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IMF review team in town

Sept 14 (FT) An International Monetary Fund (IMF) review team which in town to assess the country’s fiscal consolidation plan ahead of disbursing the second tranche of a $ 1.5 billion arrangement yesterday met Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake. IMF Representative Jaewoo Lee and Country Representative for Sri Lanka Eteri Kyintradgze met the Finance Minister and reviewed the progress of reforms agenda of govt, more..

Gagan promoted Air Chief Marshal

Sept 14 (DN) Former Air Force Commander Gagan Bulathsinghala has been promoted to the rank of Air Chief Marshal from yesterday, Defence Ministry sources said. Bulathsinghala joined the Sri Lanka Air Force as an Officer Cadet in 1981 and was commissioned as a Pilot Officer in the General Duties Pilot Branch in 1983. He has the honour of being the VVIP pilot for four Sri Lankan Presidents J.R. Jayewardene, R. Premadasa, D.B.Wijetunga and Chandrika Kumaratunga. more..

VAT threshold increased to Rs.50 Mn

Sept 14 (DM) The Value Added Tax (VAT) threshold on retail and wholesale outlets have been increased to Rs. 50 million a year from the earlier threshold of Rs. 12 million in the VAT Amendment Bill which was approved by the Cabinet yesterday. Finance Ministry sources said the small and medium scale shop owners will not be affected as a result of this amendment while hospital, OPD and laboratory charges will be exempted from VAT. more..

President discusses organizing of International Vesak Day in Sri Lanka

Sept 14 (PMD) President Sirisena chaired a key discussion on the organization activities of the United Nations Day of Vesak to be celebrated in Sri Lanka in 2017. This UN Day of Vesak is celebrated annually in Buddhist countries. This is the first time Sri Lanka has been given the opportunity to host this festival. Over thousand representatives from India, China, Japan, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Myanmar, Laos, Tibet, Bhutan, Mongolia and other countries where Buddhism is more..

Chinese investors eye aviation, port and construction sectors

Sept 14 (DN) Chinese investors are keen to invest in the aviation, port and construction industry sectors, Ambassador for China in Sri Lanka Yi Xianliang, said at a Business Forum at Kingsbury Hotel yesterday. The Ambassador said that the visiting 45 member Chinese delegation will hold talks with Sri Lankan companies in this regard. The investments will be by way direct investments and also through joint ventures with Lankan companies. This event was organised by The China Council for more..

Govt slow against cigarette menace: GMOA

Sept 14 (DM) Despite President Sirisena’s personal concern on eradication of tobacco from the country, govt is slow in reinforcing legal framework to minimize the consumption of cigarette among the citizens, GMOA said. While extending their support to the govt against the cigarette menace, govt doctors sent him a set of proposals prepared by the GMOA to make policy decisions towards a legal framework. more..

Prez and PM deceiving followers: Lalkantha

Sept 14 (CT) Chairman of National Trade Union's Centre and former JVP MP K.D Lalkantha alleged that both President Sirisena and PM Wickremesinghe are intentionally deceiving their followers, especially, those who live outside Colombo. "If the consensus govt is that good, why are both of them giving promises to their followers that they will form a govt of their own in 2020?" Addressing 5th national convention of education co-op general union, he questioned. more..

Treasury leads in $ 200M inflow

Sept 14 (CT) The money market witnessed excess liquidity being uplifted by a sum of Rs 31,681.64 million (Rs 31.7 billion) at yesterday's trading, led by the Treasury selling US dollars to the Central Bank. The Treasury, this year, by selling sovereign bonds and raising syndicated loans, has thus far borrowed $ 2.5 billion from international markets. With CBSL dealing in spot in the local market where settlement takes place after two market days from the date of transaction, this transaction would more..

SL stops on-arrival visa for Bangladeshis

Sept 14 (GT) Sri Lanka has stopped issuing on-arrival visas for Bangladeshi nationals without informing Dhaka, officials at the foreign ministry said. Bangladesh also retaliated by stopping on-arrival visa facilities for Sri Lankan nationals, they said. In addition, the foreign ministry summoned SL high commissioner to Dhaka Yasoja Gunasekera to the ministry. During a meeting that lasted more than an hour, more..

Ranjith quits BOI Board

Sept 14 (FT) Ranjith Pandithage has resigned from the Board of Directors of the BOI. He has given notice effective from 1 Nov 2016. There was speculation that the move by Pandithage, who is the Chairman of DIMO, was because he was not overly happy with performance and direction of the BOI. However, when contacted, Pandithage said he was stepping down to avoid possible conflict of interest since DIMO would be undertaking some large-scale projects requiring BOI approval. more..

FCID grills ex-FFSL chief Manilal Fernando

Sept 14 (CT) Former president of the Football Federation of Sri Lanka Manilal Fernando was grilled by the FCID yesterday over an irregularity, in a sum of Rs 22 million, which had allegedly taken place, at the Football Federation, in 2008. In answer to summons, Fernando arrived at the FCID around nine in the morning and had been questioned for approximately six hours, after which his statement had been obtained, according to senior Police official at Police Headquarters. more..

President sends powerful message to military by deflating air chief

Sept 14 (EN) President's surprise decision not to extend air chief Gagan Bulathsinghala's term has triggered speculation that commander-in-chief may be trying to move delicately to re-assert his authority. When military top brass, including outgoing Bulathsinghala, issued a fatwa against Eastern Province CM Ahmed Naseer in May, it rattled politicians, but a demure Sirisena did not publicly display displeasure immediately. more..

Govt appoints Task Force on Prisons Overcrowding

Sept 14 (GDI) Cabinet of Minister recently approved the joint Cabinet Memorandum submitted by Ministers Wiyajadasa Rajapakse and D.M. Swaminathan on appointment of the Task Force on Legal and Judicial Causes of Prisons Overcrowding. The objective of this Task Force is to submit proposals including amendments to existing laws and procedures to reduce the overcrowding of prisons with a view to transforming prisons into rehabilitation centers or correction centers. more..

VAT would be only for nine months: Rajitha

Sept 14 (DM) Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne said the Value Added Tax (VAT) would be imposed only for nine months and that the govt would take steps to provide relief to people by simplifying the VAT after nine months. He said the VAT had to be imposed to pay back the loan amount of Rs.1.3 trillion that the previous govt had obtained from various banks. “The previous govt had obtained State loans not through the Treasury but from State banks in other ways. more..

Sampur scrapped!: India still unaware

Sept 14 (CT) India is yet to be officially notified of Sri Lanka's new development – shelving of the Sampur Coal Power Plant Project, they undertook a long time ago after signing several MoUs pertaining to it. After the Supreme Court was informed yesterday, by the Attorney General, that Ministry of Power and Energy will shelve the proposed coal power plant, that was offered to India a long time ago, Esha Srivastava, more..

Are you with the oppressed or the oppressor?

Sept 14 (DM) National Govt leaders, especially President Maithripala Sirisena and PM Ranil Wickremesinghe, have been repeatedly stressing the need for all people to revive our Sri Lankan identity internally and externally. Some civic rights activists are even suggesting that we all should refer to ourselves as human beings. Going still deeper and looking at it in a social justice perspective, there are only two classes of people all over the world - the oppressed, who comprise more..

Presidential elections: Contest between Kids of ‘15 and Veterans of ‘56

Sept 14 (DM) In the South, children of good governance overwhelmed the descendants of nationalism. Presidential elections were a contest between the Kids of 2015 and Veterans of ’56. Heirs of ‘56 stood steadfastly behind their leadership on conviction in defeat. Impatient kids of 2015 left Yahapalana regime in disgust after victory. Sincerity of both sides is beyond doubt. Nationalists won the war over terrorism while good governance is irritably searching for single conviction on corruption. more..

Fix FTA before ETCA: Former DG

Sept 14 (DM) Former Director General of Trade and Commerce P.D. Fernando, who dealt with transnational trading said the Govt should sort out shortcomings in Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with India before opting for a broader agreement such as ETCA. Asserting that Indian market should be accessed, he said it should be done with due diligence as otherwise the country would fail. Q: As the former Director General of Trade and more..

Gem mining won’t be assigned to Gem Field

Sept 14 (CT) Chairman of National Gem and Jewellery Authority Asanka Welagedera emphasized that they will leave no room to assign the monopoly of the traditional gem mining and gem industry in this country to the British Company, Gem Field. He made this statement, in response to an inquiry we made regarding an attempt by the Ministry of Public Enterprise Development, to handover the overall running of gem industry more..

Justice Served

Sept 14 (SL) It was one of the hot topics of discussion when four persons including former MP Duminda Silva was given the death sentence for assassinating former MP Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra in 2011. With the verdict of the death sentence given to the convicts in the slain Bharatha Lakshman case, new strength has been given to the people who waited so long for justice since the ruling of more..

Ranaviru Real Star: Mission V grand finale

Sept 14 (MoD) The Grand Finale of the Ranaviru Real Star (RRS) Mission V reality show was held under the patronage of the President Maithripala Sirisena at the Sugathadasa Indoor Stadium yesterday (11). Secretary to the Ministry of Defence Karunasena Hettiarachchi was also present at the occasion. Ranaviru Real Star organized by the Ministry of Defence, is a unique reality show that provides a platform for more..

Mahapola ship abandoned in Kenya

Sept 14 (CT) An investigation has been launched by the FCID, based on a complaint received that persons to whom the Sri Lanka Shipping Corporation (SLSC) owned ship Mahapola had been rented out, at US Dollars 1,000 per day, had not paid a dime to the SLSC from the day it had been rented to them. The probe has learnt that the ship had been abandoned at a foreign port causing a loss of millions of US dollars to the govt, more..

Experts raise alarm, dengue rapid test kit withdrawn from Osu Sala

Sept 14 (ST) The State Pharmaceuticals Corporation has decided not to sell the Dengue Rapid Diagnostic Kit (DRDK) at its Osu Sala outlets following complaints from health authorities that it will put patients at risk of developing the disease. SPC Chairman Sarath Liyanage told the Sunday Times the decision to withdraw the kit a week after the sales began was taken on the recommendation by NMRA. more..

Dinesh Priyantha wins Javelin bronze at Rio Paralympics

Sept 14 (ST) Dinesh Priyantha won the bronze medal in Men's Javelin Throw event at the Rio Paralympics 2016 clearing a distance of 58.23 metres, recording his personal best, on Tuesday. Priyantha, who became the first Sri Lankan to win a medal at this year's Paralympics, finished behind India's Devendra and China's Chunliang Guo. Devendra won the gold medal setting a new world record with more..

Urgent Cabinet reshuffle to remove underperforming ministers?

Sept 14 (DN) Civil society groups and trade unions urged President Maithripala Sirisena to go for an immediate cabinet reshuffle to remove whom they termed as underperforming ministers. They also requested the President to expedite judicial processes with regard to the cases of Wasim Thajudeen, Lasantha Wickrematunge and Prageeth Eknaligoda. Civil society groups also commended the verdict on former MP Bharatha Lakshman more..

Court abates case against former SC Judge Abrew

Sept 14 (DM) The Colombo High Court today abated the case in which former Supreme Court Justice, the late Sarath de Abrew, who was indicted for sexually abusing his female servant, since the accused is no longer alive. Former Supreme Court Judge Justice Sarath de Abrew had died following an accident at his residence on August 15, 2016. Abating the proceedings of the case, High Court Judge Nisaanka Bandula Karunaratne, more..

Chanuka Ratwatte, four others arrested

Sept 14 (DM) Chanuka Ratwatte and four others were arrested by the FCID this morning in connection with an alleged financial fraud of Rs. 4.6 billion at the Entrust Securities PLC. Central Bank took over Entrust Securities this January and handed it over to the National Savings Bank as the management agent, to restructure the troubled primary dealer. CB however did not directly admit uncovering of any fraudulent activities by more..

Is there a rip off? Tamil resettlement stinks?

Sept 14 (CT) Deeply agonizing human issues persistently cling on to us. Such as the Tamil resettlement scam. Read on. Politics is not called a cesspit and the last resort of the scoundrel as mere off-the-cuff remarks. Those who lived in Valikamam North are to be settled in Keerimalai and a few others are to be resettled in the Myliddy areas. Let's remember that vested interests cut deals with those in power to grab comparatively better lands on which their original homesteads were located. more..

CBK briefs diplomats on reconciliation initiatives

Sept 14 (CG) Former President Chandrika Kumaratunga, who heads the Office for National Unity and Reconciliation, today briefed the diplomatic community in SL on the reconciliation initiatives of the govt. Briefing was held at the BMICH and the diplomats were updated on the reconciliation initiatives. The heads and representatives of the diplomatic missions were appraised about the work being carried out by ONUR so far and initiatives planned ahead. more..

ශ්රී ලංකාවේ නෙදර්ලන්ත තානාපතිනිය

Shares edge down on VAT hike concern

Sept 14 (Reuters) Shares closed marginally lower on Wednesday, posting their lowest closing level in nearly six weeks, as a govt proposal to raise the VAT hurt market sentiment. Govt on Wednesday said the cabinet has approved a proposal to increase the VAT to 15% from 11 percent with some amendments, a move halted by the Supreme Court earlier. The hike is expected to be implemented after parliamentary approval later this month. Colombo stock index ended 0.24% lower at 6,492.74, more..

Gayashan is still missing

Sept 14 (CT) Gayashan still remains missing following police detention at the Hambanthota Police Station. Thanks to media interest, the matter is being discussed all over the country. The IGP Pujith Jayasundara is reported to have spoken with the father of Gayashan, promising that he would do everything in his power to find the young man, or take serious action if something has happened to him. Despite this, there is still not even a clue about what happened to Gayashan. more..

What if Jan. 8 transformation did not happen, President asks

Sept 14 (PMD) President Sirisena questions those who criticize him and the govt what would have been the situation of our country if the January 8 transformation had not taken place. “Without experiencing that eventuality, some people criticize the actions taken by the govet to face the critical economic crisis and the issues raised by int'l community”, he said. He invited them to present possible solutions for these issues instead more..

Nasheed says no to military coup but seeks cooperation from security forces

Sept 14 (ENS) The head of the MDP and former Maldivian President Mohammad Nasheed has said that the anti-Yameen democracy movement in his country wants the Security Forces to cooperate with it and not to stage a military coup, which, he described as illegal. Nasheed told the Foreign Correspondents’ Association of Sri Lanka through Skype on Tuesday that the restore democracy movement wants to oust President Abdulla Yameen through legal and constitutional means. more..

Sri Lanka to call bids for 300MW diesel/LNG power plant to avert crisis

Sept 14 (EN) Sri Lanka will call tenders for a 300 MegaWatt diesel combined cycle power plant that can also be operated on liquefied natural gas to avert a power crisis from the scrapping of a coal power plant. Power and Energy Ministry Secretary Suren Batagoda said the dual fuel 300 MW plant would be located in Kerawalapitiya. CEB was about to build a 500 MW coal plant with India's NTPC when the Sri Lanka's newly elected administration scrapped it, citing environmental concerns, more..

Zeid lets Sri Lanka off the hook in his address to the 33rd session of the UNHRC

Sept 14 (ENS) UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Prince Zeid, did not mention Sri Lanka in his opening address at 33 rd. session of UNHRC in Geneva on Tuesday. This was because the theme of his speech was the problem of countries not giving access to UN rights investigative teams and Sirisena-Wickremesinghe govt, which came to power in Jan 2015, has been giving access to UN rights teams. more..

Chandima calls for two reports on Vitol controversy

Sept 14 (DN) Petroleum and Petroleum Gas Ministry has asked for reports from CPC on the controversy surrounding Singapore based Vitol company. It was reported earlier this week that the Cabinet appointed committee has decided to reinstate Vitol as a resigtered fuel supplier to SL. Vitol was blacklisted, previously, for supplying substandard fuel to SL. Minister Chandima Weerakkody said he has called for reports from CPC chairman and the Cabinet appointed tender committee on this matter. more..

Govt docs to strike tomorrow over school admission issue

Sept 14 (DM) Govt doctors would hold a token strike at main State hospitals in Kurunegala, Kandy and Matara tomorrow from 8 a.m. to noon over an anomaly in admitting Govt doctors’ children to State schools. “200 doctors are still waiting outside Education Ministry, requesting a meeting with Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam,” Dr. Haritha Aluthge of GMOA said. “Unless a positive response is given by the Minister today, they would go ahead with the strike action tomorrow morning,” more..

Digitalize revenue to meet IMF conditions

Sept 14 (CT) A conditionality attached to the IMF's US$ 1.5 billion extended fund facility (EFF) is that tax revenue should be increased to 15% of GDP by June 2019, by which period the EFF programme will end. This was said by IMF's Mission Chief to SL Todd Schneider to reporters at a video briefing held from Washington, D.C. on 14 June. Tax revenue to GDP that year is estimated to have had been 12.1% according to CB 2015 Report. more..

Will take country on victory path: President

Sept 14 (PMD) President Maithripala Sirisena says he will take the country to the path of victory progressively through an effective process accepting criticisms and allegations thankfully. He made these remarks participating in a cordial meeting with various organizations and trade unions, who actively supported the common candidate election campaign, held at the President’s House, yesterday. During the meeting, President expressed his gratitude to all those who committed more..