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Mangala will present 2018 budget today; Govt rushes relief before Budget

Nov 9 (FT) On the eve of Budget 2018, Minister Mangala Samaraweera rolled out a pre-budget relief package that will cost the Govt an estimated Rs. 1.5 billion each month to slash taxes on six essential goods. Giving the strongest indication yet that the Govt was preparing for local govt polls in January, Samaraweera issued the Gazette notification, which will come into effect from midnight on Wednesday. more..

Society must correct political culture distorted by former regime: Prof. Wijesooriya

Nov 9 (DN) The present society is struggling to correct the political culture distorted by the Rajapaksa regime, Professor Sarath Wijesooriya said yesterday. He made these observations at an event held to commemorate the second death anniversary of Reverend Maduluwawe Sobhitha Thera, which took place at Ape Gama, Battaramulla. Professor Wijesooriya said that it is important to reflect as to why the majority of the country decided to defeat the Rajapaksa regime. more..

Piliyandala bomb blast: LTTE suspect sentenced to life

Nov 9 (DN) An LTTE suspect who found guilty to the charge of having conspired to explode a claymore bomb targeting a commuter bus at the Piliyandala bus stand in 2008 was yesterday sentenced to life in prison by the Colombo High Court. Handing down a sentence against accused S. Ananda Sudahar alias Lorence David Raja, High Court Judge Piyasena Ranasinghe observed that the prosecution has proven the guilty of the accused beyond a reasonable doubt. more..

SAITM abolished: Parents call off fast unto death

Nov 9 (Island) The govt yesterday decided to abolish SAITM. Chairman of the committee appointed by the President to look into the SAITM crisis, Deputy Minister Dr. Harsha de Silva announced in Parliament that the government had decided to abolish the SAITM and stop enrolling students. Making a special statement with the permission of the chair, while the debate on interim report of the Steering Committee on more..

All things are transient and impermanent

Nov 9 (DM) Dust unto dust, ashes to ashes. All things in life are transient and impermanent. Religious leaders have stressed this reality but from what we see in the world most people appear to be suffering from the self-inflicted delusion that earthly possessions, positions & power will last forever.  In the globalised capitalist market economic world that we survive in, subtle ways are used to promote selfishness or self-centredness, greed jealousy and resentment, rivalry & cut-throat competition. more..

Yahapalana-muddling rises above shortage-distractions

Nov 9 (DM) Term devolution has an interesting Sinhala translation that makes for word play:  (Balaya-bedeema, literally dividing power). Now bedeema in Sinhala can refer to division as well as distribution. Hence the caustic observation on the current crisis pertaining to fuel distribution,   (before you distribute/devolve power, distribute fuel!). There’s a more cynical version of this:  It is funny when those who cannot distribute fuel talk of distributing/devolving power. more..

‘There seems to be a phobia in your country’

Nov 9 (DM) Prof. Yash Ghai has advised in the negotiations and making of constitutions in about 15 countries. He chaired the Kenyan Constitution Commission and its constituent assembly which led to a new constitution in 2010. In 2013 Prof. Ghai was selected by the Fijian Military Govt to be the Chairperson of Fiji’s Constitutional Committee. He was the Sir Y K Pao Professor of Public Law at the University of Hong Kong more..

'There will be a little bit of corruption'

Nov 9 (AD) State Minister of International Trade Sujeewa Senasinghe says that for a long time Sri Lanka has been lagging behind in creating a conducive environment for attracting foreign direct investments and that they hope to increase the island’s ease of doing business rank.  He stated that the govt is currently in the process of restructuring the BoI and that several professors are working on that.  more..

Dayasiri blames CPC officials for petroleum crisis

Nov 9 (DN) A lack of adequate petroleum buffer stocks is a major factor in the current fuel crisis, said Minister Dayasiri Jayasekara, as he explained that the govt would take the responsibility for such structural deficiencies which have plummeted the country into chaos. He added that systematic issues at the level of bureaucracy had allowed the issue to worsen as neither CPC nor the Ministry have a plan to avert the crisis. more..

Wartime abductions: Govt urged to prosecute or release Navy men

Nov 9 (Island) Retired Navy Chief of Staff Rear Admiral Sarath Weerasekera has urged the govt to either prosecute or release SLN officers and men remanded in connection with a series of alleged war time abductions, mostly in Colombo and its suburbs. Weerasekera emphasised that those who had served the armed forces and undertaken missions at the risk of their lives were being unfairly treated. more..

Budget 2018 today! A stressed out nation awaits fuel

Nov 9 (DM) Many await, with their fingers crossed, Budget 2018 which is all set to be read in Parliament today. Last Sept, Ministry of Finance called for proposals from different stakeholders including general public, to be included in Budget. However, to what extent these proposals would be accepted and applied in future is a question that will stay surfaced in the reader’s imagination until Budget speech is completely read. more..

Malabe-Fort Light Rail Transport project starts early 2018

Nov 9 (ST) Preliminary work on the Light Rail Transport (LRT) project between Malabe and Fort will commence early next year, officials said. The project covering a distance of 21 km and costing US$ 1.3 billion, with funding from JICA, is due to be completed by 2021. Ahead of the launch of the project, all overhead Telecommunication and Electricity lines are to go underground, to facilitate the LRT project. more..

Sri Lanka mulls binding fiscal rules to keep runaway budgets in check

Nov 9 (EN) Sri Lanka's central bank has suggested binding fiscal rules to keep state finances on a planned path, going beyond a current fiscal responsibility law, Central Bank Governor Indrajit Coomaraswamy said. "The idea is to give the act some teeth," Coomaraswamy said. "At the moment there is no statutory requirement to abide by it." He said the central bank has exploring the idea with the govt. more..

Govt to allow 500 safari jeeps to enter Yala per day

Nov 9 (DM) Amidst the opposition by environmentalists, the Ministry of Sustainable Development and Wildlife yesterday had decided to increase the number of safari jeeps entering the Yala National Wildlife Park to 500 a day, a senior official of the Department of Wildlife Conservation (DWC) said. The decision was taken at a meeting held with the participation of Minister Gamini Jayawickrama Perera, more..

Video: Country heading towards anarchy: JO

Nov 9 (DM) The Joint Opposition today said the country was heading towards anarchy because of the inefficient management skills of the Govt. Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) Chairman G.L. Peiris said a Petti Kade (Kiosk) had a better management than the Govt. “Sri Lanka has become a country with no Govt today. No one is taking responsibility for issues and everyone keeps passing the ball,” he said. more..

Fuel consignment cleared, offloading begins

Nov 9 (NR) The stock of fuel that arrived on board the Neveska Lady has been cleared to be offloaded following the chemical test. Ministry of Petroleum Resources Development said the chemical test report of the fuel consignment cleared the stock to be offloaded at Muthurajawela. The fuel in reserves is being distributed across the island as per usual. The stock of fuel will be distributed island wide after 2pm more..

Will Budget 2018 provide some relief to the common man?

Nov 9 (CT) Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera will present the country's budget to Parliament today and his proposals will be closely analyzed by a public whose expectations are high. It is no easy task to put together a budget for a country that is deeply in debt and raises little revenue internally by the way of taxes. The Appropriation Bill for the 2018 Financial Year was tabled in Parliament on 9 Oct. The Bill contained the State's estimated expenditure and revenue for next year. more..

Controversy over the nature of the state and the political economy behind

Nov 9 (FT) Even after four days of debate in the Constitutional Assembly, the country is far from being in agreement on basic principles in drafting a new constitution. Reason is extremist, inflexible and confrontational politics from all sides, without any consideration for national unity or national interests. The debates have widened the gaps rather than closing them up. Only gratifying thing is that no one has burnt the Interim Report like in the constitutional debate in August 2000! more..

News Line with Dr. Nalinda Jayatissa

Car runs over two pedestrians: One killed, another injured

Nov 9 (DN) A car ran over and killed one man and injured a woman on the Biyagama –Sapugaskanda road last night. The two pedestrians were run over by the car while they were crossing the road, using the zebra crossing. The deceased man identified as Dhanushka Lakmal (23) from Siyambalape succumbed to injuries after being transferred to the Colombo National Hospital from the Biyagama Hospital. Post-mortem examinations will be conducted today. more..

Sri Lanka to tax banking transactions

Nov 9 (EN) Sri Lanka will charge a tax on banking transactions at the rate of 20 cents for every 1000 rupees, to help repay debt, Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera said. The tax will be known as the Medamulana Tax, he said in a reference to the hometown of ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa. The tax will in force for three years, Samaraweera said presenting a budget for 2018. Sri Lanka had faced a spike in debt repayments in 2018 and 2019, he said. more..

SL cut taxes on electric vehicles, small cars

Nov 9 (AD) Minister of Finance Mangala Samaraweera in his Budget speech today, stated that all vehicles in Sri Lanka will have to be eco-friendly by 2040 as part of a Green initiative adopted by the govt to promote eco-friendly vehicle usage within the country.   He further stated that all state owned vehicles will be hybrid vehicles by 2025 as part of the Green initiative. Relief will be provided to all consumers of electric vehicles as more..

JO members arrive in Parliament on bicycles

Nov 9 (AM) Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa and a group of Joint Opposition MPs arrived in Parliament on bicycles and bullock carts due to the fuel crisis crippling the country. They said the govt was responsible for the fuel crisis and the difficulties faced by people over the past week. SL ran into a shortage of petrol when the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation rejected a shipment of substandard petrol.  Interestingly, Rajapaksa too found himself at the centre of a major crisis more..

Sri Lanka tourist arrivals up 1.3% in October

Nov 9 (LBO) SL tourist arrivals rose 1.3% to 152,429 in October 2017 from a year earlier amid subdued growth in the main Indian and Chinese markets. Arrivals in the first 10 months of the year were up 2.7% to 1.7 million arrivals, data from the state tourism authority showed. Indian visitors were up 1.4% to 36,996 in October while total Indian visitors for the first 10 months were up 5.5% to 304,597, arriving top slot. Chinese visitors were up 6.2% to 21,846 in October more..

Hathurusingha to take over reigns as Sri Lanka Coach?

Nov 9 (AD) Former SL player Chandika Hathurusingha, who is currently the head Coach of Bangladesh, is most likely to take over as next Sri Lanka Coach, Cricket Age learns. “Negotiation are going on with Chandika also. Though there are few others, most notably Dean Jones and Jason Gillespie, Chandika is the most likely to take over if everything goes well“ Top SLC official said. He has played 26 tests & 35 ODIs for Sri Lanka. more..

Import Duty on sports shoes to be removed effective midnight today

Nov 9 (AD) The import duty on sports shoes will be removed effective midnight today, to bolster the sporting community within Sri Lanka Minister Mangala Samaraweera said. He further stated that a sum of Rs.100 million has been allocated to develop over 100 sports grounds in rural areas of the country.  Meanwhile it was also stated that medium sized companies run by females will be given loan concessions as an initiative to empower women. Further a sum of Rs. 3 billion will be more..

Thajudeen Murder case: CID to ascertain identity of suspicious persons

Nov 9 (DN) CID informed court that they have initiated a comprehensive investigation to ascertain the identity of several suspicious persons in connection with the murder of former rugby player Wasim Thajudeen. Filing a further report in Court, CID informed Colombo Additional Magistrate Jayram Trotsky that it had deployed several investigative groups to examine the facts obtained from individual informants regarding the suspicious persons who involved in the incident. more..

Minister implicates himself and Thalatha Athukorale in tender scam

Nov 9 (CT) State Minister Ravindra Samaraweera, was caught red-handed in a clear indication that he intended to circumvent established tender procedures. Samaraweera was caught on camera and microphone yesterday during a press briefing when he answered a call on his mobile phone and told the caller to speak with the relevant secretary of the minister. “Ok, Shakya, I have spoken with the amathithumiya more..

Gamini Senarath appears in Court

Nov 9 (DM) Former president’s chief-of-staff Gamini Senarath appeared at the Colombo Fort Magistrate’s Court today. Mr. Senarath had filed a fundamental rights petition in the Supreme Court on Nov 6 seeking an order to prevent the FCID from arresting him in connection with a magisterial inquiry on him, under the Public Property Act. Meanwhile, former SL Insurance Corporation Managing Director Piyadasa Kudabalage and former Samurdhi Commissioner Neil Hapuwinna also filed more..

Man dies at fuel station

Nov 9 (DM) An unfortunate story of an individual who was waiting in a queue to get fuel for his motorbike from the Lanka Seva filling station in Uragasmanhandiya dying of a heart attack was reported on Tuesday night. The deceased has been identified as Jayantha Premalal (53). He was among the many motorists who were left disappointed after hearing that after having stood for a long time to get their vehicles filled the petrol had run out. After the rest had departed he had started quarrelling more..

Pothas warns Sri Lanka against being infatuated with India

Nov 9 (CI) Ahead of their first full series in India since 2009, Sri Lanka have arrived in the country with a bagful of trivia material and scores to settle. It is one thing that the last of their 17 Tests in India came eight years ago, but quite another that Sri Lanka haven't won even one of those dating back to 1982. Only two survivors - Angelo Mathews and Rangana Herath - remain from the side that went down 2-0 in the three-Test series in 2009, but more..

Domestic airports to be restored under public-private partnerships

Nov 9 (AD) Domestic airports within the country including the dometic airport at Sigiriya will be reconstructed to enable domestic flights within SL Minister Mangala Samarweera said. In his parliamentary address today, he stated that domestic airports will be reconstructed to better service the tourism industry.  He also stated that railway stations such as Nanu-oya, Galle and Ella will be declared as archeological sites to protect the cultural significance of their locations. more..

Canadian delegation in Sri Lanka to discuss progress on peace

Nov 9 (CG) A delegation from the Canadian branch of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association is in Sri Lanka for a three day visit. The multiparty delegation’s presence will strengthen bonds with an important Commonwealth partner with which Canada has deep and longstanding, economic, social and people-to-people ties, the Canadian High Commission in Sri Lanka said. The delegation is led by Ms. Yasmin Ratansi, MP.  She is accompanied by Matthew Jeneroux, MP, Thomas Mulcair more..

Chandimal hints at going back to four-bowler strategy

Nov 9 (PTI) Skipper Dinesh Chandimal dropped hints that unlike five-pronged bowling attack, which yielded results against Pakistan in the humid conditions in the UAE, he may revert to four-bowler theory against India. "Against Pakistan, we played six batters and five bowlers that worked really well especially in the heat (in UAE). It was never easy to play four bowlers and win a game. But India have got some really good bowlers, more..

Asanka Gurusinha comes to Dinesh Chandimal’s defence on witchcraft comment

Nov 9 (PTI) Sri Lanka captain Dinesh Chandimal was today asked whether he sought any blessing from meyni (sorcerer) ahead of their gruelling India tour as team manager Asanka Gurusinha promptly came to his defence to avoid any further embarrassment. The Sri Lankan skipper had stunned everyone last month when with his witchcraft confession that he had received a special blessing from a meyni ahead of their surprise series sweep against Pakistan in UAE. more..

Rear Admiral Neil Rosayro appointed as new Navy Chief of Staff

Nov 9 (SLN) Rear Admiral Neil Rosayro who was appointed as the new Chief of Staff of the Sri Lanka Navy yesterday (8) formally assumed office at the Naval Headquarters today. Accordingly, the Commander of the Navy, Vice Admiral Sirimevan Ranasinghe presented the Letter of Appointment of the new position to Rear Admiral Rosayro. The Commander of the Navy extended his best wishes to the newly appointed Chief of Staff before Rear Admiral Rosayro assumed duties of more..

SL cuts beer tax, ups tax on sweet drinks

Nov 9 (EN) Sri Lanka, a country where kids still suffer from malnutrition, has slapped sugar tax on sweet drink in a bid to control the citizenry, copying an interventionist levy practiced in European rich countries where people are obese, while cutting taxes on beer. The budget for 2018, represents a dangerous slide into using the fiscal powers to engage in social engineering and coercion, analysts warn. more..

Sri Lanka to tax online travel agencies

Nov 9 (EN) Sri Lanka will charge a one percent tax on online travel agencies on the commission they charge from customers in Sri Lanka. Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera said the move was in line with practices in other countries. All informal hotels will be required to be registered and brought into the tax net Samaraweera said, presenting a budget for 2017. Sri Lanka will also give easier access to credit for home-stays but they have to be registered, he said. more..

SL targets banks, vehicles for 2018 revenue

Nov 9 (Reuters) Sri Lanka imposed new taxes on motor vehicles, telecoms, banks and liquor in a bid to boost revenues in its 2018 budget outlined on Thursday, as the budget deficit for the current year slipped to 5.2% of the gross domestic product. The govt has struggled to strike a balance between populist policies and fiscal consolidation but the latest deviation from the target of 4.6% raises questions about its ability to meet conditions tied to a $1.5 billion IMF loan. more..

Dissident website blocked in Sri Lanka

Nov 9 (AFP) Access to a dissident website that often publishes articles critical of SL's govt has been blocked in the country, the portal's administrators said Thursday, as activists expressed alarm over deteriorating press freedom on the island. Popular London-based Lanka E News became inaccessible in SL, a day after publishing an expose alleging graft within office of President Sirisena in procurement of state vehicles. more..