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Resolving a decade-old fishing dispute

Nov 16 (SO) Sri Lanka and India took a major step forward last week, to resolve the decade-old Palk Bay fishing dispute, at bi-lateral level, reaching consensus on a number of contentious issues, including the practice of bottom trawling by Indian fishermen. This was amid some Members of the Opposition professing, the matter would never be resolved unless it is internationalized, meaning, it should be raised before International Tribunal more..

Editorial: Priorities mixed up

Nov 16 (Island) All politicians have one thing in common—their remarkable ability to pull the wool over the eyes of the public. They have got it down to a fine art and apparently take turns to deceive the people while living off the fat of the land and throwing Citizen Perera a potato or a sprat through a budget. It is being argued in some quarters that Sri Lankans are born suckers and gluttons for punishment. We disagree! An election is a case of Hobson’s choice for them. more..

Budget 2017 bound to have mixed effects on inclusive growth

Nov 16 (FT) In the background of revenue mobilisation constraints and emerging public debt sustainability risks, curtailment of the budget deficit is inevitable. Hence, Budget 2017 had to be framed in line with the IMF-supported program focusing on fiscal consolidation, as I predicted in my pre-budget commentary which appeared in this newspaper. The Budget, themed Accelerating Growth with Social Inclusion, envisages a sustained path of fiscal consolidation aiming at more..

'Addressing women’s issue will strengthen Muslim community'

Nov 16 (CT) A few weeks ago the Co-Cabinet Spokesperson declared that a committee will be appointed to amend the Muslim Marriage and Divorce Act (MMDA), which many activists had been claiming for decades to be archaic. Since the announcement, the amendments have become one of the most contentious issues with some Muslim groups protesting this move. However there is little understanding of the MMDA and more..

Donald Trump was the best thing that happened to Sri Lanka

Nov 16 (CT) Donald Trump's election as the 45th President of the United States was probably the best thing that happened to Sri Lanka, internationally, for a long time. Even a Bernie Sanders presidency would not have been as good for us. But then again it would not be good news if you are some upper class social justice warrior who was clamouring for stronger international mediation, ignoring evidence that the majority of Sri Lankans view such moves with distaste. more..

Will People’s Budget achieve fiscal consolidation, rational objectives and ...

Nov 16 (ST) Paramount issues in the minds of economists are whether the 2017 budget would decrease the fiscal deficit, increase revenue, contain wasteful expenditure, increase developmental expenditure and contain public debt to a sustainable level. These are prerequisites for macroeconomic stability and sustainable economic development. While these are the rational objectives of economists, are they realistic expectations? Finance Minister’s characterisation of the budget more..

අයවැයේ ඇතුළාන්තය

Still searching for the Truth: One woman’s relentless quest for justice

Nov 16 (GV) Sandya Ekneligoda is the wife of Prageeth, a SL journalist, cartoonist and political analyst who has been missing since he left work on the evening of 24 Jan 2010. Since that fateful day Sandya has been relentless in her quest for justice. She keeps a spotlight on her husband’s disappearance campaigning in Sri Lanka as well as giving testimony at the UNHRC in Geneva. In 2015 she resorted to smashing coconuts outside the residence of the former President. more..

Democracy: Direct vs Representative

Nov 16 (Island) The outcome of the recently held Presidential Election in the US and the Referendum in UK demonstrate the gulf that exists between Direct Democracy that operates on the direct vote of the People, and Representative Democracy that operates on the vote of elected representatives. The outcomes in the US and UK were based on Direct Democracy because issues were determined directly by the People, even though in the case of US Direct Democracy was expressed through more..

Sri Lanka's serene south coast

Nov 16 (CNT) Shipwrecked coins, says the toothless man in the faded blue baseball cap, pulling a small plastic box from his pocket as he walks towards me on a wide bastion of Galle Fort. Dutch, British, Portuguese. For an island barely the size of Ireland, Sri Lanka has been fought over more than most. And what a prize! Gems as big as fists. Lush valleys rich in tea leaves and spices rising up to Adam's Peak and its strange flat top, more..

Entire country is stunned

Nov 16 (CT) Minister of Finance Ravi Karunanayaka said before the budget proposals were presented that he would present a stunning budget. That is true. The entire country is stunned . In comparison with the last year's proposals, this year's proposals make it clear that this budget has only a few new taxes. This budget was tabled 12 days after the VAT increase was imposed. You can see what other taxes have been imposed when you read the budget. more..

SLC looks to hire new Staff

Nov 16 (CT) Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) is set to completely revamp their administrative staff as they have advertised a number of Managerial positions at the SLC. The contract period of a number of current employees are set to expire on 31 Dec 2016. SLC has called for applications for the post of Manager Cricket Administration, Manager Events, Manager Human Resources, Manager Administration, Manager –Finance, Media Manager, Legal Officer, National Curator, Stadium Manager more..

RSF urges UN committee to question Sri Lanka’s intelligence chief

Nov 16 (RSF) Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka (JDS) are dismayed to learn that Sri Lanka’s national intelligence chief, Sisira Mendis, who is accused of serious crimes against journalists during the final stages of its civil war, is on the Sri Lankan delegation that is meeting with the UN Committee against Torture (UNCAT) in Geneva today and tomorrow. RSF & JDS are dismayed to learn more..

Govt unveils ambitious plans to rejuvenate state sector

Nov 16 (DN) The national unity govt has, for the first time since coming to power, presented a budget with the unanimous support of the two main coalition partners: the UNP and the SLFP. When the budget was presented last year, SLFP clamoured for various amendments at the eleventh hour, turning the whole process into a farce. Budget was amended as a result, many a time, and created a great deal of confusion among the public, over the govt’s plans for the next financial year. more..

Sri Lanka Wrestling Federation Chandrasena lodges complaint against officials

Nov 16 (CT) Veteran National Wrestling Champion and Coach of the Army for 15 years, A.V.S. Chandrasena, has lodged a complaint to the Minister of Sports against officials of the Sri Lanka Wrestling Federation. He has cited that President Neville Pathmasiri, Secretary M.C.L. Mallawarachchi, Secretary's brother Nuwan Mallawarachchi, Vice President R.V.N. Perera and Committee Member Jagath Piyaratne have all fraudulently obtained invitations to every more..

EU and the UN launch project to support trade in Sri Lanka

Nov 16 (CG) The European Union today launched a EUR 8 million project that will help Sri Lanka increase its trade competitiveness in regional and European markets. The project will be implemented over a period of four years by the International Trade Centre (ITC) and United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) in collaboration with the SL Department of Commerce. Speaking at the launch of the project, more..

Customs seize 3.2 million rupees worth of cigarettes

Nov 16 (ITN) Four Chinese nationals have been arrested at the Katunayake International Airport by the airport customs officers while trying to smuggle cigarettes worth 3.2 million rupees into the country. Customs Media Spokesman Dharmasena Kahandawa said that the suspects were arrested at the customs Green Channel while trying to escape customs officials. He said that the four suspects, two men and two women arrived in the country at 5.40 a. m from Kunming, China. more..

Lanka Sugar Company turns loss into Rs1bn profit

Nov 16 (LBO) Lanka Sugar Company, which includes Pelwatte and Sewanagala sugar factories, has recorded a profit of 1,018 million rupees for the first nine months of this year. The company which employs around 5,600 workers has made a significant turnaround this year after it suffered a loss of 1,030 million rupees last year. In 2014, company suffered a loss of 211 million rupees. The change was mainly due to stronger govt regulations and support from top policymakers. more..

Growing concern over revival of hate speech against Tamils and Muslims

Nov 16 (ENS) There is growing concern in Sri Lanka over the revival of hate speech against the minority Tamils and Muslims. Minister Mano Ganesan, leader of the National Unity Alliance (NUA) Asad Sally, and the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA), have called for stern action because hate speech defeats the Sirisena govt’s bid to bring about ethnic reconciliation after a 30 year conflict. Batticaloa Buddhist monk more..

Reduce the tax on internet usage for students: WDJS

Nov 16 (DM) 25% internet charges should be reduced for schoolchildren and university students, Minister W.D.J. Seneviratne told Parliament. He expressed these views during last morning’s debate on the second reading of the budget. "Internet is an information superhighway. A person who browses webpages could access any kind of information at any time. Therefore if some tax concession is given to schoolchildren and university students, it would be possible for the govt to more..

'Financial transaction tax to be paid by banks'

Nov 16 (EN) A debit tax on bank withdrawals will have to be paid by banks, Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake said, amid rising concerns that the levy will discourage the use of the banking system and encourage a cash economy. The budget for 2017 imposed a 5 rupee tax on every 10,000 rupees withdrawn from banks. Karunanayake told a forum organized by Ceylon Chamber of Commerce that banks will have to bear the cost of the so-called Financial Transactions Levy (FTL). more..

Ageing politicians ok?: Malik tells ageing corporate leaders to make way for Young

Nov 16 (DM) Minister Malik Samarawickrama requested the ageing corporate leaders to make way for younger generations to engender innovation and entrepreneurship, but did not seem keen to apply the same logic to the country’s political sphere. He blamed the ageing corporate leadership for the lack of entrepreneurship in the country. “I’m aware that there is a lack of entrepreneurship in the private sector, more..

Wimal usually dodged his summons: FCID

Nov 16 (DM) FCID in a response to claims made by MP Wimal Weerawansa for summoning him on Poya Day to record a statement said they had no other option because the politician keeps dodging his summons saying he was busy with parliamentary affairs. A senior officer said the FCID had no vested interest in harassing individuals by summoning them but was only carrying out their duties. MP was summoned on Poya Day to record a statement in connection with misuse of some 12 vehicles more..

Health Ministry officer indicted for bribery

Nov 16 (Island) The CIABOC, yesterday filed an indictment in the High Court of Colombo against an Administrative Assistant of the Ministry of Health, N. S. Bandara. The four charges against the accused include taking a bribe of Rs. 20,000 from Dr. Morgan Sundaran Agilan, a Medical specialist. The offence was committed in or about Dec 10, 2012 for arranging salary arrears to be paid during medical leave. Commission will summon eight witnesses and six productions to support the charges. more..

Probe called for into Rs 100 mn cancer drug tender

Nov 16 (Island) An alleged attempt to procure an Indian cancer drug, Abiraterone Acetate, through fraudulent means is under investigation by Parliamentary Procurement Committee. Govt Medical Officers Forum (GMOF) has recently brought the matter to the notice of Health Secretary Anura Jayawickrema. Letter dated Nov. 4 sent to Secretary has been copied to PM’s Office, Health Minister’s Office, CIABOC more..

Sri Lanka’s demand for consumer durables to slow next year: Fitch

Nov 16 (DM) The demand for consumer durables in Sri Lanka is expected to be sluggish in 2017 and the industry players could also see pressure on their margins as the revenue mix could shift from high margin white goods to low margin IT and mobile phone segment, Fitch Ratings Lanka cautioned.  Fitch’s rather gloomy industry outlook for 2017 is mainly underpinned by the higher interest rates due to tight fiscal and monetary conditions, particularly by way of higher indirect taxes more..

Minimum traffic fine: Ravi taken out of context

Nov 16 (DN) Minister Ravi Karunanayake once again stressed that he had being taken out of context with regard to the minimum traffic fine of Rs. 2,500. “Govt would not fine, Rs.2,500 for simply parking in a wrong place or cutting a line”. People may not know that if an under aged person driving a vehicle or a driver is apprehended without a valid lenience. The fine would be Rs. 25,000,” he said. “What the govt wants to do is create responsible drivers who obey traffic rules.” more..

Yahapalanaya: Second batch of Central Province members to go on foreign junket

Nov 16 (Island) The 2nd batch of Central Provincial Council members and officials are likely to leave for Russia on an educational tour by the end of this month. Governor Niluka Ekanayake has given her nod for the tour on the condition that the group would keep the cost of the junket low. Tour of 2nd group of PC members was suspended on a presidential directive due to some issues concerning the first batch that had visited Russia in Sept. more..

Udayanga’s FR case today

Nov 16 (CT) FR application, filed by former SL Ambassador to Russia Udayanga Weeratunga, will be supported in Supreme Court today. This petition will be taken up before a Bench comprising Acting CJ Eva Wanasundara and Justices Anil Goonaratna, Upali Abeyratna. By his petition, Weeratunga is seeking three interim orders and compensation in Rs 100 million. He states that he sent his baggage in a container to Colombo Harbour and the Customs had refused to release the container. more..

National Accident Prevention Week begins

Nov 16 (ITN) National Accident Prevention Week commenced today (15). It will continue until the 18th of Nov. It is being implemented parallel to the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims which falls on third Sunday of November each year. The National Accident Prevention Week is being launched implemented by the Non-Communicable Disease Unit of the Ministry of Health. 15th will be the Schools and Pre- Schools safety day and 16th the working places safety day. more..

JVPer leader castigates govt over waste, corruption

Nov 16 (Island) President Maithripala Sirisena and PM Ranil Wickremesinghe alleged that a well-funded political project to destabilise the ruling coalition was underway. The coalition leaders claimed that a despicable attempt was being made to cause a major rift between the Sinhalese and Muslim communities to plunge the country into chaos. President and PM were addressing a meeting held at Committee Room ‘A’ of more..

Wiggy mulls bi-lingual skills for students, officials

Nov 16 (CT) Chief Minister of the North C.V. Wigneswaran says he will shortly introduce new regulations, to the Northern Provincial Council educational system, making it compulsory for all Sinhala students in the North to study Tamil, while allowing Tamil students to enhance their knowledge of the Sinhala language. He made this statement in his address to attendees at the annual awards ceremony of the Hindu College in Jaffna recently. He added that all Sinhala and Tamil more..

MoU on Hambantota Port handover nearing finalisation: Malik

Nov 16 (FT) The Govt is to sign the Memorandum of Understanding on the Hambantota port with the Chinese consortium by January with the document being finalised soon. Development Strategies and International Trade Minister Malik Samarawickrama disclosed on Friday that 95% of the plans have been finalised. “We have more or less concluded our plans. The MOU will be finalised by end November leading to its signing in January,” the Minister told post-Budget Forum. more..

Getting ready for the next scam?: Ravi K. stern on clipping Central Bank’s wings

Nov 16 (FT) In the wake of criticism that the Finance Ministry has invaded the authority and autonomy of the country’s Central Bank (CB) through some of the 2017 budget proposals, Finance Minister’s comments may indicate that the wings of CB would be further clipped going forward. “They (CB) should be monitoring govt’s activities that have been done on monetary measures. So we are certainly restructuring that more..

Bilingualism key to the future

Nov 16 (DM) Northern Province CM C.V.Wigneswaran who had been in the centre of several controversies in the recent times had revealed an important move which was to be taken by his Council with regard to understanding between the majority Sinhalese and the minority Tamil-speaking people in the country.  During a prize giving ceremony at the Nallur Hindu College in Jaffna on Monday, Chief Minister said that his administration was going to present an Act more..

Will the govt’s policy lead to mass dispossession of farmers?

Nov 16 (DM) The first subject heading in Minister Ravi Karunanayake’s 2017 budget speech was Agriculture which he said was a priority given its importance to the economy, society and way of life. He spoke of transforming agriculture from low-yielding, low income, few crop dependent subsistence agriculture to commercial agriculture, raising income levels and developing small scale producers into big exporters. A variety of proposals followed which, we are led to understand, more..

'Govt has no plan for increased University intake'

Nov 16 (DM) SYU is the youth wing of the JVP. This was originally begun on Jan 1, 2016. However its activities came to a halt with the proscription of the party by those who ruled the country during that period. We became active once again in 2007. Since then we have been working with the SL Youth for nine years. Lately we have been holding the national brotherhood in Jaffna July 23rd to July 25 every year to build up national unity. more..

Alarm bells ring over proposed Counter Terrorism Act

Nov 16 (SL) The proposed Counter Terrorism Act has sent alarm bells with many fearing it may be worse than the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) which it seeks to replace. Human rights groups noted that the new piece of law, if adopted, could give the government an opportunity to crush any dissent and any opposition by labelling it as terrorism. A copy of a draft of Counter Terrorism Act, which was leaked to the media, more..

Tuk-tuks for, others against hike in traffic fine

Nov 16 (ST) The Govt’s budget proposal to sharply increase the minimum penalty for traffic offences has drawn both strong criticism and praise from transport sector unions, many of whom claim to have been given insufficient relief in the 2017 Budget. While the LPBOA has already threatened to launch an island-wide strike on Tuesday (15) against the proposal to increase the minimum penalty from Rs.20 to Rs.2500, more..

MR urge SLFPers to reject the 2017 Budget

Nov 16 (NR) Former President Kurunegala District MP Mahinda Rajapaksa has urged members of the SLFP to reject the 2017 Budget proposal. Speaking in Parliament today, he said the SLFP cannot support liberal economic proposals. He said 2017 Budget will be a burden for the masses. Former President said “SLFP and progressive movements must reject this budget. SLFP cannot support liberal economic proposals.” more..