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Govt to take up with India northern rail track defects

Nov 30 (Island) The govt is expected to take up with India major defects in the northern and Medawachchiya-Talaimannar railway tracks two of the biggest rehabilitation projects undertaken by the previous administration following the conclusion of the war in May 2009. Transport Secretary Nihal Somaweera confirmed that a report prepared by a three-member panel of experts had been received and brought to the notice of Minister more..

Banks hit by tax hikes, leasing ban, possible deposit drain

Nov 30 (EN) Sri Lanka's commercial banks could be hit by a triple whammy of higher corporate and deemed value added taxes, loss of leasing business and a state guarantee on finance company deposits may also shift money out by the budget for 2016, a research report said. "We take a negative view on the Commercial Banking industry with the changes introduced in the 2016 budget proposals," Asia Securities, said in a report. more..

Sri Lanka higher spending, deficits, credit negative: Moody's

Nov 30 (EN) Sri Lanka's continued high deficit target of 5.9% of GDP with total spending set to rise to 22.3% of GDP from a recent 18 - 19%, will be negative for sovereign credit, Moody's, a rating agency said. There higher expenditure set aside for education, health and infrastructure. In 2015 the deficit is also expected at 5.9% of GDP. "If implemented, such spending would enhance growth prospects but would further delay Sri Lanka’s more..

Railway unions calls President to stop importing locomotives from India

Nov 30 (LBO) Railway Trade Union Alliance has urged the President and PM to stop importing what they called substandard locomotives from India. Alliance said that two separate cabinet papers are to be submitted to the cabinet seeking approval to import locomotives, power sets, and railway carriages as well as to construct railways. Previous M–8 and M–10 types of engines imported from India has a very weak level of performance more..

Land clearing in N&E still continuing

Nov 30 (DM) At least 17 reserved forests in five districts in the Northern and the Eastern Provinces are being cleared with the initiative of several Muslim ministers representing the receptive areas. Environmental Conservation Trust (ECT) charged that a total of 16,500 acres of reserved forests in Vanuniya, Mullaithivu and Ampara Districts are being cleared in the guise of resettling of internally displaced persons and for cultivation. more..

NPC Opp leader wants CM to look after NP

Nov 30 (Island) The Opposition in NPC charges that Chief Minister C.V. Vigneswaran neglects regional issues and concentrates more on national and international ones which MPs should attend to. NPC Opposition leader Sinnathurai Thavarajah who describes Vigneswaran as a nice and respectable person is, however of the view that former SC judge tuned politician is weak in administering the council and it’s affairs. more..

'Beauty culture, culinary courses for rural women'

Nov 30 (DN) In considering the popularity of Beauty Culture and Culinary Arts among rural young women the govt will introduce and hold such courses island wide to educate them, Minister Gayantha Karunatilake said. He was addressing a function held to award certificates and gifts to students who had successfully followed and completed the Dress Making course. He was the chief guest at the ceremony held recently more..

Tax Chief: Collect taxes like bee taking honey from a flower

Nov 30 (ST) As the Government set about collecting revenue from direct taxes, Inland Revenue Commissioner General Kalyani Dahanayake has asked the tax department and state banks to be kept open during the weekend and staff to be courteous to all taxpayers. Bank of Ceylon and People’s Bank head offices are to remain open today to accommodate last minute tax returns to beat the November 30 deadline. more..

Northern issues threaten non-recurrence

Nov 30 (SL) The inability to pay back loans, unemployment and the political prisoner issue has gripped the North ahead of the New Year. Minister Mano Ganesan, under who the subject of non-recurrence falls, said that the issues in the North could pose a threat to non-recurrence. Among the issues, a serious debt culture is beginning to take shape in the North with people borrowing money but unable to pay back. more..

Ask questions: Deepal

Nov 30 (DM) Daily Mirror was in conversation with Deepal Sooriyaarachchi, who has been invited to deliver IESL Ray Wijewardene Memorial Lecture, today presented by Ray Wijewardene Charitable Trust together with the Institute of Engineers SL, in memory of the late Sri Lankan innovator. He is a business professional, who was the Commissioner of the Sri Lanka Inventors’ Commission more..

Spare a thought for the less privileged

Dem 30 (DM) The festival season has come and Christmas is just around the corner, making us imagine of all those lovely Christmas goodies, presents, the iconic Christmas tree which is a treat to the eye, the shops and streets decorated with colourful lights and Christmas decorations, what with holy leaves and colour bells, giving vivid thoughts about everything which is connected to Christmas. And what makes it more special and important is, that Christmas depicts the birth of a saviour, more..

D-Day for environmental justice

Dem 30 (DM) Today is perhaps the most important D-Day in the history of the world. As more than 130 world leaders -- inspired by the exemplary leadership of Pope Francis -- meet in Paris for the 21st Climate Summit. We are confident this D-Day would not lead to doom or disaster but to a day of destiny for a turnaround and transformation, whereby, individually and collectively we become just towards Mother Nature and Planet Earth. Hopefully this new spirit of selfless, sincere more..

HC commissioner to hear PTA cases: Govt won’t budge

Nov 30 (Island) Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe, rejected calls for cancelling the appointment of a retired High Court judge as High Court Commissioner to expedite hearing of cases pertaining to the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) as well as Emergency Regulations. He was responding to the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) call to cancel the controversial decision. more..

Selective justice under Yahapalana regime: PM agrees to conduct probe

Nov 30 (DN) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe following a request by Minister Ravi Karunanayake and a group of UNP MPs, agreed to conduct an investigation as to whether money had been given to the LTTE to change the public opinion in the northern province at the 2005 presidential election. At that election Mahinda Rajapaksa won the election with a majority of only 186,000 votes after a tight contest between him and Wickremesinghe. Minister Karunanayake and the group also informed the PM that more..

Cameron to visit Sri Lanka mid next year

Nov 30 (DN) British PM David Cameron is to visit Sri Lanka mid next year, Foreign Ministry sources said on Saturday. The British PM, during his visit, will largely focus on Sri Lanka’s measures towards adopting a credible mechanism to probe into alleged war crimes during the final phase of war in Sri Lanka, they said. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Cameron met President Maithripala Sirisena in Malta on the sidelines of the Commonwealth Heads of Govt meeting on Friday afternoon. more..

10 Mahinda loyalists to cross over

Nov 30 (CT) Ten members of the Joint Opposition, including three former Cabinet Ministers are tipped to join the Yahapalana Govt in January. Negotiations are already underway with three of the five of them who have held senior Cabinet positions in the Rajapaksa Govt for them to join the current administration, while remaining within the SLFP. Of the three former Ministers, one is from Kandy District, while the other two are more..

TUs request meeting with Labour Minister

Nov 30 (CT) Independent Trade Union Alliance (ITUA) has requested a meeting with the Minister of Labour and Trade Union Relations in order to express their opposition to certain recent Govt budgetary plans. General Secretary of the Ceylon Mercantile, Industrial and General Workers' Union (CMU – which is an affiliate of the ITUA) Sylvester Jayakody said that at the meeting, they would protest against the Govt's plans put forward in the Budget 2016 concerning the EPF and ETF. more..

Vass G. admitted to Prisons Hospital

Nov 30 (DN) Former DIG Vass Gunawardena who was sentenced to death by courts on Friday for the murder of businessman Mohamed Shiyam had been admitted to the Prisons Hospital after complaining about chest pains yesterday. However sources said Gunewardena was not in any serious health risk. Courts on Friday sentenced Gunawardena and his son Ravindu over the killing of Shiyam. Shiyam was abducted from Bambalapitiya and subsequently found murdered on May 22, 2013 at Dompe. more..

Yahapalana deals: Questions over Mobitel’s craving for Hutch at exorbitant price

Nov 30 (FT) Questions are being raised over the craving by Mobitel, which is listed for sale by the Govt, for Hutch Sri Lanka’s operations at an exorbitant price. In the unity Govt’s maiden Budget presented a fortnight ago, Mobitel was included among state companies which will be divested via the Colombo stock market. Despite pending state divestiture, Mobitel via its parent Sri Lanka Telecom, is apparently pursuing plans initiated under more..

10 special projects to boost living conditions in former conflict areas

Nov 30 (FT) With the end of the conflict in the Northern Province, many concerted and coordinated efforts are being made by the Govt to move forward the reconciliation process to ensure sustainable peace in the country. In this context, the Govt, in consultation with the NPC, identified and decided to implement a high impact project which could significantly contribute to improving the quality of life of resettled people and enhance their livelihood and income generation opportunities more..

Verdict will be appealed: DIG's wife

Nov 30 (CT) Wife of former DIG Vaas Gunawardena, Shyamalee Perera, said that she will appeal the decision of the Court to sentence her husband and son to death in connection with the assassination of businessman Mohammad Shiyam. She added that even the father of Shiyam said that Gunawardena is not responsible for the abduction and assassination. He later retracted his statement. Gunawardena, his son and four others were convicted by a 3-member panel of judges. more..

Scrapped duty free vehicle import permits

Nov 30 (DM) The UNFGG parliamentary group which met PM Ranil Wickremesinghe in Bentota had come up with a proposal to provide a special grant to public servants to purchase vehicles. Group had decided on this in the wake of criticism of budget proposal to stop issuing duty free vehicle import permits to certain categories of people. Many MPs had been of the opinion that this budget proposal should be revised. more..

Pakistan Navy ship reaches Sri Lanka today

Nov 30 (DT) In a manifestation of the strong political, diplomatic, economic, cultural, and defence ties between the two friendly countries, Pakistan Navy ship Shamsheer will reach Sri Lanka on a four-day goodwill visit from Nov 30 to Dec 3. Pakistan Navy ships pay port calls to Sri Lanka on frequent basis, with the aim to further strengthen the existing strong relationship between the two countries. Shamsheer is a special type of sabre with a 5-15 degree curve from top to tip. more..

Four persons, including father, son drowned

Nov 30 (Island) Four persons including a man and his son were drowned in two separate incidents when they got into Dandugam Oya at Seeduwa and Thun Okidha Opya at Nittambuwa. Five teen friends had gone to bathe in Dandugam Oya yesterday and of them, two had been dragged away by underwater currents. Navy divers had been searching for the bodies until last evening. The victim were identified as 19-year-old Nuwan Maduka Welagedara of Udammita and 18-year-old Magen Lakminna more..

Govt to attract 50 banks to proposed Financial Centre

Nov 30 (DN) Sri Lanka will construct an International Financial Centre spelled out in the budget proposals for 2016, at D.R. Wijewardene Mawatha Colombo on a 300,000 square foot area. This will be opened next April. Govt hopes to attract nearly 50 local and foreign banks to be set up in this area similar to the Dubai financial centre in UAE. “We want tourism numbers to increase and that is why we are planning to open shopping malls more..

Govt seeking future-ready technologies to create new economic opportunities

Nov 30 (Island) With the govt’s Smart cities vision in the pipeline and other ambitious economic plans, Digital Infrastructure Ministry and the ICTA are exploring ways to adopt future-ready technologies to create new economic opportunities for the people, Roshan Nugawela, country manager, Dell SL said. "We spoke to Minister Harin Fernando and officials of the Information and Communication Technology Agency (ICTA) and learnt about the amazing prospects in the country for IT projects. more..

People’s Bank posts Rs 8.9 b profit in Q3

Nov 30 (FT) Having ended 2014 on a very high note, not only surpassing Rs 1 Tn Balance Sheet but also amassing a number of global accolades, the third quarter results for People’s Bank points towards the closing of a very successful year by end 2015. The Bank has gained the best results ever posted in any 3Q and all key performance indicators notch consistent growth paradigms, a testament to People’s Bank’s commitment to maintain an ethos of stability, strength and sustainability. more..

President arrives in Paris to attend COP 21

Nov 30 (DN) President Maithripala Sirisena arrived in Paris last morning, to attend a critical global climate meeting commonly known as COP 21. The summit is aimed at striking a long term deal to limit carbon emissions across the world in a bid to find a lasting solution to global climate change. Along with President Sirisena, MP Ven. Athuraliye Rathana Thera and a high profile Sri Lankan delegation also visited Paris. more..

Mahela 97 gives Central Districts win

Nov 30 (CI) Mahela Jayawardene's 59-ball 97 eased Central Districts to an eight-wicket win against Northern Districts in New Plymouth. Jayawardene's second consecutive fifty meant Central Districts crossed their target of 153 in the beginning of the 18th over. It is the third win for Central Districts from eight matches and they are second from bottom, while Northern Districts sit second behind Otago. George Worker and Jaywardene put on a massive opening stand of 137 in 15.3 overs, more..

JKH gets Rs. 8 b boost from warrant holders

Nov 30 (FT) John Keells Holdings has raised Rs. 8 billion at zero cost with 2015 warrant holders exercising their conversation, while the premier blue chip also delighted its over 11,000 shareholders with a surprise Rs. 4.50 per share interim dividend for FY 16. With 2015 warrants concluding the period for conversion to ordinary shares last week, around 49.25 million shares were added to JKH’s number of shares in issue making it a total of 1.1894 billion. The 2015 warrants were part of more..

Jayalalithaa urges Modi to get TN fishermen released from Sri Lanka

Nov 30 (PTI) Hours after Sri Lankan Navy arrested eight TN fishermen and seized their two boats, CM Jayalalithaa urged PM Narendra Modi to secure the release of a total of 37 fishermen and 55 boats, including those held today. Stating that eight fishermen had set out for fishing in two mechanised boats from Ramanathapuram and Pudukkottai districts, she said they were apprehended by SLN in early hours of today. more..

Sri Lanka’s international promotions under one umbrella in future

Nov 30 (ST) Sri Lanka’s international promotions that were done through different ministries will in future be carried out jointly by a single, umbrella organisation. It will be coordinated by the Ministry of Policy Planning and likely to be executed by the Ministry of International Trade in a major public relations drive that will strive to promote and build the country’s image, officials said. “There will be a cohesive effort in future when branding the country. Such an effort will carry more weight,” more..

Business leaders launch Sri Lanka Retailers’ Association

Nov 30 (DN) Local business leaders and retail professionals have joined forces to form the Sri Lanka Retailers’ Association, a first of its kind in the country. The inaugural meeting was held recently with the participation of several industry professionals and business owners from a cross section of leading retailers including Keells Super, Abans, Cargills Food City, Laughs, Healthguard, Hatton National Bank, Ceylinco General Insurance, Rainco, EAP Group, Hameedia and more..

Lankaputhra Bank to recover Rs 1.9 b from influential defaulters

Nov 30 (DN) Lankaputhra Development Bank (LDB) has to recover over Rs. 1.9 b from a handful of defaulters. Nearly 99% of these loans were issued during the last govt on political influence. LDB Chairman Lasantha Goonewardane said that one loan in particular was released almost over the counter on political influence. Value was over Rs. 580 million. He said there so many such advances and now no such calls are made to him more..

Budget: Tourism industry raises alarm bells

Nov 30 (ST) Sri Lanka’s tourism industry is alarmed over Treasury moves to stop direct tax collections into the four state institutions from the sector, following budget proposals to withdraw such payments. Two key industry associations, the Tourist Hoteliers Association (THASL) and the Association of Inbound Tour Operators (SLAITO) in a letter to the Treasury Secretary Dr. R.H.S. Samarathunge have urged that in the event that the Tourism Development Levy (TDL) and more..

Energy sector in Budget: Missed opportunity

Nov 30 (Island) The budget proposes to establish a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV), implying a fully-owned subsidiary of CEB to own and operate the Norochcholai power plant, and goes on to say that it will improve CEB’s financial position (para 393). What kind of logic is that? An SPV certainly will separate the accounts of this power plant, will allow anyone to know how much it actually costs to produce a unit of electricity from that power plant, but is that all that is required to more..

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