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Implementation of Budget proposals, evaluating impact vital

Mar 7 (DN) Budget proposal to expand SL Govt’s IT initiative to facilitate Arts to the Science internship program, where the industry would train 1,000 unemployed youths, mostly arts graduates through internships for one year in IT-BPM, KPO firms, would be a distinctive initiative to reach the govt’s ambitious target of creating a more vibrant IT sector. As Sri Lanka is emerging as a global ICT destination of choice in a number of key focus domain areas, BPO sector would be one of the key sectors more..

SLFP says Mangala’s Budget is a stop gap measure aimed at elections

Mar 7 (FT) The budget presented by the UNP Govt is a mere stop gap measure focused on welfare aimed at elections lacking in long term policy measures while proving that their policies have ruined country’s economy, SLFP said. “They want to increase the number of Samurdi beneficiaries by 600,000 more. This means that rural people have actually fallen into poverty during their rule. First they wanted to do away with this, more..

THASL welcomes Budget proposals

Mar 7 (FT) The Hotels Association of SL (THASL) welcomed a slew of proposals included in Budget 2019, including tax concessions, efforts to increase women in the formal workforce, and residential visas as measures that would boost economic growth and create employment opportunities. THASL Chairman Sanath Ukwatte thanked Minister Mangala Samaraweera for accepting industry proposals and presenting a Budget that aims to increase exports and attract investment. more..

Korean Spa Packaging eyes MTD Walkers

Mar 7 (CT) Two members of the Board of Directors of troubled listed company MTD Walkers PLC, namely Sharm Fernando and Yogendraprasath Sathiyaseelan, both representatives of Supreme Global, have resigned from their positions, a stock exchange filing said. Executive Deputy Chairman, Jehan Amaratunga, is also set to resign within a few days, subject to a possible ownership transfer, sources close to the company said. According to the sources, Korean Spa Packaging Chairman, more..

Minister Harsha citing CB blames everything on 52-day political hiatus

Mar 7 (Island) The country should develop the ability to manufacture complex goods within the country and the Budget 2019 has provided incentives to promote new inventions, non-Cabinet Minister of Economic Reforms and Public Distribution Dr. Harsha de Silva said, yesterday. Joining the debate on the second reading of the budget, De Silva said the Central Bank reports clearly blamed the economic downfall and more..

Japan extends assistance for reproductive health

Mar 7 (Island) The Govt of Japan and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in Sri Lanka signed an agreement, granting USD 1.4 million for improving access to information and services on sexual and reproductive health for women and girls in Sri Lanka. The three year programme includes access to services for survivors of gender-based violence, which is crucial for women and girls to fully realize and exercise their sexual and reproductive health and rights. more..

Finland’s Fortum Oy to invest $ 300 mn in energy plant

Mar 7 (DN) Fortum Oy of Finland, a company in to generating renewable energy through recycled waste and garbage will invest USD 300 million to set up a plant in Mirigama. The company plans to build a waste park in a 30-acre land which aims to generate 250 MW electricity which can be supplied to the national grid. The top officials of the company also met President Maithripala Sirisena last week to explain the advantages of this project. The Park would be set up in four months. more..

Prez reveals foreign envoys meddled with allocation of cabinet portfolios

Mar 7 (Island) President Maithripala Sirisena alleged that some Colombo based Western diplomats had intervened on behalf of the UNP when he brought the police under his purview. A smiling President Sirisena said foreign envoys came running to him asking why the police was taken over at the expense of the UNP. President was addressing the print and electronic media at the President’s House where he dealt with more..

Govt dishonouring previous commitments to Banks: CCC Boss

Mar 7 (CT) Govt’s two flagship entrepreneurship funding projects, Enterprise Sri Lanka and Gamperaliya, may run into headwinds because of the possible breakdown in confidence of banks to offer concessionary loans to budding entrepreneurs under this scheme despite being guaranteed by the Govt, because of the Govt dishonouring almost similar commitments for the past 12 quarters in respect of an almost similar scheme. This was said by CCC Chairman Rajendra Theagarajah more..

JVP sees good budget proposals finally, but says govt living way beyond its means

Mar 7 (Island) The Budget 2019 was different in structure to those presented by the UNP in the past and it had looked into areas which were often neglected, JVP MP Sunil Handunnetti said. Joining the budget debate, Handunnetti, however, pointed out that the feeble economic condition of the country made most of the budgetary proposals unrealistic though they had some progressive features. Calling them dream proposals and questioned how the govt which had a negative balance more..

'Figures in Budget 2019 incorrect'

Mar 7 (DM) Figures of the govt revenue stated in the Budget proposal 2019 are erroneous, PHU leader Udaya Gammanpila said. He said some figures have been exaggerated with a motive of hiding govt’s actual economic picture. “The Govt had estimated in the budget that its revenue would be increased by 22% from 2018 (Rs.2,025 billion) to 2019 (Rs.2,464 billion). However, when considering the percentage more..

Malik says FTAs are on, not off

Mar 7 (FT) Minister Malik Samarawickrama yesterday confirmed that all trade agreements Sri Lanka is working on were making headway, despite unfair criticism. “There is no complication in any of the trade agreements, they are all progressing steadily,” the Minister said, speaking at a post-Budget discussion organised by E&Y in Colombo yesterday. Despite the negative criticism, particularly on SL-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (SLSFTA) which came into effect from 1 May 2018, more..

Majority view Budget as positive: Poll

Mar 7 (FT) Majority of people polled in a PepperCube Consultants research have viewed the 2019 Budget as positive. PepperCube polled a sample of 1,200 people in all provinces post-Budget Tuesday evening and 48% (of all respondents) believed that the Budget will have an impact on their day-to-day life with 60% (of the 48%) expecting the impact to be positive. 23% indicated that the budget was positive, 15% that it was negative and 37% felt it was an election budget more..

MR agrees to abolish Exec Presidency: JVP

Mar 7 (CT) Leader of the Opposition Mahinda Rajapaksa agreed to abolish the Executive Presidency based on policies, claimed Leader of the JVP, Anura Kumara Dissanayake. He revealed this to the media, following the discussion held between the representatives of JVP & SLPP, with regard to the proposed 20th Amendment. He further said that Rajapaksa did not agree with all the provisions in the said Amendment Bill. more..

Counter Terrorism Bill: Labour Advisory Council says democracy at stake

Mar 7 (CT) National Labour Advisory Council composed of 12 trade unions wrote to Chairman of the Parliamentary Sectoral Oversight Committee on International Relations, MP Mayantha Dissanayake requesting an appointment to make representations on the harm posed to democracy by the Counter Terrorism Bill. Copies of the letter were sent to the Prez, PM, Minister of Labour and Trade Union Relations, Int'l Labour Organisation, UN Office in Colombo and European Union Commission. more..

Over 300 kgs of heroin brought to Colombo from Mirissa

Mar 7 (DN) Police revealed that heroin weighing over 300 kg had been transported to Colombo by notorious criminal Kelum Indika alias Keuma four months ago. The suspect was arrested with the diamond worth Rs.5 billion which was robbed from a house in Arawwala on Tuesday. It has been revealed that this heroin stock belonging to underworld gangster Makandure Madush had been brought to Mirissa by boat. This stock of heroin has been unloaded at the Mirissa beach more..

Sri Lanka co-sponsors UK-led accountability resolution

Mar 7 (Island) President Maithripala Sirisena, who is also the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces yesterday said that he was trying to settle issues arising out of Geneva Resolution 30/1 co-sponsored by Sri Lanka in Oct 2015 through dialogue and consensus. Prez warned that he would deal firmly with those pursuing strategies contrary to his policy. Asserting that it was an internal issue of the govt, he emphasized more..

AG to indict ex-Navy Commander Karannagoda, court told

Mar 7 (Island) The Attorney General’s Department had decided to file a case against former Navy Commander, Wasantha Karannagoda and others for murder, abetting murder, conspiring to murder and other charges, Senior State Counsel, Janaka Bandara told Fort Magistrate, Ranga Dissanayake. Dissanayake also instructed police to remand six suspects, including Sampath Munasinghe aka Navy Sampath till March 19. They are accused of having abducted 11 persons in 2011. more..

Cabinet okays new FDI oil refinery at H’tota

Mar 7 (Island) The Cabinet, yesterday, approved a USD 1 billion oil refinery project at Hambantota, Minister Sagala Ratnayake said. Joining in the budget debate in Parliament, he said the proposed industrial zone adjacent to the Hambantota Port had been delayed due to politically motivated protests. "There was no plan to attract ships to the Hambantota port. When we came up with a plan to do so it was disrupted by organised groups. Had it received the support of one and all, more..

UNHRC issue handled with care: Kiriella

Mar 7 (CT) Discussions are being carried out with the int'l community to relax some clauses of UNHRC Resolution 30/1 and Govt has received a positive response in this regard from the int'l community, Minister Lakshman Kiriella said. Kiriella, responding to a question raised by UPFA MP Dinesh Gunawardena assured that the Govt was handling the issue in such a manner so that there will be no impact on the country. more..

Suspects in custody need not end up in the mortuary

Mar 7 (DM) While deploring the abduction and the killing of the two young Rathgama businessmen – 36-year old Manjula Asela Kumara and 31-year-old Rasin Chinthaka -- allegedly in police custody, today’s editorial also vehemently condemns the custodial deaths or killings of all suspects -- whether they are arrested on charges of drug smuggling or peddling or on charges of criminal activities such as rape, robbery, murder or child abuse. It was in the aftermath of the brutal attack on more..

Karannagoda, Rule of Law and the Season of Silliness in Geneva

Mar 7 (DM) SL’s reconciliation efforts are hounded by the ghosts of that arbitrary past, Ranga Jayasuriya claims in his column titled Adm. Karannagoda trial would not satiate LTTE rump, but upholds rule of law. What is the that of the claim? Jayasuriya’s contention is based on the possible trial-at-bar of former Navy Commander Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda who is accused of abetting the illegal confinement of 11 young men by a Naval unit led by his personal security officer more..

TNA to the fore

Mar 7 (FT) The TNA played a decisive role during the constitutional crisis in October last year acting as a mediator between President Sirisena and PM Wickremesinghe. Both in and out of the Supreme Court, lawyer and TNA National List MP, M.A. Sumanthiran built a case for democracy, ultimately winning a landmark Supreme Court case. While some argue the role the TNA played backfired on it, more..

Backpack users endanger others, risk their health

Mar 7 (ST) Backpacks, which many working people and students use, are adding to the inconvenience that commuters suffer in public transport. They also endanger passengers as they move in and out of public transport including trains. This is so even in lifts. A regular commuter of the evening train from Ratmalana to Colombo Fort Danushika Weerasekara, 21, said it is difficult for her to get in to the train as people with oversized backpacks more..

Lasith Malinga upset with batsmen after Centurion capitulation

Mar 7 (CI) Lasith Malinga pulled no punches in his assessment of his team's performance in the defeat in the second ODI against South Africa in Centurion, warning his team-mates that they needed to value and respect the fact that they were playing international cricket for Sri Lanka. "I think they didn't understand," a furious Malinga said at the post-match presentation. "I feel this is not a gift. They have talent. more..

Presidential Commission receives complaints against Rajitha and Thalatha

Mar 7 (AD) PHU has lodged complaints against Ministers Rajitha Senaratne and Thalatha Atukorale at the PCoI, which was appointed to probe allegations of corruption within the govt from 2015 to 2018. The complaints were filed by the Deputy National Organizer of PHU and Deputy Chairman of the Western Provincial Council (WPC) Yasapala Koralage and PHU’s Propaganda Secretary Thushara Dissanayake. more..

Video: Special HC releases Ali Roshan

Mar 7 (AD) The Permanent High Court-at-Bar has released Niraj Roshan alias Ali Roshan and six others claiming that it has no jurisdiction to hear the cases filed against them for alleged possession of elephants. Accordingly, the Special High Court has rejected the charge sheet submitted by the Attorney General against the seven defendants of the case and ordered to acquit them. The acquittal order was issued by more..

Powdered milk samples sent for testing

Mar 7 (CT) Deputy Minister Buddhika Pathirana said in Parliament that several samples of imported milk powder have already been sent overseas for tests to determine whether there are ingredients not suitable for human consumption. He made this remark when UNP MP Ananda Aluthgamage queried as to why Pathirana and Minister Rajitha Senaratne hold different views regarding the quality of imported milk powder more..

U.K. top court rules in favour of Sri Lankan Tamil asylum seeker

Mar 7 (Hindu) Britain’s Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled in favour of a Sri Lankan Tamil asylum seeker’s claim that the Home Office was wrong to reject his contention that he was tortured back in Sri Lanka, and asked the Upper Tribunal to look at the case afresh, in what is considered a landmark judgment. The Supreme Court, in its judgment, also pointed to well established evidence of extensive torture by more..

CP leader flays Finance Minister for hiding country’s dismal plight

Mar 7 (Island) Most politicians were not aware of the economic crisis Sri Lanka was facing, General Secretary of the Sri Lanka Communist Party (SLCP), D. E.W. Gunasekera told media, yesterday. He said Minister of Finance Mangala Samaraweera had presented the budget without revealing the true situation. Addressing the media, Gunasekera said that Sri Lanka was facing the biggest economic crisis since Independence. more..

We don’t want to reopen old wounds: Prez

Mar 7 (Hindu) Exposing the rift persisting within the SL govt, President Maithripala Sirisena on Wednesday said he would ask the UNHRC to reconsider its 2015 resolution on the country, as he did not wish to reopen old wounds. Hours after President Sirisena declared his position at an editors’ meeting on Wednesday morning — effectively going back on the pledges he made to the Tamil minority in 2015 — more..

Vehicle prices up after Budget

Mar 7 (DM) Due to the revision of Excise Duty on motor vehicles and implementation of the luxury tax on the recent budget proposal, the local vehicle prices would be increased by a minimum of Rs.150,000, Vehicle Importers Association of Sri Lanka (VIASL) Chairman Ranjan Peiris said. After imposing taxes, imported vehicle prices had been increased between Rs.150,000 and Rs.600,000. more..

Absolute power corrupts absolutely

Mar 7 (FT) Advocacy of a system of govt according to constitutional principles and the rule of law are the central features of any political democracy that respects human rights. An independent judiciary, the essential guardian of the rule of law, is the linchpin – a central cohesive source of support and stability of the scheme of checks and balances through which the separation of powers is assured. Otherwise, there is no other guarantee that the executive—the govt—will respect the rule of law more..

Revenue hike: A distant dream

Mar 7 (CT) Budget 2019 presented by Minister Mangala Samaraweera on Tuesday plans to reduce the fiscal deficit from the envisaged 5.3% of GDP last year to 4.4% of GDP this year, a cut of 0.9 percentage points or 17%, according to a Finance Ministry Budget document e-mailed to this newspaper by the Ministry on Tuesday. The Govt plans to achieve this target by increasing revenue and grants income by 1.7 percentage points (12.06%) to 15.8% of GDP YoY in 2019, more..

Shamindra Ferdinando

Man promising his kidney, flees after extorting Rs. 125,000

Mar 7 (DN) A man, who had promised to donate a kidney to a patient, had fled after taking Rs. 125,000 from the latter. S.H. Kumuduni, 39, of Siripura, Uragaha said she had to spend over Rs. 50,000 for the routine tests of the 'donor' before operation. The suspect, from Kiripedda in Karandeniya, had volunteered to donate his kidney, following a notice appearing in the newspaper. Kumuduni said the suspect had gone for tests on 47 occasions to the hospital and she had paid him Rs. 2,000 more..

Ceylon Chamber stresses SOE reform to revive Sri Lanka growth

Mar 7 (EN) The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce expressed disappointment over the absence of reforms to state-owned enterprises in the Sri Lankan government’s 2019 budget but acknowledged it was realistic in the present political context. “The 2019 budget does not address some of the fundamental issues of the economy such as State-Owned Enterprise reform that would enable Sri Lanka to move towards a higher economic development trajectory,” it said in a statement. more..

Navy intercepts boat carrying 30 illegal immigrants

Mar 7 (SLN) Naval personnel attached to Fast Attack Craft (FAC) belonging to the Southern Naval Command, deployed on patrol to ward off illegal activities in SL territorial waters, intercepted a suspicious trawler plying in southern seas this morning and held 30 suspects onboard. Having spotted a suspicious boat movement at sea about 80 nautical miles off the Galle Lighthouse, two FAC patrolling in southern sea area more..

Lalkantha granted bail

Mar 7 (AD) JVP politburo member K.D. Lalkantha, who was arrested over an accident in Anuradhapura, has been granted bail by the Anuradhapura Magistrate’s Court. The politician was produced before the court today (07) when the the bail application filed on his behalf was taken up for consideration. He was ordered released on two personal bails of Rs 100,000 each by the court. The Magistrate’s Court also ordered K.D. Lalkantha to appear before the court on March 14. more..

Purchase price of paddy to increase

Mar 7 (DN) Measures will be taken to increase the guaranteed purchase price of paddy from Yala season, Minister P Harrison said. Accordingly price of a kilo of Samba paddy will be increased from Rs 41 to Rs 43 and price of a of a kilo of Nadu will be increased from Rs 38 to Rs 40, said the Minister. Participating as the Chief Guest at the Western province Govi Abhiman Award Ceremony, Minister Harrison stressed the govt have already implemented a mechanism to limit more..