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MR to lead Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna

Nov 17 (NR) Former Minister GL Peries says UPFA MP Mahinda Rajapaksa will lead the newly formed Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna Party in the future. Speaking during a media briefing, Chairman of the Front, Former Minister GL Peries said the party is preparing for significant change in the country. He stated that the party is expecting the former President Rajapaksa to lead this party forward more..

Trump worries Asian-Pacific Leaders

Nov 17 (CT) President Sirisena and PM Wickremesinghe in addition to Sri Lanka's Defence establishment and fiscal/monetary planners will hang on to every word spoken between US President–elect Donald Trump and Japanese Premier Shinzo Abe immediately after Abe flies in to New York shortly after you read this commentary. Abe could be as worried a man as India's Narendra Modi is and more worried about Trump's campaign rhetoric about possible scaling down of more..

The people cannot be taken for granted by their leaders

Nov 17 (CT) The Sri Lankan reaction to the outcome of the US election reflected the ethnic divide at its extremes. Even prior to the election Tamil nationalist politicians had dashed coconuts at temples to bring victory to Hillary Clinton. They believed that she would ensure that the problems of Tamils in Sri Lanka would remain on the US government’s list of priorities due to the interest she had shown in these matters in the past. After the election Sinhalese nationalists expressed their satisfaction more..

Sorry! Tax hikes are not in the news!

Opinion article that angered PM: Sale of Hambantota Port: A fair deal?

Nov 17 (FT) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe at the 15th Asia Pacific Conference early November informed that SL will give 50 to China Merchant Group for industrialisation. Newspapers reported that the cabinet accepted the swapping of the Hambantota Port debt to equity and the Govt will sign the agreement on 8 Jan, next year. Under the proposal, China Merchant Port Holdings Ltd. is to acquire 80% of Hambantota equity, valued at $ 1.08 billion and to settle payments in instalments. more..

Article that angered PM: Can tabs do what PCs or bricks could not do for education?

Nov 17 (FT) The education component of Budget 2017 has many positive features. Unspecified infrastructure expenditures from the previous budget have been removed. The new proposals, except for the free tabs proposal, are mostly well-targeted. The higher education spending proposals in particular show multiple approaches to increase higher education opportunities, while not shirking the Govt’s responsibilities. The school education budget is the focus of this column. more..

Sri Lankan navy open fire at Indian fishermen, two hospitalized

Nov 17 (ENS) A couple of fishermen were injured as the Sri Lankan navy allegedly opened fire at a fishing crew who ventured out to sea from Karaikal in the wee hours of Wednesday. The nine-member crew with the two injured fishermen, hailing from Nagapattinam and Karaikal fishing hamlets, returned to Karaikal shores by Thursday early morning and rushed the injured duo into Puducherry hospitals for treatment. more..

Video: Widows of war heroes to get pension benefits

Nov 17 (DM) Minister Sudharshini Fernandopulle said President has instructed Defense Secretary Karunasena Hettiarachchi to formulate a life pension scheme for widows of war heroes. Dr. Fernandopulle expressed hopes that the war hero widows will get the benefits similar to that of retired disabled soldiers from Feb 17, which the govt granted on Feb. 7th. This follows weeks of protests staged by disabled soldiers demanding the same retirement benefits paid to retired soldiers. more..

E-procurement seen reducing corruption, costs in Sri Lanka

Nov 17 (EN) Shifting to an electronic procurement system could yield big efficiency gains for both the govt and private sectors in Sri Lanka, cutting costs, improving transparency and fairness in tenders, and reducing corruption, according to Verité Research. Govt spent about Rs597 billion through public procurement in 2015, or about 5.3% of GDP, and 26% of total govt expenditure. “That means, if you save one percent of that, that’s about Rs6 billion,” said Nishan de Mel of Verité Research. more..

Gota decries sabotaging of their sincere efforts by NGOs and others

Nov 17 (Island) Previous govt’s strategies to reestablish democracy and reconciliation after the war ended in the North & East had been as sincere as its war effort which crushed terrorism, former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa said. He said NGOs as well as the int'l community did not acknowledge the effort of the previous govt; they falsely claimed it was meting out stepmotherly treatment to Tamils. more..

JO says SLFPers in govt sidelined

Nov 17 (Island) Joint Opposition said the SLFP ministers in the UNP-controlled govt had been sidelined. former Minister G.L. Peiris citing an example said Minister W.D.J. Seneviratne had, in his statement to Parliament, said he was not aware of the EPF housing loan facility had been stopped. He said it had been stopped by the Finance Ministry without the Labour Minister’s knowledge. Western Province CM Isura Dewapriya, too, had recently complained of his inability to function properly more..

JO debaters on TV Soon ?

Nov 17 (CT) Leader of the Joint Opposition and MEP Leader Dinesh Gunawardana called on the Chair to ensure that its members are allotted time to speak on issues which are broadcast on TV when Parliament discusses them. MP Gunawardana, while noting that the two TV channels only aired Parliament sittings for the first two hours of sessions, demanded that JO members were allocated time to speak on issues when they are being aired. "This is a grave injustice. more..

Prez presents Industrial Excellence Awards

Nov 17 (PSL) The 53rd anniversary of Small and Medium Industries Board and 10th Industrial Excellence Awards ceremony was held today (16) under the patronage of President Maithripala Sirisena at Waters Edge. The entrepreneurs who have excelled in small and medium scale industries were awarded by the President at this event. President awarded seven prestigious platinum and gold awards to the entrepreneurs more..

Eastern Uni gets Capital Market Info Centre

Nov 17 (CT) With the sole aim of providing and facilitating Capital Market Information, historical data and current and updated information in the field of marketing, to undergraduates and Academics in a very detailed manner, the Capital Market Information Centre, coming under the purview of Securities and Exchange Commission of Sri Lanka, the first of its kind was ceremonially opened at the Library of the Eastern University on Wednesday. The Centre, which was the outcome of efforts taken by more..

Basil takes responsibility for Presidential Election defeat

Nov 17 (NR) Former Minister Basil Rajapaksa says he takes full responsibility for the defeat in 2015 Presidential Election and is in the process of correcting past mistakes. Speaking at a media briefing of SLPP, he said they respectfully accepted defeat. Rajapaksa said ethically they did the right thing by accepting defeat. He reiterated the UPFA won all elections since 2005. He added the objective of the new party is to create a Good Governance which does not repeat its mistakes. more..

Australia and UK open new Visa Application Centre in Colombo

Nov 17 (AD) High Commissioners of Australia & UK formally inaugurated VFS Global’s new Visa Application Centre (VAC) in Colombo today. The new VAC is located in Arnold Ratnayake Mawatha and offers customers a larger application centre and more appointments slots. This will make the process of applying for UK and Australian visas quicker and easier for customers. VAC will be open Monday to Friday from 9am – 2pm. more..

Sri Lanka aims to be HIV free by 2030

Nov 17 (Xinhua) Sri Lanka is making timely interventions in its efforts to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030, as part of the Sustainable Development Goals, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) said on Thursday. The UNFPA said it supported Sri Lanka's efforts to implement a five year National Condom Strategy 2016-2020 as the correct and consistent use of condoms was one of the most effective means of preventing sexual transmission of HIV. The UNFPA said that it also supported more..

The human face of the Law !

Nov 17 (CT) Fort Magistrate Lanka Jayaratne yesterday ordered former Minister Wimal Weerawansa's elder brother Sarath Weerawansa, to be released on bail under special circumstances. Weerawansa was in remand on charges of misusing vehicles provided to the NFF by the Presidential Secretariat and causing a loss of Rs. 10 million to the State thereby. The Fort Magistrate released Sarath Weerawansa on a Rs. 250.000 cash bail and two bonds of Rs. 100.000 each. more..

Sri Lanka says no deadline to address allegations on war

Nov 17 (Xinhua) Govt said it is not under any pressure from the international community to address concerns related to the war. Minister Lakshman Kiriella said int'l community has accepted the efforts being taken by Govt to address the issues at hand. He said for 3 years Sri Lanka was on the agenda of the UNHRC in Geneva and was discussed for over an hour but now only 15 minutes is allocated for the country since more..

Pharmacies not complying with reduced drug prices to be sealed

Nov 17 (Island) Pharmacies that do not comply with reduced medicinal drug prices are to be sealed. Minister Rajitha Senaratne said that in an unprecedented move the govt had slashed the prices of 48 drugs, but the newly formed Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) led by former President Rajapaksa had dismissed it as insignificant. Multinational drug companies had had a field day under the Rajapaksa regime, but that would not be tolerated by the present govt, Senaratne said. more..

JVP accuses UNP, SLFP of staging joint robberies

Nov 17 (Island) The SLFP and UNP are enacting the drama of the blind and the lame beggars’ story  as it was made amply visible from the budget 2017, JVP said. JVP MP Dr Nalinda Jayatissa said said: Till 2015 we used to see two beggars living on whatever they obtained from people. In August 2015 the two beggars one blind the other lame teamed up and since then they work together to get money from the people and thereafter divide between themselves what they earn. more..

Sri Lanka Tamils willing to accommodate Muslims: TNA leader

Nov 17 (PTI) Minority Tamil community is willing to accommodate the wishes of Tamil-speaking Muslims and resettle them in the north as part of the new constitutional process, leader of the opposition told Parliament. R Sampanthan, who heads the TNA, said his party was prepared to work with the govt to address the issues faced by Tamils and Tamil-speaking people. He urged the govt to resettle displaced Muslims in the north. more..

Video: SLPP will end up like any other bankrupt party: Vijith

Nov 17 (DM) Minister Vijith Wijayamuni De Soyza said the newly formed Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) will end up like any other bankrupt political group that attempted to destroy the two main political parties, the UNP and the SLFP in the past. He opined that the main reason for the possible failure of the SLPP was that, it had no vision, no policy or no ideology. It's only objective was revenge and an attempt to get out of the mess members like GL, Basil and few others are in. more..

Financial City to pave way for future economic growth, says expert

Nov 17 (Xinhua) Sri Lanka's plans for establishing a Colombo International Financial City will pave way for future economic growth and is a symbol of confidence, a leading European official said. Dr. Patrick Dixon, a globally acclaimed futurist and a growth strategist, addressing a forum at the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce said that with a highly skilled workforce and strategic location, Sri Lanka had a great future, as part of Asia's rapid rise in global influence and power over the next 50 years. more..

Salawa blast victims demand compensation from govt

Nov 17 (AP) Hundreds of Sri Lankans protested Thursday to demand the govt quickly pay compensation to those whose houses were damaged by an explosion at an army camp five months ago. About 200 demonstrators gathered in front of Colombo's main railroad station to call for swift compensation. The explosion in June at the Salawa army camp, 35 kilometers east of the capital, killed one soldier. more..

TN parties condemn firing by Sri Lanka, ask Centre to act

Nov 17 (PTI) Hours after two Indian fishermen were injured when Sri Lankan naval personnel allegedly opened fire at them, parties, including MDMK and PMK, have condemned it, claiming that it happened in Indian waters and urged the Centre to take action to prevent recurrence of such incidents. MDMK general secretary Vaiko alleged that the fishermen were attacked by Lankan Navy by entering the Indian maritime boundary adding Centre should condemn it strongly. more..

174 complaints against pharmacies not adhering to price reductions

Nov 17 (Island) The Health Ministry had received 174 complaints against pharmacies which failed to adhere to the gazetted reduction in drug prices since the day of their introduction early this month, its Chief Food and Drug Inspector (FDI), Amith Perera said. Chief Food and Drug Inspector, Amith Perera said that amongst the complaints were those regarding the failure to issue drugs at reduced prices and those which stated that they were unaware of the reductions. more..

Bankrupting SL: Govt to lease out vehicles for 58 MPs at Rs.700,000 a month

Nov 17 (DM) The move to lease out vehicles to 58 govt MPs at a total cost of Rs.2.4 billion gives room to suspect of their being a serious financial crime involved, JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake told Parliament. "The fact that tenders had been called from potential suppliers even before cabinet approval is a matter for suspicion," he said. "The monthly rental for one vehicle will amount to Rs.700,000 and at the end of the lease more..

Towards a better public transport service

Nov 18 (DN) Despite various promises to improve the public transportation system, the public in general have experienced very little in terms of improvement in their daily commute. They instead complain that the public transport system has gone from bad to worse. According to the SLTB, there are approximately 20,000 private buses and approximately 5,500 SLTB buses operating on our roads. These numbers however make little difference to the public as the services more..

'I’m my own person'

Nov 18 (DN) Like the food he prepares he has the perfect mix of ingredients required for success. Larger than life personality Koluu has been himself throughout his life. Outstanding Personalities features Chef Koluu who is undeniably a talented chef. But maybe it is the fact that he is simply unafraid to be himself that makes him so well loved in Colombo Society. Q: This dynamism and flamboyancy of yours, how did that develop? A: From childhood I have been involved in more..

Peace brings home climate uncertainties in rural Sri Lanka

Nov 18 (TRF) In the last quarter century, Mohamed Azur fled his home three times as civil war raged around him, returning when the fighting subsided for a time. “Life was not hard, if you knew how to avoid the guns and the bullets. There was enough land, water and everything else for everyone here,” said the 62-year-old, standing on the doorstep of his small mud hut covered with tin-sheet roofing. But since SL’s long civil war more..

Man who saved hundreds killed by a speeding driver

Nov 18 (DM) On Nov 12 tragedy struck at Moratuwa when a much loved and respected man who had rescued and given first aid to hundreds of accident victims was killed in an accident on the Galle road.   Lalith (Lal) de Silva (61)—the Assistant District Commissioner of Colombo West of the St John Ambulance Brigade with his wife Swarnamali when there was an accident with a motorist who had been speeding in a BMW sports car. Unfortunately there was no one to give first aid to Lalith and more..

Getting over Trump(ed)

Nov 18 (DM) This is the earliest recorded note on the issue of friends and foes in the matter of governance. It has subsequently been used in other contexts of course and is generally reduced to the familiar dictum my enemy’s enemy is my friend often attributed to Mao Zedong. What is important to note here is that neither Kautilya nor Chairman Mao proposed it as a general theory, but rather one which could be applied to given situations. Perhaps this is why we have that other adage which more..

'Expensive drugs next'

Nov 18 (CT) In the wake of reduction of prices of 48 essential drugs, Ceylon Today met Health Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne to ascertain how the Minister intends ensuring that the private sector adheres to the reduced prices and his plans for the future to regulate the most expensive drugs and the private healthcare industry. Q: In mid-October, a Gazette Notification, on reduced prices of 48 drugs, was issued. more..

Goebbels doing backflips in his grave

Nov 18 (Island) Hitler’s propaganda minister, Joseph Goebbels, would spin, nay, do backflips, in his grave if he knew some Sri Lankan ministers have overtaken him posthumously. (The Fuhrer would also turn somersaults in his grave—for want of a carpet to bite; his Gestapo has been resurrected and legitimised here so much so that it has the backing of his western enemies who destroyed his secret police service, among other things, and drove him to suicide in 1945! more..

Will Budget 2017 achieve inclusive growth?

Nov 18 (FT) The Budget 2017 has come into play at a time when the world is being challenged with the appointment of a new President in the United States which led to a nosedive in the stock markets around the world whilst at home there is social uprising with protest campaigns virtually on a daily basis.  In this background, for one to launch an inclusive growth-driven budget is prudent given that Sri Lanka was experiencing a high growth agenda post 2009 where unequal distribution of income more..

Aluth Parlimenthuwa

Tax exemptions removal could affect stock market volumes

Nov 18 (SO) The removal proposed in the government’s 2017 budget of tax exemptions on investments in listed securities and dividends by Unit Trusts, from which the corporate sector has been making big gains, could affect volumes on the Colombo Stock Exchange, according to President of the Colombo Stock Brokers' Association (CSBA), Ravi Abeysuriya. “The corporate sector has been enjoying tax free income by investing in listed securities and unit trusts,” he said. more..

SL’s uphill climb to a knowledge economy - I

Nov 18 (Island) President Sirisena has articulated his vision for Sri Lanka mid-October during the BISTEC/BRIC meetings in India as moving the country towards a knowledge economy’; and the govt in pursuit of this objective, has already embarked on a futuristic concept in the Western Region Megapolis Master Plan (WRMP) project of building numerous smart cities in the most developed region, dramatized by PM and the Minister concerned in their many speeches. more..

Ravi K woos foreign investors

Nov 18 (FT) Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake wooed existing and potential foreign investors, inviting them to benefit from new oppurtunites in SL’s thanks to sound macroeconomic and fiscal management as well as strategic geographic location. The message from Karunanayake was emphatic and the platform he used was the packed post Budget Forum, which featured a unique panel of multinationals more..