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High percentage of SL Muslim families marry off girls before statutory age of marriage

Nov 10 (ENS) A high percentage of SL Muslim families get their girls married off before they attain 18 - the statutory age of marriage in Sri Lanka, according a new study. The study quotes a 2015 survey conducted by FOKUS Women in Puttalam district involving 1000 Muslim female heads of household which says that 42% of the respondents were married below the age of 18. The reasons given for early marriage more..

AAVA Group : Gotabhaya is distorting what I said - Rajitha

Nov 10 (Island) Minister Rajitha Senaratne said that he had never accused the military of backing the AAVA group responsible for crimes in the North. Senaratne told a news conference that it was former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa who was going around claiming that he (Rajitha) had blamed the military for what AAVA group was doing. "What I said was that AAVA was created by the last Rajpaksa govt and that I know those in the military who had helped it do so. more..

Govt to monitor private sector education

Nov 10 (DM) The private education sector would be monitored by the govt, the Budget 2017 proposed. Scholarships would be offered for top university students to study in Harvard University and MIT. Further, Rs. 10 million would be allocated to meet ragging incidents and a sheet would be provided for students to state the funds spent on them. Meanwhile, higher education loans up to Rs. 800,000 would be provided for 15,000 students who fail to enter state universities. more..

Tiran Alles, two others granted bail

Nov 10 (DN) Former MP Tiran Alles and two others were granted bail on strict bail conditions by Colombo High Court today. The three were held in connection with a Rs. 200 million fraud alleged to have taken place at the RADA in 2006. HC Judge made the order pursuant to criminal proceedings filed by AG against four accused - former Chairman of RADA Tiran Alles, former LTTE Financial Head Emil Kanthan, more..

Sri Lanka seeks a strong role in Belt and Road initiative: FinMin

Nov 10 (Xinhua) Minister Ravi Karunanayake said on Thursday that his country will look to have a strong role in China-proposed Belt and Road initiative. He made the remarks while delivering the 2017 budget speech. He said that Sri Lanka will look to focus more on development and strengthen its economy in 2017. The Belt and Road initiative comprises the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road and aspires to build a trade and infrastructure network connecting more..

Sri Lanka set up sugar fund with ethanol tax and cess: Ravi

Nov 10 (LBO) Sri Lanka will set special price stabilization fund for sugar cane, give state land and a 100% capital allowance to set up factories as incentives to develop the industry, Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake said. “I propose to establish a Sugar Stabilization Fund by imposing a 2% Cess on imported sugar and 5% on ethanol imports, to protect the sugarcane farmers, from the adverse impact that may arise from the fluctuations in price and loss of crop,” he said. more..

Sri Lanka to list Mobitel, Hyatt other SOEs

Nov 10 (LBO) Minister Ravi Karunanayake said state-owned enterprises Mobitel, Hyatt, Water Edge, Grand Oriental Hotel will be listed on the Colombo Stock Exchange. The firms are to be listed during 2017, he said presenting budget proposals for 2017. “We will also list non-strategic enterprises such as Hyatt, Grand Oriental Hotel, Waters Edge, West Coast, Manthai Salt, Hambanthota Salt and Hilton during 2017,” more..

Tamil Diaspora has links with Trump: Udaya

Nov 10 (CT) LTTE Tamil separatists have link with both major parties in the US, thus the victory of either one will not make a remarkable impact with regard to Sri Lankan politics, Member of the JO, Udaya Gammanpila said. He further noted that this was a strategy of the LTTE separatists to ensure that their interests are protected. Yesterday, US Republican candidate Donald J. Trump was elected President following a close race against his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton. more..

'Release of 9 TN fishermen, 115 boats taken up with Sri Lanka'

Nov 10 (PTI) Union Minister Pon Radhakrishnan today said the Centre has taken up with Sri Lanka, the issue of the release of nine Tamil Nadu fishermen and 115 boats in the island nation's custody. "We have taken up the issue of the release of nine Tamil Nadu fishermen in Sri Lankan prison and 115 boats in their custody," he said. He was speaking to reporters in Dhanushkodi, near here after inspecting the newly laid 9.5 km long road, stretching from Mukuntharayar Chathiram more..

Sri Lanka, Bangladesh likely to sign FTA in March 2017

Nov 10 (Xinhua) Sri Lanka and Bangladesh are likely to sign a free trade agreement (FTA) in March next year, which will boost trade and pave way for a huge cross border cargo transshipment via the Port of Colombo, Commerce Ministry said. Bangladesh's Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed, who is in Sri Lanka on an official visit, said that SL-Bangladesh FTA can become a reality when SL's high-level leaders visit Dhaka in March. more..

Govt to compete with Agoda, Airbnb collect Rs25bn

Nov 10 (EN) Govt will set up a common booking platform for hotels in the country in place of international booking engines, Minister Ravi Karunanayake said. Booking engines such as Agoda and Airbnb does not pay any taxes in SL he said. The govt will set up a common booking platform in discussions with the hotel industry, he said. The govt hopes to collect 25 billion rupees from the move. Booking engines such as Agoda already collects SL turnove taxes including VAT, more..

Sri Lanka to slam half a million fine on overstaying tourists; hike visa fees

Nov 10 (EN) Sri Lanka will slam a million rupee (3,400 rupees) fine on overstaying tourists, and visa fees will also be hiked, a budget for 2017 said. In addition to pre-approved electronic visa, Sri Lanka will also issue visa on arrival for one month. Visa fees will be raised the budget said, without specifying the new rates. Spouse visas will be issued for five years, the budget said. Foreign students will also be given multiple entry 5-year visas. more..

Fine for traffic offences up to Rs 2,500, case filing fee imposed

Nov 10 (DM) The minimum penalty on traffic offences will be increased to Rs. 2,500, Finance Minister said presenting the Budget 2017 in Parliament. The accidents are results of traffic violations and therefore proposed to revise the penalties. A new filing fee will be imposed when filing a Court case by any person in any Court. High volume of cases pending before the Courts is an overriding problem in the entire court system. more..

Problems can be solved only with the involvement of relevant parties: President

Nov 10 (GDI) When a problem occurs in the country, if only the relevant parties are involved it can be solved easily, said President Sirisena. However, interferences of unrelated parties with the issue will create numerous problems, President said that the recent incident of differently abled War Heroes, created many problems due to the involvement of some sections of the society who are not the War Heroes or differently abled War Heroes and wanted to cause inconvenience to Govt. more..

Telecom Levy on internet services increased

Nov 10 (AD) Minister Ravi Karunanayake today said that the Telecommunication Levy on Internet services will be increased to 25%. Delivering the 2017 budget speech, he also said that a SIM Activation Levy of Rs 200 will be imposed for a SIM. He added that all mobile operators will be given a 6 months period to convert their infrastructure enabling to provide 3G facility and a surcharge at Rs. 100 million per district will be imposed for failing to provide such facility. more..

Prices of several essential items reduced

Nov 10 (DM) Minister Ravi Karunanayake, in his Budget speech announced that the prices of several essential items would be reduced. He said the price of a kilo of green gram would be reduced by Rs.15, a kilo of dhal by Rs.10, a kilo of potatoes by Rs.5, a kilo of sprats by Rs.5, a kilo of white sugar by Rs.2, LP Gas by Rs. 25 per 12.5 Kg and a litre of kerosene by Rs.5. Price of a 400gm packet of locally-manufactured milk powder more..

Street drama, no barrier to reconciliation

Nov 11 (DN) Following the street drama played out opposite the Presidential Secretariat by a few members of the disabled soldiers led astray by a group of political monks and other activists of communal political flavour President Sirisena cautioned the people about the dangers of forces that wish to subvert democracy and the gains of Jan 8, 2015. Rumour mills are active on a 24 hour 365 day schedule to disturb the spirit of national reconciliation that came with that victory. more..

Parody of fiscal tyranny by midnight gazette

Nov 11 (NS) It appears that the State’s fiscal back-room mandarins have not been burning the midnight oil as much as they did around this time last year. Oh, sure they have all been doing the usual computing and totting up the checks and balances before the govt opens up the nation’s accounts for everyone to see. You may have guessed by now what it’s all about. Days are getting shorter as the fiscal winds will soon be blowing in the Budget 2017 to be tabled in Parliament on Nov 10. more..

'Protesting soldiers cheered on by politicians'

Nov 11 (CT) Q: As a civil society organization are you satisfied how the current govt is investigating corruption? A: Actually we cannot be satisfied at all because at the moment, we cannot see any action taken against corrupt individuals but as a civil society movement after the govt was elected we showed them the wrongdoers. We also raised our voice against them but the officials failed to take action. more..

Hypocrisy of public outcry over a burst of profanity

Nov 11 (CT) Looking back on the US presidential election campaign one recalls the avalanche of shock, feigned moral outrage, and sense of injured innocence that greeted the widely circulated tape recording of Donald Trump uttering some vulgar profanities about women during a raucous conversation inside a luxury coach way back in 2005. No doubt millions of people all over the world heard this conversation over and over again on TV and the internet as it was played up by more..

The limbs, eyes and lives of our (relatively) good times

Nov 11 (DM) In the film Doctor Zhivago, based on Boris Pasternak’s celebrated novel there’s an argument between two officers of a Red Guard unit. One believes that Zhivago, who had been abducted by the unit because a medical officer was needed, should be allowed to leave since he had served well. The other objects because there operations were ongoing and his services were needed. Placing party above all, he reminds his comrades that once the war is over everyone will be  judged more..

'Abuse of duty free car permits by MPs is daylight robbery'

Nov 11 (FT) Rights activist Nagananda Kodituwakku, who fights against Ministers and MPs abusing the duty free vehicle permits causing loss of revenue in billions, urges President Sirisena to introduce a tough system to review the tax structure and also the perks and privileges given to top Govt officials, including MPs. The former Head of the Customs Revenue Task Force, Kodituwakku, who fled the country in 2001 due to death threats more..

Trump politics continue a Lankan role

Nov 11 (CT) The ascendancy of Donald Trump to the US Presidency has raised questions as to what his policies will be with regard to the continuity of the US Pivot to Asia that has rather comprehensively been translated into memoranda of understanding and military/defence agreements with India, SL, the now about to crumble military agreements with the Philippines, and those with Vietnam, Bangladesh etc. US govt's Pivot to Asia under the Obama administration saw Sri Lanka's leadership more..

Fighting for the rights of Muslim women

Nov 11 (DN) With all the rhetoric regarding Muslim Marriage & Divorce Act of Sri Lanka that is currently the CauseCèlébre, it seems everyone wants to get on the bandwagon, to the extent that the work that the originators and activists of the reform movement who have striven for 30 long years has been seconded to new voices that do not adequately comprehend the issues and individuals at stake. It began with an altruistic concern for the plight of Muslim women and children but more..

Harsha de Silva

Zimbabwe cricket needs help to overcome hurdles

Nov 11 (CI) As Zimbabwe shimmied towards their latest defeat in the second Test against Sri Lanka, thoughts turned to that age-old question: what are the ingredients for an effective turnaround for Zimbabwe cricket? A lot has changed over the last 15 months. A new board and a new chairman have taken charge. The backroom staff at the national level have all changed, and there is a new head coach now in Heath Streak. Tatenda Taibu has taken over as the new convenor of selectors, more..

FFSL to conduct inquiry into Sri Lanka’s poor display in Malaysia

Nov 11 (DN) An inquiry will be held into the poor display of the Sri Lanka Soccer team at the Asian Solidarity Soccer Tournament which is being held in Malaysia and on the steps to be taken to develop football in Sri Lanka at a meeting of the Football Federation of Sri Lanka. All committee members of the Football Federation of Sri Lanka will attend this meeting at which decisions will be taken regarding on how to improve the standard of the Sri Lanka’s Soccer team in view of more..

Govt faced with GK assets sale after settling depositors money

Nov 11 (ST) After almost eight years of dreadful suffering, Golden Key (GK) depositors with deposits of Rs.10 million can breathe a sigh of relief with the govt’s decision to repay the 3rd and final tranche of the 41% repayment of their total deposits partially ending the money swindling saga of Lalith Kotelawala and his clan. However the Treasury along with the Central Bank is still confronted with a major task of recovering more..

Editorial: Modi’s crackdown on black money

Nov 11 (Island) There is nothing intrinsically wrong with power, but it does corrupt, as a truism goes, because greedy politicians wielding it are in league with unscrupulous moneybags. This evil nexus between shallow minds and deep pockets is the bane of democracy. Crooks, rolling in black money, bankroll key political figures and the latter become putty in the hands of the former after being elected. There is nothing called a free lunch and financiers’ interests thus take precedence over more..

Govt to concentrate on improving sports

Nov 11 (Island) Govt has come up with several measures to develop sports aiming at long-term success. Presenting budget, Minister Ravi Karunanayake mentioned several special projects on which the govt will spend as much as Rs. 1,775m for the next year. "At the Paralympics in Rio this year, we won a bronze medal in javelin throw, but we failed to win a medal at Olympic games this year too. Surely there are many in our villages that can certainly compete with the best. more..

SL beats India to lift World Carrom title

Nov 11 (DN) Sri Lankan men’s carrom team under the captaincy of Chamil Cooray emerged champions at the 7th World Carrom Championship 2016 defeating India in the final played at Birmingham, UK yesterday. The Sri Lanka women’s team finished runner-up losing the final after a tough fight to India. The winning Sri Lankan men’s team comprised Chamil Cooray, Nishantha Fernando (defending world champion), more..

Show time for wildlife

Nov 11 (NS) AVIUM, a collection of wildlife photos by three friends Sadeepa Gunawardena, Raveendra Siriwardena and Milinda Wattegedara was launched on Saturday 5th November at the Lionel Wendt. The Weekend Nation spoke to the co-authors of the book which is a collection of 134 exquisite photographs captured in all parts of the country showcasing the diversity of the island’s wildlife in all its splendour. According to Sadeepa, who is a marketeer by profession, wildlife photography is an affair more..

‘We respect the supremacy of the law’

Nov 11 (SO) The Central Bank bond scam which went viral during the past few weeks took a new turn when President Maithripala Sirisena assured the country that the disputed issue would be referred for judicial investigation as it needs to be beyond politics. Cabinet Spokesman and Health Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne said, the Cabinet has unanimously decided to stand by the Prime Minister in the event of a No-confidence motion by the Joint Opposition (JO). more..

Donald Trump had acted in a Sri Lankan film

Nov 11 (ENS) President-elect Donald Trump had acted in a film co-produced by the veteran SL film-maker Chandran Rutnam along with Bo Derek. 1989 film Ghosts Can’t Do It was directed by John Derek. "John Derek wrote a scene especially for Donald Trump to play himself in a cameo role. We shot the scene in the board room of the Trump Tower. It was a one-day shoot and a delightful experience,” Chandran said. more..

Commercial Bank’s 9-month profits up 14%

Nov 11 (Island) Commercial Bank has posted profit before VAT and NBT of Rs 16.398 billion for the nine months ending 30th Sept, reflecting growth of 15.19% during a period of rising interest rates and shrinking margins. Bank said gross income grew by 17.94% over the corresponding nine months of last year to Rs 66.868 billion at the end of the period reviewed. Profit before tax improved by 13.92% to Rs 13.887 billion while profit after tax at Rs 10.151 billion reflected robust growth of 20.48%, more..

Dialog Axiata posts Rs 7.8 bn profit

Nov 11 (DN) Dialog Axiata has posted a net profit after tax of Rs. 7.8 bn for the nine months ended 30 Sept 30, 2016. The Group continued its strong growth momentum across Mobile, Digital Pay Television, Tele-infrastructure and Fixed Line businesses to record a consolidated Revenue of Rs. 21.7 Bn for Q3 2016 and Rs. 64.0 bn for the nine months ended Sept 30, 2016, demonstrating a robust growth of 3% Quarter on Quarter (QoQ) and 19% Year to Date (YTD) respectively. more..

SL lifts ban on foreigners buying property

Nov 11 (AFP) Sri Lanka announced Thursday it would lift a ban on foreigners owning property as the cash-strapped country sought to attract foreign capital to rebuild its war-ravaged economy. Minister Ravi Karunanayake told parliament of the potential to attract much-needed foreign investment in the construction sector, which is experiencing a boom following the end of the island's ethnic war in 2009. more..

3 tier corporate income tax rate introduced

Nov 11 (DN) Govt has introduced a three tiers structure of corporate income tax rate, in the 2017 budget. Gajma and Company Partner N.R. Gajendran said the Lower Rate (Tier I) Corporate income tax rate of Tier I is applicable to the SMEs, export of goods or service, agriculture sector and education sector. With the introduction of three tiers corporate income tax rate structure, the lower corporate income tax rate of 12% which was enjoyed by the SMEs and companies which more..

SLT group profits up by 13.6%

Nov 11 (DN) Sri Lanka Telecom reported revenue of Rs 55.7 bn during the first nine months of 2016 exhibiting a year on year (YoY) growth of 9.5%. The growth was largely driven by an increased demand for data and broadband related products that were introduced to the market through LTE coverage expansion and fiber optic based ultra-high speed broadband for higher data volumes. Operating cost of the group increased by 15.2% to Rs 39.7 bn largely due to increase of Int'l Telecom more..

Budget 2017: benefits for all sectors

Nov 11 (DN) A development oriented budget with a long term action plan to fulfill aspirations of all citizens was presented to Parliament with focus on strengthening the national economy. Govt wants to replace three-wheeleers, which cause most accidents, with electric cars and give 50% interest subsidy on a loan scheme for promoting electric cars. He also proposed to reduce Excise Duty on electric cars with power less than 100 kw. more..