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Tax consultants’ mafia troubles acting Tax Chief

Sept 28 (ST) Mafias appear to emerge in every nook and cranny in Sri Lanka with the latest entry being the tax consultants’ mafia, causing headaches to the Inland Revenue Department (IRD). In a bid to tackle this problem, the department is offering free tax consultancy services and at the same time promoting voluntary compliance, the acting tax chief revealed at a meeting with trade union leaders in Colombo on Wednesday. more..

Nishantha wants to bounce back at the SAARC Carrom Championships

Sept 28 (Island) Defending Carrom World Champion, Nishantha Fernando failed to live up to expectations during the fourth World Cup Carrom Championship held in Maldives last week. The former national champion could only finish sixth in the men’s singles competition. He however, along with the current national champion clinched the bronze medal of the men’s doubles. Fernando won the World Championship in 2012 when he defeated India’s Pardeshi in men’s single final. more..

Lankans on the lookout for consultant

Sept 28 (ST) Lankan new head coach Marvan Atapattu has indicated that he would prefer to work with a high profile consultant if and when necessary. Atapattu who met the SLC’s coaching committee along with the national captain Angelo Mathews opined that the SLC should look at obtaining the service of a high profile personality in the calibre of former Australian captains Ricky Ponting, Steve Waugh or top order batsman Dean Jones to help the Lankan team during their World Cup quest more..

Scotland says ‘No’!

Sept 28 (SL) While political parties representing the people of the Northern and Eastern Province – in particular the TNA, the EPDP amongst others, and the SLMC, had clearly said they are not in favour of dividing the country, Tamil political parties still seek a certain degree of autonomy in running the day to day affairs in the North. The recently held Scottish referendum therefore had generated much interest, and its outcome, whichever way the Scottish people more..

Post-Election drama and UNP’s unsung heroes

Sept 28 (SL) After the moral victory it achieved at the Uva PC election, the UNP convened its Working Committee to appoint new office bearers to several key positions in the party including that of the Deputy Leader. Hambanthota District MP, Sajith Premadasa, who once lost the Deputy Leader position after he unsuccessfully challenged the Leadership of Ranil Wickremesinghe, was re-appointed to the same position after a hiatus of a few years. more..

Presidential polls in the air as next year’s Appropriation Bill makes early appearance

Sept 28 (ST) As the dust settles on the Uva PC polls, the decision by the Govt to present the Appropriation Bill for next year, almost a month ahead of the usual Budget time frame, was the clearest indication to come so far that an early presidential election is on the cards. “We will look at a good ‘nekatha’ (auspicious time) and present our victorious Budget,” was all that Govt Whip Dinesh Guanwardena said when he was prodded by the Opposition to indicate if more..

‘We were the real winners’

Sept 28 (SL) JVP Uva Provincial Council Chief Ministerial candidate Samantha Vidyarathna said that the Govt failed to ‘fool’ the people in Uva unlike in other provinces and received a red signal from the govt servants. “Although many incentives were given to the people, the Govt still failed to get the majority they wanted. People are wiser and cannot be fooled now. Even the Govt could not get the postal votes what they more..

Only losers at Uva election

Sept 28 (NS) The results sheet of the 2014 Uva PC polls will indicate that the ruling UPFA won and that the UNP came second but in reality, there were only losers in this election. It was President Rajapaksa’s and the ruling party’s intention to record a rollicking victory in Uva and then carry that momentum in to presidential and general elections called ahead of schedule. Instead, the UPFA was delivered a rude shock by the voters and only just managed to record victory. more..

Badulla: The most loyal UNP district

Sept 28 (Island) In the past week after the Uva PC election, there has been much discussion about the results of the Badulla district. The UNP won outright in the electorates of Hali Ela, Badulla and Welimada, and the gap between the UPFA and the UNP was narrowed to virtually nothing in electorates like Uva-Paranagama (197 votes) and Bandarawela (280 votes). It is only in the electorates of Mahiyangana, Viyaluwa, Passara and Haputale that the UPFA won with a reasonable majority. more..

'We will be a formidable opposition'

Sept 28 (SL) UNP’s Chief Ministerial candidate for the Uva Province, Harin Fernando, said he had met the challenge of mustering support for his party successfully, by obtaining 173,993 preferential votes in the Badulla District translating to 88%, which was the highest number of votes polled, overall in the province. He said the time is opportune for everyone to put aside petty differences and join hands to work as one unit more..

Uva smiles: Bigger tests ahead boy!

Sept 28 (ST) My dear Sajith, I thought of writing to you to offer my congratulations when I heard that you have been appointed as the Deputy Leader of the Greens. I know that this was something that you had to fight hard for, so you must be a happy man now but I hope you realise that the struggle is not over — it has only just begun. You know that after the Greens were voted out of power 20 years ago, they have remained in the opposition for almost all of that period, except more..

UPFA’s Waterloo in Uva and the unseen danger

Sept 28 (ST) The result from the Uva PC election last weekend was the buzz in the country over the past few days, and will continue to be so for some time. The ruling UPFA was expected to lose some votes from the emphatic 2009 victory achieved in the backdrop of the defeat of the LTTE. It won 72% of the vote back then, but the extent to which it lost those votes — down to 51% in 2014 – mostly to the main Opposition UNP, a party in total disarray, is what must concern the Government most. more..

‘It was personal’

Sept 28 (SL) While the UNP seemed to have reconciled prior to the Uva PC election, sources say there appears to be the emergence of an internal conflict, consequent to the General Secretary of the UNP, resigning from the Leadership Council (LC) of the party. In an interview, Attanayake spoke about the reasons for his resignation. Q: The UNP has come to fore again with the Uva PC election. What led to your more..

CBK’s comments on creeping militarization

Sept 28 (Island) Former President Chandrika Kumaratunga, in office and outside, was never shy of speaking her mind. Her recent remarks on 'rampant militarization' in an interview with the Aththa newspaper has predictably drawn the ire of the Defence Ministry. Nevertheless, it must be admitted that the former president has spoken out on a subject that is worrying a number of Lankans, not merely those who are opposed to the present Rajapaksa administration. more..

Friendship and enmity

Sept 28 (NS) Addressing the UN General Assembly last week, President Rajapaksa subsequent to what can be called a pointed but relatively mild critique of the movers and shakers of the organization, reiterated the bottom-line of Sri Lanka’s foreign policy: ‘Friendship towards all and enmity towards none.’ We live in a world where it is not easy to distinguish friend from enemy or worse are required as per diplomatic courtesies to call everyone ‘friend’. more..

'Govt vote base still intact'

Sept 28 (SO) Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said that except for a few places in Uva there was no reduction in the govt's vote base in most areas. If there was a downward trend as claimed by the UNP, then the UNP would have captured power in the Uva PC, he said. The Minister said that victory is not static and there are various reasons adduced when a party becomes victorious. What is important is that the Govt has now more..

They who fund the UN call the tune

Sept 28 (SL) President Rajapaksa, addressing the 69th Sessions of the UN General Assembly on Thursday, stressed the need for the UN to gain the confidence of the international community as a whole, to establish its credibility and pointed out that one of the essential requirements for this purpose was ‘consistency of standards across the board without any perception of selectivity or discrimination.’ “The currently functioning system needs fresh examination more..

A city like no other

Sept 28 (SO) Colombo is fast turning into an eco-friendly city. Compared to most other cities in the region, the metropolis is today a beautiful, greener and safer city. The latest attractions are the Colombo Gold Centre and the Floating Market in Pettah, another brainchild of Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa. St. John's Fish Market, Pettah was moved to a more spacious location in Peliyagoda and the Urban Development Ministry redeveloped the prime commercial plot of land more..

President Rajapaksa holds discussions with world leaders enhancing bilateral relations

Sept 27 (IL) President Mahinda Rajapaksa who is currently in New York City, after delivering his address at the 69th Sessions of the United Nations General Assembly held discussions with several state leaders enhancing bilateral relations. In the series of meetings being held by the President with world leaders at the UN Headquarters he has held bilateral discussions with the Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbot this morning. more..

JVP leader sounds alarm over drastic drop in rubber prices

Sept 27 (Island) Livelihood of around 1.1 million people was in jeopardy as the prices of rubber had drastically fallen, JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake told Parliament yesterday. Making a special statement MP Dissanayake said as in December last year, a kilo of crepe rubber had fetched between Rs. 300 and Rs. 400 while a kilo of smoked rubber sold for Rs. 300 to Rs. 350. There had also been occasions where the price went up to around Rs. 500 a kilo. more..

New govt. project to build 50,000 houses for plantation sector

Sept 27 (DN) The govt has initiated a project to build 50,000 housing units for plantation sector workers as per a concept mooted by President Rajapaksa. The houses will be two storeyed and will consist a spacious living area, bedroom and pantry with all amenities including proper sanitary facilities and costs over Rs.1.2 million. The project was recently inaugurated by Plantations Industries Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe at a function at the Delkin Estate in Baduraliya. more..

U.S. Embassy, Jayewardene family launch auditorium at Bar Association of Sri Lanka

Sept 27 (USE) U.S. Ambassador Michele Sison joined today with the family of the late Dr. H.W. Jayewardene and members of the Bar Association to inaugurate a newly-renovated auditorium named in honor of Dr. Jayewardene, the first president of BASL. AG Palitha Fernando also attended the ceremony, which included a tribute to Dr. Jayewardene and his efforts to support the development of a strong professional legal more..

Heavy rains in drought- hit areas

Sept 27 (DM) The Meteorology Department said today several drought affected areas such as Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Moneragala and Vavuniya districts received heavy rains during the last twenty four hours ending at 8.30 a.m. this morning. Duty Meteorologist said the highest rain fall of 113 mm was reported in Matale while Anuradhapura, Vavuniya, Polonnaruwa and Moneragala districts received a rainfall of 66.8 mm, 61.2 mm, 58 mm and 18.9 mm respectively. more..

Inquest finds Lankan’s death accident

Sept 27 (CG) A Sri Lankan political refugee died in his London cell accidentally following failures by staff at Pentonville Prison to care for him due to budget cuts, an inquest has heard. Inadequate training and lack of communication and information sharing at the Caledonian Road prison contributed to the death of Satheeskumar Mahathevan, a jury at St Pancras Coroner’s Court ruled. The 31-year-old supermarket cashier, who fled Sri Lanka’s civil war as a teenager in 1999 in fear of his life, more..

Water, water everywhere but think before you drink!

Sept 27 (ST) Every day in offices and hospitals people stroll up to a public water dispenser and pour themselves what they think is a cup of purified clean water – the cooler labels carry that assurance – but investigators have turned up a racket of dirty water substituted for clean cooler water. PHIs island-wide have received complaints about mud-like particles or discolouration in water from 15-20 litre bottles used in dispensers, and more..

Teachers oppose new recruitment criteria

Sept 27 (Island) Teachers are up in arms against an Education Ministry decision to recruit those who have passed only the GCE A/L while thousands of graduates are awaiting teaching appointments. In a letter to the Minister Bandula Gunawardena with copies to the Secretary of the Ministry and the Public Services Commission, General Secretary of the Pro–JVP Ceylon Teachers Service Union, Mahinda Jayasinghe has asked the minister to refrain from doing anything in contravention of more..

A growing menace

Sept 27 (ST) Touts and vendors are a growing menace to the booming tourist industry with almost all cultural, scenic and tourist areas flooded with vendors forcing their products on annoyed foreign tourists. Whether it is in the Southern towns of Galle Fort and Hikkaduwa, the city of Anuradhapura, the rock fortress at Sigiriya, touts follow tourists unaware of their travel purpose, budget or needs. Added to the menace touts are beggars, parading a multitude of woes. more..

Jayalalithaa sentenced to four years in jail

Sept 27 (Hindu) The Special Court in Bangalore on Saturday convicted and sentenced TN Chief Minister Jayalalithaa to four years in prison and a fine of 100 crores, in the disproportionate assets case. Since the sentence in the case exceeded three years, the special court does not have jurisdiction to grant bail and she will be taken into custody. Judge John Michael Cunha pronounced the verdict at Gandhi Bhavan, more..

'FDI inflows to triple in next two years'

Sept 27 (DN) While referring to 2014 as a turning point in Foreign Direct Investment to Sri Lanka, Minister Dr. Sarath Amunugama predicted that FDI inflows will at least triple during the next couple of years due to the country's all-round potential and FDI favourable business climate. "Sri Lanka will continue to be one of the most promising destinations for foreign investment in the world as a result of continuous efforts made to improve the investment climate and infrastructure which more..

‘No beheading here unlike in other countries’

Sept 27 (Island) Journalists were being beheaded in other countries, but there was no hindrance to Sri Lankan media personnel practising their profession, PM D.M. Jayaratne told Parliament. He said so in answer to a question raised by Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe in connection with the attack on a journalist in Hali-Ela following the recently concluded Uva PC poll. Wickremesinghe said that there had been a post-election clash at Hali-Ela and a car of Harin Fernando, more..

Sri Lanka wins backing of 22 nations against UN rights probe

Sept 27 (IL) 22 developing countries of the Like Minded Group (LMG) in Geneva, in a joint statement made through its Chair - Egypt, have said the Group "believes that the intrusive mandate given to the OHCHR by Res. 25/1 to carry out investigations on Sri Lanka is unwarranted, especially in the context where the country is implementing its own domestic processes". It said "OHCHR's efforts should contribute to a more..

BJP pitches for new maritime policy to solve fishing row

Sept 27 (NIE) The BJP has advocated the formulation of a new Maritime Indo-Lankan policy to deal with the fishermen issue. The saffron party has also advised the Sri Lanka govt that it should be sensitive, flexible while dealing with the problem. BJP general secretary Murlidhar Rao, who recently visited Sri Lanka to participate in a meeting of asian political parties in Colombo, said, “Resolving the issue related to fishermen of TN origin will eventually create a reservoir of goodwill in India more..

Health bigwigs make mockery of govt’s Mathata Thitha

Sept 27 (Island) Many an eyebrow has been raised by a farewell party at one of the leading Hotels for former Health Secretary, Dr. Nihal Jayatilake almost three months after he had been moved to the Ministry of Economic Development. Event had been organised by some Health Ministry official and funds had come from pharmaceutical companies and laboratory equipment suppliers. About Rs. 3,000 each had been collected from officials participating in the do, sources said. more..

Sri Lanka nationalists to host controversial Myanmar monk

Sept 27 (AFP) Sri Lanka's main Buddhist nationalist group on Saturday announced it will host a radical cleric from Myanmar who is accused of fanning religious tensions, at a convention which is already attracting opposition from minority Muslims. Sri Lanka's hardline BBS or Buddhist Force, which has been accused of instigating hate attacks on the island, said the Mandalay-based monk Wirathu would be an honoured guest more..

China says sub made stopover in Lanka

Sept 27 (CG) The Chinese Defence Ministry says one of its submarines had only made a stopover in Sri Lanka while on its way to the Gulf of Aden to conduct escort operations in the area. There were reports stating that a Chinese Type 039 ‘Song’ class submarine visited the Colombo port earlier this month, the first time one of the People’s Liberation Army-Navy’s (PLA-N) diesel-powered submarines has emerged in the Indian Ocean. Geng Yansheng, spokesman of the Chinese Ministry of more..

Drug addict’s wife begging on streets

Sept 27 (Island) The Gampola police recently arrested two suspects who were fleeing after committing a burglary. Investigations have revealed that one of them is a criminal wanted in connection with 49 crimes. A team of policemen returning after a night patrol confronted the suspects as they attempted to flee on the seeing the police. The policemen overpowered and apprehended them. The suspects admitted that they had burgled a house and were leaving with the booty. more..