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Before and after the Designer Budget

Nov 10 (DM) Preceded by a week of petrol anger in a country that queued long hours to buy few litres of petrol each day, Mangala Samaraweera ventured out yesterday with his new project of winning back lost votes with a Designer Budget for the year 2018. End January 2018 is now speculated to have the long delayed LG polls, after over two years of haggling with a Delimitation Report. more..

LIOC contemplating fuel price hike

Nov 10 (DM) In a move that will further deepen the prevailing fuel crisis, the Lanka Indian Oil Company (LIOC) is reported to be planning to increase fuel prices within the next few weeks if the government fails to remove the special taxes imposed over the years on fuel. Reliable petroleum sources said that the LIOC was selling petrol at a loss of Rs.22 on a litre while it was losing Rs.16 on a litre of diesel. more..

This budget also allocates larger amount for education: President

Nov 10 (PMD) President Maithripala Sirisena says the current govt which gives priority for the education of the country in keeping with its policy has allocated larger sum of money from this year budget like in the previous years. The President was speaking at the annual prize giving ceremony of Princess of Wales’ College, Moratuwa today (9). He said the building of scholars and intellectuals is important to the future of the country. more..

Sri Lanka to change laws to allow flexible working hours

Nov 10 (EN) Sri Lanka’s govt will changes laws that will enable private sector workers to choose flexible working hours and consider giving the benefit to public sector employees as well, Minister Mangala Samaraweera told parliament. Shop and Office Employees Act, No. 15 of 1954 will be amended allowing the employees flexibility in choosing their working hours, he said while presenting govt budget for 2018. more..

How Budget 2018 could affect vehicle prices

Nov 10 (AD) Delivering the budget speech in Parliament yesterday, Minister Mangala Samaraweera stated that the taxes on the importation of electric vehicles including electric three wheelers, cars and buses will be reduced while rationalizing the import taxes on vehicles powered by fossil fuel. The new formula for import taxes will be based on the engine capacity which will minimize the revenue leakages, he said. more..

Piyasena Gamage fills in Geetha’s seat

Nov 10 (NR) Piyasena Gamage has been sworn in as a Galle District MP. MP Gamage took oath before Speaker of House Karu Jayasuriya this morning and took his seat in the govt’s side in Parliament. Piyasena Gamage obtained 47,247 preferential votes at the 2015 General Election. The Parliament post was left vacant following the removal of Geetha Kumarasinghe owing to her holding dual citizenship. more..

Former Justice Minister counters allegations, seeks joint Lanka-UK probe

Nov 10 (Island) Former Justice Minister Dr. Wijeyadasa Rajapakse, MP, alleged that a fresh high profile attempt was being made to secure asylum for bogus refugees at the expense of Sri Lankan govt. President’s Counsel Rajapakse pointed out that the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe govt was being targeted by those who had been engaged in the lucrative project to secure political asylum status for economic refugees. more..

No war hero will be subject to foreign tribunals: President

Nov 10 (DN) The President Maithripala Sirisena addressed a representative gathering of more than 350 Commanding Officers (COs), Adjutants and Regimental Sergeant Majors (RSMs) of the Army, at the Colombo Army Hospital auditorium last evening. Defence Secretary Kapila Waidyaratne and Lt. Gen. Mahesh Senanayake, Commander of the Army extended a warm welcome to the President on his arrival at the premises more..

Imitating Premadasa

Nov 10 (CT) President J.R. Jayewardene established the fee levying North Colombo Medical College (NCMC) in 1980, with three objectives in mind: firstly giving a chance to deserving A/L medical students who were prevented from entering the taxpayer borne State-run medical faculties because of not having the required marks to continue with their medical education. These students could not enter the State medical faculties due to the standardization and still practised more..

Running on full in a Fuel’s Paradise

Nov 10 (FT) It would be punny if it weren’t pathetic. I won’t floor the pedal on the issue – even though it is quite a gas. Because by now (even if your tank is still empty – and especially if it is) you must have had it up to here with all the witticisms, silliness, and plethora of gifs, gaffes, faux pas, and (last but not least) memes, on the govt’s latest fiasco. So you’re probably thinking, let’s not fuel any more idiocy than a single republic can lap up in the space of seven days… more..

PM & his cronies bankrupting SL

Sri Lanka retains protection for ceramic industry in 2018 budget

Nov 10 (EN) Sri Lanka’s government has largely retained protection given to the local ceramic industry through import tariffs despite further liberalisation of the economy proposed in the 2018 budget presented Thursday, an analysis by a brokerage said. Protectionism still prevails in the ceramic sector, Bartleet Religare Securities said in a note to clients that analysed the budget presented to parliament by Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera. more..

Budget promotes entrepreneurship: SLMC

Nov 10 (DM) Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) Leader Minister Rauff Hakeem said this budget was a progressive one with a new approach. He said it was a budget aimed at preserving the environment and preventing natural disasters as well as promoting entrepreneurship among the people. “It looks at areas where investments have to be made to attract tourism and to increase the country’s revenue. A variety of proposals have been put forward without burdening the people. more..

SLFP for devolving more power to PCs

Nov 10 (Island) Devolving of more power to Provincial Councils (PCs) was vital for the country’s development, SLFP said. It said devolution should be in accordance with the Constitution and it should not be under a federal system. Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe said that SLFP would accept devolution in keeping with the 13th Amendment. However, the executive presidency should not be repealed and more..

Boyfriend commits suicide after tying girlfriend

Nov 10 (Island) A youth in Kudagama tied his girlfriend to a window and swallowed poison at the latter’s home recently as she had started an affair with another. Kosgama police said the 22-year-old boyfriend had been carrying on with a 15-year-old girl and following information received that she had jilted him he had decided to commit suicide. He visited the girl’s residence when no one else was there and had committed suicide in this manner after confronting her. more..

A budget which saves money for essential services: UNP

Nov 10 (DM) UNP Minister Eran Wickramaratne said the Minister Mangala Samaraweera had done a tremendous job by securing macroeconomic fundamentals and raising revenue so that more funds could be made available for essential services such as education, health and social transfers. He said the finance minister had also managed to keep the budget deficit low, adding that 2018 would be a challenging year because the country would have to repay the highest debt in history. more..

Budget Implementation Unit opened at Finance Ministry

Nov 10 (DN) A Budget Implementation Unit has been set within the Finance Ministry to implement all budget proposals within the course of next year, said Finance Minister, Mangala Samaraweera today, while he acknowledged that implementation was one of the biggest challenges faced by his Ministry. The Unit will be headed by Senior Advisor to the Finance and Mass Media Ministry, Mano Tittawella and more..

Another example of failed economic path since '77: JVP

Nov 10 (DM) JVP Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake said the budget was yet another example of the failed economic path the govt had taken since 1977. “Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera said in his budget speech that his objective was to continue the economic policy of 1977. His policy is dependant on foreign investments and foreign markets instead of trying to make our economy self-sufficient. He is trying to rely on the failed open economic model again,’ more..

State Education Minister Radhakrishnan expresses disappointment

Nov 10 (AD) State Education Minister V.S. Radhakrishnan said that he will decide whether to remain in his position or not after the debate on the expenditure of Education Ministry to be on Nov 23. He alleged that although he bears a ministerial portfolio he gains no co-operation from  officers in the Ministry to perform any task. He said that he held discussions with Education Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam, PM and the President regarding the issues he faced, more..

Wijeyadasa challenges Wijesooriya to TV debate

Nov 10 (Island) Former Minister Dr. Wijeyadasa Rajapakse, MP, PC has accused Convenor of National Movement for Social Justice (NMSJ) Prof. Sarath Wijesooriya and his colleagues of shielding those who had perpetrated frauds and corruption following the change of govt in January 2015. MP Rajapakse has said that NMSJ under the leadership given by the chief incumbent of Kotte Naga Viharaya Ven Maduluwawe Sobitha more..

Top Examination Dept. official interdicted

Nov 10 (DM) The Deputy Commissioner of Examinations, who served as the Head of the Confidential and Institutional Examination Division has been interdicted with effect from today over allegations of neglect of work and misconduct. Education Ministry Media Secretary Kalpa Gunaratne said that the Ministry Secretary Sunil Hettiarachchi had issued the letter of interdiction on the approval of the Education Services Committee of the Public Service Commission. more..

U19 Asia Cup: Sri Lanka win opening match

Nov 10 (SLC) Sri Lanka U19 XI got off to a promising start in the Asia Cricket Council (ACC) U-19 Asia Cup  winning the opening fixture handsomely by 7 wickets against the United Arab Emirates  in Group B today at the Selongor Club grounds, Kuala Lampur, Malaysia. Sri Lanka pocketed 2 points to be in second place next to Afghanistan also on 2 points but on a faster run rate in their 7 wicket routing of the more cricket nourished Pakistan. more..

GMOA threatens TU action

Nov 10 (DM) The GMOA yesterday threatened to resort to trade union action if the govt would not reveal its stance on SAITM to the Supreme Court through the AG's Department before Monday. GMOA Secretary Dr. Haritha Aluthge said in a statement that the SAITM had not met up with the needed legal standards and the govt had decided to abolish it and added that however such a decisive decision had not been informed to the courts more..

Chinese naval ship Qi Jiguang arrives in SL

Nov 10 (DM) The training ship Qi Jiguang (Hull 83) of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy arrived at Colombo Port today on a four-day goodwill visit. Ship Qi Jiguang arrived in Sri Lanka as a part of its multinational mission with foreign countries in 2017, a plan which was approved by the Chinese Central Military Commission.  According to the plan, in combination with ocean-going practice, Qi Jiguang Ship visited Oman, Portugal, Italy and would depart for Thailand on Nov 14. more..

Corruption cases against Johnston: Court to summon P.B. Abeykoon

Nov 10 (DN) Colombo Chief Magistrate decided to summon former Secretary to the President P.B. Abeykoon as a witness regarding five corruption cases filed against former Minister Johnston Fernando, today. CIABOC alleged that the former Minister had failed to declare his assets and liabilities for a period of five years since 2010 till 2014. The defence had raised objections urging to release their client from the cases citing that the investigative officer who carried out more..

Sri Lanka's new emission control measures to hit import of three-wheelers

Nov 10 (OI) Sri Lanka will impose strict vehicle emission standards from January which will hit import of three-wheelers from India. Minister Mangala Samaraweera today said govt will adopt new standards from January which will ban the import of three-wheeler taxis, a popular mode of transport here. He said Sri Lanka will follow the Euro 4 emission standards. "We are moving towards environmentally-friendly vehicles and more..

Dengue affects 4,700 in Jaffna: Malaria outbreak looms

Nov 10 (CT) Around 4,700 persons, up to November this year, are reported to have been affected by the dengue outbreak in the Jaffna District, District Health Director Dr. K. Nanthakumar said. "We have taken systematic action to control the recent rapid spread of dengue, due to the effect of Monsoonal rains in the region," he said. Around 1,700 dengue cases were reported last year in the Jaffna District. "Department of Health is providing some fingerlings to houses that have wells. more..

TNA crisis Need to accommodate other opinions: Wiggy

Nov 10 (CT) Northern Chief Minister (CM) C.V. Wigneswaran, commenting on the current crisis within the TNA, said that there is a trend within the coalition to oppose different opinions and that some within the party think that only their decisions are correct. This led EPRLF Leader Suresh Premachandran to function separately, although his party is in the coalition. "When we are not in a position to accept different opinions, such problems will erupt within the party. more..

FM defuses duty shock on used electric cars

Nov 10 (EN) Minister Mangala Samaraweera Friday agreed to extend the substantial duty concession announced in the budget for new electric cars to used models too, particularly the popular Nissan Leaf. In his otherwise progressive budget, Samaraweera had introduced a discriminatory clause which doubled the tax rate for used electric cars, even if the vehicle was just one-day old. The local agent for Nissan has not imported more..

Govt attempting to privatize education: JVP

Nov 10 (NR) The debate on the second reading of the 2018 Budget commenced this morning. The debate of the second reading of the 2018 Budget will continue till the 15th of November. JVP MP Nalinda Jayatissa accused the govt of attempting to privatise university education. He added that the govt should focus and invest more on free education. He said, “The budget has proposed the ownership of shares of state universities that are administrated by the UGC can be released to stock market. more..

Angling instead of netting

Nov 10 (DM) Three members from yahapalanaya crossed over to the JO during the past few months. However, Tikiri, the rebel from Wayamba, who was the first to make a big noise about their decision to quit the govt, stays put as quietly as a mouse. Meanwhile, JO stalwarts claim that it was according to a set plan that the dissident duo from Puttalam and the latest one from Gampaha have already quit yahapalanaya. The remaining dissidents too would follow suit in singles or doubles more..

Concerns raised over banning Lanka e News

Nov 10 (DM) Several international and local media movements had condemned the govt’s decision to ban the news portal Lanka e News (LeN) stating the action a threat to sustaining media freedom. In a letter sent to President Sirisena, the Young Journalists' Association (YJA) had raised concerns about the blockage of the news portal Lanka e News (LeN) due to its critical reporting. YJA President Tharindu Uduwaragedara stated more..

The marxist head & The cultural heart

Nov 11 (CT) There’s a story from the 1971 insurrection that intrigues me even today. This story, I heard or rather read about from Malinga Gunaratne, who had in turn heard it from Victor Ivan. Apparently Victor had been arrested, interrogated, and imprisoned for his involvement with the insurrectionists and a series of attacks they had masterminded on police stations throughout the country. One of those attacks had involved a frontal assault on the Kadugannawa Station and more..

Crisis, Coalition, Constitution

Nov 11 (CT) Big Chief Wigneswaran has spoken. “Chief Minister of the Northern Province C.V. Wigneswaran stated that the only way the freedom of the Tamil community can be protected is through a federal constitution. Chief Minister made the above statement while addressing a press briefing yesterday (8), which was called to speak on the interim report of constitutional steering committee. He further cited Canada and Scotland as nations that stand as examples of federal states more..

Expressways and obstacles

Nov 11 (SO) Expressways have been an integral part of the SL govt’s development plan in the post war era. In fact with economists identifying that the lack of a systematic highways network connecting the agricultural and industrial centers with other important towns as one main obstacle to the development of the country constructing expressways has been a main focus area of the Sri Lankan govt. more..

How to win the referendum

Nov 11 (GV) Every country has two constitutions: a legal constitution and a political constitution. The focus for the past two years has been on the legal constitution. If the govt is serious about introducing a new constitution and winning a referendum it must now shift its focus to the political constitution. A constitution answers a series of question about the State. Is it unitary or federal? Which is more powerful, Parliament or the Executive? What rights do minorities have? more..

Conserving Yala: An alternative approach

Nov 11 (GV) Much has been written and said about Block One of Yala National Park and its over-visitation, causing disturbance and danger to wildlife, thus jeopardizing conservation. The latest decision to cap the number of jeeps entering Block One at 500 is unsustainable for obvious reasons. This decision was a response to a pushback from jeep drivers to a previous cap at 200 jeeps – that is, 100 in the morning, 100 in the evening. As a result of the pushback, that decision never really took off. more..

May his legacy live on

Nov 11 (DN) Fish continue to swim under the soft coral growth. The coral growths house a pond divided by a bridge which leads to the monastery. The monastery sheltered a spiritual leader of this country. As you enter the Kotte Sri Naga Vihara premises, the life-size statue of its previous Chief Incumbent greets you with a fatherly smile. Venerable Maduluwawe Sobitha Thera needs hardly any introduction owing to his involvement in more..

Failing to plan is same as planning to fail

Nov 11 (CT) Those who are on average older than 50 years may remember people staying in a long queue to purchase essential items during the United Front Coalition Govt of 1970-1977. Population was smaller then and needs were basic. The present queues, of a much larger scale, in and around petrol sheds over the last few days would have brought back some of those memories. Isn't it totally unacceptable that rejection of a single oil shipment could have caused so much distress to more..

Editorial: Guilty by suspicion

Nov 11 (Island) The UNHRC is apparently wasting its time and money on its campaign to have a hybrid war crimes tribunal set up in this country. For, UN expert and South African human rights lawyer, Yasmin Sooka, has already found the Sri Lankan troops guilty of war crimes! A member of the UN panel of experts on Sri Lanka, Sooka has faulted multinational fizz drink giant, Coca Cola, for sponsoring a motoring event organised by the Sri Lanka Army in August. more..