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Sri Lanka swipes its way to Visa’s second fastest growing market in South Asia

Sep 11 (FT) With more people opting for digital payments, Sri Lanka has become the second fastest growing market for Visa in terms of volume within South Asia. Last year Visa, saw a 22% volume growth in Sri Lanka and a higher growth momentum is continuing so far in 2017. As per CB data, last year nearly 70,000 transactions were conducted by the country’s base of debit and credit cards, as against 57,000 in 2015. more..

GMOF tells govt not to play with appointment to key health post

Sep 11 (Island) The Govt Medical Officers’ Forum (GMOF) has urged the Health Ministry to appoint a suitable officer to the post of Director General Health Services. Interviews are expected to be held this week. A spokesman for the GMOF said that the post had been vacant for nearly one year now with Jayasundera Bandara acting as the DGHS. Bandara is expected to retire in Oct. this year. The spokesman expressed concern over the possibility of the ministry choosing to appoint Bandara. more..

North Korea illegally exported some commodities to Sri Lanka

Sep 11 (AP) North Korea illegally exported coal, iron and other commodities worth at least $270 million to China and other countries including India, Malaysia and Sri Lanka in the six-month period ending in early August in violation of UN sanctions, UN experts say. The experts monitoring sanctions said in a report released Saturday that Kim Jong Un's govt continues to flout sanctions on commodities as well as an arms embargo and restrictions on shipping and financial activities. more..

CEB engineers seek cost-reflective tariff regime

Sep 11 (CT) The CEB Engineers Union has urged the Govt to introduce a cost-reflective tariff regime or a state subsidy to overcome the heavy financial losses currently incurred by CEB due to adverse weather conditions. CEB Union head, Saumya Kumarawadu admitted that they had made such a request by letter to the Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya. "We have a big issue with the existing PUCSL approved more..

Aloysius gives statement to CID for fourth consecutive day

Sep 11 (Island) Perpetual Treasuries Ltd Chairman Arjun Aloysius testified before the Presidential Commission for the 4th consecutive day yesterday. CID has been recording his statements on the controversial treasury bond deals. The information, elicited from him by the CID, will be brought up during the commission sittings. The commission has summoned CEO of Perpetual Treasuries Kasun Palisena to give evidence today when it resumes sittings at 10 a.m. more..

Wiggy meets LTTE detainees in Pallekele

Sep 11 (CT) Chief Minister of NPC C.V. Wigneswaran visited LTTE detainees in Pallekele prison and stressed on the need to expedite the Court cases pertaining to them. CM added that President Sirisena had also sent a letter to the Attorney General in this regard. He further added that even after the suspects have admitted their faults, they are still kept in prison. "If an ordinary person admits his crime he is pardoned. But the case with LTTE detainees is otherwise," more..

'Army holding about 85,000 acres in North'

Sep 11 (Island) Alleging that the army continued to hold about 85,000 acres of land in the North, Northern Province Chief Minister and former SC judge C.W. Wigneswaran, on Saturday, sought the intervention of most Ven. Tibbatuwawe Sri Siddhartha Sumangala Thera of Malwatte Chapter to shift troops out those lands. CM Wigneswaran claimed that only about 5,000 acres had been so far released to their original owners. more..

Literacy and Sri Lanka

Sep 11 (DM) Last Friday (8), marked International Literacy Day. On Nov 17, 1965, UNESCO proclaimed Sept 8 as International Literacy Day to highlight the importance of literacy to all individuals, communities and societies.   Yet today, nearly 52 years later, UNICEF, the UN arm tasked with the aim of spreading education to children worldwide, has said there has been little if no progress made in improving access to education to children in the poorer regions, notably in South Asia, more..

What ails Sri Lankan Cricket?

Sep 11 (DM) The recent unpleasant incidents the Sri Lankan cricketers experienced by way of hostile spectator reaction to a string of defeats, is indeed a sad situation. For a cricket crazy yet disciplined public, as opposed to their Indian counterparts, this is discouraging; so much so the World Cup winning captain and now Minister Arjuna Ranatunga made an appeal on media to the local cricket fans not to behave like the Indians.  Yet a keen observer would hardly be surprised, more..

From October 1: Free medical insurance for schoolchildren

Sep 11 (SO) A MoU was signed recently by the Education Ministry Secretary Sunil Hettiarachchi and Sri Lanka Insurance Chairman Hemaka Amarasuriya at the launch of the free medical insurance scheme for school children recently. “The free medical insurance scheme Sisu Suraksha was launched to reduce the burden of the poor parents in the country and it is a footstep of the free education pioneer C.W.W. Kannangara. more..

Retired Lankan generals, spouses taken for ride in Vietnam

Sep 11 (Island) A group of retired senior armed forces officers, including two four star Generals and their spouses had been detained in Vietnam recently due to their Sri Lankan travel agent not making required payment to hotels. Group numbering 65 had returned to Sri Lanka over the weekend, sources said, adding that the three star hotel where they were staying had released their passports only after each paid USD 100 more..

Industrialists up in arms against import of polythene products

Sep 11 (Island) Association to Protect the Rights of Industrialists in SL said that the govt was planning to import biodegradable plastic and polythene products with tax concessions and the move could lead to the closure of a number local industries and around 200,000 would lose their jobs. Member of the association Nirukhs Nanakumar said plastic & polythene based industries could face the same fate as brass and pottery industries. more..

Tamil Nadu smugglers make a mockery in Glyphosate ban — 2,000 kilos busted

Sep 11 (ST) Smugglers from neighbouring Tamil Nadu are challenging Sri Lanka’s ban on the weedicide Glyphosate, undermining efforts to protect the health of local farmers. So far this year, 2,200 kilos of the weedicide have been intercepted by tSL Navy, but criminal elements from the southern Indian state, are continuing to defy the ban that has been in place for two years now. SL banned Glyphosate on June 11, 2015, more..

SLC looks to get Aravinda, Mahela on board

Sep 11 (CI) Aravinda de Silva, Roshan Mahanama, Brendon Kuruppu, Graeme Labrooy, perhaps even Mahela Jayawardene - these are the names Sri Lanka Cricket is attempting to align itself with as the board looks to arrest the decline of the national team. Even more crucially for SLC, getting former players with good reputations on board may also help turn around its ailing public reputation. more..

Aloysius enter, stage right

Sep 11 (CT) We saw former Minister Ravi Karunanayake being summoned before the Presidential Commission on controversial Treasury Bond auction. Then we witnessed him resign from his portfolio, which created a well-orchestrated media sensation. Before that we saw former CB Governor Arjuna Mahendran, with a sense of superiority, arriving for the first time to give his testimony before the Commission. more..

Welikada massacre eyewitness pleads for protection

Sep 11 (CT) Sudesh Nandimal de Silva, chief witness in the Welikada Prison massacre where 27 inmates were allegedly shot dead by STF and Army personnel who entered the prison on the directive of higher authorities in the Rajapaksa regime on 9 Nov 2012, is seeking State protection. De Silva is the secretary of the Movement to Protect Rights of Prison Inmates. President of the organization is lawyer more..

‘Lalith’s verdict encourages well performing officials’

Sep 11 (DN) The court sentence served on a former Secretary to the President who was a member of the highest echelon of the Public Service will induce all other public servants to perform their duties well in the interest of the people without succumbing to the pressure exerted by politicians in future, Defence State Minister Ruwan Wijewardene said. He said Lalith Weeratunge was a highly respected public servant and no one more..

New Smart ID only after tabulating country’s citizens registry

Sep 11 (Island) Those who are applying for the new Smart ID should submit their applications with photographs taken in accordance with international standards and using special software provided by Int'l Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), Commissioner General of Dept for Registration of Persons Viyani Gunathilaka said. Applicants should submit 3 copies of a photograph 35mm in width and 45 mm in height. more..

Flexible working hours for Govt Offices in Battaramulla

Sep 11 (AD) The Ministry of Public Administration and Management has decided to initiate a pilot project introducing flexible working hours for the public sector currently serving in offices situated in the Battaramulla area. The project will be for a period of 3 months starting from Sept 18 to Dec 17 with the concurrence of the Heads of the Institutions. The project will be launched as an initiative of planning future measures to solve more..

Police Promotions

Sep 11 (CT) The IGP, Pujith Jayasundara has carried out a humane act more than his call to duty, to promote 2,599 Police personnel in the SL Police Force. It is the first time that such promotions have been made in one go on a mega scale from grass roots level to top positions, in the Police Force in its 151-year long history. Promoting 2,599 Police personnel at a time when the Sri Lanka Police is celebrating its 151 years by the 34th IGP, Pujith Jayasundara is historic as far as more..

SL to tax foreign currency deposit interest

Sep 11 (EN) Sri Lanka will tax foreign currency deposits in the future in the same manner as rupee deposits through a new income tax law that will come into effect next year, a tax expert said. Non-resident foreign currency accounts are were exempted from tax as an incentive not to keep dollars earned abroad in foreign banks. Sulaiman Nishtar, Partner at Ernst and Young said under the new law, a withholding tax of 5% will be deducted by banks as a final tax, up from 2.5%. more..

Bond Scam II? : Central Highway tender

Eradication of corruption: ignoring Harsha’s warning may be catastrophic

Sep 11 (FT) Deputy Minister Dr. Harsha de Silva in an emotion-filled intervention during a live television discussion program berated the whole administrative system of the country (available here). His charge was that from top to bottom and from one side to the other, known to strategic planners as viewing things from a 360 dimension, things have been marred with stinking corruption, waste and theft of public funds. He has confessed that he had been disgusted with the nauseating politics more..

State Literary Awards ceremony under President’s patronage

Sep 11 (Island) State Literary Awards ceremony, an occasion to give due accolade to the literati who enriched the field of literature in Sri Lanka with their creations, was held under the patronage of President Sirisena at the Nelum Pokuna Theatre on Friday. Ariya Rajakaruna, Neervai Ponnaiyan and Jean Arasanayagam were presented with "Sahityaratna" life time award for their invaluable service towards the advancement of the literature field of Sri Lanka in more..

Trishaws: Meters made mandatory, max speed 40kmph

Sep 11 (DM) A Gazette has been issued directing all trishaws to maintain a maximum speed limit of 40kmph, to use taximeters and to issue a detailed receipt on the request of the passenger with effect from Oct 1, Chairman of the National Council for Road Safety, Dr. Sisira Kodagoda said today. According to the Gazette, which was issued by Minister Nimal Siripala De Silva on Friday, speed limit of the trishaws more..

Keheliya acquitted over misusing state funds

Sep 11 (NR) Court today issued an order to acquit Former Minister Keheliya Rambukwella and Former Director General of State Printing Corporation (SPC) Jayampathy Heenkenda over misusing state funds. The order was issued by Colombo Chief Magistrate Lal Bandara. The duo was released on two surety bails worth 500,000 rupees each. The case was filed against the Defendants by the CIABOC on charges of using 270,000 rupees belonging to SPC to pay telephone bills of Keheliya Rambukwella more..

Palpita & Weeratunga file appeals

Sep 11 (NR) The attorneys of Former Director General of the TRC Anusha Palpita and Former Presidential Secretary and former Chairman of the TRC Lalith Weeratunga have filed appeals against the verdict issued against them over the sil material case. The attorneys of the accused handed the petition to the Chief Registrar of the Colombo High Court for it to be forwarded to the Court of Appeal. The duo was found guilty of distributing Sil material with funds belonging to the TRC more..

Robbing the Central Bank behind closed doors; Fairy tales in front of the people

Sep 11 (DM) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said SL would turn its income-expenditure deficit into a surplus by 2020, PM said while speaking at a ceremony held over the weekend in connection with the distribution of financial relief to tea factories which were affected by floods in May this year. “Govt earned criticism for increasing the VAT. However, State revenue has increased as of today despite all these criticism. more..

Wijeyadasa demands Rs.500 mn from CHR Executive Director

Sep 11 (DM) MP Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe has demanded Rs.500 million as compensation from Centre for Human Rights (CHR) Executive Director Keerthi Tennakoon for defaming him by making false statements during a news conference on August 5. In his letter of demand the MP said Mr. Tennakoon had made a false statement alleging that Mr. Rajapakshe had obstructed the law being enforced by withholding the committee report on the Welikada riots for more than two years. more..

Bell Pottinger, which worked for Sri Lanka, suspended for five years

Sep 11 (ST) Bell Pottinger, a British-based public relations firm which the former SL Govt hired for work both in that country and in the US, has been slapped with sanctions. The Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA), the professional body in Britain has declared that Bell Pottinger breached its charter and two clauses of its code of conduct. This was over the company’s campaign for South Africa’s Gupta family & PRCA said it was likely to inflame racial discord. more..

Ranjan and activists demand Welikada Prison CMO be transferred

Sep 11 (DM) Deputy Minister Ranjan Ramanayake and six other civil society activists today requested the Health Ministry to  transfer Acting Chief Medical Officer of Welikada Prison Nirmalie Thenuwara after she transferred former Secretary to the President, Lalith Weeratunga and former Director General of the TRC, Anusha Palpita to the Prison hospital. In a letter to the Secretary of the Ministry, they said the actions of Acting CMO more..

Lankan women saved from traffickers

Sep 11 (KP) Amid a growing trend of Nepali men and women being trafficked via Sri Lanka, two Sri Lankan women have been rescued from the clutches of traffickers who tried to send them to various foreign destinations using Nepal as the transit point. Central Investigation Bureau (CIB) of Nepal Police rescued two Sri Lankan women from a hotel in Thamel on August 25. Both of them left for their homes on Thursday.  CIB, with support from International Organization for Migration (IoM) more..

20th Amendment passed in WPC & EPC

Sep 11 (NR) 20th Amendment to the Constitution was passed in the Western Provincial Council this evening. 45 votes were cast in favour while 28 votes were cast against, 4 Provincial Councillors abstained from voting. Amendment was also passed in the Eastern Provincial Council this afternoon with 25 votes for and 8 votes cast against. The WPC today held a special session to discuss the 20th Amendment. The vote was postponed on two previous occasions at the Provincial Council more..

Video: Lalith did not commit a crime, only fulfilled his public duty: MR

Sep 11 (AD) Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa visited his former Presidential Secretariat Lalith Weeratunga and the former TRC Director General Anusha Palpitiya at the Welikada Prison Hospital today. He was accompanied by Prof. G.L. Peiris and MP Wimal Weerawansa. Former President stated that unfortunately, Lalith Weeratunga was not physically stale and that his state of health was upsetting. more..

Video: Anti-govt activists are trying to paint Lalith as a martyr: Ven.Uditha Thero

Sep 11 (AD) Secretary of National Bhikku Peramuna, Ven. Wakumulla Uditha Thero alleged that a large scale operation has been launched by the parties engaged in the frauds of the past regime, to win a saintly ideology for former President’s secretary Lalith Weerathunga through his imprisonment. “Former govt is the most corrupted regime in SL history. The offenders of the Rajapakse regime are trying to win a new ideology for those who were imprisoned due to their more..

No solutions for dairy issues: Dairy farmers gearing up for struggle

Sep 11 (LT) Govt should find solutions for the issues confronted by more than 300,000 dairy farmers in the country and if the govt fails to listen to the voice of the dairy farmers they would take stern action against the govt states National Center for the Protection of Dairy Farmers. This was stated by a group of dairy farmers led by Susantha Navarathna, National Organizer of National Center for the Protection of Dairy Farmers affiliated to All Ceylon Farmers’ Federation more..

President emphasized the need for economic cooperation among friendly countries

Sep 11 (PMD) President Maithripala Sirisena said the countries with excellent cordial relations must strengthen economic cooperation to ensure solid long term bilateral ties. He said this when three new Ambassadors presented credentials to him at the Presidential Secretariat in Colombo, today. The envoys are: Mr. Riho Kruuv- Ambassador of Estonia; Mr. Jorge Juan Castaneda Mendez – Ambassador of Peru; more..

High Court allows Tiran to travel abroad

Sep 11 (DN) The Colombo High Court today permitted former MP Tiran Alles to travel overseas for a period of one month. Former MP Tiran Alles whose passport has been impounded by Court in connection with the controversial RADA case, had sought Colombo High Court’s permission to travel Singapore. Mr. Alles through his lawyers requested the Colombo High Court that his passport be temporally released since he wants to visit Singapore for medical purpose.  more..

Tax holidays given under BOI to stay

Sep 11 (EN) Sri Lanka will not abolish tax holidays already given by the Board of Investment, after a new income tax law comes into effect, Deputy Treasury Secretary S R Attygalle said. "It has been agreed between the govt and the BOI that they will stay," Attygalle told a business forum organized by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce. Tax concessions given by the BOI, which are also extended through various provisions, have been a key source of tax erosion in the country. more..

GMOA to launch Anti-SAITM strike tomorrow

Sep 11 (NR) The GMOA says they will engage in a one day token strike in selected districts over a period of four days. The GMOA is protesting the failure of the committee appointed to provide solutions to the issues surrounding the SAITM. The protests will be staged in the Trincomalee, Polonnaruwa, Batticaloa, Nuwara-Eliya, Hambantota, Jaffna, Kilinochchi, Mannar and Mullaithivu districts tomorrow. more..