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Indian HC says Lanka can benefit immensely from being close to fastest growing economy

Aug 8 (Island) Indian High Commissioner Taranjit Singh Sandhu on Sunday (5) reiterated that Sri Lanka could immensely benefit from her relationship with India. Sandhu explained how Sri Lanka youth could achieve success by Indo-Lanka relations. Sandhu said so at an event organized by the Sri Lanka-India Society (SLIS) to celebrate India’s Independence Day and SLIS’s Platinum Jubilee in Colombo. more..

Video: MP allowances should be increased instead of salaries: Fonseka

Aug 8 (AD) Allowances given for MPs should be increased instead of their salaries, says Minister Field Marshall Sarath Fonseka. Minister stated that, as ministers have to travel throughout the country for official duties, they should be granted transportation facilities and increments of allowances given for fuel. As a State Minister, he receives a salary of Rs. 350,000, however, Rs 200,000 of his salary has to be spent on fuel, claims Minister Sarath Fonseka. Meanwhile, responding to a question more..

US sanctions on Iran to affect SL fuel prices?

Aug 8 (NR) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe says the recent sanctions imposed by the United States on Iran, will have an impact on local fuel prices. Speaking in Parliament today, he said, owing to the present volatile situation between World powers including the US, China and Iran, the world crude prices will have a huge bearing. Premier noted that it will be a developing issue. PM today announced that import duty on vehicles will be revised once again after considering market & economic factors. more..

Army vigilant over Social Media

Aug 8 (DN) The Army Intelligence Unit is vigilant over the changes taking place on Social Media in the country, Army Commander Lt. General Mahesh Senanayake said. He added that there is a question regarding the authenticity and accuracy of the content over Social Media and the Intelligence Units are keeping an eye on these changes, due to the fact that they could have an impact on the security of the people and more..

PM clarifies tax on vehicles below 1000cc

Aug 8 (AD) Tax imposed on vehicles below 1000cc will not be effective on LCs opened before 1st of August until 31st January 2019, stated PM Ranil Wickremesinghe. The import duty on vehicles which are less than 1000cc has been increased with effect from August 1, the Finance Ministry said. Accordingly the import duty on normal vehicles less than 1000cc has been increased up to Rs 1.5 million while the duty on Hybrid vehicles less than 1000cc is increased up to Rs 1.25 million. more..

CT Holdings to build multiplexes, mini-malls

Aug 8 (EN) CT Holdings Plc is planning to revive defunct single theatres as multiplexes and build mini-malls in several key towns with two-screen theaters. “Plans will also be drawn up in future to expand the cinemas in Kandy and Negombo (presently closed down) to a multi-screen concept,” Chairman Louis Page told shareholders in the annual report. C T Holdings is going for the expansion amidst the group’s entertainment segment, which includes cinema operation more..

Video: Roads blocked as commuters protest against Railway strike

Aug 8 (AD) Both lanes of Olcott Mawatha opposite the Fort Railway Station is currently closed off due to a tense situation caused by a protest of commuters against the strike action by the Railway trade unions. Several Trade Unions including drivers and guards had launched a sudden strike at 3 pm today. Maradana Railway station also reported a tense situation as there were no office trains. Some of the commuters at the scene more..

UPFA Jaffna organiser ready to campaign for Gota

Aug 8 (Island) UPFA Jaffna District organiser P. Remidiyas said that if former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa contested 2019 presidential election he would campaign for him in the north. Remidiyas said that an office would be set up in Jaffna to coordinate campaign activities following a meeting with Rajapaksa. The UPFA official said that the former Defence Secretary should be given the opportunity to contest as his brother Mahinda Rajapaksa was unable due to the enactment more..

Tourism industry in Sri Lanka: Brain drain or brain gain?

Aug 8 (FT) Much has been discussed about Sri Lanka’s tourism boom and the impending human resource shortfall that the industry will have to face. Recently a private sector initiative, organised by You Lead (of the USAID) unveiled a practical and comprehensive road map on how to address some of these issues. Although detailed numbers and assessments are difficult to be derived accurately due to the lack of proper information, it is generally accepted that about 100,000 extra direct staff more..

MPs Salary hike: Yes or No

Govt to recruit 20,000 grads to public sector

Aug 8 (CT) Govt is planning to absorb 20,000 graduates to the public sector in 2018. Minister Ranjith Madduma Bandara yesterday, told Parliament that Cabinet had approved the recruitment of these graduates. He said the recruitment process will be carried out in four stages. The first two stages will take place in 2018 and the other two in 2019. “In the first stage, 5,000 graduates will be recruited and then 15,000 will be recruited at the second stage. more..

Human Error

Aug 8 (CT) The alleged misreading of a train traffic signal resulted in a train collision at Polgahawela on Monday causing injuries to 33, one of whose condition is reported to be serious, our sister paper Mawbima reported yesterday. Minimizing human error saves lives, prevents injuries, damage to public property, inconvenience, money and time. It was also reported in Mawbima that because of this accident train traffic on the Colombo-Kandy line had come to a halt. more..

Video: Gnanasara Thero sentenced 6 years of rigorous imprisonment

Aug 8 (AD) Ven. Galagodaaththe Gnanasara Thero has been convicted of four Contempt of Court charges and sentenced by the Appeal Court to 19 years of rigorous imprisonment, to be completed within 6 years. The verdict was delivered by the President of Court of Appeal, Justice Preethi Surasena and Justice Shiran Gunaratne. According to the judges, Gnanasara Thero has been convicted of 4 charges more..

Parliament Mafia: Monitoring MPs cabinet paper to be resubmitted

Aug 8 (NR) The govt has denied media reports that the Cabinet Paper tabled over providing facilities to Monitoring MPs part of the Gamperaliya programme, has been rejected. Minister of Rajitha Senaratne speaking during the weekly Cabinet media briefing this morning said the Cabinet paper was merely postponed to be taken up for consideration next week. Cabinet paper was tabled calling for monitoring MPs to be granted more..

Govt tapping phones of selected individuals?

Aug 8 (NR) The JO charges the govt of tapping the phones of selected individuals. MP Dullas Alahapperuma said such actions are unconstitutional. MP stressed the govt banned transitions at the TNL Polgahawela tower adding the conflict is at its peak. He noted even though the govt speak of democracy, democracy does not exist. MP also claimed that a snap Presidential Election can be called on the 9th of January 2019. more..

NCRS & SLSI to decide on helmet standards

Aug 8 (CT) In the wake of the increasing number of motorcycle accidents and motorcyclists being injured, it has been noted that many of them suffer serious head injuries due to low quality helmets. It is in this backdrop that The National Council for Road Safety (NCRS) yesterday (7) said it would discuss the criteria for child helmets with the Sri Lanka Standard Institute (SLSI) as early as possible. Meanwhile, Ceylon Motorcyclists Association more..

How come Rs10 Billion loan granted to People’s Bank Director’s Company?

Aug 8 (CT) The former Minister of Finance, Ravi Karunanayake, questioned the People’s Bank’s policy on granting a Rs10 billion loan to the Bank’s Director, Jehan Amaratunga, for a company where he was Executive Vice President. He added that there was a Minister who was also behind the lending of this loan. “About Rs 10 billion from the People’s Bank has been given to one of the companies of one of the directors. more..

CB Governor says bank deposit and lending rates now need to come down

Aug 8 (LBO) CB Governor Indrajit Coomaraswamy expressed concern on the current deposit and lending rates of the banks. He said it is a matter of some concern because the deposit and lending rates are as rigid as they were in the past. “In fact at the monthly meeting with bank CEOs, we did express this concern to them; we do think that bank deposit and lending rates now need to come down,” he said. more..

Delayed municipal polls hit Sri Lanka construction, cement industry

Aug 8 (EN) Delayed elections in local govt bodies, had had a cascading effect on the construction industry in 2017, compounding the effects of a drought and currency depreciation. The govt and agencies are the single biggest purchaser of construction services ranging from national level projects to a large number of small rehabilitation and building projects across the island, Tokyo Cement said. more..

CTU decries wasteful spending by Education Ministry

Aug 8 (Island) The Ceylon Teachers Union (CTU) has lambasted an Education Ministry decision to allocate Rs. 113 million for making the public aware of the govt decree to make 13 years of education mandatory for all children. CTU General Secretary, Joseph Stalin said that the govt was already carrying this initiative out as a pilot project in around 50 schools and that a large number of workshops and discussions more..

Tamil youth gangs sow fear in northern region

Aug 8 (ST) On Monday, the Grama Niladhari of Vannarpannai east division J/100 was in his office for the usual weekly meeting with residents of the area when eight men armed with sharp weapons barged into his office. The official was threatened at sword point, while his laptop, mobile and other office resources were smashed by the gang that came on motorbikes bearing false licence plates. more..

'JO should announce its presidential candidate now'

Aug 8 (DM) Ven. Bengamuwe Nalaka Thera, a leading Buddhist monk associated with the nationalist movement, shares his views on the current political developments in the country. Q: You are a leading member of the Buddhist clergy who voiced against the govt right from its formation. How do you see the current status of politics? A: We are not content with the political situation. I am not referring to the govt’s politics only. more..

How Judiciary can improve SL economy

Aug 8 (DM) Sri Lanka had an opportunity to become the best place for an International Arbitration Centre in the region, where commercial disputes between Companies or individuals in different States are resolved effectively by providing a reliable legal platform as an alternative disputes resolution. We could have easily capitalised our geographical location to setup an Independent Arbitration Centre meeting international standards. It could have attracted local and foreign investors, more..

NPC and its duties towards people

Aug 8 (DM) Sunday Times had carried an interesting news item about a record set by the Northern Provincial Council (NPC). The story said that the NPC had adopted 415 different resolutions during its five-year tenure that would end in two months, in October. The story further says that this works out to nearly seven resolutions a day on which sittings were held. It is obvious that no other Provincial Council in the country has been so active in passing resolutions as the NPC has been. more..

Bankrupting SL: Old warship, relocation of camps, etc. to cost Rs. 27 bn more

Aug 8 (Island) The govt yesterday submitted a supplementary estimate of more than 27 billion rupees for the approval of parliament to cover its expenses exceeding the budgetary allocation. The total amount of the estimate was Rs 27,176,528,965 and of that amount Rs 15,594,213,000 has been to cover the recurrent expenses the govt incurred in addition to its budgetary allocations. more..

Deaths at Wadduwa Facebook party: Minister accused of protecting organisers

Aug 8 (Island) The NFF alleged that a minister had intervened in the ongoing investigations into deaths of four persons after attending a Facebook party at a hotel in the Wadduwa area on Saturday night.NFF MP Jayantha Samaraweera said that law enforcement authorities had been prevented from arresting those organizsers. The lawmaker said that a thorough inquiry was required to ascertain how the police allowed the organizers to provide a range of narcotics to the participants. more..

Massive amounts of narcotics in custody to be destroyed

Aug 8 (Island) Law and Order Minister Ranjith Madduma Bandara on Monday said that a foolproof and efficient mechanism was urgently required to destroy massive amounts of narcotics kept in the custody of the Govt Analyst’s Department. Minister said that he would brief the cabinet of ministers regarding the need to change the current system of keeping large stocks especially against the backdrop of accusations that stocks in custody were secretly removed. more..

Prez rejects perks for MPs monitoring Gam Peraliya

Aug 8 (DM) Prez Sirisena is reported to have turned down a Cabinet paper submitted by PM Wickremesinghe seeking office and staff facilities for MPs assigned to oversee the implementation of govt’s Gam Peraliya programme. The recommendation has been made by a committee comprising officials including the Secretary to the PM and the Finance Ministry. The PM submitted the Cabinet paper on behalf of the committee. more..

PM launches Rs. 50 million sports fund to help athletes

Aug 8 (DN) A special Sports Fund was launched by PM Ranil Wickremesinghe with an initial allocation of Rs. 50 million in association with the National Olympic Committee of SL at Temple Trees yesterday. It will target high-performance athletes who have a realistic chance of winning medals at international sporting events for the country. Speaking on the occasion the PM said that the Govt and private sector should give a helping hand to develop sports in Sri Lanka. more..

189 young entrepreneurs to get Enterprise Sri Lanka loans

Aug 8 (FT) The Thurunudiriya loan scheme was launched by the Bank of Ceylon with the assistance of the Policy Development Office of the PM’s Office with the objective of empowering young entrepreneurs. At a progress review meeting for the Central Province, which was held on 3 August at the Kandy District Secretariat in the presence of Kandy District Secretary H.M.P. Hitisekara, it was revealed that 189 young entrepreneurs who are qualified to receive this loan were identified. more..

Decision on Opposition leader this week

Aug 8 (FT) Speaker Karu Jayasuriya informed Parliament yesterday that the final decision on the Opposition leader position would be given before Friday after his decision was discussed and agreed during the party leaders meeting held last afternoon. Before reaching the agreement at the party leaders meeting, the UPFA JO lawmakers were highly critical of both the Govt and Speaker Karu Jayasuriya for not removing TNA leader more..

Fuel prices might drop after Friday: Ministry

Aug 8 (DM) The scheduled fuel price revision every two months would come to effect on Friday (10) where there might be a drop in fuel prices, the Finance Ministry said. Fuel prices are determined every two months according to the pricing formula introduced on July 10 but it had not affected kerosene prices. Ministry’s Information Director M. Ali Hassan said when compared with the July international crude oil prices, they had dropped this month. more..

'Countrywide bus strike from Sunday night'

Aug 8 (DM) A countrywide bus strike will be launched from Sunday midnight as a protest against the tender procedure for route permits, the All Ceylon Private Bus Association (ACPBA) said yesterday. ACPBA Secretary Anjana Priyanjith said the National Transport Commission (NTC) and the Western Province-Road Passenger Transport Authority (RPTA) were trying to carry out a tender for route permits whereas currently only selected route permits were issued on tenders. more..

Two reparations bill clauses inconsistent: SC

Aug 8 (Island) The Supreme Court had determined that two clauses of the Office for Reparations Bill were inconsistent with the Constitution, Speaker Karu Jayasuriya told Parliament. The Speaker, making an announcement at the commencement of the sittings, said that the SC in its determination, sent to Parliament after concluding the hearing of two petitions challenging the Bill, had stated that Clause 27(a) and 27 (a) iii, more..

Vice Minister of Communist Party of China visits Pathfinder Foundation

Aug 8 (FT) Communist Party of China (CPC) Vice Minister (International Department) Guo Yezhou who is on an official visit to Sri Lanka visited Pathfinder Foundation (PF) on Friday, 3 August. He was welcomed by Pathfinder Foundation Founder Milinda Moragoda and senior members of the Foundation. During the hour-long meeting, both sides discussed how best to strengthen and further develop relations between the two countries as well as institutions in both countries more..

U-19 SL v India: Sri Lanka rest four players for A/L exams and lose

Aug 8 (DN) The ongoing Advanced Level examination took its toll on the Sri Lanka under 19 team as they were forced to go into the fourth ODI against India without four of their regular players and eventually lost the match by 135 runs at the De Soysa Stadium, Moratuwa yesterday. The win enabled India to level the five-match under 19 ODI series 2-all with the fifth and final series decider to be played at the same venue on Friday. India winning the toss and choosing to bat first more..