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Adm. Karannagoda trial would not satiate LTTE rump, but upholds rule of law

Mar 5 (DM) Sri Lanka’s effort to find a closure to the victims of the protracted terrorist war is obstructed by two ideological extremes, each feeding into the agenda of the other. On one extreme end of the scale, Sinhala ultra-nationalists and electoral calculations of Southern politics have opposed almost all on-going and past initiatives to prosecute military officials implicated in even the most blatant human rights violations. more..

Maximizing number of prisons not a trait of developed country: President

Mar 5 (AD) President Sirisena says that, as the subject minister, his expectation from the Police Service is to carry out law equally to all without considering the position, status or party. He made these remarks at the meeting held to discuss the future proceeding of the Police Dept at the President’s office today (4). All the senior officers representing every section of the police dept were summoned to this meeting and more..

PET scanner brings peace building award for Hilir

Mar 5 (ST) The first ever Award for Volunteering for Peace Building was presented to Hilir Mohamed for his efforts in creating racial harmony through the initiative of raising funds to donate a PET scanner to the Apeksha Hospital in Maharagama. The presentation was made at the annual National Volunteer Awards ceremony (V- Awards) 2019, jointly organised by the UN Volunteers SL and the Social Welfare and more..

EC planning to publish audited accounts of political parties on-line

Mar 5 (DN) The Elections Commission is planning to publish the annual audited accounts and the constitutions of the registered political parties on its website. Commissioner General of Elections M.M. Mohamed said this decision has been taken considering the increasing demand from the public for these documents. “Publishing such documents on the website will facilitate the public to refer to them easily. more..

Budget 2019: Home Sweet Home housing loan for newlyweds

Mar 5 (NR) Minister Mangala Samaraweera has proposed the introduction of a loan scheme named Home Sweet Home to disburse loans to first time buyers. Accordingly, first time home buyers to receive a 10-million rupees on a 6% interest. He also pledged to resolve the long-standing salary issues faced by plantation workers. He said one million Sri Lankans does not have sanitary facilities. more..

Sri Lanka to spend Rs. 4 billion to build toilets in houses, public places

Mar 5 (EN) Sri Lanka will invest 4 billion rupees to ensure over one million residents will have a toilet in their home before the end of 2019, Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera said. "We are now a middle income economy with expressways," he said, delivering the 2019 budget. "However, over one million Sri Lankans do not have a toilet in their homes," he said. This is around 264,000 households, minister said. more..

Recipe for SOE reform

Mar 5 (FT) Combined losses of State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) rose to Rs. 87 billion in 2017, a new report said, calling for the Government to compile a comprehensive list of all SOEs and set basic reporting procedures, strengthen the Committee on Public Enterprise (COPE) and Committee on Public Accounts (COPA) and implement international standards to improve governance and reduce losses. more..

Live updates: 2019 Budget speech

Mar 5 (AD) 3.34 pm: Rs 32 billion to be allocated for development of school infrastructure. 3.32 pm: From Jan 1, 2020 approval will be granted for buildings only if they have been made accessible for disabled persons. All govt buildings must be able to accommodate disabled persons by 2020. 3.23 pm: Rs 100 million to be allocated for the sterilization of stray dogs in the country. 3.22 pm: Rs 600 million to uplift Suva Seriya ambulance more..

JVs compulsory for foreign construction firms in Sri Lanka govt projects

Mar 5 (EN) Finance minister Mangala Samarawera said new rules will be introduced to compel foreign construction companies to form joint ventures with local firms when bidding for govt projects. Presenting the govt’s 2019 budget, Samaraweera said the move was a reaction to the many foreign construction companies which had won contracts in the country. “To support the local construction companies, no foreign construction company will be allowed to tender for govt projects unless more..

Suspect remanded over alleged sexual assault

Mar 5 (DN) Nikaweratiya Magistrate Lakmali Dassanayake remanded a suspect till March 11, over the alleged sexual assault on a schoolgirl, recently. The suspect is a 65-year-old resident of Withikuliya, while the victim is a resident of Nikaweratiya, Kurunegala. The accused had allegedly told the girl that he would kill her parents if she were reveal to them what had happened. The victim had then confided in her grandmother, who works abroad. more..

Constitutional Council is not independent

Alleged threats by SP Governor: Principal doesn’t want complaint probed

Mar 5 (DM) The Principal of Southlands Girls' School in Galle has informed the police not to investigate the complaint she lodged against Southern Province Governor Keerthi Thennakoon, Police Spokesman said. Principal had earlier complained to the Galle Police that Governor Thennakoon allegedly threatened her and her husband for not enrolling fours students to school. For the same reason, a group of parents had launched a Satyagraha outside the school more..

Revenue Mobilisation

Mar 5 (CT) Banks received an impetus to lend to micro and small entrepreneurs (M&SEs) due to Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Finance Ministry facilitation, this newspaper, in an article published in its Sunday’s edition, carrying a strap line, Lack of Access to Finance and heading, Constrains micro and small entrepreneurs, said. ADB lending to the Treasury under the programme, begun in 2016, of some US$ 100 million, was at the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) plus more..

Taxes and fees on vehicles revised

Mar 5 (AD) Several taxes including the import tax, excise tax, and the carbon tax have been revised under the Budget Proposal for the year 2019. Accordingly, the import tax on petrol vehicles under 800 cc has been increased by Rs 150,000 while petrol vehicles under 1000 cc have been by Rs 175,000 cc. The import tax on petrol vehicles under 1300 cc has been proposed to be increased by Rs 500,000. more..

Sri Lanka doubles casino license, entrance fee of US$ 50

Mar 5 (EN) Sri Lanka will raise an annual licence fee for casinos from 200 million to 400 million rupees, Minister Mangala Samaraweea said. There will also be a turnover tax of 15%. The taxes will come into effect from April 1. A casino entrance fee of US$ 50 per person will be charged from June 1. Samaraweera said in Singapore the charge was higher. However, the entrance fee could hurt casinos more than the 200 million rupee hike of the license fee, as it will discourage players, more..

Sri Lanka to tax international credit card transactions 3.5%

Mar 5 (EN) Sri Lanka will charge a 3.5% nation building tax tax on international credit card transactions, Minister Mangala Samaraweera said. "This tax will apply to foreign payments made using Electronic Fund Transfer Cards (both Debit and Credit cards) to purchase goods or services including offshore digital services," he said. An existing stamp duty on all credit card transactions will be removed. This will also address the issue of not taxing foreign online transactions, more..

Liquor and cigarette prices to go up

Mar 5 (AD) Govt announced the revision of excise duty on cigarettes and liquor under its budget proposal, which would lead to an increase in prices. Minister Mangala Samaraweera announced a revision of Excise duty on Cigarettes effective from 6th March and introduction of NBT on manufacturer of Cigarettes effective from 1st June. Accordingly, Excise duty on Cigarettes, which are more than 60 mm, will be increased by 12%, more..

Budget day!

Mar 5 (FT) Budget Speech or the second reading of the Appropriation Bill will take place at 2 p.m. today. As the uncertainty of the elections looms, the content in the Budget 2019 may be the barometer to gauge the Govt’s thinking and the level of confidence with regard to executing the contemplated constitutional changes, specifically the 20th Amendment, in which case there would not be a Presidential election towards the end of the year as per the elections calendar. more..

Rajitha meets Ambassadors

Mar 5 (Island) Health Minister Rajitha Senarathna met Head of the European Union Delegation, Tung-Lai Margue and German Ambassador, Joern Rohde at the Health Ministry, recently. This discussion was held to discuss the progress of the health projects carried out in the country. Senarathna told the ambassadors that he planned to introduce a colour scheme for energy drinks. Sri Lanka already has a Traffic Light labeling System (Colour coding) on soft drinks to indicate their sugar levels. more..

Scrap PC system if polls further delayed: EC

Mar 5 (DM) It is advisable to scrap the entire Provincial Council (PC) system if the govt is not willing to conduct elections forthwith, Elections Commission Chairman Mahinda Deshapriya said. He said the provincial councils were set up for the political empowerment of people. “If it were left to the bureaucrats to run the provincial councils without elected representatives, it will be advisable to abolish the system once and for all. more..

Expressway toll charges during peak hours increased

Mar 5 (AD) Presenting the Budget 2019, Minister Mangala Samaraweera has proposed to increase the toll charges for expressway during the peak hours. Accordingly, the existing charge will be increased by Rs 100 with effect from the 1st of April. The budget proposal for the year 2019 was presented to the parliament by Minister of Finance Mangala Samaraweera. Accordingly, the Second Reading of the Appropriation Bill commenced at 2.00 p.m. this afternoon (05). more..

Sri Lanka to give extra tax credits for maternity leave

Mar 5 (EN) Sri Lanka will amend labour laws and give tax extra tax credits to ensure greater participation of women in the economy with flexible work and tax deductions for maternity leave, Minister Mangala Samaraweera said. He said labour laws will be amended to allow flexible working conditions such as working from home. He said firms that give a woman employee a maternity leave of three months will receive an extra corporate income tax deduction worth 50% of employee's salary. more..

Unusual alliance to save blue whales stalled by Sri Lanka

Mar 5 (AP) When the feeding grounds of blue whales overlap with busy shipping lanes, business interests often supersede those of the endangered marine mammals. But in Sri Lanka, an unusual alliance has been forged: local conservationists and international shipping companies have aligned in a bid to move the heavily trafficked lane about 28 km away to help avoid collisions between whales and freighters. more..

Women on Sri Lankan listed firm boards to be mandatory

Mar 5 (EN) All listed SL companies should have at least 20% of board seats occupied by women by Dec 31st 2022, finance minister Mangala Samarawera said. The proposal is for encouraging more women representation on corporate boards, he told parliament. The proposed introduction of mandatory representation of women on corporate boards will be done in a phased manner, Samaraweera said. The SEC will introduce a voluntary target of 30% of women more..

Sri Lanka gives public sector salary hike

Mar 5 (EN) SL will increase public sector salaries and correct anomalies in pension payments, Minister Mangala Samaraweera said. "We will increase the state sector salary by 2,500 rupees," he said. He said 40 billion rupees have been allocated for the salary increase, which will start in July. He said since 2015, salaries of public sector employees have doubled. Samaraweera said there were anomalies in pensions paid to state sector employees retiring before 2016, more..

Foreign scholarships for A/L best achievers

Mar 5 (NR) Minister Mangala Samaraweera says through 2019 Budget a Scholarship scheme will be introduced for students who excel at the GCE A/L exam. He announced the introduction of a scholarship scheme, Educational Excellence or SEE Fund, to facilitate the country’s top performers at Physical Science, Biological Science, Technology, Commerce and Arts, at the A/L Exam held each year to pursue their undergraduate education more..

Sri Lanka to review regulations on ceramic, tile industry, transport

Mar 5 (EN) Sri Lanka will review regulations on ceramic and tile industry mining and transport that are holding the sectors back, Minister Mangala Samaraweera said. "We will review these regulations and laws that are a barrier to these industries, keeping the environmental concerns in mind," he said. Sri Lanka ceramic and tile industries have complained that permits are needed from 16 different agencies, which have made it almost impossible to mine raw materials. more..

Norway to provide 60mn krone for mine action in Sri Lanka

Mar 5 (DM) The Norwegian Govt would provide Norwegian krone (NOK) 60 million over a period of three years for mine action in Sri Lanka, the Royal Norwegian Embassy said. Norwegian Foreign Affairs Minister Ine Marie Eriksen Søreide said Sri Lanka has been heavily contaminated by landmines, but the country is now approaching its goal of becoming mine-free. “This year, Norway holds the presidency of the Mine Ban Treaty, and intends to help Sri Lanka achieve this important goal. more..

South Africa continue search for best XI as Sri Lanka look to end ODI rut

Mar 5 (CI) A wounded South Africa bounced back to win the first ODI of this series against SL by eight wickets. But at this point, results are almost secondary to the goal of identifying who the best limited-overs cricketers in the country are, and who will be going to the World Cup. What is SA's best XI in ODIs? This was the central question that CSA's selection policies set out to answer over the past year, with increasing urgency. more..

Seminar on Buddhist and Gandhara links between Pakistan and Sri Lanka

Mar 5 (PHC) High Commission of Pakistan, in collaboration with the Buddhist and Pali University of SL, is holding an International Seminar on Buddhist and Gandhara Civilization: The Cultural Nexus between Pakistan and Sri Lanka at Main Auditorium of the Buddhist & Pali University, Homagama on March 11. Eminent scholars from China, Germany, Pakistan and SL will be participating in this International Seminar to elucidate the audience with their thoughts and knowledge. more..

Namal says budget proposals are very attractive

Mar 5 (AM) MP Namal Rajapaksa indirectly praised the budget of the UNP-led govt saying its proposals are very attractive. He also asked why the same govt could not come with the same proposals four years ago. "Very attractive proposals presented in the 2019 budget. Question is, how can this Govt. who’s lifespan is only 6 months can implement it within that period? Why weren’t these proposals brought forward in the last 4 years? what can we expect from an incompetent Govt?" more..

Sri Lanka boosts spending in budget targeting voters

Mar 5 (Reuters) Sri Lanka boosted spending on state employees, pensioners and the armed forces, and promised many rural infrastructure projects in a 2019 budget to woo voters before two elections, following a period of political instability. Minister Mangala Samaraweera raised taxes on the tourism sector, vehicles, liquor and cigarettes to meet govt spending before a presidential election later this year and a general election in 2020. more..

Prez election & Prez’s spoiler power

Mar 6 (CT) Sri Lanka’s major political parties have been making arrangements and strategic moves with the forthcoming presidential election in mind. PM Ranil Wickremesinghe‘s highly publicized visit to the North last month was one of those strategic moves. Tamil votes are and should be a part of the UNP's electoral calculations. SLPP leader Mahinda Rajapaksa has been meeting with Muslim groups, knowing very well that Muslim votes played a significant role in his defeat in 2015. more..

SL: Getting ready for the UNHRC session

Mar 6 (CT) President Maithripala Sirisena is reported to be seriously examining the implications of withdrawing from the US-backed UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) resolution Sri Lanka had co-sponsored in September 2015. By co-sponsoring the resolution, Sri Lanka was committed to set up a tribunal with international participation to investigate allegations of war crimes committed by the army as part of its accountability for human rights aberrations during the Eelam War. more..

Cleaning House: How CID purged the Police of murder-tarred DIGs

Mar 6 (CT) A Senior Deputy Inspector General of the Sri Lanka Police is currently under investigation by the CID, for suspected irregularities in the handling of a murder investigation. The IGP transferred Senior DIG of the Southern Province, Ravi Wijegunawardena to Police Headquarters after allegations surfaced of his possible complicity in obstructing the investigation into the abduction and murder of two businessmen. more..

Bootstrapped, Profitable and Proud: The 4Axis Story

Mar 6 (roar) On the seventh floor of the McLarens building on Bauddhaloka Mawatha is an office, where a small team of developers are huddled around a computer. As we walk in and look around, we can see that these developers have been working on a piece of critical code. On the other side is a small meeting room, and out walks a young man who looks to be in his late 20s. “Hi, I’m Dumindu” he introduces himself. Dumindu Kanankage is a director of 4Axis Solutions, a six-year-old more..

The way forward

Mar 6 (CT) During my three day visit to the North, I addressed the Jaffna Managers Forum, at the Euroville Auditorium on the topic - Sri Lankan Crisis Affects the North and South: The Way Forward. Vartharaja Perumal, former Chief Minister of the North and East, chaired the meeting. A synopsis of my speech: The present UNP-led Government was a failure. It has lost a golden opportunity to solve the national question, with a Government of the two major parties the UNP and SLFP, more..

President’s open war on drugs

Mar 6 (CT) During Jan and Feb 2019, more than 556 kg of heroin was found with over 6,650 individuals being arrested. These statistics came as a shock to the whole country when compared to raids carried out last year where only 730.129 kg was found and nabbed along with 40,998 suspects. This comes in the backdrop of President Sirisena openly declaring a war on drugs and pledging to end Sri Lanka’s 43-year more..

Taking the bull by the horns

Mar 6 (CT) It may be the traditionally passive attitude and the approach we have when it comes to grips with the necessity to deal with situations, which might have made us like this. The absence of rationality makes us feel indifferent, and that affects our thinking, when it comes to the compulsion to be drastic in decision-making, and the inevitable result is the failure to give importance to important matters. The result is the inevitable inaction that ends in ignoring the obvious. more..

A tribute to Shibly Aziz PC

Mar 6 (GV) I want to thank the organizers for having invited us here today to pay tribute to this great man. I want to particularly thank Shibly Aziz’s wife Fathima. In life she was Shibly’s rock of Gibraltar and today she is the main driving force behind this event and other activities being done in his name. Shibly has talented sons and Afdhel Aziz’s book Strange Fruit once kept me company on a long flight across the Atlantic with its sensitive portrayal of people and diversity endemic to our culture. more..