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Road safety is a national issue

Oct 29 (CT) The rising rate of road accidents in the country has certainly reached worrying levels. It is high time the road traffic law enforcers rolled out implementable road safety plans if the travelling community is to be safeguarded. Central and Provincial authorities should speed up the construction and repair of roads, many of which are narrow and potholed. Rains create more danger on such roads when potholes are filled with water. Road accidents have become daily tragedies more..

Sri Lanka stocks close up 0.5%

Oct 29 (LBO) Sri Lanka's stocks closed 0.54% higher with banking stocks gaining amid continued net foreign buying. All Share Price Index closed 38.78 points higher at 7,265.90, up 0.54%. The S&P SL20 closed 21.33 points higher at 4,029.43, up 0.53%. Turnover was 2.20 billion rupees, up from 1.66 billion rupees a day earlier with 125 stocks closed positive against 54 negative. People’s Leasing and Finance closed 50 cents higher at 21.30 rupees with nine off market more..

300 believed trapped in Badulla landslide

Oct 29 (DM) More than three hundred people are believed to be trapped in this morning’s land slide at Haldummulla in Badulla while eight bodies have been recovered, Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said. The land slide had also destroyed 120 estate line rooms and three govt quarters. The Disaster Management Centre (DMC) said an area of about two kilometres had been affected in the landslide. Rescue operations are underway more..

UN to publish its Lanka review outcome

Oct 29 (CG) UNHRC is to publish a report tomorrow on its concluding observations regarding a review on Sri Lanka and a few other countries. UNHRC will also be holding a news conference to discuss the outcome of its 112th session and members will respond to questions on their concluding observations, follow-up to past recommendations to States, and their adopted General Comment on liberty and security of more..

'Polls chief office not fully independent'

Oct 29 (CG) Commonwealth Secretary General Kamalesh Sharma says the Office of the Commissioner of Elections is not fully independent. Sharma also said that the Commonwealth will monitor the next national elections in Sri Lanka. “Commonwealth election observers in Sri Lanka have drawn attention to the fact that the Office of the Commissioner of Elections is not fully independent. Commonwealth is preparing a compendium more..

SL slips in Doing Business ranking 2015

Oct 29 (LBO) Sri Lanka has slipped to 99 from 85 in a global ranking compiled by the World Bank group as several other nations raced ahead despite an improvement in the score between 2013 and 2014. The World Bank group's 'Doing Business 2015' report that ranked 189 countries said the island has only few limitations to freedom of contract though it takes time to resolve commercial disputes through courts. more..

Construction of new US$ 100 million high tension power line goes to Mitsubishi

Oct 29 (Island) With the backing of the CEB engineers’ and procurement committee, plans are underway to hand over A USD 100 million contract to Mitsubishi Corporation, Japan to set up the new 220KV high tension line from Habarana to Veyangoda. However, The Island learns the other bidder Kinden Corporation has made an appeal to the procurement board. Earlier, there was a tug-of-war between two groups, more..

Sanath Jayasuriya to lead investigation into Sri Lanka Cricket sex scandal

Oct 29 (AM) Former Sri Lankan skipper and chief selector Sanath Jayasuriya has been appointed by Sports Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage to lead investigations and submit a report into the allegations on sex scandal involving selectors of the Sri Lanka women’s cricket team. Local media widely alleged that some members of the selection committee for the SL Women’s Cricket Team have allegedly taken sexual bribes more..

Agrochemicals: The right use and not abuse

Oct 29 (ST) There is much cause for concern about agrochemical residues in vegetables and fruits that Sri Lankans eat. How many though have taken concrete steps to keep the men, women and children of Sri Lanka informed on the ways and means of minimising the intake of residues of agrochemicals including pesticides, herbicides and weedicides and also fertiliser with their food? How many have also attempted, more..

The long journey back home…

Oct 29 (SL) Despite active opposition from pro-LTTE Tamil nationalist groups in Tamil Nadu and the unhelpful attitude of the Tamil Nadu Govt, a Sri Lankan Tamil refugee rehabilitation organisation working in Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka for the past 30 years, is trying its best to bring back to the Island the thousands of Sri Lankan Tamil refugees living in camps in TN. Organization for Elangai Refugees Rehabilitation, more..

‘Lending agencies eager to give loans to SL’

Oct 29 (DM) The most awaited event of all Sri Lankan citizens like just another cricket World Cup match is the National Budget speech. Many eagerly look forward to see what is in store for them in the coming year and how they can improve their businesses and family life. Yet, many would carry different viewpoints on how the budget would affect them. With the National Budget speech 2015 delivered last Friday, many are excited more..

Budget: What we got & What we expected

Oct 29 (DM) The most awaited event of all Sri Lankan citizens like just another cricket World Cup match is the National Budget speech. Many eagerly look forward to see what is in store for them in the coming year and how they can improve their businesses and family life. Yet, many would carry different viewpoints on how the budget would affect them. With the National Budget speech 2015 delivered last Friday, many are excited with more..

J R, Gamini or Lalith how would they have handled the chaos ?

Oct 29 (DM) It is indeed a fascinating exercise to speculate. Not only is it fascinating but taken in the context of great uncertainty that shrouds today’s issues, it is intriguing and educating to find out the strategic thinking and the tactical moves that the old Masters would have used to engineer and bring about a collapse of an ostensibly formidable power. The obvious counter to the basic premise of this argument is: If J R, Gamini or Lalith were alive today, there would never have been more..

The patient and the ward are sacred

Oct 29 (DM) When the Govt first decided to allow channelled consultation in private hospitals more than 45 years ago, the fee was 4 to 1 - that is Rs.20/= for the consultant and Rs. 5/= for hospital costs. Costs and other factors have changed now and in most private hospitals the consultation fee is between Rs. 1,500/= and Rs. 2,000/= for the medical specialist and at least Rs. 500/= for hospital costs. Though in some hospitals the patients do not have even a seat at the waiting area, more..

'Tax evasion a big cancer engulfing country'

Oct 29 (Island) Tax evasion in Sri Lanka was both intensive and extensive and it paved the way for colossal and massive financial and social problems, Senior Minister DEW Gunasekera told Parliament. Minister participating in the second reading stage debate on budget 2015 said that tax evasion could not be tackled without revision of tax policy and tax structures. "This massive tax evasion has brought in its train wide disparity more..

Lankan labourers in Lebanon threaten to fast

Oct 29 (CT) Nearly 85,000 Sri Lankan labourers in Lebanon are to start a fast opposite the Sri Lankan Embassy on 31 Oct, the SL Labour Union in Lebanon informed President Rajapaksa. In a letter to the President it is alleged that the acting female officer of the Embassy had not addressed the concerns of the labourers and demanded that a male officer be appointed to replace her. They emphasized that they will engage in a fast if the current officer is not replaced by a male more..

‘Casino entry levy would require services of a govt. gate keeper’

Oct 29 (Island) ‘To implement the budget proposal to charge US$ 100 per person as entrance fee to casino clubs would require a govt levy collector to be stationed at each casino club; otherwise this levy won’t see the light of day Dept. of Inland Revenue Commissioner D.R.S. Hapuarachchi said on a lighter note on Monday. Hapuarachchi said so while addressing a seminar themed ‘Budget Highlights 2015’ organized by the CIM. The seminar focused on various aspects of Budget 2015, more..

Ranil challenges MR on whether he met LTTErs in US

Oct 29 (DM) UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe challenged president Rajapaksa to respond to the questions he had raised on whether the latter had met members of the LTTE in America and why the government had not intervened in the case involving the ban on the LTTE - in the European Court of Justice (ECJ). “I asked several questions from the president, but he has not responded to them as yet. I continue to ask more..

‘Real estate in Colombo and suburbs appreciating to tune of 10-15%’

Oct 29 (Island) Real estate market has appreciated at an average rate of between 10 - 15% year in Colombo and the suburbs, says a top real estate investor. Trillium Property Management & Services Ltd. Chairman, Janaka Ratnayake, speaking at the launch of his latest ventures in Colombo 7 and Nugegoda, last week said that the real estate business deals with tangible investment products, such as, lands, houses and apartments. "It is well known that land and property prices more..

Enhanced allowance for parliament staff, not for MPs

Oct 29 (Island) Minister Susil Premjayantha said that a special allowance given to parliamentary staff for attending sessions, too, had been increased by 10% from January next year. Parliament meets eight days a month. Premjayantha said that perhaps the matter could be clarified. He acknowledged that there was ambiguity. Minister was responding to a query, whether the President, proposed to increase the attendance allowance in response to sharp drop in members attending sessions. more..

'Old left' yet to decide stance

Oct 29 (CT) The 'old left' in the govt is yet to decide on their stance on the forthcoming Presidential Election. General Secretary of the Socialist Alliance (SA), Raja Collure, said the SA has yet to decide on their stance concerning the upcoming Presidential Election and whether or not they would back the incumbent President for a third term. SA comprises the LSSP (represented by Senior Minister, Prof. Tissa Vitarana), more..

No Chinese military presence here

Oct 29 (CT) Ministry of Defence denied there is Chinese military presence in Sri Lanka as claimed by India. Responding to concerns raised by India, Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasooriya said there are no Chinese military personnel in Sri Lanka and if anyone claims that Sri Lanka is harbouring Chinese military personnel, it is a misleading statement. "Except for five Chinese military officers who are following courses in our Staff College and the Kotelawala University, more..

Minister to present Rs 100,000 to veteran singer Haroon Lantra

Oct 29 (DN) Minister T.B. Ekanayaka will hand over Rs.100,000 to veteran singer Haroon Lantra on the directions of President Rajapaksa, at the artiste’s residence in Polhena, Kelaniya today. The senior artiste’s house was robbed of Rs.70,000 recently by two men and a woman who had visited the residence offering assistance. Lantra’s wife said, “Haroon Lantra is frail and ill. We have collected this money with so much difficulty and kept the money inside the house so that we may use it more..

Braving threat, missing lankans' kin hold meet

Oct 29 (NIE) About 300 men and women belonging to families of those who disappeared from North, East and South Sri Lanka, met in Seeduwa, north of here, on Monday, despite insidious threats issued by politically connected thugs. Brito Fernando, President of the Organization of the Families of Disappeared, said that three days back, anonymous posters calling the organisers ‘Devils who are selling the dead and more..

Speaker attends Peace Day commemorations in China

Oct 29 (FT) The Speaker of the Sri Lankan Parliament, Chamal Rajapaksa, accompanied by Secretary General Dhammika Dassanayake, recently participated in the commemoration ceremony of the International Day of Peace held in Xi’an City of Shaanxi Province in China. The International Day of Peace was advocated by a United Nations resolution passed in 2011, which declared that it should be celebrated on 21 Sept. This year’s celebration was organised by more..

Fisheries Minister to have video conference with EU to sort out issues

Oct 29 (Island) Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne told Parliament yesterday that he would hold a video conference with officials of the European Union to have the EU ban on fish products from Sri Lanka lifted. Responding to a question raised by UNP MP Niroshan Perera, the Minister said that the EU Commission had made several mistakes with regards to its report released in 2014. "The problem began in November 2012, when we were given three months to rectify the situation. more..

Bill to regulate massage parlours

Oct 29 (CT) A Bill to amend the Ayurveda Act will be presented in Parliament shortly, vesting the Ayurveda Department with powers to regulate all Ayurvedic spas, massage parlours and massage clinics mushrooming around the country. Minister Salinda Dissanayake, pointed out there are over 3,000 spas and massage parlours in the country, out of which only 60 have been registered with the Ayurveda Department. more..

'Ease travel restrictions on expat Tamils'

Oct 29 (CT) Jaffna District MP, Vijayakala Maheswaran, has urged the govt to lift the travel restrictions imposed on expatriate Tamils, when travelling to Jaffna. Maheswaran was speaking during debate on Budget 2015. She was also part of the Lankan Parliamentary delegation to Geneva led by Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa a week ago. Maheswaran said the travel restrictions imposed on expatriate Tamils when travelling to Jaffna was an unnecessary move and it has caused more..

Asylum boat survivor knows refugee desperation

Oct 29 (TA) CALI was 24 years old and on-board an asylum boat seeking a new life in Australia when an estimated 10 of his fellow passengers slipped under the sea in the dead of night off the Indonesian coast. “That was like a wake-up call,” Cali said. “Until then I wasn’t thinking about it (the risks) because we were all expecting that we would safely reach Christmas Island.” Four years later, Cali is an IT specialist in Perth and happy, but the tears flow when he talks about the drowning of asylum-seekers in his more..

Sajith says Budget 2015 full of lies; DEW corrects

Oct 29 (FT) Opposition Deputy Leader Sajith Premadasa, opening the third allotted day of the second reading debate of the Appropriation Bill, charged yesterday that the Govt was misleading the public with “lies” and unrealistic proposals. Premadasa said: “Budget 2015 is nothing more than a lie in my opinion. People do know that the due peace dividend didn’t reach them at all. They are frustrated with a Budget more..

Top economist casts doubts on official per capita income figure

Oct 29 (DM) Highlighting a major inaccuracy i n t he national data compiled by the Census and Statistics Department (DCS), a leading economist in the country said Sri Lanka’s published per capita income (PCI) numbers are misleading and in fact the incomes have declined annually in ‘real terms’ since 2005. Dr. W.A. Wijewardena noted that DCS has used an overvalued exchange rate in order to calculate a higher nominal PCI (in rupee terms) which claimed to have doubled during more..

Sri Lanka to promote local milk production: Budget 2015

Oct 29 (LBO) Sri Lanka to increase the guaranteed price of liquid milk to 60 rupees per liter in order to increase local milk production and popularize the local milk production. President Rajapakse proposed this presenting the budget 2015, at the Parliament, Colombo. “I now propose to increase the guaranteed price of liquid milk to Rs. 60 per liter to increase local milk production and reduce the price of locally made milk powder by Rs. 100 per kilo and yoghurt by Rs. 5 per yoghurt, to popularize local products,” more..

SL fringe players aim to seize opportunity

Oct 29 (CI) Victory is almost always the goal in sporting endeavour, but missing key players, and pulled in for a surprise series out of the cold, this Sri Lanka team says they have instead set their sights on the "bigger picture". The team had been focusing on fitness and strength work since mid-September, with a view to being ready for cricket by November 26, when the ODIs against England are scheduled to begin. more..

Tax incentives failing

Oct 29 (CT) A senior tax expert highlighting several tax benefits given to promote more foreign direct investment, questioned the tax structure and asked why major multinationals did not enter Sri Lanka. President Rajapaksa through Budget 2015 presented to Parliament last week announced several tax incentives for foreign direct investment and extended deadlines for completion. Senior partner Gajma and Company N.R. Gajendran highlighting the tax incentives questioned more..

SriLankan, Qantas codeshare takes-off

Oct 29 (CT) A new codeshare agreement between SriLankan Airlines and Australia's flagship carrier Qantas Airways announced in September 2014, came into effect from 26 October paving the way for increased tourism potential between Sri Lanka and Australia, the national carrier said in a statement. Passengers travelling to/from Australia on Qantas will have the opportunity of connecting to/from SriLankan Airlines' thrice daily service from Singapore to Colombo. more..