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Deficit climbs as govt borrowings rise

Nov 14 (CT) Sri Lanka's total outstanding Government debt stock increased by Rs 898.6 billion to Rs 10.2 trillion as at end August 2017, from Rs 9.3 trillion for the same period in 2016, stated the Central bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) in its recent economic developments report. According to CBSL, Sri Lanka's relatively high budget deficit and the depreciation of the Sri Lankan rupee against major foreign currencies were major causes of the higher debt levels. more..

'Sri Lanka-Singapore final FTA discussions tomorrow'

Nov 14 (DM) Sri Lanka is hoping to have the final discussions on the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Singapore today and tomorrow, and the agreement will be ready by January, according to Minister Malik Samarawickrama. “We hope to have the final overall discussion with Singapore on Monday and Tuesday, and hopefully, the agreement will be in place in January,” Samarawickrama said at the E&Y post-budget forum, more..

Finance Minister faces cartel challenge in freedom drive

Nov 14 (EN) Minister Mangala Samaraweera said he was aware that opposition will come from cartels when giving economic freedoms to the people, but he wanted SL's companies to compete as free enterprises which will allow them to excel. In the last 10 years SL saw the building up of a strong domestic business lobby which was making easy money by selling overpriced goods to a people cornered by import duties. "I know there is a very strong cartel who want to go on with more..

Unmasking false truths of anti-alcohol lobby

Nov 14 (DM) The anti-alcohol lobby groups form powerful fronts across global markets and their hallowed cause for enhanced public policy on health and safety and combating abuse are recognized universally. In contrast to developed markets, Sri Lanka’s alcohol industry is plagued with the presence of an extensive illicit trade, which as per the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) 2014 Global Report on Alcohol, constitutes 41 percent of our market. more..

'30-year war cost SL over US$ 400 billion'

Nov 14 (CT) The govt yesterday said, that failure to manage the ethnic issue had resulted in the country's economy losing billions over the years. Minister Lakshman Kiriella said, that as a result of the 30-year war the country may have incurred a loss of more than US$ 400 billion. "We failed to manage the ethnic problem which evolved into a war situation that prevailed for 30 years. No one has calculated the total cost of the war. more..

Pakistan’s Mahoor downs Sri Lanka’s Hanini to claim women’s title

Nov 14 (DT) Mahoor Shahzad clinched the Pakistan Int'l Series Badminton Tournament women’s singles title after outclassing Sri Lankan opponent Hanini Ambalangodage at the Pakistan Sports Complex’s Liaquat Gymnasium here on Sunday. Mahoor, who was unseeded in the tournament, convincingly stunned Ambalangodage 21-15, 21-19. The 21-year-old champion from Pakistan had made into final after causing a big upset in the semi-final by eliminating top seed Vietnam’s Thi Phuong Thuy more..

Nestle Lanka’s disappointing performance extends to third quarter

Nov 14 (DM) Nestle Lanka reported disappointing numbers for the September quarter (3Q17) as the sales slowed and production cost rose sharply. Company is battling a period of high inflation and taxes, which negatively impact consumer demand and push up its direct costs. The local unit of the world’s largest food and beverage company, reported a top line growth of 9% year-on-year (YoY) to Rs.9.64 billion for the quarter under review, less impressive considering its past performance. more..

Public officials now fear to steal: President

Nov 14 (DN) Public officials have developed a fear to commit wrongdoing, fraud and corruption in the last three years giving rise to a positive culture in the public service, President Sirisena said. President said he was glad to see that change under his rule. He was addressing the National Awards Ceremony organised by Committee on Public Accounts (COPA) to recognise the State Institutions with high level of performance more..

SL lose to Pakistan in U19 Asia Cup

Nov 14 (DN) Pakistan beat Sri Lanka by 3 wickets in their final Group B match of the Under 19 Youth Asia Cup tournament in Malaysia on Monday. Both teams finished their league matches equal on 4 points each with Pakistan on top on a superior run rate. However they must await the final league game between Afghanistan and UAE today to see which of the top two teams from the group will qualify for the semi-finals. Afghanistan with a better run rate than Sri Lanka need only to beat UAE to go through more..

Sri Lanka seeks private investment in domestic airports; aero sports zones

Nov 14 (EN) Sri Lanka will seek private public partnerships to develop several domestic airports to help the tourism industry, and aero sports will also be boosted, Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera said. Domestic airports in Sigiriya, Batticaloa, China Bay and Koggala will be developed under PPP schemes, he said, presenting a budget for 2018. SL will identify several zones as open skies for aero sports, with 3 dimensional boundaries Minister Samaraweera said. more..

Looters as Rulers: Srilankan debt, a staggering US$ 740 million: PM

Nov 14 (DN) The debt burden of SriLankan Airlines stood at a whopping USD 740 million as at last week, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said. PM made this comment highlighting the extent of financial mismanagement during the previous administration. He was speaking at the National Awards Ceremony organised by the Committee on Public Accounts (COPA) to recognise the State Institutions with a high level of performance, held at more..

Prez, PM won't tolerate NGOs surviving on foreign aid: IGP

Nov 14 (DM) The President and the PM would not tolerate the NGOs, which are dependent on foreign aid and racketeers who deposit public funds in foreign banks, Police Chief Pujith Jayasundara told a function held at Mallawapitiya in Kurunegala.  He said people should be sincere and should refrain from saying something and doing just the opposite. The Police Chief said it was important for people to display human values and that it was the President who is being blamed often. more..

NWP-PC allocates Rs. 23 mn for dengue eradication

Nov 14 (DN) A sum of Rs. 23 million has been allocated by the North Western Provincial Council (NWP-PC) to wipe out dengue mosquitoes from the NWP within the next few weeks. Accordingly, NWP Chief Minister Dharmasiri Dassanayake has currently deployed 400 family health nurses and 75 PHIs to educate the school community of the NWP on dengue eradication, with effect from November 13. Many parents and residents of both Kurunegala and Puttalam districts have complained more..

Looters as Rulers: Maithripala wants Ranil to step down as PM before testifying at PCoI

Nov 14 (DBS) The prevailing political relationship between Prez Sirisena and PM Wickremesinghe has come under heavy strain lately due to the on going PCoI into the alleged Treasury Bonds Scam, it is learnt. According to informed sources close to the Coalition Govt, the bone of contention in the current crisis is a strong request amounting to a demand made by Maithripala that Ranil should voluntarily step down as PM before testifying more..

Champika wants Sinhala, Tamil National School in Colombo

Nov 14 (DM) Minister Champika Ranawaka today made a request to President Maithripala Sirisena to establish a Sinhala and Tamil medium National School with all facilities at the heart of Colombo. Attending a ceremony to publicize the Laksetha Sewana housing complex he said a population around 0.2 million resides in the Colombo Central and even though many schools are located in the Colombo city, these residents are unable to enroll their children to a school in the close vicinity. more..

SAITM issue: Govt kept its word: Harsha

Nov 14 (DM) Attorney General’s Department has filed the proposed final solution of the Govt with regard to SAITM by a motion in the Supreme Court on Monday, contrary to the accusation of the GMOA, Deputy Minister Dr. Harsha De Silva said. Responding to the accusations of the GMOA that the govt had failed to convey its final decision on SAITM to the Courts, he said the Govt had kept its word. Dr. Harsha De Silva, who is also the Head of the Presidential Committee on SAITM more..

AG tells SC: Saitm to be abolished

Nov 14 (DN) The Attorney General informed the Supreme Court that a Presidential Committee has recommended to abolish SAITM and resolve other issues pertaining to the SAITM before December 31 this year. Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Rajaratnam appearing on behalf of Attorney General made these remarks when the appeal petition pertaining to the SAITM issue was taken up before the Supreme Court. more..

Editorial: Bonds ruining bonds

Nov 14 (Island) President Maithripala Sirisena has riled some UNP MPs beyond measure with his recent statement that he had drawn fire from a section of the govt for appointing a presidential commission to probe bond scams. A group of UNP MPs is reported to have sought an appointment with him to request him to name those who faulted him for appointing the bond commission. The question is who will bell the cat. However, it is hoped that the President will name the names. more..

The sweet and strong side of Budget 2018

Nov 14 (DM) Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera has opened a Pandora’s Box, while presenting the budget for 2018, by saying that beer is healthier than sweetened soft drinks. It was obvious that he was justifying his budget proposal to reduce beer prices by way of a duty reduction. However, his remark has drawn flack from health-related organizations and interestingly not from any religious organizations. Dr. Rukshan Bellana of the GMOA has observing the comparison more..

'Bickering by Tamil politicians hampering development'

Nov 14 (DM) Northern Province Governor Reginald Cooray spoke about constitution making, social conditions and attitudes of politicians in the north. Q: As the Governor of the Northern Province, how do you view the demand for power sharing in this province?   A: It has to be viewed taking into account the history of our country. Mainly as a result of historical events, these constitutional amendments or constitutions were brought about. more..

TISL asks govt to revoke censoring of

Nov 14 (Island) Transparency International Sri Lanka told the govt to immediately revoke any steps taken to arbitrarily censor Lanka E news website. Full Statement:  TISL is deeply concerned by the blocking of the website Lanka E News purportedly by the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka (TRCSL). TISL calls on the TRCSL and the govt to immediately provide clarity on the arbitrary blocking more..

Budget highs & lows: People have their say

Nov 14 (ST) The Budget proposal for 2018 has drawn mixed reactions from the common man/woman as they start to digest the contents. Some say it has opened up many opportunities while others say their expectations of the cost of living being eased has not been fulfilled. Excerpts: Wathsala Madhurangi (21), Colombo Uni Arts Faculty student: It is a good move to increase the number of students eligible for the Mahapola more..

JSS sees conspiracy behind petrol shortage

Nov 14 (Island) The UNP’s trade union arm, Jathika Sevaka Sangamaya (JSS), urged the govt to order the CID to probe the recent petrol shortage which it said was consequent to a conspiracy. Welcoming the govt’s decision to appoint a committee on the request of the Petroleum Industries Minister Arjuna Ranatunga to probe the fuel issue, JSS Petroleum Corporation branch head Ananda Palitha stressed that in addition to more..

Harsha to lead Sri Lanka’s delegation to UN Human Rights periodic review

Nov 14 (LBO) Sri Lanka’s delegation to the universal periodic review (UPR) of UNHRC be led by Deputy Minister Harsha de Silva. The delegation will comprise of officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Attorney-General’s Department, the President’s Office, and the Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka to the UN in Geneva. Sri Lanka’s report under this review comes up for consideration by the OHCHR working group on UPR tomorrow, more..

One-third of state institutes fail to comply with rules and regulations

Nov 14 (FT) The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament has found that one-third of institutions evaluated by the committee had failed to comply with relevant rules and regulations in 2015.  Accordingly, out of the 842 institutions investigated by the committee only 58 or 7% achieved a compliance with guidelines of 90%. Addressing Parliament soon after presenting the report to the House, PAC Chairman more..

Liberalisation non-negotiable: Mangala

Nov 14 (FT) Indicating he has the will to see his maiden Budget through, Minister Mangala Samaraweera told private sector representatives discussions on Budget proposals were possible but changing the core principles of free enterprise and liberalisation was non-negotiable.  Keen to prove that where there is a will there is a way, He said that his ministry would dedicate itself to implementing Budget 2018 more..

'UN fudged Sri Lanka war casualty figures'

Nov 14 (WION) For eight years now, western nations and the UNHRC in Geneva have slammed the SL armed forces and the former Sri Lankan govt of President Rajapaksa for brutal human rights violations during Sri Lanka’s three-decade long civil war against the separatist terror group, LTTE. Of special focus for the West has been the last phase of the war that took place around Nanthikadal lagoon more..

EU gives Rs.5.4Bn to reduce poverty in Uva and Central Provinces

Nov 14 (EN) European Union will give a grant of Rs5.4 billion for programs to reduce poverty in SL’s central hills, aiming particularly at improving opportunities for women entrepreneurs and small and medium enterprises. The programmes to reduce poverty in Uva and Central Provinces would be one of the largest programmes of EU development support in SL. The money will help reduce poverty in the provinces more..

Abolition of Executive Presidency: UNP steps up pressure on Prez to honour pledge

Nov 14 (Island) UNP has stepped up pressure on President Maithripala Sirisena to abolish the executive presidency without further delay or face the consequences. Key govt strategist MP Dr. Jayampathy Wickramaratne, PC, spearheading the new constitution-making process and Deputy Minister Ajith Perera emphasised that their post-presidential election understanding with Prez Sirisena in respect of the abolition of more..

Conserving Yala: An alternative approach

Nov 14 (DM) Much has been written and said about Block 1 of Yala National Park and its over-visitation, causing disturbance and danger to wildlife, thus jeopardizing conservation. Latest decision to cap the number of jeeps entering Block 1 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..

Cyberbullying and the bond boondoggle

Nov 14 (FT) This essay is about cyberbullying or cyber defaming that President Maithripala Sirisena recently alluded to at the memorial event for Venerable Maduluwaee Sobhitha Thero. The picture, with its insightful text, is a cultural production of our current social, political spheres. The writer received it on something called WhatsApp installed on the tab by a daughter determined to expose her father to digital literacy and feel and touch technology. more..

What do you think about the budget

Sri Lanka to replace 70,000 state vehicles in green drive

Nov 14 (EN) Govt will buy at least 70,000 hybrid and electric cars in the next seven years in line with its cleaner energy policy. Treasury was currently taking stock of the state-owned vehicles and initial estimates placed the number of cars, vans, trucks and motorcycles to be replaced at about 70,000 in the next seven years, an official said. Minister Mangala Samaraweera proposed in his budget for 2018 to ensure that all state vehicles were either electric or hybrid by 2025. more..

Budget 2018: Will clarity in thought translate to clarity in action?

Nov 14 (IPS) Slow growth, declining export earnings and FDI inflows, and inadequate foreign exchange reserve cover characterize SL’s current macroeconomic climate. The heavy dependency on non-tradables is a key factor slowing SL’s growth momentum. Apart from this structural feature, unfavourable weather conditions that are causing inflationary pressures could potentially dampen growth. Tightening of fiscal and monetary policy further restricts the space to provide stimulus more..

Grand Hyatt case EPF funds misused in hotel project

Nov 14 (DM) Forensic audit report had highlighted the alleged fraudulent methodology followed when acquiring three properties; Ranmuthu Hotels Ltd, No: 112, Galle Road, J.C. Ramanayake of 108, Galle Road and Ceylinco Insurance PLC of 134, Galle Road for the expansion of Grand Hyatt Regency in 2013. According to the report, 62.77 perches has been acquired from Ranmuthu Hotels and although the Govt Chief Valuer more..

Details of Voice of America (VOA) operations in Sri Lanka tabled in Parliament

Nov 14 (ST) The govt today made an undertaking to provide Parliament with details of all foreigners who worked at the Voice of America’s (VOA) transmission center at Iranawila. Voice of America began its operations in Sri Lanka in 1985 and suspended its operations in Iranawila with effect from Dec 31, 2016. It had been given 672 acres and three roods of land in Iranawila area as per the provisions of an agreement dated Jan 15, 1985 between the SLBC and the US govt. more..

Sri Lanka to gazette guidelines on adventure tourism by March 2018

Nov 14 (LBO) SL’s Policy Development Office said steps are being taken to promulgate regulations related to all adventure tourism activities in Sri Lanka. Ten advisory committees have been appointed for each field of the adventure tourism service to setup international standards. As per the initiative taken by the Central Programme Management Unit of the Minister of National Policies and Economic Affairs with Sri Lanka Tourism, the project being implemented by more..

Wealthy businessmen involved in migrant smuggling networks: Sagala

Nov 14 (AD) Minister Sagala Ratnayaka says that human smuggling is attractive to criminals, who view migrants as simply one of many commodities to be smuggled, as it is a highly profitable illicit activity with a relatively low risk of detention. He stated that studies into the situation in SL have observed that the networks in the Western part of SL are better organized and centralized compared to those in the Southern part. more..

Filling Stations: Some creating artificial shortage: Arjuna

Nov 14 (DM) Minister Arjuna Ranatunge said yesterday he had received information that certain filling stations were continue to create an artificial petrol shortage and a special team had been deployed to investigate it. He said this when responding to a question asked by UNP MP Chaminda Wijesiri and was determined to take legal action against those involved in this malpractice irrespective of their status. Mr. Wijesiri said some filling stations had refused to pump even more..

General amnesty for Army absentees extended up to Nov 22

Nov 14 (SLA) General Amnesty period for Army Absent without Leave (AWOL) has been extended by another week, until 22 Nov in response to numerous requests made to the Army Headquarters. Earlier, General Amnesty period began on 23, Oct were expected to end on Wednesday (15). During this period a total of 8052 Army deserters including 10 officers, 8 Officer Cadets and 8034 Other Rankers have reached respective Regimental Centers expecting legal discharge. more..