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Cigarette makers accused of shady game

Oct 29 (NS) Minister Rajitha Senaratne said that with the approval of 15% VAT, price of a cigarette is expected to rise to Rs. 55. This has been subject to public debate. Some argue that such a drastic price-hike would coax consumers into using inferior forms of tobacco such as beedi, a crude native cigarette which may be even worse than the traditional forms of tobacco abuse. Mohamad Muthaliff (29) from more..

Editorial: COPE report out; action needed

Oct 29 (Island) The much-awaited COPE (Committee on Public Enterprises) report on Central Bank bond scam has been released at last. It is being described as damning, but, we reckon, it is not damning enough. COPE report has, as we reported last Friday, reveals that there has been a bond scam and holds the then CB Governor Arjuna Mahendran responsible. It has also called for legal action against the culprits and recovering the losses the state has suffered because of them. more..

Port City landfill: Fisher folk, eco-activists protest impact

Oct 29 (SO) Fishermen took to the streets throughout this week, protesting against Government’s decision to allow dredging of sand in the deep seas along the Negombo–Dikovita area to provide sand to build the proposed Port City project. The fishermen and their families vowed to continue protests until their demands were met. Several protests were held in Negombo and some in Colombo. Project has specified that, 4 Chinese ships can mine sand in the area for 3 years. more..

PM's involvement in Bond Scam exposed

Rishad demands Govt policy to resettle IDPs

Oct 29 (FT) Marking the 26th anniversary of Muslim people evicted from the north, All Ceylon Makkal Congress (ACMC) Leader and Minister Rishad Bathiudeen urged the Govt to create an overarching policy to provide land and other resources for all IDPs to return to their original homes.  Bathiudeen also called for a survey to count the total IDPs in Sri Lanka and pointed out it would be started on 15 Nov with the involvement of the Rehabilitation and Resettlement Ministry. more..

7,500 detonators detected at Mannar

Oct 29 (DM) Nearly 7,500 detonators today when two youths were searched after their motorcycle was stopped at the Pallimunai checkpoint the on the Thalaimannar – Mannar Road, Mannar Police said. This detection was made by Mannar Anti-Narcotic Unit personnel when they were checking the vehicles at the Pallimunai barrier after receiving information about the transport of narcotics. The suspects aged 22 and 25 years are residents of Thalaimannar and Mannar. more..

Sirisena quotes Modi to justify tirade against NGOs

Oct 29 (ENS) President Sirisena has quoted Indian PM Narendra Modi to justify his tirade against the disruptive activities of NGOs. In a speech delivered on Thursday at an armed forces investiture ceremony, Sirisena accused the media and NGOs of  disregarding the requirements of national security and described them as traitorous. “I am used to criticism and vituperative politics. But I cannot be dictated to because of the agendas more..

Peanuts won't lure hospitality training professionals: minister

Oct 29 (Island) Shortage of skilled hotel industry personnel in the country is a result of the shortage of hospitality training professionals, and you can't expect to hire qualified trainers for peanuts, Minister John Amarathunga, said. He made this remark while speaking as chief guest of 51st AGM of The Hotels Association, where Sanath Ukwatte – chairman, Mount Lavinia Group was appointed president of the Association for 2016/17, and outgoing president Hiran Cooray was felicitated. more..

Exporters want tea unshackled

Oct 29 (FT) Great expectations continued for Budget 2017 with tea exporters being the latest to add their wish list, requesting for tax concessions and renewing calls to carry forward a previous proposal to establish a tea blending hub in Sri Lanka. Speaking at a press conference ahead of the Annual General Meeting of the body, Tea Exporters Association (T.E.A.) outgoing Chairman Rohan Fernando claimed they are the highest taxed export commodity in the country. more..

VAT to bolster public revenue to Rs.380b

Oct 29 (FT) Cashing in on the long delayed VAT increase, tax officials outlined Govt targets of collecting additional revenue of Rs.100 billion from VAT increase to 15% per annum, while also expecting total VAT revenue by the end of next year to be a higher than average Rs.380 billion. Finance Ministry expects total tax revenue to reach Rs. 1,600 billion by the end of this year, hoping it would go up to Rs. 1,900 billion next year as more..

Sri Lanka aims for digital identity in 3 years

Oct 29 (NS) Sri Lanka is building a national digital identity system to ensure that transactions can be digitally verified and the programme, which will cost over US$100 million, is expected to be complete within the next three years, a top bureaucrat has said.  In a recent interview, a Singapore-based e-publishing platform, CEO of Information and Communication Technology Agency (ICTA) of Sri Lanka, Muhunthan Canagey says once the project is up and running, more..

Sri Lanka to hold biggest ever Lions Forum

Oct 29 (NS) The 44th ISAAME (India, South Asia, Africa and the Middle East) Forum 2016 will be held in Sri Lanka from the 30th of November to the 03rd of December 2016. The Lions Club International-Sri Lanka will host the 44th ISAAME forum which is expected to attract a minimum of 2,500 foreign delegates from over 62 countries from South Asia, Africa and the Middle Eastern region together with delegates representing 20 guest countries from Europe, America and Asia. more..

Handunetti prevented from revealing harassment at COPE meetings

Oct 29 (Island) COPE Chairman Sunil Handunnetti was not permitted to tell the House of harassments and intimidation he had undergone at the COPE sessions while investigating the Treasury bond scam. After tabling the COPE report, MP Handunetti tried to narrate what he had been subjected to by UNP MPs. He had already promised on a previous date that he would tell the House of his experiences. more..

India renovates Rabindranath Tagore Memorial Library in Sri Palee College

Oct 29 (FT) High Commissioner of India Y.K. Sinha inaugurated the Rabindranath Tagore Memorial Library and Resource Centre in Sri Palee College, Horana; renovated by the Govt of India at a total cost of Rs. 38 million. The project was implemented in close consultation with the Ministry of Education of Sri Lanka. The Govt of India has renovated the library building, which was in a dilapidated state, and upgraded it into a reference library with modern facilities. more..

Herath set for captaincy debut in Zimbabwe's 100th Test

Oct 29 (CI) The last time SL played Tests against Zimbabwe was in 2004, when Marvan Atapattu was in his first full series as captain. Kumar Sangakkara made 270 in that Bulawayo Test, his second double-hundred. Between then and now Sangakkara improved his high score twice and retired with only one less double-hundred than Don Bradman's twelve. No Sri Lankans from that tour are on this one. Elton Chigumbura & Tinashe Panyangara made their debuts during that series more..

Sold: Hambantota port and the world's emptiest airport go to the Chinese

Oct 29 (Forbes) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe recently declared that his county is in the midst of a once in a lifetime opportunity to jump start its infrastructure and develop into a high-income economy. “If we miss this chance now, we are going to miss it altogether,” he said while speaking to a crowd assembled at the Institution of Engineers last week. PM was explaining the govt’s continued push to develop a clutch of major more..

Holiday resort to be built near Sri Pada

Oct 29 (DM) A holiday resort would be built in a private land near the Sri Pada sacred area but not within its precincts, officials and Buddhist clergy confirmed. Secretary of the Ambagamuwa PS and Chief Incumbent of the Sri Padastana and Pelmadulla Rajamaha Vihara said permission had been granted to a private company to build a holiday resort on a private land below the Sri Padastana sacred area. The resort would be built near the Maray waterfall above Maussakele reservoir. more..

Country’s first Animal Hospital opened

Oct 29 (ITN) The country’s first fully fledged Animal Hospital has been opened at the Giritale Wildlife Veterinary Unit. The expenditure incurred on the Hospital was 17 million rupees. The opening of the Hospital took place under the patronage of Secretary to the Ministry of Sustainable Development and Wildlife R.M.D.B. Meegasmulla. The Friends of Elephant Organization of the Netherlands had borne the total expenditure on the construction of the hospital. more..

Cabinet reshuffle likely President, PM to confer soon

Oct 29 (CT) President is contemplating a Cabinet reshuffle shortly. Convener of NMJS Prof. Sarath Wijesuriya said President had already given many civil society groups an assurance of effecting a Cabinet reshuffle in coming weeks. He stated that already the civil society groups had handed over a petition to President urging him to carry out a reshuffle in the Cabinet as many allegations had been directed at a few senior ministers more..

Senasinghe demands editors, journalists and media org summoned over COPE coverage

Oct 29 (Island) State Minister Sujeewa Senasinghe requested from the Chair that editors, journalists and media organisations which reported COPE proceedings of CB bond scam be summoned and questioned. Minister: COPE proceedings are not open to media. But, media organisations published various reports. They should be summoned and questioned. The COPE has been vested with powers to summon them. Deputy Speaker: I would discuss the matter with COPE Chairman. more..

'COPE report was born amid much labour'

Oct 29 (DM) JVP said COPE had to overcome numerous problems and obstacles in its investigation into Central Bank bond scam with the Central Bank refusing to provide certain documents to the Auditor General. “It was after a COPE directive to the Central Bank that it provided those documents. There were elements attempting to influence COPE from within even after receiving the documents. Today we have been able to submit a comprehensive report despite the obstacles,” more..

COPE Conquers!

Oct 29 (FT) Following an 18-month investigation into the CB’s Bond auctions, COPE ruled that former Governor Arjuna Mahendran was directly responsible for a transaction in Feb 2015 that allowed a company linked to his son-in-law to rake in large profits from the auction.  “According to facts and evidence presented before this committee, there is reasonable suspicion of former CB Governor Arjuna Mahendran’s intervention or influence more..

COPE report; new hope instead of bioscope

Oct 29 (DM) During the past two years, the national govt has come in for severe criticism by opposition members, civic action groups and the people for its failure to take legal action against those involved in the Central Bank’s multi-billion rupee bond scam.   An important step was taken yesterday. Amid conflicting and contradictory statements, the COPE presented a much awaited 55-page report to Parliament. Headed by the outspoken JVP frontliner Sunil Handunnetti, more..

Yahapalanaya needs to wake up

Oct 29 (DM) Yahapalanaya as the term suggests must work for the well-being of Sri Lankan people. It must seek justice and development for the people. But what is often heard from the mouths of Yahapalanaya leaders are promises. President and the PM are often abroad trying to get investors to come and start industries and generate more jobs for Sri Lankans, while at the same time, permitting China and India to deprive Sri Lankans their legitimate rights, cause deprivation, more..

Land grabbers eye unprotected forests around Sinharaja

Oct 29 (ST) Environment organisations fear  there is an ongoing attempt to grab forest lands in the vicinity of the Sinharaja forest by individuals and groups.. The scheme came to light when a group commenced surveying around 400 acres of the Delgoda Forest located near the Sinharaja Forest last week. The group claimed they possessed  deeds to the land. Forest Department’s Range Forest Office in Kalawana was able more..

Controversial shooting of two Jaffna undergrads by Policemen in Kokkuvil

Oct 29 (DBS) Last week’s shooting incident in Jaffna in which two male Jaffna varsity undergraduates lost their lives because of alleged Police firing has given rise to a raging political controversy. Initially it was announced officially that the deaths were due to an accident but subsequently it was stated that the Police had to open fire on a motor cycle with two persons as they had disobeyed instructions to stop. more..

India makes housing dream come true for Sri Lanka’s war-affected people

Oct 29 (FT) When the severely war-affected people of the North and East made it out of the refugee camps containing them from 2010 onwards, they had a new dilemma to face: Where to live? “We became displaced in 1983 and had been on the move ever since. We thought we’d return in three days, which turned into three weeks and then three years… it was eventually nearly 30 years before we could see our beloved land again.  more..

Deepavali: The triumph of good over evil

Oct 29 (DM) More than eight hundred million Hindus across the world celebrate the Deepavali festival in a bid to fulfill their spiritual needs and to also enjoy their secular lives. Deepavali, which is purely a religious festival that also provides the opportunity for jubilation, is celebrated by all irrespective of religious, social or ethnic differences to ward off the darkness of evil, thereby embracing and welcoming the light of more..

World Bank IFC to support women in biz

Oct 29 (FT) International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, has extended support in the form of a four year effort to directly partner with 15 local companies to involve more women in corporate decision making. IFC is ready for a pioneering, four-year-long intervention in Sri Lankan women’s business – and to directly partner with 15 Lankan firms to enlist more women in corporate decision making, more..

On the wrong side of the law

Oct 29 (SL) The CID has been accused of arresting a suspect solely based on an anonymous petition, pressing false charges against him and placing him under remand custody. In 2010, Police Western Province Special Operations Unit received a tip about a consignment of slanderous posters against former army commander Sarath Fonska, who was carrying out his election campaign as common candidate more..

UK reiterates support for CIABOC, FCID

Oct 29 (Island) In the wake of President Maithripala Sirisena castigating the CIABOC and the FCID, the British govt has reiterated its continued support for the two organizations. The govt established the FCID following presidential polls in January 2015. President Maithripala Sirisena on Oct 12 accused CIABOC, FCID as well as the CID of pursuing political agenda at the expense of truth and justice. more..

National Deepavali Festival 2016 was held under patronage of President & PM

Oct 29 (PMD) The National Deepavali Festival 2016 was held under the patronage of President Maithripala Sirisena and PM Ranil Wickremesinghe at the Temple Trees, today (28). The Hindus world over celebrate the Deepavali festival tomorrow and the President along with the Prime Minister wished all the Hindus in Sri Lanka and around the world a joyful Deepavali celebration that illuminates the hearts with devotion. more..

State enterprises: Ministers reveal massive losses amounting to Rs 300 bn

Oct 29 (Island) The SLFP yesterday acknowledged that the ruling coalition would have been able to lessen tax burden on people had there been a proper mechanism to curb waste, corruption, irregularities and tax evasion. Minister Susil Premjayantha said that the govt could have not only done without an increase in VAT but also lessened reduced other taxes as well. He was flanked by Minister Dayasiri Jayasekera. more..

COPE report softer than expected: Ajith

Oct 29 (DM) Deputy Minister Ajith P. Perera said he had expected a tough report from the COPE in which former Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran was held responsible for the Central Bank Bond sale scam. Deputy Minister Perera said Mr. Mahendran and the Directors attached to the Perpetual Treasuries Limited should be fallen under criminal liability whereas they were accused of unjust enrichment. more..

Do what we can do best in sports

Oct 29 (CT) Recently, Education Minister was heard saying that the govt was going to have more sports schools around the country. This would be immensely helpful for the nation if the programme was planned on some scale to benefit the country as well as those going to pursue sports. The govt has learnt that infrastructure is an immediate need to promote the country internationally. As with roads, airports, harbour building there are many more ways to show the world that a country is more..

Independent Commissions have a role in reconciliation

Oct 29 (CT) To my mind the most shocking news we have had of late is the death of the two Jaffna undergraduates who died on their way home from a get-together. Two young lives heading towards prosperity and renown, in a rough terrain had been nipped in the bud. I remember how I traveled the length and breadth of the Peninsula as a Cadet, when I was around their age. One day I had a tyre puncture on my way home and I was standing hopelessly near my car. more..

Ada Cartoon

More wins than India and New Zealand

Oct 29 (CI) Stats highlights from Zimbabwe's Test journey as they prepare to play their 100th match, against SL on Saturday. 11: Wins for Zimbabwe in 99 Tests. They have more wins than India and New Zealand had after 99 Tests. India had 10 wins while New Zealand had just seven. 2001: Zimbabwe's best year in Test cricket. They won four matches that year and lost as many. The wins in 2001 constitute 36.36% of their total wins in Test matches. They won 3 games against Bangladesh and more..

Jaffna prominently in the news

Oct 29 (CT) The Jaffna Tamil loves his home place with deep devotion and loyalty. It may be surprising, but many Sinhalese too love the northern peninsular, particularly those of the older generation who prior to 1983 travelled freely to Jaffna and enjoyed staying over with no hotels as such, but one or two guest houses, the Cement Corporation circuit bungalow and two rest houses at Elephant Pass and Kankesanthurai. They travelled by car or by train. They mixed freely in the town and more..

Turkey expands trade ties with Sri Lanka in electrical and electronics sectors

Oct 29 (DM) A strong trade delegation representing 16 top exporters of electrical and electronics companies from Turkey, along with Electrical Electronics & Service Exporters’ Association (TET), affiliated to the Turkish Ministry of Economy, will visit Colombo from November 3-4. Turkey is one of the leading producers and exporters of electrical and electronics products in the world, with exports taking place to more..