the Parliament, which was not the case. The parties representing the Opposition Leader and Chief Opposition Whip do not represent the group that calls itself the Joint Opposition. But, even if it is wrong, this is not the only term more..

Denial of Democratic Rights! POWER at any cost

May 3 (DM) Do we know what exactly went wrong in Sri Lanka? A majority of politicians and public officers did not accept that there were problems. They concealed all the shortcomings and deviously ignored values and ethics. They thought the purpose of the public service was to deceive the general public. They wanted to cling to the status quo and hold on to power purely for personal gain, while enjoying all the perks and benefits at a massive cost to the people. more..

Federalism back in the limelight

May 3 (SL) The resolution seeking a federal solution to the Tamil minority issue and political independence for the minority Tamil community, calls for the govt to include the merger of the Northern and Eastern provinces into one ruling system, and establishing it under a federal system, into the new constitution. However, there are others who oppose a federal solution and are against merger of N & E including some Muslim & Tamil communities. more..

The Voracious and Vociferous VAT

May 3 (DM) Value Added Tax (VAT), in other words is tax on value addition. According to economists, a shirt, for instance, would cost Rs. 800 and would be sold for Rs. 1,000. In this case, Rs. 200 is the value addition and it is subjected to the VAT imposed by the govt. VAT is also termed as a regressive tax as research proves that the poor pay a higher percentage of their income in comparison to what the rich have to contribute. more..

84 illegal firearms handed over within a week

May 3 (DM) At least 84 illegal firearms have been handed over to the govt so far during the amnesty period declared by the Defence Ministry on April 25. More than 21 illegal firearms were handed over from the Gampaha district while 11 firearms were from Colombo. The ministry declared a general amnesty period from April 25 to May 6 so that those who possessed illegal firearms could hand them over to the nearest Police Station, the DS or the PS. more..

Monorail project: proposals to be presented to Cabinet

May 3 (DM) The monorail project between Colombo and Malabe is back on track with the Ministry of Megapolis and Ministry of Transport finalizing the proposal that is to be presented to Cabinet. Megapolis Authority Director General Lakshman Jayasekara said the proposal was signed by both Ministers and was to be presented to Cabinet soon. “Once approval is received we can start construction within nine months and more..

Govt to provide safe, sustainable livelihood for war affected women

May 3 (CG) The govt is committed to provide safe livelihood to war affected women. The UNDP partnered with the Divisional Secretariat in Vavuniya to highlight the important role of women in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals [SDGs] amongst youth, civil society and govt partners. Nearly 40 institutions representing these sectors came together for the 3 day exhibition titled, more..

UNAIDS welcomes landmark decision by Supreme Court to prohibit HIV discrimination

May 3 (FT) Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) has welcomed a decision by Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court to prohibit HIV discrimination in education settings. Supreme Court issued the directive in response to a fundamental rights violation petition filed by Chandani De Soysa, who is from the rural community of Illukhena, Kuliyapitiya in Western Sri Lanka. De Soysa became a widow last year. When she tried to enrol her 5-year old more..

Flouting polythene rule: Supermarkets biggest culprit

May 3 (Island) The Central Environmental Authority (CEA) said the majority of supermarkets in the Western Province had failed to comply with the ban on thin polythene, which came into effect on Feb. 1. Over 400 polythene manufacturers, users or sellers and importers in the Gamapaha, Colombo and Kalutara Districts had been investigated during the last two months since the govt imposed a ban on more..

Sri Lanka's economic plan with IMF could slow growth, tough to implement: Fitch

May 3 (EN) Sri Lanka's economic plan agreed with the IMF would be tough to implement and could slow gross domestic product in the short term, but the economy could expand strongly if it is implemented, Fitch, a rating agency, said. "High GDP growth has supported Sri Lanka's credit profile, but the country is likely to face a period of adjustment under its IMF programme that could have a negative effect on economic performance in the short term," more..

Sri Lanka to have LNG power plants, no unsolicited bids: CEB chief

May 3 (EN) Sri Lanka’s state power utility will go for liquefied natural gas power plants in future to improve its generation mix, now largely reliant on coal, but is prohibited from accepting unsolicited bids, a senior official said. With LNG prices coming down, the CEB is considering building LNG power plants but needs large units to justify the high cost of an unloading and re-gasification terminal, Anura Wijayapala, chairman of the CEB, said. more..

RTI bill needs two thirds majority: SC

May 3 (AD) The Supreme Court has apprised the Parliament some sections of the Right to Information bill are not consistent with the constitution thus it needs a two third majority, the Speaker announced today. The observation was made when this was discussed at today’s Parliament section. The Speaker has also said it required a two third majority in the Parliament to pass the bill. more..

Real Veddas or imposters?

May 3 (Island) A key Vedda clan cast doubt on the ethnicity of those who marched in a May Day procession on Sunday in Colombo. Heenbanda Etto, son of Vedda clan leader Uruvarigelage Vannila Etto said that the person claiming to be leader of the Nilgala Veddas identified as one Hemapala and the group of Veddas who marched with him were not known to them. "I have never heard of a Nilgala Vedda leader called Hemapala," Heenbanda said, adding that no vedda had informed his father, more..

Jaffna: The hell-hole of persecuted & oppressed Tamil slaves

May 3 (CT) The Dutch, British and post-independent administrators have left behind in their records grim accounts of how the Saivite-Vellahla casteists distorted and perverted the Jaffna political culture. Modern scholars (Jane Russell and Prof. Bryan Pfaffenberger etc), who had studied the socio-political conditions of Jaffna, too confirm that Saivite casteism and Tesawalamai endorsed and legalised the dehumanisation of individuals, reducing the low-castes to irrelevant non-persons. more..

සුසන්ත ජයසේන

We need statesmen who think of the next generation!

May 3 (CT) Last week, Sri Lanka reached an agreement with the IMF for US$ 1.5 billion in loans to help lower its borrowing costs and bolster finances. The South Asian nation has pledged to narrow its fiscal deficit to 3.5% of GDP by 2020 through a comprehensive set of reforms to Sri Lanka's tax system, the Washington-based lender said in a statement. The loan programme will need approval by the IMF's Executive Board, which is due to consider it in early June. more..

Sri Lanka shares post near 4-mth closing high; John Keells leads

May 3 (Reuters) Shares posted their highest close in nearly four months on Tuesday, led by John Keells Holdings, while a loan agreement with the IMF last week also boosted sentiment. Benchmark stock index rose for the fifth straight session and ended 1.03%, or 66.84 points, firmer at 6,583.10, its highest close since Jan. 11. "Market was bullish with some buying interest coming into blue chips and mid caps. The main reason was due to the positive sentiment with the IMF announcement," more..