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2015 Budget Highlights

Oct 25 (DN) Special allowance of university academics, doctors and judicial service employees to be increased. Pension and insurance scheme for trishaw drivers. * Proposal made to increase the minimum salary of a private sector employee to Rs. 10,000 by 2015. Rs. 500 allowance to be added each month and the EPF payment from the employer to be increased up to 14%. * Minimum salary of a state sector employee to be more..

Video: Vice-chancellor’s intoxicated son does a bull

Oct 25 (LT) It is reported that a group that included the wife and son of the vice-chancellor of Peradeniya University Prof. Athula Senaratna had created a pandemonium after consuming liquor at government owned Peradeniya Rest. They had used poles and clubs to smash furniture and electrical equipment. A complaint had been made at Peradeniya Police Station but with the mediation of the vice-chancellor the incident had been directed to ‘Samatha Mandalaya’. more..

Nanda Mallawaarachchi assumes duties as Secretary Sports

Oct 25 (GDI) Major General (Retd) Nanda Mallawaarachchi, who was appointed as the new Secretary to the Ministry of Sports, assumed duties on Friday. Mallawaarachchi was the first Secretary of the Ministry of Law and Order, which was established in August 2013 under the President, and was replaced by former IGP Mahinda Balasuriya on Tuesday. Major General Nanda Mallawaarachchi replaced the former secretary of the Ministry Anura Jayawickrama. more..

SL reiterates commitment to the UN system

Oct 24 (DM) External Affairs Minister G.L. Peiris yesterday reiterated Sri Lanka’s commitment to working constructively with the UN system and said it was absolutely vital to preserve and enhance the confidence of the world community in it. He made these remarks at an event held to mark the 69th UN day where he assured that Sri Lanka had recognised the importance of the UN and therefore would continue to work actively with the UN more..

78-year-old German lady missing in Meemure

Oct 24 (DM) A-78-year-old German lady who was visiting Meemure in Udadumbara with a group of 11 German nationals went missing since yesterday, police said. They said three men and eight women had been engaged in mountain climbing and the missing lady had returned to the bus halfway through saying that she was unable to continue but the others had found that she was not in the bus on their return and had complained to the Udadumbara police about her disappearance. more..

Govt steps into up lift 580 IDP families in Ampara

Oct 24 (Island) The govt was taking speedy action to assist 580 displaced families from Kanjikudichchi Aru and Thangavealau-thapuram villages in the Thirukovil area of Ampara, District Secretary Neil de Alwis said. He said that Minister Chandrasiri Gajadheera had allocated funds from the Rehabilitation Authority to construct 100 houses for them. Rs 1 million had been allocated for the construction of a Hindu temple as the overwhelming majority among those families were Tamils, more..

Wrong room number has 5-star hotel guest remanded, employee hospitalised

Oct 24 (ST) A mix-up at a 5-star hotel in Colombo on Wednesday (15), resulted in a hotel employee being hospitalised and an American guest spending a night at the Welikada Remand Prison. Samuel Dealey, 40, head of Washington-based Monument Communications, was in SL for meetings with clients. He was asleep in his room at the hotel when, close to midnight, steward Tisira Sunanda knocked on his door. more..

Home visits halted for African students

Oct 24 (ST) The Health Ministry has instructed all medical officers and Public Health Inspectors to be on the alert for arrivals to the country who suffer from fever or breathing difficulties as it is possible for people infected with the Ebola virus to enter without undergoing screening at the airport. There is a freeze on admitting new students from African countries affected by the deadly virus, said Higher Education Ministry Secretary Dr. Sunil Jayantha Navaratne. more..

Probe on fax promising duty-free three-wheelers to varsity employees

Oct 24 (ST) The Council of the Peradeniya University which met yesterday called for an inquiry into the fax purported to have been sent by the Presidential Secretariat, Peradeniya University Vice Chancellor Athula Senaratne said. The fax said three-wheelers would be given away duty free to university employees after a sum of Rs. 25,000 was deposited at a named account of the People’s Bank in Kandy. The Vice Chancellor said that before he went to Dubai for a conference more..

Traffic snarls and commuter growls worsen as transport system overloads

Oct 24 (CT) People-friendly, beautified Colombo is a traffic nightmare, with fuming drivers spending hours on choked roads every day, while an expert warned that putting up new expressways in this congested space would not provide solutions. 7 million trips are made each day in the Colombo metropolitan areas and this is estimated to grow to 12.2 million trips in 2035, according to the Urban Transport System more..

Ranjan Wijeratne, the JVP, LTTE and Casinos

Oct 24 (CT) Even today, this moment, we are talking about casinos. Ranjan Wijeratne deported Joe Sim the Casino King. What about our local Joe Sims or Packers? The difference today is, the local casino owner is a big wig in the Sri Lankan Govt. Some even hold policy-making top jobs in the govt. The UNP gave up billions in casino amnesties, blank amnesty for tax defectors. Tax amnesty was used as a pretext to help casinos. I came to know Ranjan Wijeratne when he had left more..

Positioning for electoral success in Sri Lanka

Oct 24 (CT) “It’s the battle for your mind” “It’s the battle for your mind” voiced the lanky character in the “Hampada” denim and casual T shirt in classroom no 4. His husky voice reverberating through the corridor. It was our Marketing Instructor lecturing in a cramped-up room many years ago in downtown Colombo. I was able to unearth the notes of this exercise kept in a remote section of my house and infested with small insects. The Instructor was explaining to the class more..

Yal Devi, Uttara Devi and KKS Night Mail

Oct 24 (CT) The resumption of train services to Jaffna, and to Kankesanthurai (KKS) in the near future, brings back nostalgic memories to many. Until the importation in the 1960s of Chinese compartments made of steel, there were the wooden cars made of Burma teak. The first and the second class Chinese ones were fitted with box spring seats covered with foam rubber and velvety cloth. Sofa style wooden seats more..

The politics of Pusswedilla: A review of the antire solooshen summit

Oct 24 (CT) Sri Lankans know how to laugh. They also know how to laugh at themselves. They can even laugh with others who laugh at them. They know how to make political jokes and to use humor to critique people, things and political positions. ‘Puswedilla’ is a hit and has been one for a long time now. Pusswedilla, as the ‘stage play’ or rather series of plays is referred to, in fact does what political satire is supposed to do, which in the most crudest of terms is ridicule dedicated to exposing more..

After the budget

Oct 24 (CT) Another budget has come and gone accompanied by the expected sweeteners because of the envisaged presidential election to be held in under two months from now. Such carrots are on top of the other soothers offered a few weeks ago to the voter, such as a reduction in energy prices. However, the end results of such actions would be runaway budget deficits. Those deficits will have to be bridged by internal and external borrowings. Internal borrowings will cause interest rates more..

UNP is ready to back 19th Amendment

Oct 24 (CG) The UNP today informed parliament it backs the proposed 19th Amendment to the Constitution and wants it passed in Parliament without a debate if other political parties also support it. Opposition UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe said that there are reports on some websites indicating there is a move by the Govt to submit the proposed 19th Amendment as an urgent Bill in Parliament next month. more..

VAT makes 22% of Govt revenue

Oct 24 (CT) Nearly 22% of last year's (2013) govt revenue was generated through the Value Added Tax (VAT), the data shows. Next came Excise duty, also with 22% of total govt revenue (inclusive of tax revenue), Income Tax (18%), Non-Tax Revenue (12%) and Customs Import Duty (7%), amongst others. Imposition of VAT on wholesale and retail trade and better performance in certain sectors such as hotels, restaurants and catering services more..

Stamp on Sri lankan Buddhist monk Dharmapala released

Oct 24 (PTI) A commemorative postage stamp on Sri Lankan Buddhist monk Anagarika Dharmapala, who is credited to have revived Buddhism in India in the 19th century, was released here today by President Pranab Mukherjee "I congratulate the Department of Posts for taking this initiative of bringing out a commemorative postage stamp on Anagarika Dharmapala. "I hope that this gesture will contribute towards further more..

Sri Lankan Navy Chief to leave for India tomorrow on official visit

Oct 24 (ANI) Sri Lanka's Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Jayantha Perera, will leave for India tomorrow on a five-day visit. Navy Commander Kosala Warnakulasuriya, said that Vice Admiral Perera is visiting India at the invitation of his Indian counterpart Admiral R.K. Dhowan. Vice Admiral Perera's visit to India will be taking place soon after the visit of Sri Lankan Defense Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa's meeting with more..

'Creationists trying to undermine alien research in Sri Lanka'

Oct 24 (DM) Western ‘creationists’ were trying to rob Sri Lanka of crucial data related to extra-terrestrial life to further their agenda and undermine Buddhist teachings on the universe, Minister Wimal Weerawansa has said. Speaking at a religious event at a temple in Hanwella, Mr. Weerawansa charged that a team of ‘sudu mahaththuru’ (white gentlemen) from an international space research institute had more..

Actual salary increase for public servants only Rs. 760 – UNP

Oct 24 (Island) The ‘Presidential Election’ budget presented by President Rajapaksa yesterday had made a song and dance about increasing the minimum salary to Rs. 15,000 but the actual difference was only Rs. 750 the UNP said. Pointing out that the budget proposals were a desperate attempt to fool the people in the run-up to the next presidential election by targeting every segment of society, UNP MP’s Harsha de Silva more..

LTTE-enforced boycott lost Ranil the presidency in 2005

Oct 24 (DBS) Karl Marx expanded famously on Friedrich Hegel’s remark about “history” occurring twice and stated that history repeats firstly as tragedy and secondly as farce. If a recent development in Sri Lanka runs its full course as intended, then one may very well say history repeats itself in Sri Lanka as a tragic farce or farcical tragedy when it comes to Ranil Wickremesinghe. With a presidential election being anticipated more..

Yal Devi to bring back the glory of northern lines, says Station Master

Oct 24 (ST) He was the Assistant Station Master of the Jaffna railway station nearly 30 years ago. Today he has returned as the Station Master to the place he considers ‘home’. Narayanasamy Thavananthan recalling his time there from 1983 to 1990-when train services were terminated due to the conflict- says one of the main changes he sees is the newly constructed railway station with its Dravidian design. more..

Selling the nationalist agenda

Oct 24 (SL) Sri Lankan politics is really about how good a salesman you are. The voter patterns in the post independent country suggests that if the package on offer is attractive, very little interest is placed on the contents. Sadly that has also had its more than safe share of inclusion in the candidates the country continues to represent. The ramifications of this foolhardy approach to a country acutely in need of peace and reconciliation more..

'BJP acting against Tamils, openly aiding SL'

Oct 24 (PTI) Slamming BJP govt's policy vis-a-vis Sri Lanka, party's Tamil Nadu ally MDMK on Saturday said that it was acting against the minority Tamils and warned that this may have its repercussions in the future. Party founder Vaiko took objection to senior BJP leader Subramanian Swamy's demand that India's highest civilian award, the Bharat Ratna, be conferred on Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, more..


Oct 24 (DM) There are times that we should ditch our nation state identity and think as members of humanity to save the Earth’s people from a common enemy or a threat. This message has been underscored in many a Hollywood movie like ‘Independence Day’ though in the end it is the American hero who saves the Earth. But perhaps the first time, a real-life situation has arisen for the entire world to come together and fight a common enemy which, if not controlled or conquered, more..

King Coal and fiddlers free

Oct 24 (DM) While the 2015 budget was being presented by President Rajapaksa in parliament yesterday, much public attention was focused on frauds and shady deals in a multitude of projects run by huge Chinese companies, the national and international controversies or complications arising from these. Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi responding in parliament to a question raised by UNP’s economic activist Harsha de Silva revealed on Thursday that the govt had lost more than more..

Budget 2015: Something for everybody

Oct 24 (Island) President Rajapaksa yesterday presented his tenth budget in Parliament. Having presented the budget for the next fiscal year, a smiling President Rajapaksa asked the opposition, "How is the Budget presented by a godaya [a country bumpkin]?" He was responding to a UNP MP who had claimed that the country was being ruined by a cabal of ‘country bumpkins’. Earlier, the govt advanced the presentation of more..

Budget brings relief

Oct 24 (FT) The much-awaited Budget 2015 was yesterday presented by the Govt as focused on national development and industries, but dismissed by the Opposition as election-targeted relief. President Rajapaksa punctually delivered the extensive Budget, beginning with an exhaustive recap of economic fundamentals that prevailed before 2004 and initiatives that were put in place subsequently by his Govt. “Having restored security and peace during the first five years and more..

Green light given to Wildlife Dept to obtain new guards and vehicles

Oct 24 (Island) Director General (DG) of Wildlife Conservation H.D. Ratnayake disclosed that the Ministry of Economic Development had given clearance to his human resources strapped Department to recruit 210 Wildlife guards to take forward its programme to curb the Human–Elephant Conflict around the country. He said clearance also had been given to purchase 30 double cabs and 40 Single Cabs to the Department Funds had also been allocated to District Secretaries to re-erect more..

Public sector disappointed, private workers neglected-JVP

Oct 24 (Island) Accusing President Rajapaksa of having deceived the public sector, National Trade Union Centre affiliated to the JVP called for major trade union campaign to win their demands. President of the party’s trade union arm K.D. Lal Kantha, said that President Rajapaksa in his capacity as the Minister of Finance and Planning had not taken into consideration the JVP’s demand for Rs. 10,000 salary increase. more..

Boat owners, fishermen meet Swamy

Oct 24 (Hindu) Representatives of the Alliance for Release of Innocent Fishermen Trust on Friday met BJP leader and former Union Minister Subramanian Swamy seeking his help for the release of 79 mechanised fishing boats now in the custody of Sri Lanka. The boats were impounded after they allegedly transgressed into the Sri Lankan waters for fishing. The delegation was accompanied by senior Tamil Nadu BJP leader H. Raja. A memorandum they handed over to Dr. Swamy more..

Tight security in place for ODI

Oct 24 (NIE) Ahead of the ODI between India and Sri Lanka at Barabati Stadium in Cuttack on November 2, the Commissionerate Police on Friday reviewed the security arrangements. At the preparatory meeting it was decided that security at Mayfair Hotel, where players and staff will put up, would be taken over by the city police. The Sri Lanka team may get extra security in view of LTTE threat perception though Home Affairs Ministry has not issued any advisory in this regard. more..

'Lanka Coal has not followed tender procedure since 2012'

Oct 24 (Island) Minister Champika Ranawaka maintained that since 2012 the Lanka Coal Company (LCC) which was the sole importer of coal to Sri Lanka had been doing so without adhering to proper tender procedure. He was responding to a report that Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi as having said that the CID had commenced investigations into a recently imported consignment of coal for the Norochcholai Power Plant. more..

UdaWalawe Park Warden accused of protecting suspects with venison

Oct 24 (CT) Reliable sources revealed that the Park Warden of the Uda Walawe National Park is trying to protect those involved in providing venison to the Seenukkgala Bungalow a few days ago. The venison was brought to the Bungalow by a group of people for consumption and it is believed to be from deer or sambhur killed inside the Uda Walawe National Park. "When the Uda Walawe Park Warden was informed about the incident it is learnt that he tried to prevent the venison and culprits from more..

NFF member elected uncontested as Dy. Chairman Uva PC

Oct 24 (Island) NFF member Pathma Gunasekera was elected uncontested as the Deputy Chairman of the Uva Provincial Council (UPC) on Thursday. The UPC which adjourned following the appointment of the Deputy Chairman will meet again on Monday the 10th of November for the presenting of its 2015 Budget proposals. Chief Minister Shasheendra Rajapaksa and UNP Opposition Leader of the Council Harin Fernando were present for the election of the new Deputy Chairman. more..