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Sri Lanka to electrify three-wheeler taxis

Nov 22 (EN) Minister Ravi Karunanayake plans to electrify the ubiquitous three-wheel taxis operating in the country by offering owners LKR 150,000 to convert. The nuts and bolts of the scheme was not disclosed, but the minister during his extraordinarily lengthy speech in parliament said he was keen to reduce pollution caused by three wheelers, a contentious issue with Bajaj for several years. more..

ITN in Dire Straits

Nov 22 (SL) Independent Television Network (ITN), The Sunday Leader reliably learns, is facing dire financial difficulties. It has been revealed that ITN is in arrears for the payment of taxes amounting to Rs. 80 million. Due to their inability to pay these taxes that are due, the Inland Revenue Department has put a hold on all the accounts of ITN. According to Inland Revenue Department, ITN can release this hold order on their accounts by paying up a sum of Rs. 20 million. more..

JVPer who played double-games with CID

Nov 22 (CT) Mahinda Jayawardena with bullet wounds was admitted to Colombo National Hospital while other suspects including Premapala had been taken to the 4th Floor of the CID. Premapala Hewabatage wore the blood-stained Sarong that bullet Mahinda earlier wore. During his stay at the 4th Floor, Premapala wore it and considered it as a sign of bravery. Because of the plaster which covered his entire leg from little above his knee, he could not easily get down from the bed. more..

Board seat for those with 15% of a company

Nov 22 (Island) Govt will ensure that shareholders with a 15% holding of companies will be entitled to a board seat in those companies but did not say whether this applied to all companies or only those quoted on the CSE, Minister Ravi Karunanayake said at a Budget 2016 Highlights event hosted by KPMG. The annual event, the biggest client event hosted by KPMG, at Cinnamon Grand Hotel attracted many of the country’s more..

2016 Budget conveys clear message to private sector

Nov 22 (Island) Minister Ravi Karunanayake said the 2016 Budget, which was designed for investment, conveyed a clear message to the private sector — wake up, we are ready for business. Minister was speaking at the post-budget seminar convened by the Department of Inland Revenue at the Nelum Pokuna Theatre on Friday evening, shortly after presenting the 2016 Budget in Parliament. The private and public sectors would no longer work in compartmentalized segregation, more..

SLPJA protests against intruders in Parliamentary Press Gallery

Nov 22 (Island) Members of the Sri Lanka Parliamentary Journalists’ Association (SLPJA) have raised concerns over how some unidentified persons who described themselves as Presidential Media Unit officials entered the press gallery and used laptops and mobile phones violating parliamentary rules, when Minister Ravi Karunanayake delivered budget speech on Friday. Thereafter, many more unknown persons had occupied the press gallery and used laptop computers and tabs there. more..

Travelling To Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka tile monopoly hit by loss of import tariff protection

Nov 22 (EN) Sri Lanka has removed import tariff protection for highly profitable domestic ceramic tile manufacturers, an effective monopoly controlled by the Royal Ceramics group, according to the govt’s 2016 budget and analysts. Minister Ravi Karunanayake said import-related duties will be revised downwards on building materials such as steel, tiles and sanitaryware. “To address the short supply and high prices of building materials such as steel, tiles and sanitary ware, more..

Stanley’s operation reveals Kataragama beauty queen’s murder

Nov 22 (CT) Murder of Premawathie Manamperi (1949–1971), a Kataragama beauty queen in 1971, during the height of the JVP insurrection, is a famous story that everyone knows. But, there are very few who knew how the story came to light at a time when IT (Information Technology) was not developed. It was a time that mass communication was monopolized by some newspapers and radio. How could the beauty queen's murder have been revealed to the nation? more..

Sri Lanka slashes list of terrorists in reconciliation bid

Nov 22 (AFP) Sri Lanka Saturday announced it had significantly scaled back a list of foreign-based terrorists as part of reconciliation efforts with its largest ethnic minority, the Tamils. Eight Tamil advocacy groups were de-listed according to a govt order published in an official gazette, but the separatist LTTE whose military leadership was crushed in 2009 remained on the banned list. more..

President Vs Presidency

Nov 22 (CT) At a special pre-budget Cabinet Meeting held in a committee room of Parliament last Friday, an 11-member Cabinet Sub-Committee was appointed to draft the constitutional amendment needed to abolish the Executive Presidency, to vest executive powers in Parliament and change the electoral system. Cabinet Sub-Committee chaired by PM represents the recognized political parties in Parliament and also all ethnic groups. more..

11,000 more wait in hope for dual citizenship

Nov 22 (ST) More than 11,000 dual citizenship applications are still being processed out of a total of 14,525 applications received since March by the Department of Immigration and Emigration. Approved applicants will have to pay Rs. 50,000 more for citizenship unless, an application is approved by the Minister of Internal Affairs before January 1. The 2016 budget proposal tabled in parliament increases the fee to Rs. 300,000. more..

MR’s retirement benefits more than CBK’s

Nov 22 (ST) Allocations from Budget 2016 for former President Rajapaksa’s retirement benefits will be more than that allocated to former President Kumaratunga. President Rajapaksa has been allocated Rs 4.17 million as retirement benefits in 2016, while President Kumaratunga has been allocated Rs 3.3 million for 2016. In addition to this, both former presidents have been allocated Rs 500,000 each for capital expenditure. more..

Fate of EPF, ETF hangs in the balance

Nov 22 (SL) Despite the Blue-Green govt’s strong sentiments on economic development through empowerment, the fate of the private sector retirement funds, the EPF, and ETF anomalies still hangs in the balance even amidst much discussions and negotiations. Several trade union organisations including representatives from private sector employee unions have entered a tug- o-war situation with the govt over their proposal. more..

Samantha Power highlights accountability

Nov 22 (AT) Following her bilateral discussions with Sri Lanka's Minister of Foreign Affairs Mangala Samaraweera in Colombo soon after she arrived on Saturday for a three-day official talks and a tour to predominantly Tamil Jaffna, Samantha Power in her remarks gave a subtle but serious message that the United States is serious about the accountability process, a semantic infiltration for war crimes investigation. more..

On the nerve-tingling Trinco troture chamber

Nov 22 (CT) The secret detention centre at the Naval Base in Trincomalee which was highlighted by the Northerners, NGOs, the Tamil Diaspora and human rights activists way back in 2010, was visited by the UN Working Group last week. Speaking from the US, after returning from the Sri Lanka mission, Prof. Ariel Dulitzky, said "We were not on a mission to investigate but to monitor the policies the govt undertook to implement." more..

Sri Lanka: Geography from heaven and history from hell

Nov 22 (Telegraph) All evening in London, Sri Lanka was close by. In the wine bar in Temple, where John Gimlette works as a lawyer on clinical-negligence cases when he’s not writing award-winning travel books, our drinks arrived with a ramekin of nibbles. Ah, said Gimlette, the Jaffna mix is here. At the end, on the bus we took from Fleet Street to Waterloo station, he spotted an Asian woman with hair parted in more..

Rakna Lanka contract with Avant Garde under review

Nov 22 (SO) Ministry of Defence has sought the opinion of AG’s Department on the possibility of terminating the contract Rakna Lanka has signed with the controversial private maritime security services company, Avant Garde. “We are in the process of evaluating the possibility of terminating the said contract. All documents relating to the agreement have been sent to AG’s Department for assessment. more..

Good governance googly at World Cup winning captain

Nov 22 (ST) He captained the prestigious club and then went on to captain the national team to great heights winning the World Cup, so it was quite in order for the Executive Committee of the Grand Old Club to organise a felicitation for its illustrious member who had now gravitated into politics and become a Cabinet Minister. The proposal came from those committee members who were from the minister’s old school and more..

Burma power transfer thornier than Lanka

Nov 22 (Island) The Aung San Suu Kyi– NLD (National League for Democracy) triumph is a big forward step but two inherited problems remain. First, 25% of parliamentary seats are reserved for khaki clad thugs who will also appoint three ministers including defence. It will take time and tactical sagacity, but until the political interference and the power of the army are destroyed, Burma will live in the shadow of a return to brutality and dictatorship. more..

The Depravity of Terrorism

Nov 22 (Island) The news of the coordinated ISIS attack in three places in Paris was shocking. Before I could sympathise with the dead and injured, I turned personal and thanked our good karma that my son decided to take a short break in London and not Paris which he adores. Voicing this relief to him when he phoned once returned home, I get this blithe reply: "I would never have been in any of those places." "But you could have. You so love their outdoor cafes." more..

New Constitution coming: Constitutional Assembly to be set up shortly

Nov 22 (ST) He timed it for the week that marked the first year since he quit the previous Govt to contest presidential election against Mahinda Rajapaksa. Obtaining the approval of the Central Committee members of the SLFP, which he now leads, to show it was their initiative, President Sirisena last Wednesday gave a two-page note to his ministers. Titled Amendments to the Constitution, it read: more..

Sri Lanka’s biz community happy with budget concessions

Nov 22 (ST) Sri Lanka’s 2016 budget presented on Friday drew mixed reviews while two issues stood out – whether the bureaucracy is capable of quickly implementing the decisions, particularly taxes, and not addressing the foreign exchange crisis. However the business community was by and large happy with the outcome as Minister Ravi Karunanayake’s proposals addressed many of their concerns in whipping up foreign investment, tackling the shortage of skilled labour, more..

VAT rise means you will pay more for utility bills

Nov 22 (ST) Utility bills including charges of electricity, water and telephone are set to rise with the revision of the Value Added taxes (VAT). These are among a host of other utility charges which will be increased in terms of a Budget 2016 proposal to increase VAT from 11 percent to 12.5%, a senior Inland Revenue Department official explained. However, the increase in VAT will not apply to certain wholesale and retail trade because the Govt wants to stabilise food prices. more..

Promised Yahapalanaya: Telecom, Mobitel heads roll ahead of Hutch deal

Nov 22 (ST) Heads rolled from the Sri Lanka Telecom and Mobitel Boards this week amidst reports that the management was clearing the decks for a massive corporate deal in the offing. Thusitha Haloluwa was removed from the Mobitel board while Krishantha Cooray and Firo Farook were sacked from the SLT board. All three had opposed proposals to increase the salary of Chairman P.G. Kumarasinghe and directors more..

Sampanthan has no issue with Nagadipa

Nov 22 (Island) TNA leader, R Sampanthan struck a note of discord with fellow party member and CM of the NPC C.V. Wigneswaran when he said he saw no reason to change the name of the island Nagadipa, located off the Jaffna coast. Wigneswaran proposed that the Tamil name for the island, Nainativu, be used as the official name. Nagadipa is an important destination of Buddhist pilgrims who believe that the Buddha visited the island to settle a dispute between to Naga Kings, Chulodara and Mahodara. more..

Govt in the grip of racketeers: Anura Kumara

Nov 22 (Island) JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake accuses many in the govt of being pawns of racketeers. "They have been purchased with money, vehicles, women and houses," Dissanayake said, referring to accusations that sections in the govt are defending the controversial company, Avant Garde. "It is not only in this case where wrongdoers are yet to be apprehended; there is conspicuous sloth in bringing to book people involved in large scale fraud", he said more..

Names of Officers exposed on Trinco secret cells

Nov 22 (CG) More details have surfaced on the secret cells said to have being in operation at the Trincomalee Navy camp, including the names of the Navy officers alleged to have been involved in taking detainees to the site. WGEID, which concluded a visit to Sri Lanka last week, said that the detention cells at the Trincomalee Navy camp could not have been in operation without the knowledge of the top officials. more..

Rs 1 b for Sports Land and credit facilities to private sector for development of sports

Nov 22 (CT) The govt through its Budget on Friday has proposed to allocate Rs 1000 Million for development of sports, while also proposing to remove import taxes applicable to sports goods. In his Budget Speech Minister Ravi Karunanayake suggests govt bear the total cost incurred by all National track and field athletes, and the sportsmen and women of a few other chosen fields and their coaches who will participate at reputed international competitions. more..

Selection nepotism fixes proven schoolboy bowler?

Nov 22 (SO) The country’s leading wicket-taker in domestic youth cricket has been shown the door in a shocking move when Sri Lanka’s Junior selectors decided on a 15-man squad for next month’s Under-19 Triangular featuring India, England and the host nation. The squad is also likely to be the same that will contest January’s Youth World Cup in Bangladesh. Lasith Embuldeniya, a left arm spinner took 51 wickets in five matches for Royal College in the on-going inter-school season, more..

Govt vows to unearth Rajapaksas’ hidden $ billions

Nov 22 (Island) Govt says it would find the billions of dollars that the Rajapaksas had allegedly hidden in many foreign countries, no matter how long it took. Minister Mangala Samaraweera said he was speaking with responsibility about "the billions of dollars that the Rajapaksas including the birthday boy had stashed away in foreign lands." "They know what we are talking about. Catching big time professional crooks who have covered more..

PBJ’s return to state service thwarted again

Nov 22 (ST) A plan to appoint former Secretary to the Treasury Dr. P. B. Jayasundera as a Senior Advisor to Ministry of Samurdi and Social Empowerment has been thwarted by several senior cabinet ministers. Minister of Samurdi and Social Empowerment S.B. Dissanayake’s proposal to appoint Dr. Jayasundera as a senior advisor of his ministry was rejected by the majority of cabinet ministers. Dr. Jayasundera’s actions and interferences into previous regime’s affairs more..

Tussle for MD’s post at Sri Lanka Insurance

Nov 22 (ST) Musical chairs continued for the second week running at state-owned SL Insurance Corporation (SLIC) where former Managing Director T.M.R. Bangsa Jayah is refusing to quit. Keith Bernard was appointed the new MD last week but is unable to function as Mr. Jayah, brother-in-law of Minister Ravi Karunanayake, continues to remain in the MD’s office. Situation worsened on Tuesday when Mr. Jayah barged into a board meeting and got into a verbal confrontation with directors more..

Justice Sarath De Abrew indicted

Nov 22 (SO) The Attorney General has filed an indictment in the Colombo High Court against Supreme Court Judge, Sarath de Abrew with committing grave sexual abuse on a domestic helper on or around June 26 this year. The indictment has been filed under two counts on committing grave sexual abuse, which comes under Section 365 B of Penal Code. This is the first time a sitting Supreme Court judge has been indicted in the HC more..

34 Sri Lankan fishermen repatriated

Nov 22 (Hindu) Thirty-four Sri Lankan fishermen who were arrested by the Indian Coast Guard at Kakinada and Mangalore, were repatriated from Karaikal port on Saturday. While five fishermen were brought from Kakinada, the other 29 fishermen came from Mangaluru. The fishermen were arrested under Maritime Zones of India Act, according to Coast Guard sources here. They were released by the courts and brought for repatriation by the police personnel of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. more..

Joint Opposition in closed door talks

Nov 22 (SL) Joint opposition is conducting closed door discussions with the intention of creating a political change in the near future. According to political sources, pro Mahinda Rajapaksa factions are in the process of winning over those who had strayed from the party. With the toppling of the Rajapaksa regime, many of his close associates abandoned the party and joined the Maithripala Sirisena faction. But according to a senior politician, discussions are currently underway more..