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Lion Brewery permitted to import beer without import taxes: FM

Oct 4 (DM) The Finance Ministry said that Lion Brewery Ltd in Biyagama has been permitted to import beer for a period of three months and imposed taxes and other levies equal to that of locally manufactured beer at the point of importation instead of import taxes and other levies. The Ministry sent the following clarification on the news item on Daily Mirror under the title Monks up in Arms against import tax concession on beer. more..

Tamil moderate speakers heckled at Jaffna book launch

Oct 4 (FT) Days after the controversial Eluga Tamil rally, moderate speakers at a book launch in Jaffna last weekend were heckled and shouted down by a group of persons reportedly associated with Tamil People’s Council chaired by CM C. V. Wigneswaran. Different Tamil political parties were brought together on one stage at the Saraswathy Hall, for the launch of Constitution of Sri Lanka from Donomough to Sirisena (1931-2016), more..

Sri Lanka to increase state revenues to Rs1,850bn in 2017: Ravi

Oct 4 (EN) Sri Lanka is hoping to boost state revenues to 1,850 billion rupees in 2017 or around 14.2% of GDP, in a development oriented budget that will also bring down the deficit, Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake said. "We have to make sure that we have a development oriented budget despite many constraints, and global conditions," he said. The 2016 revenue target was 1,546 billion rupees or around 13% of GDP, more..

Housing problem: Serious thinking necessary

Oct 4 (CT) In Resolution 40/202 of 17 Dec 1985, the UN General Assembly designated the first Monday of October of every year as World Habitat Day. And after 31 years, the 2016 World Habitat Day campaign aims to raise awareness about the need for affordable housing for all in urban areas, towns and cities. Access to adequate housing is a global challenge growing fast with urbanization. Around one quarter of world's urban population continues to live in slums and informal settlements. more..

Sri Lanka to sell-down stakes in listed companies shortly: Finance Minister

Oct 4 (EN) Sri Lanka plans to sell down govt stakes in listed companies by the end of the month, which also serve as a positive signal to investors, Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake said. "Non-strategic investments will be sold," he told members of the Foreign Correspondents Association of Colombo. "It will be well co-ordinated joint effort." The first sale will take place as early as later this month, which will also be a signal to investors, he said. Lanka Hospitals Plc, Hotel Developers more..

නාවික හමුදාපති වයිස් අද්මිරාල් රවීන්ද්ර විජේගුණරත්න

Tamils in the North-East protest at last

Oct 4 (CT) On the 24th Sept 2016, there was a massive protest in Jaffna, in the Tamil North, where some 15,000 Tamils took part in the biggest protest since the end of the armed conflict 7 years ago. The protest called Ezhuka Thamizh, saw thousands of Tamils from all eight provinces in the North and East come to Jaffna. It was a long overdue protest. To deal with this most important event, there must be an understanding of the ground situation in the Tamil North and East. more..

Appropriation Bill 2017 on Oct19

Oct 4 (DM) Govt has sought a special parliamentary sitting on Oct 19 to present the 2017 Appropriation Bill ahead of the annual budget debate. Earlier, the govt had intended presenting it on Oct 12. However, at yesterday’s Business Committee Meeting, Finance Ministry said it could be only presented only on Oct 19. Appropriation Bill outlining allocations to be made for each ministry and seeking parliamentary approval for its passage through the House is presented ahead of Budget speech. more..

Organization floated to highlight and redress issues of social injustice among Tamils

Oct 4 (ENS) Murugesu Chandrakumar, ex-MP and former member of EPDP, has floated an organization called Samooha Needhikkaana Makkal Amaippu or Peoples’ Organization for Social Justice (POSJ)  to highlight and redress issues of social injustice among the Tamils of SL. Launched on Gandhi Jayanti day in war-devastated Kilinochchi district, POSJ hopes to meet a felt need for bringing out multifarious more..

Govt postponing LG elections on flimsy excuses: Mahinda Yapa

Oct 4 (DN) People should desist from paying taxes to local criminals until these criminals are legally constituted by holding elections for them, said MP and former minster Mahinda Yapa Abeywardene. Addressing a joint opposition rally, Abeywardene said the SLFP had been subjected to heavy erosion with the removal of powerful organisers and replacing them with novice hands. During the time of the previous govt farmers were given a fertilizer and pesticide subsidy. more..

Acting Vice Chancellor appointed to SAITM

Oct 4 (DM) Council of the SAITM has appointed Prof. Deepal Weerasekera as the Acting Vice Chancellor of SAITM, with effect from 4th Oct. Prof. Weerasekera has long standing experience as a Senior Lecturer and Professor in a state medical faculty and has over 25 years of experience as a Consultant Gynecologist & Obstetrician. He is the Medical Director of the Dr. Neville Fernando Teaching Hospital and the Head of Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics and has been more..

Cigarette prices up by Rs. 7

Oct 4 (AD) The prices of cigarettes have been increased by Rs 7 per cigarette, Minister Ravi Karunanayake said. VAT (amendment) bill will be presented to Parliament today. Last week the Cabinet approved the proposal to impose 15% VAT on cigarettes plus an increase in production tax by Rs. 5 per cigarette. Surveys have revealed that 15% of persons between 18-69 years are engaged in smoking more..

'Party leaders have no plans'

Oct 4 (CT) JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake said the party leaders didn't have any constructive plans or ideas to integrate the people and develop the country. He was speaking at a meeting held in Akkaraipattu recently. It was organized by the JVP's Akkaraipattu Central Committee Organizer M.I. Abooshahid. Dissanayaka said that so-called leaders, Rauf Hakeem, R.Sampanthan, S. Thondaman & A.L.M. Athaullah were there only for the name's sake and to develop themselves, more..

TNA leadership tussle triggered demo: Vasu

Oct 4 (DM) The recently held Eluga Tamil demonstration in Jaffna by CM C.V. Wigneswaran was a result of internal competition for the TNA leadership led by Opposition Leader R. Sampanthan, MP Vasudeva Nanayakkara said. He said imperialistic movements were behind the Eluga Tamil demonstration. Meanwhile, Prof. Tissa Witharana said Mr. Wigneswaran could have opted for a discussion with the TNA leadership if there were any issues without organizing an event more..

1500-day economic plan another failed project: JO

Oct 4 (DM) Joint Opposition’s economic research unit charged that the 1,500-day economic plan which was expected to be announced within the next two weeks by PM Ranil Wickremesinghe, would be another unsuccessful project of the govt. Joint opposition member MP Bandula Gunawardana said the fate of the 1,500-day economic plan of the govt would be the same as its hundred day programme of Good Governance. more..

FAO promises all possible assistance to Lanka to engage in legal fishing

Oct 4 (Island) Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) representative to SL Nina Brandstrup said on Friday that the FAO would extend every possible assistance to the country to carry out fishing activities legally and adopt internationally accepted standards. She was addressing the launch of one-year awareness raising programme on int'l law in preventing Illegal, unreported and unregulated fisheries among Sri Lankan fishers and related stakeholders at the Galle Face Hotel. more..

Over 200,000 people affected by drought

Oct 4 (Xinhua) Nearly 208,000 people from 51,561 families in several districts have been affected by the prevailing drought, a statement from Disaster Management Center (DMC) said. 69,678 people in Eastern Province, 8,600 people in Northern Province, 8,422 people in North Western Province, over 10,000 people in Sabaragamuwa Province, and 110, 350 people from 23,000 families in North Central Province are facing a water shortage due to the drought in Sri Lanka. more..

Musthapha, Wijesiri in heated argument

Oct 4 (DN) A heated argument broke out in Parliament today between Minister Faiszer Musthapha and UNP MP Chaminda Wijesiri, over the question if the Local Govt Minister was aware that an account belonging to the Provincial Council, had been take over for the personal use of the Chief Minister of the Uva Province. Minister, responding, said that information with regard to such an incident and account had not been revealed to him. more..

Sri Lanka plans to levy heavy penalties for tax defaulters in 2017

Oct 4 (Reuters) Govt plans to impose heavy penalties for tax defaulters and expand tax offices across the country as it aims to increase the tax base by bringing to heel thousands of tax dodgers, Minister Ravi Karunanayake said. Moves are expected to boost the SL's tax revenue, in line with a govt commitment to meet part of a condition set by the IMF for a loan of $1.5 billion it approved in May. "If somebody try to hoodwink and get caught, they can be subject to very heavy penalty," more..

'Whatever the army saw, they destroyed': looting and loss in Sri Lanka's civil war

Oct 4 (TG) One moment stands out for me as the most formative of my military career. This was in Karainagar, on another of the northern islands, immediately after our military operation there in 1991. Dealing with the civilian sick and weak you really feel the effects of war. In April of that year, I was awaiting transfer to Jaffna, eight years after my last posting to the north. I was summoned a month early because the naval base at Karainagar was under siege. more..

US Green Card Lottery 2018 opens

Oct 4 (DM) The application period for the 2018 Diversity Visa Program (DV-2018) also known as Green Card Lottery offered by the US would be commenced tonight from 9.30 till November 7 same time, for the applicants from Sri Lanka and Maldives. The programme would be open for online registration for free of charge and eligible applicants would be randomly selected at the first phase of the procedure. more..

Taiwan-SL economic forum held in Colombo

Oct 4 (CNA) First Taiwan-Sri Lanka Economic Forum was held Monday in Colombo, capital of the South Asian island nation, with the two sides promising to further strengthen bilateral trade and economic cooperation. The forum was jointly organized by the Taipei-based Chinese International Economic Cooperation Association (CIECA) and the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce of SL. Taiwan's former Minister of Economic Affairs Shih Yen-shiang, who headed the Taiwan delegation more..

ATCA suspends its work-to-rule campaign

Oct 4 (DM) The air traffic controllers had suspended their work-to-rule campaign, which commenced yesterday after the Subject Minster assured a favourable response for their issues within a week, Air Traffic Controllers’ Association Vice President Tharindu Gajadeera said. He said Transport and Civil Aviation Minister Nimal Siripala De Silva had admitted that there was an anomaly in the payment of allowances and promised to provide a favourable reply within a week. more..

Swiss sign immigration agreement with SL

Oct 4 (TIO) Ensuring the repatriation of people who can no longer stay in Switzerland in respect of human rights. This is what provides the immigration agreement signed today between Federal Councillor Simonetta Sommaruga, visiting Sri Lanka, interior minister Seneviratne Bandara Nawinne. During the meeting, Sommaruga reiterated the support of Switzerland in reconciliation process underway in the country, more..

Basil ordered to appear in Court on Oct 7

Oct 4 (DN) Pugoda Magistrate issued notice on former Minister Basil Rajapaksa to appear before the court on Oct 7. This is in relation to the case alleging the former minister bought a 16-acre plot of land in Malwana using public funds. When the case was taken up this morning, Govt Solicitor General Thusith Mudalige suggested the land in question be sold and the money credited to the case. Basil Rajapaksa’s lawyers Sanjaya Ranatunga however objected to the suggestion, and more..

September tourist arrivals up 3.6%

Oct 4 (EN) The growth in the number of tourists visiting SL slowed to single digits in September after growing by double digits every month except in June this year with arrivals from China staying strong while Indian numbers were stagnant. Tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka were up 3.6% in Sept 2016 to 148,499 from a year ago. Arrivals from India, biggest market, were virtually unchanged at 27,241 with the number of Indian visitors up 14% to 252,165 in the year to Sept from the same period in 2015. more..

'No intention to increase electricity tariff'

Oct 4 (LBO) Sri Lanka’s Power Ministry has informed the Public Utilities Commission that they are not expecting to increase electricity tariffs to cover up a possible increase of cost. The cost of electricity production for the six month period starting from this month is expected to increase due to drought and special conditions. “Final policy decision has to be taken by our ministry,” the Power Ministry said in a statement. more..

PM arrives in India on 3-day visit

Oct 4 (PTI) PM Ranil Wickramasinghe arrived here today on a three-day visit during which he will hold talks with the top leadership including his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi. Wickramasinghe’s visit assumes significance as Sri Lanka was one of the four SAARC member-states which sided with India in pulling out of the SAARC summit, scheduled in Islamabad on Nov 9-10, following the terror attack on an army base in Uri on Sept 18 by Pakistan-based terrorists. more..

Video: International Police Conference commences in Colombo

Oct 4 (AD) International Police Conference Future Policing: Prospects and Challenges for South Asia commenced today at the Kingsbury Hotel in Colombo, under the patronage of President Sirisena. The aim of this conference is to discuss the South Asian policing methods and to make reforms in the police service while identifying the common issues in the region and understanding the diversity among them. Conference will be held in Colombo from 4th to 6th October. more..

Video: Sri Lanka to pay $170 million to AerCap for A350 cancellation

Oct 4 (DM) Sri Lanka will pay $170 million to AerCap Holdings, the world's largest independent aircraft leasing company, for cancelling four A350s ordered by the previous govt, Minister Ravi Karunanayake said. The move comes as the govt is in the process of finalizing a partner to revive the national carrier. It canceled four of eight A350 aircraft orders with Airbus Group. "The cost will be $170 million for the cancellation and more..

RTI, lifting the curtain of secrecy

Oct 5 (DN) The challenge is to move from a closed govt to an open one. This would be the biggest challenge when dealing with the Right to Information (RTI) in Sri Lanka. As our island nation joined the rest of the civilized world in marking the Int'l Day for RTI last week, a host of panelists at the International Conference on the Right to Information and Media Reforms, held at the JAIC Hilton on Sept 28 and 29, were of the consensus that the RTI would further strengthen democracy in the country. more..

Lies Unlimited

Oct 5 (CT) It seems we are fast stepping into an epoch where truth is relentlessly tampered and tainted. Lies elevated, enthroned and reign supreme. Trillions of dollars thrown to preserve and protect the status quo. It’s happening, we are already living it. And that’s not the bad news. The trend is trickling down at speeds deadlier than a cascading avalanche. It’s taking a toll. It’s affecting us all. Lies manufactured at industrial scale. Disseminated with great aplomb. more..

'Resettlement can be expedited'

Oct 5 (SL) Minister D.M. Swaminathan refutes allegations that the good governance regime has done little for the war affected people and said the govt has taken every effort to address all issues that the war affected people face. Minister said funds have been allocated to rehabilitate and resettle all displaced persons affected by the war. He further said that resettlement can be expedited if the lands occupied by military are released. more..

Facelift the Police

Oct 5 (DN) The Police Department has been in the news highlighting their inadequacies and lapses in terms of a public service. It is unfortunate that the Police Department, which has much to do with the public, has only been singled out from many public services as allegedly to be competitive, rude, discourteous and arrogant. But if you attempt to receive any service, be it customs, immigration, labour, courthouses, hospitals and prisons they may be worse. more..

Justice Minister wants to add a joke into the statute book

Oct 5 (CT) A new dimension was added to the debate on the proposed amendment to the criminal procedure code when the Minister of Justice attempted to defend the amendment on the basis that it is required to enable investigations into crime. The proposed amendment is that lawyers would not be able to represent people at police stations until investigations into crime and recording of statements is over. It then adds that if the suspects cannot pay for the lawyers, legal aid would pay for it. more..

'All trade unions in plantation sector must unite'

Oct 5 (CT) State Minister of Education, Leader of Up Country People's Front and Deputy Leader of the TPA Velusami Radhakrishnan, commenting on the issue of the estate workers' pay hike said, only when all trade unions in the plantations unite to discuss the pay hike with the Employers' Federation, the ongoing issue will be solved. "We must jointly initiate a dialogue with the Employers' Federation to solve the pay hike issue. more..

Editorial: Of that new Constitution

Oct 5 (Island) Celebrated physicist Prof. Stephen Hawking, a few years ago, rectified a mistake he had made in the early 1970s, when he claimed information was lost in a black hole. He now argues that information can survive a journey through a black hole. That may be so, but information either gets distorted or even lost in enlightened Europe! The Swiss Federal Department of Justice and Police says, in an official statement on migration issue, that Sri Lanka has adopted a new Constitution more..

A test for Yahapalanaya

Oct 5 (DM) The leaders of the former regime, their relatives, associates, cronies and their cronies’ cronies are currently being paraded before the presidential commissions and courts. They are arrested, remanded, duly released on bail, and re-arrested on some other charges. Public are now well acquainted with this rather predictable process, they would rather bet on this, instead of horses. The usual suspects and their representatives of the joint opposition claim this is a sham, more..

Vasudeva Nanayakkara

Harassment of human rights defenders even under yahapalanaya

Oct 5 (GV) Today, 1st Oct, I came the BIA to travel to London. I was asked by the officer at the immigration counter to get clearance from an office I understood to be an office of the Terrorist Investigation Department (TID), situated next to the immigration counters. Inside this office, I was questioned whether I have a case pending, where I was traveling, purpose of my travel, my work and personal details, including addresses and phone number, details of family members etc. more..