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Govt to redraft VAT Bill

Aug 17 (DM) The Govt has initiated the redrafting of the Value Added Tax (Amendment) Bill by way of a memorandum submitted to the Cabinet for its consideration, Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake said. The Bill which was placed on the Order Paper of Parliament was nullified following a ruling by the Supreme Court which said that the due procedure laid down in the Constitution and Standing Orders governing parliamentary businesses had not been followed. more..

Yahapalanaya: Sirisena appoints Toy Pistol Mayor as Beliatta SLFP organizer

Aug 17 (AM) President Sirisena, in his capacity as the Chairman of SLFP, has appointed toy pistol mayor Eraj Ravindra Fernando as the SLFP Chief Organizer of Beliatta Electorate. The controversial Mayor was infamous for the toy pistol incident where he threatened a group of UNP fact-finding MPs during the administration of former president Rajapaksa. In Dec 2014, he was once more involved in an attack on a group of more..

Invite for SLFP anniversary event handed over to Mahinda

Aug 17 (CG) The invitation to attend the SLFP 65th anniversary event was handed over to SLFP member and former President Rajapaksa. The invitation was handed over to the former President at his Mirihana residence. The 65th anniversary of the SLFP will be celebrated on September 4 in Kurunegala. Senior SLFP member John Seniviratne handed over the invitation to Rajapaksa and he is reported to have accepted it. President Sirisena, former President Chandrika Kumaratunga more..

Building better homes and lives for Sri Lanka’s tea estate workers

Aug 17 (IFRC) Living in a small, cramped space and sharing public facilities like water, electricity and the toilet with 12 to 15 other families is the norm for Ganeshan. “We have been living this way since I was born,” explains the 28-year-old tea estate worker from Bogawantalawa, in the hills of central Sri Lanka. Life will soon change for Ganeshan and his family, who will receive a brand new home under a housing project run by the Sri Lanka Red Cross Society. more..

Video: Organ donation to be included in driving licence: Rajitha

Aug 17 (DM) Future driving licence applicants would have to declare if he/she was willing to donate organs according to scheduled Cabinet Papers, minister Rajitha Senaratne said. This will be indicated in the new digital driving licence. “There is a shortage of organs in hospitals in an emergency because fewer people are willing to donate organs these days. Most of the donors are not healthy. Most of donations were late, more..

Another spot tender to purchase coal to Lakvijaya power plant

Aug 17 (DN) The govt will open another spot tender to purchase coal to the Lakvijaya power plant this Friday, Power and Renewable Energy Ministry Secretary B.M.S. Batagoda said. He said this spot tender is to purchase 330,000 MT of coal from five shipments. Batagoda said the bids would be closed the same day. He said the ministry has now registered 12 suppliers which have fulfilled the required qualifications adding that another supplier is to be registered shortly. more..

Only ‘G’ graded power sockets will be approved in future

Aug 17 (CG) Cabinet has approved a proposal to allow only ‘G’ graded plugs and socket outlets to be sold in SL. PM has told the cabinet that the Public Utilities Commission of SL should take action to protect the public from possible accidents which occur from generation, transmission, distribution and supply or the use of electricity according to the SL Electricity Act No. 20 of 2009. Deaths which occurred in 2012 due to electrocution was 180 which is high number compared to int'l indicators. more..

USAF medical team to examine injected ex-LTTE combatants

Aug 17 (ENS) Chief Minister of Province, C.V.Wigneswaran, has said that US Air Force’s medical team, currently in the province on a goodwill visit, will examine former Tamil Tigers combatants who had fallen sick allegedly because they were injected with poisonous substances by the Sri Lankan armed forces when they were undergoing detention or rehabilitation after surrender. In the past few weeks, Tamil politicians and the media more..

Funds allocated for Hambantota to be used for Hyatt Colombo

Aug 17 (CG) Govt has decided to utilise the funds allocated for the proposed Hyatt Regency in Hambantota to complete the construction of the Grand Hyatt Colombo Hotel. A sum of Rs. 18.5 billion was invested by SL Insurance Corporation, the Employees Provident Fund and Litro Gas Lanka Ltd in the equity of Canwill Holdings for the purpose of construction of Grand Hyatt Colombo through its fully owned subsidiary Sinolanka Hotels and Spa and the constructions commenced in 2012. more..

Ex-PS members in Ratnapura tell Basil to form new party

Aug 17 (DM) Some former SLFP pradeshiya sabha members in the Ratnapura district have urged former minister Basil Rajapaksa to form a new political party under former president Rajapaksa's leadership because they had no intention of contesting the local govt elections under an SLFP led by President Sirisena. Former PS chairman S. Karawita who is heading the group said this decision when they met on Aug.15. Group is made up of 127 former members from 17 PS in Ratnapura more..

Video: Tax revenue has increased by Rs.100 billion

Aug 17 (AD) Tax revenue in Sri Lanka has increased by Rs.100 billion as of this year, Minister Gayantha Karunathilaka says. According a report prepared by the Ministry of Finance, tax revenue has increased by 22%, and taxes related to excise and customs have increased by 22% and 40% respectively, the Minister added. Meanwhile, the cabinet has approved a national policy to deal with war displaced families, govt announced. more..

Four elephants killed by Sri Lankan train

Aug 17 (AFP) A passenger train hit and killed an elephant and three calves in northern Sri Lanka on Wednesday, the latest deadly accident involving the venerated animals. The herd was walking across a newly upgraded railway line that runs through a jungle area when the accident occurred at Cheddikulam, about 260 km north of Colombo. "One of the baby elephants was dragged about 300 m along the track after being hit," a local police official told AFP. more..

Govt, Judiciary at odds

Aug 17 (CT) From a political perspective, in a truly democratic country, no govt has been re-elected shortly after it has imposed tax reforms which inordinately burden the common masses. The VAT, we predict, will and even must of political necessity, be imposed now because even a moderate 4% hike on VAT immediately before the Local Govt Elections can be exploited by the Opposition to good effect with a largely unlearned and stupid electorate that's been unscrupulously exploited by politicians more..

Political prisoner chained to hospital bed

Aug 17 (CT) A political prisoner, an inmate of Anuradhapura Prison, Rasiah Anantharajah was rushed to Jaffna Teaching Hospital after his health condition was found to be unstable. He was handcuffed to the bed at Ward 19, yesterday. Anantharajah has been involved on a hunger strike at the prison on several occasions. When contacted Minister D.M. Swaminathan, who had intervened & transferred prisoner to Jaffna from A'pura, more..

SC finds fault with IGP

Aug 17 (Island) Supreme Court has declared that a statement made by IGP Pujith Jayasundera soon after assuming office as IGP that his first duty in office would be to transfer the SSP, Kilinochchi is contrary to the law and beyond his authority. Jayasundera told this to SSP Palitha Siriwardena during a meeting at the Kilinochchi District Secretariat soon after being appointed the IGP. SSP Siriwardena filed an application in Supreme Court complaining of the violation of more..

Olympian Sawan Serasinghe celebrates with 8,000 calorie McDonald's feast

Aug 17 (DT) Sawan Serasinghe celebrated ending months of 'eating clean' by having a rather extravagant McDonald's feast, totalling 8,000 calories. The Australian badminton player posted a picture of the huge amount of food on Facebook, writing: "Wow what a week it has been in Rio! Have to say I am disappointed about the match today. "We definitely had a good chance to stretch the match to three sets towards the end of the second set but couldn't close it out. more..

Genuine political will for environment protection is highly praiseworthy: UNESCO

Aug 17 (PMD) UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova said that genuine political will is essential for proper implementation of global agenda on climate change and environment protection. She said this when President Maithripala Sirisena assured the SL govt’s total commitment for protection of environment. President Sirisena, recalling the discussions he held with Madam Bokova when they met during Paris Summit more..

Lankan excuses for shirking

Aug 17 (Island) On average a Sri Lankan makes four excuses daily to shirk his/her duties, to defend his or her behaviour, to neglect taking a particular kind of action or as a means of negating their responsibility, reveal the findings of a recent survey. The survey has found that the most common excuses are lack of time (80%), fear of failure or doubting the ability to achieve it (45%), not worth trying (38%), and I don’t know how to do it (26%). Quantitative survey covering all 9 provinces more..

Cremations to come to a halt

Aug 17 (Island) The country is likely to face numerous difficulties including delays in cremating the dead as the government technical officers threaten trade union action. President of the Govt Technical Officers’ Association, Marlon Serasinghe said: "We are left with no alternative but to strike as the govt has ignored our grievances. If technical officers in civil, mechanical and electrical engineering fields strike work, development projects would come to a halt. more..

Cabinet approves national policy to deal with war displaced

Aug 17 (CG) Cabinet has approved a national policy to deal with war displaced families. Hundreds were displaced during the war between the LTTE and the military but while many have either returned to their homes or were given alternate land following the end of war, some are still displaced. Minister Gayantha Karunatillake said cabinet had approved the creation of a national policy on durable solutions for conflict-affected displacement. more..

Aussie High Commission says to work closely with SL to stop people smuggling

Aug 17 (Xinhua) Australian High Commission in Colombo said that Australia and Sri Lanka will continue to work closely to stop the criminal activity of people smugglers. High Commission said that it has cooperated closely with Sri Lankan authorities to return people who have tried to enter Australia illegally. It confirmed that a people smuggling boat carrying six SL nationals attempting to travel illegally has recently been intercepted and the occupants have all been returned to Sri Lanka. more..

Two Police teams probe Abrew’s death

Aug 17 (CT) Police have deployed two special teams to investigate the death of retired Supreme Court Judge Sarath de Abrew, who is said to have died falling from the balcony of his residence in Ratmalana on Monday. Senior Police Officer in charge of directing investigations, said they had obtained statements from four persons, including the Judge's 28-year-old daughter by yesterday and arrangements had been made to question and obtain statements from 15 outsiders as well. more..

To Court on coal fraud: JVP

Aug 17 (CT) Convener of the Voice of Anti-Corruption, Central Committee Member of the JVP Vasantha Samarasinghe said his Party would next week go to Court to seek an order on the alleged coal tender fraud which resulted in a loss of Rs 1,800 million to the govt. Samarasinghe said they are prepared to issue to the people a book containing all information regarding the coal fraud on which Supreme Court has declared a verdict. more..

SLFP leader as chief guest at UNP’s celebration

Aug 18 (CT) It was reported last week that President Maithripala Sirisena will be the Chief Guest at the 70th Anniversary celebrations of the UNP. Maithripala Sirisena is not only the President of Sri Lanka; he is the current leader of the SLFP, in the last six decades the SLFP has been the chief political nemesis of the UNP. Any student of Sri Lanka’s post-Independence political history would know that the SLFP, even though has always been reckoned as an alternative to the UNP, more..

Aspects of Buddhism as I understand them to be

Aug 18 (DM) They say that everything happens for a reason… nothing happens without a reason…this is what the Buddha called the law of Karma- there can be either good karma or bad karma- depending on how one has been. Let’s start with some negative and ensuing positive aspects in life. - When something bad happens to us we feel wretched and awful… however, when we look at the larger picture, we come to realise that whatever happened, happened in order to teach us something, more..

'Have to look into actions by both sides'

Aug 18 (SO) Norwegian PM, Erna Solberg who was in the country delivered the Lakshman Kadirgamar Memorial Lecture 2016 on, Sustainable Development Goals: Working together for the common good. PM Solberg was appointed by Secretary-General of the UN Ban Ki-Moon, to co-chair the UN Sustainable Development Goals committee. PM sat down to share her thoughts on the current reconciliation process more..

Time to start naming names

Aug 18 (SL) In the so-called democracies where one doesn’t simply bump-off one’s adversaries or disappear them in vehicles of varying hues, it is fashionable to refer to politics as a blood sport. However, one of the quirks of Sri Lankan journalism appears to be a predilection to studiously avoid naming names. I suppose this can be justified as yet another manifestation of 2500 Years of Sinhala Buddhist Civilization. Can’t think of any other explanation for this abject fear of more..

Reconciliation a non-starter still, but why and how…

Aug 18 (SL) If someone thought that regime-change in Sri Lanka would facilitate fair, frank and serious attempts at ethnic reconciliation, they have been proved wrong. It owes to the realities of the ground situation, which the international community was either unaware of, or unbothered about. Today, when the chickens are coming home to roost, they seem to be reviewing their own positions from the post-war period and are also helping to reset the agenda for the Sri Lankan Govt of the day. more..

'Doubtful about OMP Bill: Missing persons didn’t just go missing'

Aug 18 (CT) Former TNA MP and Leader of EPRLF Suresh Premachandran commenting on the recently passed Office of the Missing Persons Bill said, he was quite doubtful whether this office will fulfil the needs of the families of missing persons. "When former President Chandrika Kumaratunga visited Jaffna recently, some relatives of the missing persons told her that they have handed over their children to the Army and more..

He stood for what was right...

Aug 18 (DN) Lakshman Kadirgamar sacrificed his life for a worthy cause, having worked tirelessly to restore the tarnished image of Sri Lanka. His eight year tenure as Foreign Minister, no doubt set a credible and unmatchable example to his successors. Taking up the position at a crucial juncture in Sri Lanka’s history, he handled international relations with diplomatic professionalism and prudence. Political analysts, diplomats and dignitaries here and abroad more..

The Great U-Turn

Aug 18 (DN) The centre-left Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna, a party that pushed former President Mahinda Rajapaksa to a path of war in 2006, made a bold political move by supporting to the bill to establish an Office of Missing Persons in Sri Lanka, last week. The JVP’s position on the Office of Missing Persons (OMP) should be analysed in the context of its approach to the Tamil issue in the North and East, which crippled the country’s politics, since 1956. more..

Geetha Kumarasinghe

Tibetan Night: Fresh air, the stars and the breeze of Lhasa

Aug 18 (Island) On day two of the Tibetan Economic Forum we continued with our group discussions which were interesting exchanges as in the previous day. Li Xiaojun, Director of Tibetan Affairs requested me and few other South Asians to to express our views when the groups gathered again for open sessions. Many speeches were far too long. But, what interested me most was the one given by a Tibetan self-made farming community woman. She spoke from the heart and said more..

Editorial: A shirkers’ paradise

Aug 18 (Island) A recent survey conducted by LMBR has made some interesting revelations about Sri Lankan workers. According to the responses, an average Sri Lankan trots out four excuses daily for shirking his or her duties, to defend his or her behaviour, to neglect taking action or as a means of absolving themselves of responsibility. They are lack of time (80%), fear of failure or doubting the ability to achieve it (45%), not worth trying (38%) and I don’t know how to do it (26%). more..

Invisible crime, recurring nightmare

Aug 18 (FT) It all happened in a flash of black and the terrifying sound of shots fired in the dark. It was 10 Dec 1989, height of govt’s counterinsurgency against violent 1987 Marxist uprising. Shantha Pathirana watched helplessly as his twin brother Sudath was dragged out of his Borella home by pistol-wielding men dressed all in black. Shantha and Sudath looked remarkably alike. Abductors were taking no chances. more..

Island economies: Mindanao and Sri Lanka

Aug 18 (BI) Some 5,000 km to the west of Mindanao is Sri Lanka. Mindanao has a similar latitude with Sri Lanka at about seven degrees north of the equator. Mindanao’s population in 2015 was about 24 million; Sri Lanka’s, 21 million. SL’s land area is 63% of Mindanao’s 10.2 million hectares (ha). Both suffered from internal strife: Mindanao under various shades of insurgency; Sri Lanka under the Tamil Tigers. However, Mindanao’s 41% poverty incidence at national headcount in 2012 was very high more..

Lankan Olympic hopes fading

Aug 18 (DN) Sri Lanka’s hopes of winning a medal is fast fading away with its last two Olympians down to compete in athletics – men’s javelin throw and men’s marathon, in the 2016 Olympic Games now in progress here in Brazil. Hurdler Sumedha Ranasinghe is down to take part in men’s javelin throw qualifying round in the early hours of Sri Lanka time (5 am) and veteran marathon runner Anuradha Indrajith Cooray is due to run in the men’s marathon to be worked off on the final day more..

Resuscitated Sri Lanka complete Test cricket's jigsaw

Aug 18 (CI) Gloom hung about Sri Lankan cricket before this tour. The question was not if they would lose, but by how much. Somehow, in three winding weeks, the dark clouds have come to be banished. Bloomed in their place: unexpected, rapturous joy. No SL series is complete without a collapse, of course, but on this occasion, the trough was hit nice and early. It is that glum 117 all out that gives the subsequent triumphs meaning. more..

Globally-acclaimed Meiya & Alvin Toy Collection returns home

Aug 18 (Island) A globally reputed but proudly Sri Lankan toy manufacturing company, DSL Lanka, is poised to launch its internationally acclaimed range of toys to the local market. The range consists of a natural line of baby toys combining rubber and fabric, originally based on two charming characters from the accompanying storybook, A Day at the Park with Meiya & Alvin. Within a year since its launch in the international market, the book has been translated into 7 languages, more..

Experts call to standardize labour force skills

Aug 18 (DM) It was stressed at a recently concluded forum that Sri Lanka should standardize and upgrade the skills of its labour force, as the country at present mostly relies on quantity rather than quality. Former ILO Employer Specialist Gotabaya Dassanayake said that even after having 70 years of free education, the question that still remains is how the country’s human resource can move up the value chain. “Why do we have to be a nation supplying unskilled labourers to the world? more..