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Finance Ministry insists no cut in subsidy, welfare facilities

Nov 24 (CG) No subsidy or other welfare facility that have been increased for the people after the Govt came in to power has been slashed or removed, Finance Ministry said. Ministry said that despite huge allocations made for development projects in the Budget 2017, Rs.403 billion has been allocated for subsidies and welfare expenditures. This is an increase of Rs.143 billion when compared with Rs.260 billion allocated in 2014. more..

Parliamentary debate focused on agriculture industry

Nov 24 (NR) Parliament directed its attention to several issues in the agriculture industry during the Committee Stage Debate of the 2017 Budget. The expenditure heads of the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Plantation Industries, the Ministry of Mahaweli Development and Environment and the Ministry of Irrigation & Water Resources Management is the main focus in today’s Parliamentary debate. more..

Navy chief pooh-poohs coup claim

Nov 24 (Island) Navy Commander Vice Admiral Ravindra Wijegunaratne lashed out at politicians who spread rumours that there would be a military coup if the govt failed to arrest deterioration of democracy. He said it was only a figment of the imagination.  "These politicians are are trying to mislead the masses as the security forces have commanded the respect of the whole nation. Those politicians are trying to vent their frustration more..

Last chance for national reconciliation?

Nov 24 (CT) The Constitutional Committees have formulated a slew of proposals to effect a breakthrough in the process of national/racial/religious reconciliation which go far beyond the proposals of past by any govt which were mere dichotomies between reality and bogus posturing by that ugly section of the polity which deals in nothing short of populist politics aimed at extending its power. The nation could well have been taken aback by the forthright more..

2,000 deserving students denied uni admission annually: JVP

Nov 24 (Island) Every year about 2,000 students who passed the GCE A/L examination could not receive university education due to inefficiency on the part of the University Grants Commission (UGC) and the govt, Parliament was told. Participating in the third reading debate on budget 2017 under the expenditure heads of Ministry of Higher Education and Highways, JVP MP Bimal Ratnayake said that universities could accommodate 24,000 students a year, but the govt enrolled only 22,000. more..

Rusirupala Tennakoon

Alleged bond scams: Questions for the govt

Nov 24 (CT) The lead article of The Island newspaper on Bond Scams: PM says Govt. Awaiting AG’s Instructions written by Saman Indrajith has raised several public interest and public policy issues. As he has reported, the PM has stated in Parliament that “The Attorney General instructed the govt to obtain expert knowledge on public auction and private placement methods.” Private placement is not the correct term that should be used, but direct placement as previously pointed out by more..

SL to explore and assess gem deposits

Nov 24 (LBO) Sri Lanka’s cabinet has decided to implement a project to explore and assess gem deposits in Sri Lanka within 2017 and 2021, a statement said. “It has been assessed that gem deposits are spread in around 70% of land in Sri Lanka but only 10%  of them are used in mining activities,” a statement on approved cabinet decisions said. Proposed project will survey gem deposits in SL and is planned with the view of introducing a comprehensive database more..

'Budget already defeated by the people'

Nov 24 (NS) JVP MP and Chairman of the COPE, Sunil Handunnetti speaks on the pros and cons of the budget and its impact on the country’s economy. Q: Now that the budget has been presented and there is much critical analysis of it, what would be the fate of the people? A: One family has to bear an additional cost of Rs 15,000. The budget has not been created with any interest towards the people, but only the interests of the Govt. more..

Man arrested for slashing woman’s buttocks

Nov 24 (DM) A man, who used a blade to slash the buttocks of a woman (in Maharagama Town) who was six months pregnant, was arrested yesterday with the assistance of people in the vicinity, Maharagama Police said.   The woman had been admitted to Kalubowila Hospital. She had had to have six stitches, hospital sources said.    Police said the victim was a resident at Rukmalgama in Kottawa and employed as a store-keeper at a private institution in Dehiwala.  more..

Cockfight between Minister & State Minister

Nov 24 (Island) Cabinet and state ministers of skills development and vocational training made contrary statements during the budget debate. State Minister Palitha Range Bandara said that there was massive corruption and irregularities taking place in his ministry.  Participating budget debate under the expenditure heads of Ministry of Skills Development and Vocational Training, he said: Only 15% of the allocation made to the ministry by the last budget had been spent. more..

Sugathadasa track tender fixed?

Nov 24 (DM) Sports Ministry has allegedly tailored the specifications of a tender to re-lay the 400 metre and 200 metre training tracks at the Sugathadasa Sports Complex in order to award the project to a pre-selected company. The works include repairs and improvement to other features related to the synthetic tracks. It is being claimed that bidding criteria have been designed to facilitate a favoured company and that no other contractor more..

CB responds to footnotes on COPE report

Nov 24 (DM) Central Bank has clarified and adequately answered the footnotes included by UNP MPs of the COPE in its report on the bond scam, it is learnt. The COPE, chaired by JVP MP Sunil Handunnetti, submitted to its report to Parliament on Oct 28 holding former Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran responsible for the scam. However, the UNP MPs representing the COPE has made certain footnotes to the report expressing reservations on some of the matters. more..

SAITM case fixed for further argument

Nov 24 (DN) Court of Appeal yesterday fixed for further argument on Nov 29 the writ petition filed by a MBBS graduate of SAITM. The petitioner Dhilmi Suriyarachchi is seeking an order quashing the decision of Sri Lanka Medical Council (SLMC) to refuse registration as a medical practitioner to the petitioner. The petitioner claims that on or about Aug 30, 2011, former Minister of Higher Education recognized SAITM as a degree-awarding institute for the purpose of developing higher education. more..

Mahinda Deshapriya testifies in Sil Redi distribution case

Nov 24 (DN) The Colombo High Court yesterday recorded evidence from the Elections Commission Chairman Mahinda Deshapriya regarding the case filed against former Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunge and former TRC Director General Anusha Palpita, in connection with a criminal misappropriation of Rs.600 million belonging to the TRC funds during the 2015-Presidential Election campaign. more..

Minister promises to grant five out of seven demands of disabled police personnel

Nov 24 (Island) Law and Order Minister Sagala Ratnayake last week told the members of Sri Lanka Disabled War Heroes Association that he would initially accede to five of the seven demands made by the association as soon as possible. Among the demands made by the association was regarding the failure of the police to provide the incentives promised by the Ministry to the family members and dependents of disabled policemen who die in action before reaching 55 years of age. more..

Duminda invites Anura to advise agriculture ministry

Nov 24 (DM) Agriculture Minister Duminda Dissanayake yesterday invited Chief Opposition Whip and JVP Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake to play an active role in developing the agricultural sector by becoming an advisor to his ministry. “You spoke about reviving the agricultural sector, but you too failed in this endeavour during your tenure as the agriculture minister. However why don't you support us by accepting the post of advisor to my ministry," minister asked the JVP leader. more..

Sri Lanka seizes large haul of cocaine worth millions of dollars

Nov 24 (Xinhua) Custom officials on Thursday seized a large haul of cocaine estimated to be worth US$ 13.8 million. The drug was being smuggled in a sugar container from Brazil. Customs Spokesman said that customs officials had seized 200 kilograms of cocaine which has been hidden in eight sugar bags in a shipping container. An investigation has been launched to see if the cocaine had been smuggled for local market more..

Sri Lanka appoints its first Honorary Consul in Bolivia

Nov 24 (CG) In keeping with its proactive foreign policy engagement with the Latin American sub-continent which is home to newly emerging economic power houses, Sri Lanka has reached out to and forged strategic relationships with a number of countries in the region. In this context that Govt of Sri Lanka with the concurrence of the Government of Bolivia has appointed Ms Veronica Daniela Perez Cabero, a reputed and well established Bolivian entrepreneur based in La Paz & Santa Cruz, more..

Contempt of Court charges against Lankaenews

Nov 24 (DN) A lawyer today filed fourteen Contempt of Court actions in the Supreme Court against the editor of Lankaenews website Sandaruwan Senadheera. The lawyer - Deputy Mayor of Sri J'pura Kotte Municipal Council Madura Vithanage - is seeking the Court’s jurisdiction to punish Senadheera for allegedly publishing defamatory articles on Lankaenews. Vithanage complaining that there had been a series of articles published a on website Lankaenews and on its social media, more..

GMOA threatens TU action if demands ignored

Nov 24 (DM) GMOA warned it would resort to trade union action sometime next week if its demands with regard to the budget proposals were not addressed. GMOA Secretary Navin De Zoysa said during a special central committee meeting held today, executive committee was vested with powers to take decide on any action it deemed necessary. He said the 2017 budget was the most unfortunate budget presented in country's history. more..

Sri Lanka's luxury ayurveda to expand to China, Europe, Australia

Nov 24 (Xinhua) Sri Lanka's Luxury Ayurveda, Spa Ceylon, said on Thursday that it was planning to enter new international markets such as Australia, Italy, Austria and China by next year. Spa Ceylon is presently the world's largest Luxury Ayurveda chain with 45 locations across 12 countries. Spa Ceylon opened its second store this week in Japan and recently launched two Duty Free stores in the Kuala Lumpur International Airport in October. Further new openings are scheduled for more..

Buses driven without permit: Twenty fold increase in court fine

Nov 24 (DN) In keeping with the trend of increasing the fines imposed on traffic offenses, a 20 fold increase in the minimum fine charged by a Magistrate’s Court for running a bus without a valid passenger service permit was approved by Cabinet on Tuesday. The minimum fine was thus increased from Rs 10,000 to Rs.200,000 as proposed by Minister Nimal Siripala De Silva. Minister de Silva had highlighted that this would secure passengers safety and develop the quality of bus service. more..

Parliament will be consulted for new Constitution: UNP

Nov 24 (NR) Deputy Minister Ajith P Perera says a new Constitution for SL will be only be enacted following a lengthy consultation process among MPs. He said the draft for the new Constitution will be compiled by the Constitutional Assembly with recommendations of the Steering Committee and proposals of MPs. He added the final decision on granting police and land powers to PCs through the new Constitution has not been reached. more..

Some elements engaged in anti-Muslim campaigns: ACJU

Nov 24 (DM) All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulama (ACJU) said today some elements were actively engaged in continuous anti-Muslim campaigns which would induce racism and disrupt the prevailing peace and coexistence. “Such activities targeted towards a community, would disrupt the prevailing peace and coexistence and affect the development process of the country and also would violate the Rights assured by the Constitution to every citizen of this Country,” ACJU said in a statement. more..

Ban on tobacco products within 500m radius of schools

Nov 24 (DN) Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne has proposed a ban the sale of tobacco products within 500 metres radius of schools. ‘The sale selling liquor around schools have already been banned. The same initiative should be taken in connection with tobacco products,’ Minister Senaratne had said. Commenting on other health related matters, Minister had alleged that some journalists were in a crusade against the Health Ministry's move to reduce the prices of 48 essential drugs. more..

WhatsApp & Viber outdo voice calls: Ravi

Nov 24 (NR) Minister of Finance Ravi Karunanayake says the increase in data charges is a temporary move. Minister said telecommunication service providers requested the Finance Ministry to increase data charges. He said people are switching from voice calls to data, and are using applications such as Whatsapp and Viber. Income reduces along with it and we need to balance it off adding that that’s what other countries follow. more..

Sri Lanka fined for slow over-rate

Nov 24 (ICC) Sri Lanka has been fined for maintaining a slow over-rate against the West Indies in the fifth match of the tri-nation series in Bulawayo on Wednesday. Javagal Srinath of the Elite Panel of ICC Match Referees imposed the fine after Upul Tharanga’s side was ruled to be two overs short of its target when time allowances were taken into consideration. In accordance with Article 2.5.1 of the ICC Code of Conduct for Players and Player Support Personnel, which relates to minor more..

Appointment of 350 jail guards suspended

Nov 24 (CG) The appointment of 350 jail guards have been suspended as per instructions of Minister D.M. Swaminathan following complaints made to the Minister regarding corruption and bribery charges. Many persons including members of parliament have complained to the Minister in this regard. In this backdrop, Minister has issued instructions to carry out a proper investigation into the bribery allegations and to take action against such officials if they are found guilty. more..

SL’s unitary status will be retained: SLFP

Nov 24 (NR) Rejecting all Opposition allegations, SLFP today asserted that the proposed new Constitution or an amendment to the existing Constitution will retain the Unitary Status of SL. Minister Susil Premajayanth said the first law of the country will not compromise the rights of the citizen. He said a Constitution of a country should address concerns and issues of its citizens. Minister stated that a COPE committee report on more..

De facto state of emergency?

Nov 25 (CT) When the high level delegation of Sri Lanka met the UN Committee against Torture (CAT Committee) last week on the 5th Periodic Review, one of the Committee members raised an important issue. The Member asked whether the dysfunctionality of the justice system in Sri Lanka has virtually created a situation of a de facto emergency. It is worth taking a little time to grasp the meaning of a de facto emergency. Normally, an emergency would mean de jure state of emergency, or in other words more..

The cost & benefits of expressway building

Nov 25 (CT) A road for the village has been a fail-safe election promise in Sri Lanka since Independence. Sixty thousand kilometres of rural roads were constructed between 1960 and 1990. Since 2000, around Rs. 160 billion has been spent on carpeting or concreting thousands of kilometres of rural roads. But investment on rural roads has not translated into economic prosperity for these areas. Instead, they have become a burden to maintain. Economic damage inflicted on the country more..

Snap raids on markets to stop dynamite fishing

Nov 25 (ST) Island wide raids are underway in major fish markets to identify catches harvested through dynamite explosions, following an initial raid at Peliyagoda. “We are planning to conduct similar raids in other markets also as we have received information that significant amounts of fish caught using dynamite are coming into markets. It was brought to our notice that those fish catches are not good for human consumption” more..

Regime-change to de-stabilisation: It’s old wine in older bottle

Nov 25 (SL) If any Sri Lankan feels a sense of deja vu, seeing, hearing or reading President Sirisena and PM Ranil Wickremesinghe talk about a well-funded political project to de-stabilise their Govt of National Unity, it’s because they had heard it before. Both before the 2015 Jan polls that he had called out-of-turn and after losing it to present-day incumbent Sirisena, President Rajapaksa would blame it as a regime-change brought about by an overseas conspiracy. more..

Dealing with caste prejudice and inequalities

Nov 25 (GV) There is a wealth of anecdotal evidence of the wide prevalence of caste prejudice and occasional oppression spread across our island, particularly concentrated in some localities, notably in Jaffna, but focused research on the subject is hard to come by. By and large the subject seems to be taboo in public discussions. Although there are public demonstrations on many other subjects, there seem to be none on caste. Many would hold that it is no longer a problem except more..

Rabies eradication programme

Nov 25 (DN) We write as an animal welfare group that has invested since 199 to date millions of Rupees towards the country’s rabies eradication primarily via HUMANE dog population control by sterilizing dogs and vaccination against rabies and, as a group that has given the model to the Health Ministry for the national dog sterilization programme back in 2007. Following a Cabinet decision, rabies eradication & sterilizations more..

Editorial: Media Blues

Nov 25 (Island) President Maithripala Sirisena is reported to have lamented that it is depressing to read newspapers these days; they should adopt a positive outlook, help instill patriotism in people and develop the country, he has said. We thought we would be left without anything negative to write about after last year’s regime change. But, alas, no sooner had the Rajapaksa govt been dislodged than one half of the rogues responsible for its downfall pole-vaulted to the new administration more..

Why Sri Lanka is poor

Nov 25 (FT) Dinesh Weerakkody has written an interesting article in the Daily FT titled What makes some countries rich and others prone to poverty on 18 Nov. This topic was much debated and there was no conclusion. In 1970s Swedish economist and sociologist Gunnar Myrdal (1898-1987) raised the question through his work, Asian Drama – An inquiry into the poverty of nations where he discussed the situation of Sri Lanka then Ceylon as well. Dutch social psychologist Geert Hofstede wrote more..


Proposal to raise capital floor to benefit Sri Lankan banks: Fitch

Nov 25 (EN) SL govt’s 2017 budget proposal to double the minimum capital of licensed commercial banks should help strengthen and lead to mergers in the sector which previous regulatory forbearance had weakened, Fitch Ratings said. Of the 15 domestic banks rated by Fitch, six did not meet the new requirement based on reported core capital as at the first half of 2016, the rating agency said. “A proposal to increase the minimum capital requirements for banks in SLL should help more..