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Harin keen to remove tax on smart phones

Sept 21 (DM) Minister Harin Fernando said he had requested the Finance Minister to remove the taxes imposed on smart phones in the next budget so as to promote data calls among the users. He said people in other countries use more data calls than voice calls whereas people in Sri Lanka still use voice calls as they do not have access to enough facilities. “The use of voice calls in other countries is only 20%. more..

State-of-the-art illicit distillery raided

Sept 21 (Island) Officers of the Anti Vice Squad, Nugegoda recently raided a large scale illicit distillery at Kahantota, Athurugiriya. The distillery, located in a house, was using modern equipment. When the police approached the place the person responsible for the operation fled while two others were taken into custody. The police said that they had previous convictions. Police seized 47 barrels containing rotgut, two gas cylinders, copper coils, eight bags of sugar and distilling equipment. more..

Sexism is on the rise

Sept 21 (CT) Chaucer’s notorious Wife of Bath claimed that there is no libel on women that the clergy will not paint, except when writing of a woman-saint, but never good of other women. She was, without a doubt, a woman with a colourful past and with plenty to hide; and the clergy she was maligning belonged to the 14th century world of Chaucer’s England. Be that as it may, if we were to consider her message instead of shooting the messenger, we would see a remarkable and more..

We need an early solution to the fishermen's issue: Sirisena

Sept 21 (Hindu) President Maithripala Sirisena emphasised the need for an early solution to address the Palk Bay conflict involving fishermen of India and Sri Lanka. Northern fishermen of Sri Lanka were concerned about the long-term damage caused to the environment and the sea resources, he told Indian Minister of State for External Affairs M.J. Akbar in New York. Mr. Akbar called on the SL President on more..

No liberalization of professionals under upcoming FTAs: Kelegama

Sept 21 (LBO) Sri Lanka’s bilateral free trade agreements that are currently being considered have no liberalization of professionals, a senior official confirmed. Sri Lanka is currently negotiating with India to deepen the existing Indo-Lanka FTA via Economic and Technology Cooperative Agreement (ETCA), and is talks with China and Singapore to sign bilateral free trade agreements to improve trade and investments. Executive Director of the IPS, Dr Saman Kelegama, who advises the govt more..

Malaysian activist to enter defence over screening Sri Lanka film

Sept 21 (NST) Human rights activist Lena Rasathi Hendry now has to enter her defence to a charge of screening a documentary on the Sri Lankan civil war without prior approval from the Film Censorship Board. Lena was calm in the dock this afternoon when the High Court issued the ruling that overturned her acquittal in relation to the unapproved screening of the documentary No Fire Zone: The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka. The 31-year-old was accused of committing more..

Sri Lanka tax payers spend Rs204bn on rail over 5-years; Rs31bn in losses

Sept 21 (EN) Sri Lanka has spent Rs204 billion on a state-run rail system, and run losses of Rs30.4 billion, before accounting for any depreciation for capital expenditure, with season ticket holders in particular contributing little. In 2014, SL pumped Rs53.3 billion to Dept of Railways, including Rs36.4 billion in capital expenditure and ran an operating loss of Rs11.0 billion. In 2015, tax payers pumped in Rs44.4 billion and more..

GL decries hypocrisy of India

Sept 21 (Island) Former UPFA Minister G.L. Peiris condemned the move by India to donate Rs. 300 m worth fishing equipment to Northern fishermen in SL as hypocritical act. He said it was hilarious for India to offer fishing equipment to northern fishers after robbing their catch. "The Indian fishermen in most modern trawlers with technologically advanced equipment as well as other craft had been poaching in the northern waters of SL for a long period leaving nothing for Sri Lankan fishers. more..

SL still struggling to import Iranian crude

Sept 21 (EN) Sri Lanka has still not been able to import crude oil from Iran, although international sanctions have been ostensibly been lifted, Minister Chandima Weerakkody said. "We still cannot make payments to Iran because of restrictions on banks," he said. He said SL also owed Iran about $250 million for old oil shipments. SL's state-run refinery, which is inefficient and produces large volumes of furnace oil, operates more efficiently with Iranian light crude, producing more light distillates. more..

අපිට දැන් ලැජ්ජයි - අසාද් සාලි

Inviting President for UNP Convention an honour for SLFP: Faiszer

Sept 21 (DN) Inviting President Sirisena for the UNP Convention as the Chief Guest is an honour for the SLFP, Minister Faiszer Musthapha said. He also said the President while participating at the SLFP Convention ensured that he would form an SLFP govt. Minister expressed these views at Jinthupitiya, Colombo 13 where he initiated several projects. He said: “We are running a consensual govt at present. Ensuring policies of both parties, we hope to work together till 2020. more..

The UN, Sri Lanka and terror in Kashmir

Sept 21 (CT) While SL strongly condemned the early Sunday deadly terrorist attack on an Indian military base in which 18 soldiers were killed and 20 others wounded, UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson condemned the attack and said the UK "stands shoulder to shoulder with India in the fight against terrorism and in bringing the perpetrators to justice". The attack was one of the deadliest since militant attacks began in 1989. It has jerked Indo-Pak relations up to fever pitch once again. more..

Govt won’t give in to docs: Akila

Sept 21 (Island) Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam told Parliament that a member of the GMOA who had received a transfer from Horana to Homagama wanted a child admitted to Royal College. Another doctor who had been transferred from Moneragala to Nuwara Eliya, too, wanted admission of child to Royal College. Minister alleged that doctors demand for elite schools couldn’t be justified under any circumstances. more..

Only in Sri Lanka: Passing O/L not compulsory to sit for A/L from 2018

Sept 21 (AD) Minister of Education Akila Viraj Kariyawasam says that from the year 2018 all students will be allowed to sit for the GCE A/L classes whether they passed the O/L exam or not. He said that a committee headed by the PM is taking the necessary steps to introduce new educational reforms. He said that steps will be taken in the near future to provide 13 years of continuous education to every student. more..

Undergrads who sat A/L fraudulently from backward districts to be removed

Sept 21 (Island) The UGC said they would not hesitate to remove any students from universities if found guilty in the investigation conducted by the Education Ministry for sitting the GCE A/L exam deliberately from a district entitled to low Z-score cut off marks. At present the Education Ministry was conducting an investigation into the allegations that students from the districts with high Z score rankings in order to overcome more..

Z-score rankings for universities released

Sept 21 (Island) The University Grants Commission (UGC) has issued the minimum Z-score rankings required for students from different districts to enter the faculties of national universities. Secretary of the UGC Dr. Priyantha Premakumara said previously the z-score rankings had been released only for districts, but now students would know the faculties they could enter on the basis of their rankings. more..

Hirunika, eight others indicted

Sept 21 (DM) Colombo High Court today served indictments on PM Hirunika Premachandra and eight others over the alleged abduction of a youth in Dematagoda area late last year. Subsequently, the accused were released on cash bail of Rs. 50,000 with two sureties of Rs. 500,000 each. Colombo High Court Judge Pathmini Ranawaka fixed the trial of the case for Jan 10 and 11, 2017. Judge also imposed a travel ban more..

U.S. Pacific Command partners with Sri Lanka and Maldives on oil spill management

Sept 21 (USE) Experts from the U.S. Pacific Command provided training for disaster response counterparts from Sri Lanka and Maldives on preparation and response to potential oil spill scenario that could severely impact local environment and tourism. Both civilian and military participants shared experiences from recent oil spill response efforts, with hands-on field exercises that included a live demonstration at sea. more..

Ja-Ela ready to fight, united by garbage threat

Sept 21 (ST) The Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) is determined to dump the city’s garbage in Ekala, in the adjoining district of Gampaha, despite stiff resistance from the residents backed by the area’s clergy. Despite street protests by Ja-Ela residents, CMC Commissioner V.K.A. Anura claimed that the court had issued an order to dump the garbage. “We have got the order and will dump,” he said. more..

Forced into retirement

Sept 21 (SL) Controversy surrounds the manner in which the principal of Uduvil Girl’s College (UGC) in Jaffna retired recently. The issue at UGC, Jaffna was sorted out with the former principal professionally handing over the duties to her successor. The situation in the school is said to be back to normal as the students and the teachers’ attendance were observed to be normal. Vice principal of UGC, Jeevanathi Amilathas more..

SL see rise in train related suicides in 2015

Sept 21 (EN) In 2015, 161 persons had committed suicide by jumping in front of moving trains, up from 141, a year earlier, while reported suicides nation-wide had fallen, official data show. A further 246 were injured in suicide-related injuries, Department of Railways data showed, down from 254 in 2014. Three persons had died by falling off trains and 73 had been injured, up from one death and 62 injuries a year earlier. more..

'Reconciliation: Progress made, more action needed'

Sept 21 (DM) EPDP Leader MP Douglas Devananda said that some progress had been made under the new Govt towards reconciliation, but still more to be done. Speaking on Office of Missing Persons (OMP), he is of the view that secrecy of investigations should be maintained for the benefit of both the complainant and the accused. Q: As an opposition politician from North, how do you assess the situation there now under new setup? more..

Political tailwinds backing the UNP and the headwinds buffeting the SLFP

Sept 21 (DM) One does not have to look anywhere else. Daily headlines in the mainstream newspapers have been telling a most riveting story. Political winds have been blowing in opposite directions as far as the UNP and the SLFP are concerned. Ever since the presidential and later the parliamentary elections, the UNP has been the recipient of a minuscule but a benevolent tailwind while the SLFP has been buffeted or pounded by an unenviable headwind. more..

The truth after tall-stories about coconut oil

Sept 21 (DM) Some decades ago, transnational food corporations apparently sponsored studies by some world food scientists who claim that our good old coconut oil which has kept us healthy for centuries could cause excessive fat, high cholesterol and resultant heart ailments. The anti-coconut oil campaign was so intense and highly professional that millions of Sri Lankans started using other imported oil and the export market was also badly hit. Now this anti-coconut-oil racket involving more..

University intake increased by 10 %

Sept 21 (Island) University intake for the 2015/2016 academic year based on the 2015 GCE (A/L) exam would be increased by 10% compared to the previous year, Chairman of the UGC Prof. Mohan de Silva said. Addressing the media conference to release the minimum Z-scores for selecting students to universities for the next academic year at the UGC auditorium, he said the new intake would be 27,603. more..

Only online registrations for uni admissions

Sept 21 (CT) Applications for admission to State Universities can only be submitted online with effect from the next intake this year, the University Grants Commission (UGC) announced following the release of Z-score cut-off marks for universities and faculties yesterday. Students who sat the 2015 GCE A/L Examination offering arts subjects will be selected for courses based on their island rankings and not on a district level basis, UGC Chairman Prof. Mohan de Silva said. more..

New private hospital in East?

Sept 21 (CT) A Private Hospital with all the latest facilities, would be constructed in the East due to the efforts of the Chief Minister of Eastern Province Naseer Ahamed. A team of medical personnel from India, headed by Dr. C. A. Mohan, Administrative Director of Rukmani Memorial Maternity Hospital and Rukmani Nurses' Training College, two major and reputed Institutions in India, visited Chief Minister in Colombo and held a very cordial and lively discussion with him on the feasibility more..

'Govt planning to sell key govt institutions'

Sept 21 (DM) JVP alleged that the govt was planning to sell key govt institutions such as SriLankan Airlines, Hambantota Port, Eastern Terminal of the Colombo Harbour, Mattala Airport, and Lanka Hospitals citing they were inefficient and loss-ridden. JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake said it was an utter lie to claim that they were being sold due to their inefficiency and loss-ridden state and added that it was due to the inefficiency more..

Kabir Hashim offers his ancestral home for road development

Sept 21 (ITN) Many politicians think of their welfare and not that of the people. But there are also people’s representatives who permit the demolition their houses. Such an incident is reported from Kegalla. Govt has decided to develop Mawanella Hemmatthagama road with two lanes. It was recommend to demolish ancestral home of Minister Kabir Hashim located within the area. Although many talked about it with curiosity, it was Minister who did not object to the recommendation. more..

Former Air Force Commander Roshan Gunatilake appears before FCID

Sept 21 (ITN) Former Air Force Commander Air Marshal Roshan Gunatilake was summoned to the FCID today (20). He was summoned to record a statement with respect to a financial fraud that had taken place in the purchase of Mig aircraft during the previous administration. Roshan Gunatilake was informed to appear before the FCID to record a statement with regard to a Mig fighter deal. He arrived at the FCID at around 10 am. It is reported that he was grilled for about five hours. more..

JO to resort to legal action against unfair taxation

Sept 21 (Island) MP Bandula Gunawardena said JO would resort to legal action against what he called the illegal VAT increase planned by the govt if it failed to stick to earlier structure of 11%. He said govt didn’t have a proper budget and its financial management was in disarray and that situation had led to unfair taxation. "While the mobile phone users are already taxed now they are required to pay more than 50% in taxes on call charges," more..

Nearly a decade long defamation case ruled in favour of film critic

Sept 21 (Island) Colombo District Court has recently awarded Rs 5 mn to journalist and film critic Ajith Galapaththi in respect of action filed against Power House Pvt Limited and film producer Upul Shantha Sannasgala over an alleged defamatory statement the latter had made during a live TV talk show 360 on July 8, 2008. Galapaththi stated in moving court on Nov 14, 2008. Judge has directed Power House Pvt Limited and Sannasgala to pay Galapaththi Rs 2.5 mn each. more..

Parallel national trade policy and FTAs needed: Experts

Sept 21 (FT) Experts involved in Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations bemoaned misinformation of the deals including the pending agreement with India, and insisted Sri Lanka needed to formulate its trade policy parallel to FTA negotiations to finally catch up to global competitors. Several professional organisations, spearheaded by the GMOA, have demanded that the Govt first put in place a National Trade Policy before embarking on trade agreements, particularly more..

President holds bilateral discussions with Australian PM and Indian Minister

Sept 21 (PMD) President Maithripala Sirisena attended the 71st Session of the UN General Assembly commenced today (20) at the UN Headquarters in New York. UN Secretary-General Ban-Ki Moon delivering his last speech as the UN Secretary-General pointed out some flash points in the world such as Rwanda and Sudan. However, there is positive progress in countries like SL and Myanmar, Secretary General said. more..

Sri Lankan Juniors upset top seed in ITF win

Sept 21 (DN) Anika Seneviratne created a major upset when she beat 5th seed and top 500 ranked Sara Nayar of Malaysia 6/4 6/2 to enter the quarter finals of the International Tennis Federation (ITF under 18) being conducted at the SLTA courts this week. Last week ladies winner and 6th seed Nethmi Waduge was beaten by unseeded Indian Sharannya Gaware 5/7 6/2 and 0/6. Nethmi is now ranked in the top 500. In the doubles late last evening Anika and Nethmi combined effectively to beat more..

Basil and Priyath Bandu return to PRECIFAC

Sept 21 (FT) The anti-corruption commission will have two sessions of public hearings on Friday to expedite its ongoing investigations into the alleged misuse of public funds through the water filling ceremony and opening of the Hambantota port and the misuse of Air Force flights by former Minister Basil Rajapaksa. The former Chairman of the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) Dr. Priyath Bandu Wickrama and the then Board of Directors of the SLPA will be questioned at public hearing. more..

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