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Promising and committed, but his Cabinet colleagues have to walk the talk

Nov 13 (FT) Minister Mangala Samaraweera’s Mangala Budget (Maiden Budget) was presented to Parliament last week. A budget is simply a one year financial plan of the govt. But modern budgets have become a medium-term enterprise for govts in the sense that they are linked to the govt policy a few years before and a few years hence.  In the case of the present Govt, the Budget for 2018 is a midpoint financial plan that would take forward its policy from August 2015 till about 2020. more..

'Strict laws against the corrupt in the future'

Nov 13 (NR) Minister Mano Ganesan says enforcing laws against those involved in bribery and corruption will be further accelerated in the future. He said special attention was directed by the Cabinet of Ministers over the matter. He said the Cabinet has discussed this matter on several occasions adding that the perpetrators will be punished based on reports. Minister said the govt is hoping to punish all murderers, criminals and those engaged in corruption will be punished. more..

Gamini Senarath, two others remanded

Nov 13 (DN) Three suspects including former President’s Chief of Staff Gamini Senarath were ordered to be remanded till Nov 15 by Colombo Fort Magistrate today for allegedly missing public funds by illegally investing Rs.4 billion from the Rs.18.5 billion approved by the Cabinet for hotel project in 2012. Colombo Fort Magistrate Lanka Jayaratne made this order in respect of three suspects Gamini Senarath, more..

Mixing petrol with kerosene: STF busts racket

Nov 13 (DM) A racket, in which petrol has been mixed with kerosene while being readied for transport in a bowser, was uncovered by the Dambulla Police STF today. They had busted this racket being operated at an abandoned metal quarry in Galewela Makulugaswewa. Investigations revealed that the bowser was allegedly owned by Trinco District UNP MP M.A.M. Maharoof. When the police raided the site they found the driver and his assistant were busy drawing out more than more..

Gammanpila urges Arjuna to reveal the two Ministers whom he alleged over fuel crisis

Nov 13 (AD) Minister Arjuna Ranatunga should reveal the names of two Ministers whom he alleged over the fuel crisis, said Pivithuru Hela Urumaya leader Udaya Gammanpila. “The Former Petroleum Ministers are Karu Jayasuriya, A.H.M. Fowzie, Susil Premajayantha, Anura Yapa, Champika Ranawaka and Chandima Weerakkody. Minister Arjuna should reveal the names of the two Ministers of whom he alleged. If not he is doing an immense injustice to other four Ministers.” He said. more..

Almanac case: Basil files Transfer Application at Appeals Court

Nov 13 (DN) Former Minister Basil Rajapaksa sought an order from Colombo High Court to transfer the controversial almanac case from High Court Judge Gihan Kulatunga to another High Court of Colombo. Judge Gihan Kulatunga announced that he would make an appropriate order in this regard on Nov 15. The Court was informed that Basil Rajapaksa had filed a Transfer Application in the Court of Appeal, seeking an order more..

Children of Sri Lanka, other countries traded as sex slaves: Saudi Princess

Nov 13 (AM) Saudi Princess Amira Bint Nayef went on a rampage against the ruling Saudi regime, saying slavery in Saudi Arabia has different forms, but it is done in secrecy and permitted only among the primary beneficiaries of the princes of the House of Saud. She mentioned one of the most repulsive things: buying and renting the children, especially the orphans, from countries like Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Philippines, Djibouti, Somalia, Nigeria, Romania and Bulgaria. more..

China still dominates Sri Lanka foreign loan disbursements

Nov 13 (EN) China continued to dominate total foreign loan disbursements made to Sri Lanka this year, lending almost 35% of the total US$901.6 million through development projects and programmes during the eight months 31st August, 2017, according to the finance ministry. Out of the total, $19.6 million (or Rs. 2,980.3 million) was made as grants and $882.1 million (or Rs. 133,999.3 million) was made as loans, according to the ministry’s Fiscal Management Report – 2018. more..

Sri Lanka chamber welcomes budget; asks for end to secretly hatched taxes

Nov 13 (EN) the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (CCC) has welcomed a budget for 2018, but asked the govt to end the practice  of overnight tax changes. "While we see many proposals complimenting the medium-term vision of the govt beyond 2018, it is important that the govt does not waver in the near-term from the current fiscal consolidation path," chamber said. "While there is less ambiguity in a majority of the proposals, certain measures could more..

Sri Lanka official reserves improve to US$ 7.5bn by end October

Nov 13 (LBO) Sri Lanka’s gross official reserves have improved to US$ 7,489.98 million by end October from US$ 7,288.12 million in September, data showed. Foreign currency reserves were US$ 6,506.66 million and reserves in gold were US$ 912.74 million by end October 2017. Reserve position in the IMF was US$ 67.22 million. Central Bank’s Treasury bill holdings were down from 57,109.72 million rupees by end Sept to 42,561.04 million rupees by end October. more..

Petroleum Ministry to conduct probe report on shortage tomorrow

Nov 13 (CT) An inquiry will be conducted by Ministry of Petroleum against those who shut down fuel stations across the country despite the conclusion of the crisis situation. Minister Arjuna Ranatunga said that this inquiry will be conducted against the fuel station owners who disallowed the distribution of fuel stocks, during and after the crisis, assuming the situation would result in a price hike. Subsequently, he noted that such action has worsened the crisis situation in the country and more..

Sagala responds to Gamini Senerath allegations

Nov 13 (DN) Minister Sagala Ratnayaka has responded to allegations that he has kept company with former President’s Chief of Staff Gamini Senerath who is currently being investigated into misuse of public funds. He said: “This a baseless and malicious allegation. I have no reason to meet a suspect in a corruption case, which involves billions of public money. I have nothing to gain by holding meeting with a person of that caliber. more..

President attends musical concert to commemorate late lyricist Premakeerthi

Nov 13 (PSL) President Sirisena participated in the Sandakan Watila musical concert held at the Nelum Pokuna Theater yesterday to commemorate the late veteran lyricist Premakeerthi De Alwis. The prominent singers Victor Rathnayake, Sunil Edirisinghe, T.M. Jayarathna, and  Priya Suriyasena sang several songs written by late Premakeerthi De Alwis at this colourful event.  Mrs. Nirmala de Alwis presented the poetry books titled Noselen Indrakeelaya Se and Anthimaya more..

31 released on bail over Hambantota protest

Nov 13 (NR) Court has ordered to release 31 suspects on bail who were arrested on charges of violating court orders during a protest in Hambantota. Accordingly, Hambantota Magistrate Manjula Karunaratne ordered to release the suspects on two surety bails worth 500,000 rupees each. The group includes 31 suspects including MP Prasanna Ranaweera, Provincial Councillors Upali Kodikara and Sampath Athukorala and Former Provincial Councillor Major Ajith Prasanna. more..

Small cars down by half a million rupees

Nov 13 (EN) The latest duty reduction for small cars will see the prices drop by an average of half a million rupees in the Sri Lankan market. Vehicle Importers Association of SL said the new tariff structure will benefit cars with an engine capacity of less than 1,000 cubic centimetres. "Something like a 660 CC Suzuki that cost about three million rupees earlier will now be down to about 2.5 million," more..

Priyantha J. refuses to hear SLMC petition

Nov 13 (NR) Supreme Court Judge Priyantha Jayawardene has voiced his opposition to hear the petition filed by the Sri Lanka Medical Council over reversing the Appeals Court decision on SAITM. SC Judge voiced his opposition when the petition was taken up for hearing in front of a three judge bench comprised of Eva Wanasundara, Nalin Perera and Priyantha Jayawardena. Representing the AG, Senior Additional Solicitor General Sanjaya Rajarathnam said the recommendations more..

Convey decision to court: GMOA tells govt

Nov 13 (DM) Though the govt has said that SAITM’s medical faculty will be abolished, it has not yet conveyed its decision to Court, GMOA said today. GMOA Secretary Haritha Aluthge said the crisis would worsen if the govt failed to inform court about its stance on this matter. “If the decision is not conveyed, it might make an impact the court verdict on the case filed by a SAITM graduate requesting the Sri Lanka Medical Council (SLMC) to provisionally register her,” he said. more..

President bitter over sugar in Milo

Nov 13 (EN) President Sirisena took Nestle head on Sunday as he asked the multinational to reduce the sugar content in its popular Milo drink or face tougher legislation. Holding up a carton of Milo, President said he will tour the country campaigning against its consumption unless Nestle agreed to reduce the sugar content in Milo to below five percent from its current 16.5%. He also asked Minister Mangala Samaraweera to extend more..

Floods in Jaffna force out over 1,700

Nov 13 (CT) DMC says over 1,700 residents of the Jaffna District have been evacuated to safe locations following the floods experienced in the area due to the incessant rains. All units have been informed to remain on the alert for possible disaster situations which may arise. 1,724 individuals of 456 families have been evacuated due to the weather conditions. Rainfall of 500mm was experienced in the area, over the past few days, due to the disturbance in the Bay of Bengal. more..

Norway to support resettled communities in Myliddy

Nov 13 (CG) UNDP Sri Lanka Country Director, Jorn Sorensen and the Ambassador of Norway to SL Thorbjørn Gaustadsæther signed a partnership agreement to extend the Government of Norway’s support to the recently resettled communities in the Jaffna District, with an emphasis on the Myliddy Harbour areas. Under this partnership, UNDP SL, through the support of Govt of Norway, will promote local economic development through enhanced market-based livelihood opportunities for more..

Rajitha asks Mangala to rescind tax cut on beer

Nov 13 (DM) While asserting his opposition to the tax concessions granted to soft liquor such as beer and wine, Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne today urged the Finance Minister to withdraw the proposal before put to the vote in parliament. Speaking during the Budget debate, he said children would be motivated to drink beer and thereby be induced to use stronger alcoholic drinks. more..

So to our perpetual papers and perpetual promises

Nov 14 (ST) At first there was the Pentagon Papers. That is, of course, if you rightly dismiss Charles Dickens’ Pickwick Papers as belonging to a different genre. The Pentagon Papers, as it was called, was a top secret study by the US Department of Defence of the country’s 20 years or more of military-political involvement in Vietnam up to 1967. It was scooped by the New York Times and published in 1971. Many Sri Lankans of today would hardly have heard of the Pentagon Papers, more..

Environmental-friendly budget must achieve fiscal deficit target

Nov 14 (ST) 2018 Budget speech of Minister Mangala Samaraweera on Thursday was a long recitation of programmes to usher in Enterprise Sri Lanka and promote an environmental-friendly country. Minister promised assistance for the development of small and medium enterprises (SMEs), information technology and technical skills, the expansion of medical education and the reduction of para tariffs to spur exports. Although a large number of govt programmes incur more..

Budget 2018: Economic policy underscored

Nov 14 (SO) The Budget 2018 outlined some of the key proposals in line with its long term economic development plan as given below. Legislative Reforms: The budget has identified the key legislative impediments to the ease of doing business and the efficient utilization of Sri Lanka’s assets. Access to land has been a major hindrance to growth of investment, as is the access to labour, and affordable capital. more..

The need to investigate torture allegations

Nov 14 (CT) Sri Lanka’s international image has taken a hard hit following the report of continuing torture in the country. The Associated Press has carried a news story that gives a detailed and graphic account of horrendous torture practices in Sri Lanka that allegedly continue to this day. This story has been carried by newspapers and media outlets throughout the world, including the New York Times, which is a prestigious international publication. more..

How to use freedom responsibly

Nov 14 (CT) I am honoured and delighted to be with you this evening at the invitation of the Friedrich Naumann Stiftung. I commend the work done by the Foundation under the able leadership of its Sri Lankan Representative, Ms. Sagarica Delgoda. As many of you know among the other excellent work the Foundation does, it sponsors a series of talks of public importance and today’s talk is titled The Freedom Speech and the theme is How to use Freedom Responsibly more..

'Gulf States are not keen on all-out war'

Nov 14 (CT) Professor Matteo Legrenzi is the first visiting fellow at the Institute of National Security Studies Sri Lanka (INSSSL) and an expert on the Middle East. Ceylon Today interviewed him on the current state of the Middle East where close to 500,000 Sri Lankans live and work. Q: Professor Legrenzi, you are the first visiting fellow at the INSSSL, the National Defence think tank of Sri Lanka under the Ministry of Defence. more..

Candid talk at Ape Gama

Nov 14 (CT) In the capital city of Sri Jayewardenepura, is the seat of Parliament and most of the important political statements are made in the August House, situated in the centre of the Diyawanna Lake. Some leaders had chosen places in the vicinity of the capital to convey important decisions. One such incident comes to mind is the famous Chtthavivekaramaya speech of late President Ranasinghe Premadasa in 1989; in which he gave quit notice to IPKF. more..

Budget deficit equal to 5.2% of GDP

Nov 14 (CT) This year's budget deficit is expected to be equivalent to 5.2 per cent of the GDP (Rs 680 bil), before contracting to 4.8% of the GDP (Rs 675 b) in the next budget. The budget deficit last year was estimated at 5.4% of the GDP. Minister Mangala Samaraweera in his maiden budget speech made in Parliament on Thursday said that revenue would be enhanced to be equivalent to 15% of GDP this year (Rs 1,989 b) or 15.3% of GDP according to the data, a 13% year on year (YoY) growth. more..

Face the Nation

Maritime hub: Case for the liberalisation of shipping and freight forwarding

Nov 14 (ST) One of the key objectives of the Govt’s Vision 2025 is to develop SL as a maritime and trading hub for the Indian Ocean, fully leveraging its conducive geographic location. Accordingly, significant investments have been made in the country’s physical infrastructure, particularly in the Hambantota Port and the Colombo Port, with further development of the Trinco Port on the horizon. Nonetheless, SL’s shipping industry remains primarily a trans-shipment driven industry. more..

Are there demons behind the wheel?

Nov 14 (CT) Every day in Sri Lanka, families lose their loved ones to road accidents at an alarming rate. The latest tragedy that caught the imagination of the public was the death of a teenage schoolboy in Rajagiriya, and injuries to six others when the two vehicles they were travelling in appeared to lose control and hit walls. In the vehicles were students from a leading Colombo school who had been preparing for an event and were being dropped off to their homes just before 2 a.m. yesterday. more..

The forgotten people: on Sri Lankan refugees

Nov 14 (Hindu) In recent months, the focus of the media has been on the Rohingya refugees in India. But the plight of Sri Lankan refugees, who have been here for nearly 35 years, appears to have gone out of the public consciousness. Pathetic condition of shelters, restrictions on movement, and limited scope of livelihood opportunities affect the community of one lakh-odd Sri Lankan refugees, more..

India face tricky call in Pandya's absence

Nov 14 (CI) It's usually an exaggeration when someone describes a green pitch as being indistinguishable from the outfield. But at Eden Gardens on Monday, when the ground staff whisked away the white tarpaulin that had covered the Test-match pitch all afternoon, it was close to being the truth. Live green grass covered every inch of the strip, and you had to squint - at least if you were looking at it from the stands - to discern the subtle shift of shade where it bordered the rest of more..

'India-Sri Lanka have a friendly rivalry'

Nov 14 (SSL) Distinguished as a stylish fast bowler in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Rumesh Ratnayake smiles at the term India-Sri Lanka rivalry. He fine-tunes it to call it friendly rivalry. Fifty-three-year-old Ratnayake, who is accompanying the Sri Lanka team for the upcoming series against India as the bowling coach, spoke about his side's serious preparations and ambition to record the first ever Test win on the Indian soil. We have done all that we could to counter-attack, more..

Thilan calls social media a huge distraction

Nov 14 (ST) Sri Lanka’s new batting coach wants cricketers to reduce their presence on social media and concentrate on cricket. Calling social media a huge distraction for modern day cricketers, Thilan Samaraweera said that the loads of crap you find across various internet platforms have placed the players under tremendous pressure. “Social media, it seems to me, is a huge a distraction for modern cricketers,” he said. more..

Hemas achieves revenue growth of 11.6%

Nov 14 (DN) Hemas Holdings and its subsidiaries achieved consolidated revenue of Rs.23.0 billion, a year-on-year (YoY) growth of 11.6% and profit attributable to equity holders of Rs.1.4 billion, a decline of 8.0% for the six months ending September 30, 2017. Year to date operating profit reached Rs.1.96 billion, a YoY decline of 5.4%. Despite consolidated revenue growing aided by higher turnover from the healthcare and mobility sectors, group earnings indicate a decline more..

World Bank ready to brew tea on reforms agenda

Nov 14 (ST) Sizable World Bank funding amounting to millions of rupees for Regional Plantation Companies (RPCs) comes at a time when the industry is awaiting a cash infusion to ride high on its losses amidst state plans underway to restructure the sector. Planters Association Chairman Sunil Poholiyadde said that funding from the World Bank is a necessity for the entire industry and considered it a welcome move. During initial discussions with World Bank officials earlier this year in Aug more..

Rectify error of postponing PC polls: Wijeyadasa to Speaker

Nov 14 (DM) MP Wijedasa Rajapakshe has in a letter dated Nov 11 requested Speaker Karu Jayasuriya to abolish the Constitutional Assembly and take steps to rectify the error made by Parliament to postpone the provincial council elections by violating the Supreme Court verdict. The former minister in his letter said the decision to appoint a constitutional assembly on March 9 2016 was illegal. He the people had not given a mandate to more..

Commercial Bank Sept net profit up 11%

Nov 14 (DN) The Commercial Bank of Ceylon PLC has reported profit of Rs 19.718 billion before VAT and NBT on financial services for the nine months ending September 30, 2017, a growth of 20.25% on strong operational gains and tight control of expenditure. Profit before tax grew by 16.88% to Rs 16.232 billion, amidst an increase in the VAT rate on financial services from 11% to 15%. Profit after tax for the nine months was up 15.01% to Rs 11.675 billion, the bank said. more..