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List of items exempted from VAT

May 2 (AM) The Ministry of Finance announced that the VAT increase from 11% to 15% will take effect from Monday May 2, onwards. The Ministry has also released a list of goods and services which will be exempted from the VAT increase. According to the list, a several goods including rice, wheat flour, bread, milk powder, infant milk, all fuel types including kerosene, mobile phones and dairy products have been exempted from the VAT increase. more..

President conveys best wishes for the 10th anniversary of Global Dignity in Oslo

May 2 (PMD) The Annual Country Chair meeting of the Global Dignity was held in Norway on 28-29th of April 2016. Mr. Asanga Abeyagoonasekera the Country Chair of Global Dignity in Sri Lanka delivered the message from President Maithripala Sirisena to the Crown Prince Haakon of Norway at the Nobel Peace Center in Oslo. On his message President Sirisena wishes success for the 10th anniversary of Global Dignity and highlighted the value of this important initiative for today’s more..

Video: PM tells Bopage: Get your media releases approved

May 2 (CT) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe had directed Secretary to the Ministry of Mass Media Nimal Bopage not to issue press releases without the approval of the Subject Minister. Sources at the PM’s Office said that the PM had instructed Mr. Bopage to abide by the rules. Accordingly he had told the Secretary that he had no right to issue statements with regard to political matters. more..

Bell Helicopter signs deal with Fairway Holdings for Bell 505 Jet Ranger X

May 2 (VM) Bell Helicopter, a Textron Inc. company, has announced it has signed a letter of intent with Fairway Holdings for a Bell 505 Jet Ranger X. This is the first Bell 505 signed for in Sri Lanka. The aircraft will be used for private travel and tourism across multiple destinations around the island. “With a vision to further enhance the link between tourism and domestic aviation in Sri Lanka, Fairway Holdings is paving the way for enhanced domestic aviation operations in the country,” more..

Work on second stage to be completed by this month

May 2 (DN) Work on the second stage of the Ranaviru housing project implemented on a concept of Army Commander Lt. Gen. Crishanthe de Silva will be completed by this month to be handed over to the beneficiaries, a press release issued by the Army's Media Director Brigadier K.J. Jayaweera stated. The construction work is being handled at regiment level and the beneficiaries too are selected at regiment level from among war heroes disabled due to terrorist activities. more..

Video: 'Reconsider MR's security withdrawal'

May 2 (DM) While denouncing the Govt’s move to assign Police personnel for former President Rajapaksa’s security detail, the Joint Opposition requested both the President and the Prime Minister, to call off the move. Joint Opposition Leader MP Dinesh Gunawardena said unlike other past leaders Rajapaksa should be entitled to VVIP security, since it was he who defeated the LTTE. more..

North Central Province schools to close early

May 2 (NF) According to education authorities, schools in the North Central Province, with the exception of govt schools will be conducted till 12 pm. until further notice. Secretary of Education in the North Central Province W.T.A. Manel said that the decision was made owing to the prevailing high weather temperatures. Meanwhile, the Minister of Education in the North Central Province said that the prevalent high weather temperatures have caused ill health among students. more..

Govt revenue performance improves

May 2 (CT) Fiscal management is one of the most challenging tasks for the successive governments in the context of declining government revenue as a percentage of the GDP. During last few decades, the government revenue as a percentage of GDP had decreased. According to the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) Annual Report 2015, in 2015, the govt revenue performance improved, reflecting a turnaround in the revenue to GDP ratio that was on a declining trend since 2011, more..

Sri Lanka migrant worker outflow fell in 2015

May 2 (EN) The number of Sri Lankans going abroad in search of work fell sharply in 2015 with remittances, a key source of foreign exchange earnings, also falling and likely to decline further. The decline was a result of lower oil prices and political problems in the Middle East, the Central Bank said in its annual report for 2015. “A sharp decline of 12.4% was observed in the total number of departures for foreign employment,” more..

'World is with Sri Lanka now due to President, PM's policies'

May 2 (DN) The far sighted policies followed by President Maithripala Sirisena and PM Ranil Wickremesinghe, have gained the confidence of the international community which was lost during the past regime, Defence State Minister Ruwan Wijewardene said. He was addressing a meeting of parents and relatives of soldiers who contributed to end the three decade war. The meeting was held to award Virusara Waraprasada to 1,002 parents and kith and kin of soldiers in Southern Province. more..

Hundreds of Sri Lankans in Italy attend annual pilgrimage

May 2 (CG) Hundreds of Sri Lankans living in Italy gathered in the city of Padua to attend an annual pilgrimage. Over 10,000 Sri Lankan immigrants from all over Italy met in Padua on the occasion of their annual pilgrimage to the Basilica of Saint Anthony of Padua. The pilgrimage began with Sinhalese and Tamil events. Holy Mass was presided by His Eminence, Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, archbishop of Colombo. Cardinal is also President of the Bishops’ Conference of Sri Lanka. more..

Sri Lanka, China to hold discussions on FTA

May 2 (Xinhua) Sri Lanka and China will hold high level discussions in June on the possibility of signing a bilateral Free Trade Agreement (FTA), SL's Ministry of Industry and Commerce said in a statement here on Monday. "China is a promising market for Sri Lanka's select, premium products such as gems, and an important round of bilateral talks on Sri Lanka-China FTA is scheduled for next month," statement quoted more..

SL expects 20% jump in tourists from Oman

May 2 (TOO) Sri Lanka expects tourist arrivals from Oman to increase to 20 per cent of the total in 2016. This was stated by Deepal Pallegangoda, Country Manager Oman, Mihin Lanka, during a Sri Lanka Tourism road show. "It [tourist arrivals] from Oman is growing every year and we hope that 20,000 Omanis will visit Sri Lanka in 2016," Deepal Pallegangoda said. Talking about the main markets in the Gulf, he mentioned that Saudi Arabia, UAE and Oman are the main source of tourists more..

Garbage disposed irresponsibly after May Day rallies

May 2 (DN) It has been reported that garbage has been thrown to the sides of the Sothern Expressway entrance near Pinnaduwa by those who participated in the May Day rally held in Galle yesterday. Plastic bottles, food packets, boxes and other waste material were seen among the garbage. Meanwhile, it is reported that the JVP had cleaned the entire BRC ground immediately after the May Day campaign ended late night. Further, areas surrounding other May Day rallies were more..

MR’s military security replaced with police personnel

May 2 (DM) Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s military security will be replaced with police personnel by this afternoon, Mr. Rajapaksa's media unit said. They said that 50 of 102 security detail, which included five Army Majors and 45 Commandos, would be replaced with four Sub Inspectors and 46 Police Constables. “Though there are 102 personnel in the security detail, only 50 of them provide security while others more..

Slip of tongue at Galle: Mahinda welcomed

May 2 (Island) Former Minister Piyasena Gamage, who made the welcome speech at the SLFP May Day rally at the Samanala grounds in Galle yesterday, made a slip of the tongue. He mentioned the name of former President Rajapaksa instead of the incumbent President Maithripala Sirisena. Gamage was welcoming the leaders to the stage amidst showers when he said the rally welcomed President Mahinda Rajapaksa while incumbent President Sirisena was getting onto the stage more..

SL’s entrepreneurial activity up in 2015

May 2 (EN) SL’s overall macroeconomic conditions deteriorated in 2015. With govt adopting expansionary policies to boost consumption spending, both fiscal and external balances deteriorated in 2015. GDP growth declined to 4.8%. This deterioration forced govt to seek an IMF support program. However, GDP growth alone may not be a reflection of underlying entrepreneurial activities of an economy. It is important to examine data, which are indicators of new businesses more..

Namal alleges political witch-hunt by the govt

May 2 (PTI) With the army being removed from his family's security detail, former president Rajapaksa's son today accused the govt of carrying out a political witch-hunt and said they have been facing such harassment from a long time. "Change comes into force today. We have been facing this kind of harassment for a long time now. This is nothing surprising. Govt fears us more so after big crowd that was seen at our May Day rally," more..

Bopage gets an earful from Ranil

May 2 (CT) Mass Media Ministry Secretary Nimal Bopage has received an earful from PM Ranil Wickremesinghe, after he criticized journalists and media organisations for giving publicity to the Joint Opposition, and said that giving publicity to the group was illegal and they should not misuse the media freedom given under the Yahapalanaya govt. Wickremesinghe had blasted Bopage at a meeting, asking him to not take decisions according to his whims and fancies, and ordered him to more..

Caught red handed! Wildlife regulation officer accepting bribe

May 2 (CT) Officials of the CIABOC took into custody on Saturday, a wildlife regulation officer caught in the act of accepting a bribe of Rs 12,000 from two fishermen in the area opposite the Maduru Oya reservoir ferry. He was in employ at the Maduru Oya National Wildlife Park. The suspect had requested a sum of Rs 15,000 from the two fishermen in order to prevent legal action being taken against them for having engaged in unauthorized fishing at Maduru Oya more..

President's Son, Daughter, Son-in-Law at forefront of SLFP May Day rally

May 2 (AM) Despite President Maithripala Sirisena's claims of keeping his family out of politics, President his son was at the forefront of the SLFP May Day rally held in Galle. Daham Sirisena led the party supporters from Polonnaruwa who attended the SLFP May Day rally. Walking alongside him was Thilina Suranjith, son-in-law of President Sirisena. His wife and President Sirisena's daughter Chathurika Sirisena too more..

The quest for power!

May 2 (CT) Oh no! This is not the Battle of Yorktown, the climax of the American Revolution which led to the independence of the US in 1776. Nor is it the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945 in World War II nor Napoleon's surrender of Waterloo which ended French domination of Europe in 1815! This is very much to do with the generation of power, electric power back at home in resplendent Sri Lanka! There seems to be little clarity on the part of govt more..

Prime Minister sets the record straight

May 2 (CT) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe has set the record straight with regard to the issues such as certain political elements coming hard on the Leader of the Opposition, R. Sampanthan, saying that he had forcibly entered an Army camp in Kilinochchi recently, as well as on taking some of the rehabilitated former senior LTTE cadres into custody in recent weeks. PM Ranil Wickremesinghe was the Chief Guest at the 20th Anniversary of the Sri Lanka Muslim Media Forum (SLMMF) on Saturday. more..

Ada Cartoon

Wary of China's Indian Ocean activities, U.S., India discuss anti-submarine warfare

May 2 (Reuters) India and the United States are in talks to help each other track submarines in Indian Ocean, military officials say, a move that could further tighten defense ties between New Delhi and Washington as China steps up its undersea activities. Both the US and India are growing concerned at the reach and ambition of the Chinese navy, which is taking an increasingly assertive stance in South China Sea and is challenging India's domination in Indian Ocean. more..

Accountability for the past is part of accountability in the present & future

May 2 (CT) May Day performance of the govt’s two main parties, the UNP in Colombo and the SLFP in Galle, will be reassuring to the leaders of the govt. The large turnouts at their respective May Day rallies will give them the confidence that the mobilization capacity of their local level organizers is strong to meet the demands of electoral politics. Although the dissident faction of the SLFP led by former President Rajapaksa also posted an impressive turnout it could not match more..

Education, pharmaceutical drugs have been exempted

May 2 (DN) The present rate of Valued Added Tax (VAT) which stands at 11% which has been increased to 15% will be operative from tomorrow (2), Minister Ravi Karunanayake said. “Education and pharmaceutical drugs have been exempted from the expansion,” Minister said. “Medical care services provided by private hospitals will be liable for VAT. The same goes for telecom services,” he said. more..

SL's political numbers game at May Day

May 2 (EN) SL's political parties used this year's May Day rallies to demonstrate their strength in a spirited contest to woo audiences, but the real winner appears to be the state Transport Board (SLTB). Unlike in previous years, SLTB chartered some 3,800 busses for political rallies and all had to pay up front at commercial rates. "If May Day is celebrated on the first of every month, the SLTB will return to profit within a year," more..

MR predicts his arrest

May 2 (Island) Former President and Kurunegala District MP Mahinda Rajapaksa vowed to continue with the ongoing campaign against the govt regardless of consequences. He was addressing the Joint Opposition rally at Kirulapone. In spite of dire warnings by President Maithripla Sirisena, over 46 UPFA MPs joined the rally. MPs Vasudeva Nanayakkara and Shalinda Dissanayake were overseas and more..

Sri Lanka to abolish uncivilized exchange control law: Ravi

May 2 (EN) Sri Lanka will abolish its exchange control law to remove draconian provisions in line with other civilized nations, Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake said. He said that a previous plan to create a new agency and set up an exchange management law had been abandoned. He said draconian exchange controls were not in line with best practices followed in civilized nations. Exchange controls are used by countries more..

Chava explosives haul: TNA should dissociate itself from LTTE: NPC

May 2 (Island) The National Peace Council (NPC) has urged the four-party TNA to dissociate itself from the LTTE and its acts of violence and terror. The request was made in the wake of the Terrorist Investigation Division (TID) arresting suspended ITAK official identified as S. Sivakaran for allegedly helping some LTTE cadres wanted in connection with the recent Chavakachcheri explosives haul to escape to India. more..

PM nod for CMTA drive

May 2 (DN) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe has given the nod for The Ceylon Motor Traders’ Association (CMTA) proposal to base brand new vehicle valuation on manufacturer’s invoice value, said Gihan Pilapitiya, Chairman CMTA. The meeting with the premier which took place last week was very fruitful with several CMTA proposals receiving the green light, Pilapitiya said. He said for the last few months they had more..

Sajin Vass: Witness most corrupt

May 2 (SL) Should all crimes of a wharf clerk turned CEO Mihin be ignored just because he now turns state witness against the Rajapaksas? Sajin de Vass Gunawardena, former Monitoring MP, who stands accused of mass-scale fraud, unpaid loans, criminality and unfulfilled promises during the Rajapaksa regime, is back in the spotlight, this time for enjoying ministerial privileges from taxpayers hard-earned money more..

CEBEU warns Govt not to fish in troubled waters

May 2 (CT) The Ceylon Electricity Board Engineers Union (CEBEU) accused the recent move by the govt to separate into six outside units the right to regulatory licences for power generation, transmission and distribution which were in the possession of the CEB General Manager up to now, is an initial step towards privatization of the institution. CEBEU emphasizes that they will not hesitate to take maximum trade union action more..

Its business as usual for all Chinese-funded projects

May 2 (ST) All Chinese-funded projects are now back on track and either completed or in the process of being completed, a senior Finance Ministry official said. Govt has a total of 28 projects funded predominantly by Chinese loans amounting to US$ 7.671 billion, the official said. They are spread among power and energy, roads and transportation, telecommunication, airport and aviation, port, irrigation and water sectors. more..

What is happening now is what I said earlier: Attanayake

May 2 (DM) Former General Secretary of the UNP Tissa Attanayake said what is now happening in the North is what he had said earlier and which were not accepted by some. Speaking to media after visiting the newly appointed chief prelate of the Asgiriya chapter Most Venerable Sastrapathi Warakagoda Gnanarathana Thera, and obtaining his blessings, he said that the NPC had made certain proposals and after adopting more..