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Sri Lanka plans 4.1% budget deficit for 2019

Oct 2 (EN) Sri Lanka is planning a budget deficit of 644 billion rupees or 4.1% of GDP for 2019, down from 4.8% in 2018, finance ministry said. Sri Lanka's planned nominal budget deficit for 2019 will be lower than the 674.8 billion rupees planned for the current year. The govt plans to raise revenues of 15.1% of gross domestic product this year, according to preliminary budget outlines approved by the cabinet. Sri Lanka planned ambitious revenues of 15.6% of GDP this year. more..

Of Cardinal sin, error, virtue, etcetera

Oct 2 (FT) Of late, the deep state has been the least of my worries. It has not kept me awake at night since the doldrums of the post 2015 revolution – fiasco though that has turned out to be. But it is deeper states of mind – to do with faith and philosophy – that concern me today. Also you, if you are (like Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith) a son of the soil and presumably have Sri Lanka’s best interests at heart. So much so – the human heart being what it is, full of deceit and a labyrinth of self more..

JVP press conference

How far is the govt responsible for the current economic malady ?

Oct 2 (DM) Sri Lanka has a strange colonial experience of being provided with free education, health care and subsidized rice even while the country remained a colony of Britain. During the ensuing decades since independence, the country’s new leaders pushed the envelope further, much less due to a coherent long term vision, but as a populist electoral ploy. As a result, generations that grew up immediately after the independence developed a unique outlook on the role of the govt as more..

President extended condolences over the natural disaster in Indonesia

Oct 2 (PMD) President Maithripala Sirisena extended heartfelt condolences to the people and the govt of Indonesia over the loss of several hundred lives and the severe damage sustained by the tsunami that hit Dongala regency in Central Sulawesi of Indonesia. President in a message to his Indonesian counterpart Joko Widodo stated that ‘It is with profound sorrow that I learnt of the loss of several hundred lives and severe damage caused by the tsunami that hit Donggala regency more..

Jaffna Cinema Festival: No show for Demons in Paradise

Oct 2 (DM) The internationally renowned film Demons in Paradise which was competed at the prestigious Cannes Film festival in France has been removed from being screened at the Int'l Jaffna Cinema Festival starting this weekend, its Director Jude Ratnam said. He said the festival organizers of the Jaffna International Cinema Festival had decided to remove the film directed by him from its scheduled programme allegedly more..

PM to visit Norway

Oct 2 (AD) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe is scheduled to leave the country for Norway on Wednesday, on an official visit. PM will meet with leaders including Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg, President of the Storting (Parliament) of Norway Tone Wilhelmsen Trøen and Norwegian Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Søreide for high-level bilateral talks. The PM’s delegation will include Minister Vijith Vijayamuni Soysa, MPs Kavinda Jayawardena and Hesha Withanage. more..

Sampath Bank suspends $100mn bond issue

Oct 2 (EN) Sampath Bank said it was suspending a proposed US$ 100 million debt issue to raise Basel III-compliant capital until global bond market conditions improved. "Due to the current elevated market volatility in global bond markets, lead manager to the bond issue has informed us that the pricing of the proposed debenture issue would be relatively high," bank said. The bank announced the US$ 100 million debenture issue in July 2018 to raise Tier II capital under Basel III capital more..

Appropriation Bill: Rs. 4,376 billion as state expenditure

Oct 2 (DM) As per the Appropriation Bill presented to Cabinet by Minister Mangala Samaraweera, the annual state expenditure for next year would be Rs.4,376 billion with a deficit of Rs.644 billion, 4.1% of the GDP, Finance Ministry said today. In a statement, the Ministry said Govt revenue for 2014 was 11.5% of the GDP and that the figure had gradually increased after the unity govt came in to power. more..

New Kelani Bridge construction to lead to road closure

Oct 2 (NR) Police say the entry road to the Colombo Katunayake Expressway from the Peliyagoda Roundabout will be closed from the 4th to the 20th of October. Police said vehicles entering the Expressway from the Peliyagoda entry road will not be affected by this closure. The entry from the Peliyagoda Roundabout is being closed due to constructions of the New Kelani Bridge. During this period vehicles entering the Colombo-Katunayake Expressway from the Japan Friendship Road more..

Govt to distribute 10 mn LED light bulbs among low-income consumers

Oct 2 (GDI) Govt will distribute 10 million energy efficient LED light bulbs among 3 million low-income consumers, Power and Sustainable Energy Ministry Spokesman Sulakshana Jayawardena said. The distribution will start by the end of this month. He said that the Govt aims to save 300 MW once the 10 millon LED bulbs are distributed. He however pointed out that the LED bulbs are not given free of charge and that the cost would be recovered within two years from the consumer’s electricity bill. more..

Don't need Army help to eliminate Awa group: Minister

Oct 2 (DM) There is no need for Army involvement in eleminating the activities of the Northern-based Awa group, Law and Order Minister Ranjith Maddumabandara said and added that the Police could handle that job. “I saw the reports of the Army Commander saying they are ready to contain criminal activities in the North if the govt allowed them to do so. We do not want to introduce military law into the country. more..

Lunugamvehera National Park to be promoted

Oct 2 (CT) The Department of Wildlife Conservation has plans to promote the Lunugamvehera National Park among tourists in order to reduce the traffic in the Yala National Park, officials said yesterday. According to the Department, the Yala National Park typically receives about 350 safari jeeps on an average day, with the most crowded months being April, August and December. Officials said that this density of safari jeeps tends to impact animals residing within the Park. more..

Flood of cheap Indian labour leaves SL workers in the lurch

Oct 2 (Island) PHU leader Udaya Gammanpila, said that there was a proliferation of Indian workers in the country following the govt’s decision to give them visa on arrival and Sri Lankan workers were now finding it hard to find jobs. MP said that the number of Indian workers in the country had increased during the recent past. "Already we have Indian tourist guides, drivers, paddy field workers, labourers, barbers serving at various places in the country. Their wage is comparatively low. more..

Only 80% certainty over body of Briton died in Sri Lanka

Oct 2 (BBC) The family of a man who died while swimming in SL have been told experts are only 80% certain his body was correctly identified. John Sims, 60, died after he went into the sea in Tangalle at about 22:00 GMT on 12 January 2013. The inquest into the businessman's death heard his body was identified from a passport photo and no post-mortem examinations mentioned the presence of metal in his body. more..

Armed gang forcible enters home, abduct 17-year-old girl

Oct 2 (AD) An armed group of people have abducted a 17 year old girl in Walewatta, Ambalanthota, after forcibly entering her home early this morning. Police has commenced an investigation regarding this incident on a complaint lodged by the girl’s parents. A group of 6, armed with weapons and firearms, has assaulted the father and the sister of the 17 year old girl had abducted her. The perpetrators had broken down the front door of the house and the door to the room more..

Jaffna violence: TNA opposes deploying army

Oct 2 (Island) The TNA has opposed moves to deploy the army to tackle criminals activities in the Jaffna peninsula. TNA Spokesman MP MA Sumanthiran said that curtailing underworld and violent activities by certain armed groups in the North should be left to the police and not the military. The MP said that had the Northern Provincial Council been given police powers, it could have made use of them to prevent the occurrence of such unlawful activities in the province. more..

Govt hasn't moral right to restrict imports: JVP

Oct 2 (DM) JVP said today the govt had no moral right to restrict the import of goods as a solution to the economic crisis while govt members including the Prez, PM and ministers were wasting public money to import vehicles worth millions and tour the globe accompanied by large delegations. JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake said that it was ludicrous for the govt to point out that it had restricted the import of vehicles including more..

Rubber farmers call for effective taxes on export industries

Oct 2 (EN) In a move which may spell the death for more than 10 percent of Sri Lanka's industrial exports, the country's top association representing large rubber farms has called for effective taxes on value-added rubber product exporters to help farmers make easier profits. SL has a number of solid tyre factories that are now using up large volumes of rubber, reducing the total volumes that are exported raw. Rubber product factories also import raw rubber as more..

Kerawalapitiya plant construction; FR petition re-fixed for support

Oct 2 (DN) A Fundamental Rights petition which sought an Interim Order directing the authorities to stay further proceedings in respect of the tender for the construction of 300 MW HFO/NG fired power plant at Kerawalapitiya was yesterday re-fixed for support on Oct 23 by the Supreme Court. The matter was re-fixed for support since the Supreme Court’s bench was not properly constituted. Ranjith Pushpa Kumara, Charman of National Movement for Consumer Rights Protection in SL filed more..

Documentary saves Minneriya elephant gathering

Oct 2 (CT) A decision taken by the Mahaweli Authority (MA) to shift the proposed pumping station, which was to be located at Kalinga Nuwara to Janaranjana for their proposed Mahaweli Water Security Investment Programme, has saved Minneriya’s great elephant gathering. “MA, for their water security project, was trying to use the Minneriya tank as the stock tank. The MA was trying to have a pumping station at more..

Stemming economic crisis: CB, 3 ministries to work out strategies

Oct 2 (DM) Ministries of Finance, Development Strategies and International trade and Trade and Commerce and the Central Bank will, within a week, decide on the steps to be taken to keep the rupee stable in the wake of the global economic crisis, sources close to PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said. They said he had directed the three ministries and the Central Bank to work out strategies to minimize the effect on SL from the fallout of US sanctions on Iran and trade war between USA & China. more..

Chinese media urged to make voice heard

Oct 2 (CO) In spite of the booming China-assisted infrastructure construction in Sri Lanka, Chinese television programs are hardly visible in Sri Lanka, while Indian and American media output is everywhere, according to Niranga Hettiarachchi, chairman and managing director of Sky Media Network during an interview in the Sri Lankan capital of Colombo. He called for greater efforts to carry out further cooperation and introduce more Chinese movies and dramas to Sri Lanka. more..

Building a road to prosperity in Sri Lanka

Oct 2 (CO) Sudath worked as a driver in Doha, Qatar, for nine years, at a monthly salary of LKR 45,000 (US$266.3). Living far away from his hometown, the SL man was very hard up. Now, he has a job with the Southern Expressway Extension Project in SL and earns LKR 55,000 a month. Excited about the job keeping him close to his family, as well as the higher income, 40-year-old man was quite grateful for the project, more..

Naseby documents end up in dustbin

Oct 3 (Island) President Maithripala Sirisena, who is also the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces, pathetically shirked his responsibility at the recently-concluded UNGA sessions. President Sirisena skipped Sri Lanka’s last opportunity to defend the country in the run up to the crucial March 2019 sessions. The UNP-SLFP coalition, in March 2017, received two additional years to fulfill its obligations in terms of Oct 2015 Geneva Resolution 30/1. President Sirisena certainly owed more..

Nexus between SL identity & Citizenship

Oct 3 (Island) Going through the recent statements made at Geneva, as well as on its sidelines, I wonder how much time each of us take to simply pause and reflect on where we are today, as opposed to where we were in 2015, 2009, 1983, 1978, 1948, and so on. So much has happened in Sri Lanka and so much keeps on happening that it sometimes feels emotionally and physically overwhelming to keep track of where one should position itself. more..

Lahiru’s fate to be decided soon

Oct 3 (SO) A young man who has never touched an automatic weapon, even a toy pistol for that matter be called a sniper trying to assassinate the President of a foreign country may have been his lopsided fate but if the case is not pursued vigorously and without delay, things might turn too ugly and tragic for Lahiru, his parents, as well as his little son and the wife, all of whom have gone through hell for the past three years. more..

Is there a Modern Prince?

Oct 3 (DN) Glancing through the business columns of a newspaper I found a revelation: 100,000 acres of land -30,000 in the North and 70,000 in the East- owned by the SL Cashew Corporation are being occupied by the Army. The failure to transfer the land to the owners even 10 years after the end of the war shows the negligence of the authorities and their indifference to national development. The land remains unutilized productively. If this is the situation with regard to land belonging to more..

Dial a public service home

Oct 3 (DN) Across the world Govts struggle to deliver essential services to citizens. The recipients hope it’s efficient, free of corruption and not bureaucratic. They are not always successful nor necessarily caring. Conversely, are public services cost effective or is it a perpetual loss making enterprise? We have had our share of mobile services. Made famous by one of our former Presidents. Across in India, the Delhi State administration has started a home delivery more..

'PC polls can be further delayed'

Oct 3 (DM) Minister Faizer Musthapha discussed the failed delimitation process, PC polls, political and current situation in sports with Daily mirror. Q: Not only the joint opposition but the govt members also urge you not to delay the Provincial Council polls any further. Is it possible to hold PC polls in January 2019? A: Before I answer your question, I must clarify that I am not a party to hold polls. more..

Promoting change through coherent thought

Oct 3 (CT) In contrasting current efforts at reform by what is termed civil society with what Chanaka Amaratunga spearheaded in the eighties, I realize that it might be useful to look at what he tried to achieve through the Council for Liberal Democracy (CLD). That will also make clear the need to revive a think tank on those lines, given the current moribund state of Sri Lankan politics. The situation is similar to that of that earlier period, when Chanaka founded the Council. more..

Security and sense of security

Oct 3 (CT) If someone thought that cutting down on the personal security of war-time President Mahinda Rajapaksa, then Defence Secretary, Gota R, among others, would keep them away from public glare, or expose their sensibilities to their own safety, it was not to be. On the one hand, they began moving even freer and more frequently all across the country only later, with the result, they are seen as a real electoral threat to the present-day rulers, if only the laws in this country and the distant US, more..

Harsha De Silva

Human rights is latest religion of Western nations: Cardinal Malcolm: A Comment

Oct 3 (CT) I refer to the above captioned news Report in the Daily Mirror of 24th Sept, and two subsequent reports (a) Cardinal Clarifies of 26th and (b) People shaped by Buddhist civilization do not violate Human Rights of 28th Sept. With due respect to the Rev. Cardinal, I wish to comment on the views expressed in these reports, as an independent and objective analyst, sifting the truths from the untruths. I am not a VIP or an intellectual opinion maker, but a humble citizen analyzing what is written, more..

Christianity and Human rights

Oct 3 (Island) I was surprised to see the statements by Malcolm Cardinal Ranjit, which appear to downplay Human Rights. The Cardinal sees it as a secular western European concept, but does not seem to be aware of its Christian roots. Similarly, Minister Mangala Samaraweera in his rebuttal of the Cardinals statement has referred to the Inquisition and the Crusades which have nothing to do with Christianity per se. Inquisition was part of the state policy in Spain as well as other more..

Sprinters Chelsea, Rasni hog limelight

Oct 3 (Island) Dazzling sprint performances and impressive record breaking feats in field events highlighted day-two of the All Island Schools Games Athletics Championship as unheralded sprinters Rasni Ahamad, Chelsea Melani, Dinara Bandara and thrower Rumesh Tharanga hogged limelight at the Sugathadasa Stadium on Tuesday. In the biggest upset of the day little heard of Rasni Ahamad from Polgahawela turned tables more..

Looming financial crisis & Fixing economy

Oct 3 (CT) A tailor is the best to stitch a patch in a torn cloth. He can apply himself professionally. There is a saying a stitch in time saves nine! But asking a dentist to do a cardiac surgery will not help. Closing the stable door after the horse has bolted may not help to resolve the despair! Today we are experiencing a situation where the policy makers appear to be alarmed of the current financial scenario of the country. They are resorting to precautions probably with forethoughts of more..

Edtorial: Flog TU bosses!

Oct 3 (Island) A video, going viral on the Internet, shows an Indian voter making a public show of his servility by washing an MP’s feet and drinking the dirty water as a mark of respect for the politician. One’s gorge rises at this act of asininity. This practice is not limited to India, though. In this land like no other, too, most voters lick their elected representatives’ footwear in public. We also have many trade union leaders grovelling before politicians & carrying latter on their shoulders more..

Time to accelerate structural, regulatory reform in Sri Lanka: EU Ambassador

Oct 3 (FT) EU Ambassador to SL Tung-Lai Margue declared that the time was ripe for Sri Lanka to accelerate structural and regulatory reforms to become a true leading maritime, logistics and distribution hub in South Asia. Speaking at the national public-private dialogue on maritime, logistics and transport reform held under the EU-funded Trade Related Assistance Project implemented by the Int'l Trade Centre, more..

U-19 Asia Cup: Sri Lanka down Pakistan to reach semis

Oct 3 (CT) Sri Lanka under-19 team continued their winning streak defeating the Pakistan under-19 team by 23 runs in their Asia Cup match in Chittagong, Bangladesh yesterday. Sri Lanka will now face defending champions Afghanistan in the semi-final scheduled to be played on 4 Oct. The other semi-final will see India take on Bangladesh. Winning the toss Pakistan chose to bowl first. Sri Lankan openers built a strong partnership for the first wicket, scoring 63 runs. more..