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Malik, Kabir grilled by Bond Commission

Oct 12 (FT) Two senior Cabinet Ministers told the PCoI that at a meeting held on 26 Feb 2015, a fund requirement of Rs. 18 billion had been discussed for stalled road development work initiated by the previous administration. Ministers Kabir Hashim and Malik Samarawickrama, testifying before the commission, appeared to confirm evidence previously given by former CB Governor Arjuna Mahendran that more..

Sri Lanka to regulate hooch to plug tax gaps

Oct 12 (AFP) Sri Lanka is to start regulating the traditional home-brewed alcohol known locally as toddy in an effort to increase its tax revenues. Toddy, a popular alcoholic drink made from the fermented sap of the coconut flower, is not subject to taxes. But it is also used to manufacture a stronger drink known as arrack, which is about 35% alcohol by volume and which is taxed. Minister Gayantha Karunathilaka said an easing of regulations on the industry six years ago had more..

Commission asks for files marked AM, RK

Oct 12 (Island) Member of the PCoI probing the alleged bond scams Justice Prasanna Jayawardena yesterday asked Jeewantha Jayatillake, Counsel appearing for Steve Samuel Personal Assistant to Chairman of Perpetual Treasuries Ltd Arjuna Aloysius, to hand over the files containing documents marked AM and RK pertaining to the text messages to the Commission. Justice Jayawardena said that the Commission needed to verify who were known as AM and RK. more..

Corruption always win in Sri Lanka: AG’s Dept counsel goes surprisingly mum

Oct 12 (CT) In a bizarre day at the Commission the Attorney General’s Department shockingly fell silent today refusing to examine Ministers Malik Samarawickrema and Kabir Hashim, instead putting on a defiant we don’t give a damn attitude at the Commission today. The team led by ASG Dappula De Livera which had brought the proceedings to a near climax by necessarily implicating PM Ranil Wickremesinghe and more..

Diyawara Day of National Food Production week today

Oct 12 (PMD) Diyawara Day of the National Food Production week, will be held today. Many programmes have been organized Island-wide with the contribution of all the relevant Ministries, including the Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Irrigation & Water Resources Management, Ministry of Mahaweli Development and Environment as well as the contribution of the private sector and the inauguration  ceremony in this regard will be held near the Muruthawela Tank, more..

Sri Lanka to ratify Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol on HFC phase-down

Oct 12 (FT) The govt has decided to ratify the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol on Hydrofluorocarbons (HFC) Phase-down and the cabinet has given its approval for ratification. Montreal Protocol was established in 1987 by the world community to regulate the use of chemicals that cause damage to the ozone layer and phase out their use systematically and gradually. SL is a party to the Montreal Protocol and has accorded agreement to the amendments and more..

Malik, Kabir say they discussed Rs. 15 bn fund requirement at breakfast meeting

Oct 12 (DM) Ministers Kabir Hashim and Malik Samarawickrama testifying before the commission said that they attended the breakfast meeting held on Feb 26, 2015 (before the controversial auction) and discussed about an immediate Rs. 15 billion fund requirement for Road Development projects. At the onset of the yesterday’s proceedings, it was revealed that there was a list of 20 witnesses submitted to more..

Subversion of judicial review diminishes sovereignty

Oct 12 (DM) In 1988, not too long before the UNP was to lose the five-sixths Parliamentary majority it enjoyed (and therefore more than the two-thirds required to amend the constitution, barring of course those which required in addition a referendum) courtesy the anti-democratic referendum of 1982 which too was marred by massive fraud, J.R. Jayewardene indulged in a classic piece of constitutional skullduggery: the 14th Amendment. In that instance, established procedure such as more..

Qualifications are good, but qualities more important

Oct 12 (DM) With a huge allocation of more than Rs.100 billion being made for education in the Appropriation Bill presented in Parliament, Govt needs to go beyond money or certificates of qualifications and focus more on the values of character-building and attitudinal changes so that our schools will produce responsible and eco-friendly citizens. Paradigm shift is required here and essentially it is to teach the children the difference between becoming successful and fruitful. more..

Central expressway hits fresh humps

Oct 12 (DM) The UNP is passionate about the construction of the Central Expressway. The project was organinally planned during the former rule, but its work got underway after the new govt assumed office.  The expressway, linking Colombo with Kandy via Kurunegala, is considered by the UNP as a key project to be completed somehow or other before the end of its term.   It is executed in three stages. more..

Deduru sand miners defy Court order

Oct 12 (ST) Estuary of Deduru Oya Delta (an embankment dam built across the oya) is being plundered by sand miners in the area. Illegal scheme has been taking place over a long period of time and dredgers are being used to to maximise the quantities of sand mined. At present sand is excavated to a distance of about 300 metres into the dam and pumped into a private property from where it is transported by tractors at night. more..

Veddha cries from Vakarai lost in the sound of sea

Oct 12 (DM) Veddas, said to be descendants of King Vijaya, are known to be the earliest inhabitants of this land. Referring to themselves as forest-dwellers, Vedda communities are shrouded in secrecy, mythology and mystery than any other group of people in the country. As of late, we have only been referring to one clan – UruwarigeVeddas of Dambana. But there are several others who have settled down in more..

Sri Lankan contingent for Mithra Shakthi leaves for India

Oct 12 (SLA) A contingent of 10 Officers and 110 Other Rankers of the Sinha Regiment, designated to participate in the SL Army - Indian Army-organized Mithra Shakthi joint military Exercise left for India today (11). Mithra Shakthi joint military Exercise, designed to further promote interoperability, military cooperation, conduct of joint tactical operations, sharing of experiences, understanding of transnational military more..

Cyber crime on the rise

Oct 12 (SL) Cyber crime in Sri Lanka has seen a steady rise with scammers using online shopping to dupe customers. Just last week a few people complained that they had made payments to purchase mobile phones via a popular online shopping website but found that they had been duped. The mobile phones had been offered at below market rates and customers were told to make payments using the eZ Cash system. more..

I will prove that Duminda is not sick: Hirunika

Oct 12 (DM) MP Hirunika Premachandra yesterday claimed she was ready to get a team of doctors to prove that Duminda Silva, who is presently in the prison hospital, was not suffering from any illness at all. She said she had repeatedly said that Mr. Silva was not ailing and that a team of doctors had proved that fact. “I have said from day one Mr. Silva is not sick. I saw him being taken to the eye hospital in a wheelchair. more..

Defence Ministry proposes new Naval Air Force wing

Oct 12 (DN) The present threats emanating from the Indian Ocean due to SL’s geostrategic location has called for establishment of a Naval-Air Force wing to secure our waters with greater surveillance and striking capabilities, stated the Secretary to the Ministry of Defense today. He also proposed that a Joint Naval Command with the Air Force be set up with a Joint Communication Network with air and more..

US will expand military to military relations with Sri Lanka: Admiral Swift

Oct 12 (DM) The US look forward to the expansion of their military to military relations with Sri Lanka through military exercises, U.S. Pacific Fleet Commander Admiral Scott Swift said. He said U.S. Pacific Fleet forces joined the Sri Lanka Navy in Trincomalee as part of Exercise CARAT 2017 last week and activities like CARAT, both from an interoperability perspective and from a perspective of building trust and cooperation more..

Talks fail, railway strike to continue

Oct 12 (DM) As a discussion between Transport Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva and the railway trade unions had failed the railway strike would continue, a Trade Union source said. Meanwhile, the SLTB has cancelled all leave of its crews, while the National Transport Commission has loosened its regulations for private buses to operate without route permit during the strike period. Railway Locomotive Operating Engineers Union more..

AG’s Dept counsel goes surprisingly mum

Oct 12 (DM) Team of counsel of the Attorney General’s Department, who were led by Senior Additional Solicitor General Dappula De Livera today in an uncharacteristic manner said that they have no questions to ask from the three witnesses (Minister Kabir Hashim, Minister Malik Samarawickrama and former EPF dealer Saman Kumara) when the Commission invited to question them if necessary. Commission stated that more..

Desert Victory but changes a must

Oct 12 (CT) We Sri Lankans accept their fate, with some resignation, when the government service does not function properly or our politicians exhibit all aspects of incompetence and corruption. We are so accustomed to inefficiency that we are pleasantly surprised when the garbage collectors arrive on time, or the phone repairmen respond to a call. But, when we lose at cricket, we get very upset. The drubbing that the Sri Lanka side got, at the hands of Virat Kohli's rampant Indian side, more..

IPS highlights SL food inflation concerns

Oct 12 (EN) Sri Lanka needs to look at supply side factors that is driving inflation, particularly food price inflation, according to the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS), a think-tank. Setting monetary policy in an environment of low growth and rising inflation would be difficult for the central bank, said Dushni Weerakoon, acting executive director of the IPS. How to contain rising inflation was the main monetary policy concern, she said at the IPS which launched its State of the economy 2017 more..

රටට අලුත් ව්යවස්ථාවක් ඕනද?

People-centred approach to building 50,000 brick and mortar houses

Oct 12 (CT) We welcome the announcement made by the Govt to build 50,000 brick and mortar houses for war-affected communities. Masonry houses are the time-tested model, technically sound and most suitable for living, cultural and climatic conditions of the North and East. Thus, we are also pleased that the govt has recognised and respected the preference of the people for masonry houses. At the time the proposal for pre-fabricated steel housing was being considered, our group, more..

First phase of teacher transfers today

Oct 12 (NR) The first phase of teacher transfers in accordance with the National Teacher Transfer Policy will commence today. Ministry of Education announced that 3,000 A/L teachers will receive transfers while the relevant letters will be handed to the teachers by principals. Second phase of the transfer programme for teachers who have served in state schools for over 10 years will be completed in Jan 2018. 9,000 teachers from grades 1 to 11 will receive transfers under the second phase. more..

Heavy fine for errant public officials

Oct 12 (DN) Public officials who fail to declare their assets will in future incur a fine of Rs 100,000 according to the recent Cabinet paper approved this week. Justice Minister Thalatha Athukorala this week sought Cabinet approval to increase the fine imposed on those who did not declare their assets from Rs 1,000 to Rs 100,000. “A person involved in public life needs to adhere to the tenets of honesty, integrity & transparency” more..

Leave of all SLTB employees cancelled

Oct 12 (AD) Leave of all SLTB staff including drivers, conductors, and technical staff have been temporarily cancelled, announced Ministry of Transport. The step has been taken by the Ministry to minimize inconvenience caused to passengers due to the ongoing train strike. Meanwhile a new SLTB bus schedule will be introduced by Ministry. Also, National Transport Commission (NTC) has agreed to provide opportunity for private buses to run without route permits. more..

IUSF, IUBF Conveners remanded

Oct 12 (AD) Convener of IUSF Lahiru Weerasekara and Convener of IUBF Ven. Tempitiye Sugathananda Thero, who were arrested for breaching court orders were further remanded until October 26 by the Fort Magistrate today. Lahiru Weerasekara, was arrested by police, on  June 23, while leaving a press conference held  at the Centre for Society and Religion (CSR) in Maradana. IUSF Convener was reportedly arrested in connection with the incident at Health Ministry on June 23. more..

CB to aid war-hit families in debt trap

Oct 12 (Hindu) Central Bank will evolve a programme to help the country’s war-affected communities tackle the mounting pressure of household debt, according to its chief. Following a recent visit to the Northern Province to study the extent of the problem and explore solutions, Governor Indrajit Coomaraswamy said the country’s apex bank was considering a three-pronged strategy to tackle the issue more..

CMC to set up 20 free Wi-Fi zones

Oct 12 (LBO) Govt has taken steps to create 100 Wi-Fi zones in the Colombo city as a first step of the island wide program of providing free Wi-Fi. According to the Policy Development Office, by now the Colombo Municipal Council has initiated to setting up 20 Wi-Fi zones within the city and more than 10 Wi-Fi zones are already running. This new machine will provide the public an in-build Wi-Fi as they are frequently engaged browsing internet in today’s growing technological world. more..

Railway service to be declared as an essential service should strikes continue

Oct 12 (AD) Deputy Minister Ashok Abeysinghe stated that Railway service will be declared as an essential service should the current Railway Trade Union protests continue. It has been reported that Railway Department personnel have been granted a period of one-hour to disband the protests.  Railway trade unions staged a protest yesterday as govt officials failed to respond to their demands. Engine drivers and railway guards had launched a strike based on several demands. more..

Hidden agenda revealed in pre-fabricated house deal

Oct 12 (DM) Speculation is rife that there is a hidden agenda behind the Rehabilitation and Resettlement Ministry’s proposed plan to award the much debated contract to a French company to install pre-fabricated houses. There is concern that these houses are to be installed at a high cost using low quality pre-fabricated material to resettle conflict affected families in the north and east.    Questions have been raised as to why more..

Alleging Kiriella’s aide threatened top election officials stage protest

Oct 12 (Island) Several hundreds of employees of the National Election Commission countrywide held demonstrations yesterday in protest against a coordinating secretary of Minister Lakshman Kiriella threatening the Kandy District Deputy Commissioner of Elections, Namal Thalangama. Minister Kiriella’s coordinating secretary Waruna Liyanage, who was earlier a UNP member of the Kandy Municipal Council, is alleged to have threatened the Deputy Commissioner of Election Thalangama more..

Tangalle ASP guilty of assaulting Hambantota protester transferred

Oct 12 (DM) Tangalle Division ASP Thushara Daluwatta, who allegedly assaulted a youth during a protest held in Hambantota last week, was transferred to the Matara Division by the National Police Commission (NPC) today. The decision was taken during the commission meeting held today. A three-member committee headed by Dr. Mahinda Moragolla had also been appointed to look into the incident. Ananda Wijesooriya & Chularatne Gamage are the other members of the committee. more..

SL recovers cash stolen from Taiwan bank

Oct 12 (AFP) Sri Lankan authorities have recovered more than $1.3 million stolen from a Taiwanese bank after two men were arrested in connection with the heist, an official said Thursday. An international manhunt was launched after a reported $60 million was swiped when a criminal gang hacked into the Far Eastern International Bank’s SWIFT system. The money was wired to accounts in the US, Cambodia & Sri Lanka. more..

Protest sparks in front Maldives Embassy

Oct 12 (AO) Opposition supporters gathered on Thursday in front of the Maldivian Embassy situated in neighboring Sri Lanka to strike protests against the current regime. Prime organizers of the protest, South-Galolhu constituency lawmaker Ahmed Mahloof assured that protest commenced following permission from Lankan govt, adding the reason for protest was to voice against the injustice of current regime. Protestors had criticized the incumbent Speaker of parliament Abdulla Maseeh, more..

Railway strike called off

Oct 12 (NR) Railway trade unions have decided to call off their trade union action, following discussion held with the Secretary to the President this evening. Secretary of the Locomotive Engineering Operators’ Union Indika Dodangoda, said, discussions were held with authorities at the Presidential Secretariat this evening. The protest was launched yesterday against the recruitment of several railway assistants outside the accepted recruitment procedure. Earlier, the govt announced that more..

Speaker signs LG Polls (Amendment) Act

Oct 12 (DM) Speaker Karu Jayasuriya placed his signature to the Local Govt Election (Amendment) Act in Parliament today, paving the way to conduct local govt polls in January, as pledged by EC Mahinda Deshapriya and Minister Faizer Musthapha. Mr. Jayasuriya speaking at the occasion said the delay in conducting local govt polls had created some uncertainty in the country because the grassroots level administration more..

Corruption case against Rohitha Abeygunawardena fixed for trial on Oct. 25

Oct 12 (DN) A corruption case filed against former Minister and Kalutara District Parliamentarian Rohitha Abeygunawardena for the alleged unlawful acquisition of assets estimated at Rs.41.1 million was today re-fixed for trial by Colombo High Court. When the case came up before High Court Judge Sampath Wijeratne, defence counsel appearing for the accused moved court that a further date be given for the trial since his senior counsel was not present in Court. more..

‘Govt won’t consider taxes on tobaccor, alcohol revenue’

Oct 12 (Island) Additional Secretary of the Presidential Secretariat Rohan Dissanayake said in Kandy on Tuesday that it was likely that the taxes on alcohol and tobacco would not be considered revenue in the forthcoming national budget. Speaking at the Kandy District Anti-drug Committee meeting held at the Kandy District Secretariat, Additional Secretary Dissanayake said the govt led by President Maithripala Sirisena was determined to eradicate the drug and alcohol menace. more..

Report on recommendations for speedy justice presented to President

Oct 12 (PMD) The report, which compiled the recommendations for speedy and effective implementation of the criminal justice was presented to President Maithripala Sirisena at the Presidential Secretariat, today. This report was compiled by the Sectoral Oversight Committee on Legal Affairs (anti-corruption) and Media and the Deputy Minister Ajith P Perera presented the report to the President. more..