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Sri Lanka to change privatization agreement of firms that do not raise salaries

Nov 17 (EN) Sri Lanka will change the privatization agreements of plantations companies that do not raise salaries to 1,000 rupees a day, Finance Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa said. The companies were privatized in the 1990s as they were mismanaged after expropriating from foreign and local investors resulting in monthly losses to the Treasury. PM Rajapaksa claimed that plantations firms contributed about 25% of production while small holders have expanded. more..

Sri Lanka to raise retirement age for EPF to 60 years for men, women

Nov 17 (EN) SL will raise the retirement age for the purpose of the Employment Provident to 60 years and remove the difference between men and women, Finance Minister and PM Mahinda Rajapaska said. He said the retirement ages of men and women were different now with women having a lower age. The life expectancy of men is 72 and women 77 so having a lower retirement age for women did not make sense, he said. more..

Cyprus Social Security Fund: Ethera Api calls for State intervention to release monies

Nov 17 (CT) Secretary of the Ethera Api organisation, Lakshman Nipunarachchi claimed that the Govt has not taken any action to get the Cyprus Fund to Sri Lanka. “One of the major problems facing Sri Lankans abroad is the difficulty in obtaining the Cyprus Social Security Fund. The Fund is a post-employment Fund for Sri Lankans working in Cyprus and 7.5% of the salaries of SL employees working in Cyprus and 7.5% from the employers are credited to this Fund. more..

Budget 2021: Establishment of 10 sports schools proposed

Nov 17 (AD) PM Mahinda Rajapaksa proposed for the development of 10 sports schools with synthetic race tracks during the 2021 Budget Speech today (17). Sports school and youth community organizations associated with cultural centers are developed with the aim of attracting the youth to sports and extra-curricular activities. Rajapaksa said that the govt considers sports development as a national investment and that it helps in preventing the youth from resorting to illegal activities. more..

Sri Lanka to give amnesty to those who broke tax laws or forex controls

Nov 17 (EN) SL will give an amnesty to businessmen who have hidden funds breaking tax or foreign exchange laws if the money invested in any scheme proposed by a budget for 2021, PM and Finance Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa said. “For the benefit of the country, I request from all entrepreneurs to utilize the funds hidden locally or internationally in order to evade laws relating to taxes and foreign exchange,” PM said. more..

Health Ministry has lost interest in PCR testing: Ravi Kumudesh

Nov 17 (Island) Health Ministry has not taken steps to process a tender for reagents used for PCR tests that could drastically reduce the cost of a test, President of the College of Medical Laboratory Science, Ravi Kumudesh said. He said that 30 suppliers had made bids for the tender dated Oct 2, 2020. “Some of the suppliers have offered to sell a unit at Rs. 1,500 and these are good quality reagents validated by many countries. If we can purchase reagents at this price, more..

Non-executive office employees of public service allowed other jobs after office hours

Nov 17 (AD) PM proposed to implement a special loan scheme for public servants to obtain solar powered electricity, with a view to support the reduction in electricity bills of public servants. When appointing or transferring public servants, it is proposed to ensure that such postings are made giving preference to the districts of residence, he said, delivering the 2021 budget speech in parliament. He also announced that permission will be granted for non-executive office more..

Independent body to pick National Selectors

Nov 17 (FT) Creating a proper structure for sports, bringing proper governance to sports in Sri Lanka and picking National Selection Committees through an independent system are some of the objectives the newly appointed National Sports Council (NSC) have set out to achieve, according to NSC Head Mahela Jayawardene. Outlining the tasks ahead of them, Jayawardene, the former Sri Lanka cricket captain said, more..

Four projects for Batti fabric processing zone

Nov 17 (FT) Preparations are being made to handover proposals to the BoI to establish four projects at the newly approved 275-acre Industrial Zone for Fabric Processing Enterprises in Eravur Pattu, Batticaloa. Joint Apparel Association Forum (JAFF) Secretary General Tuli Cooray said that the industry was preparing initial paperwork to be handed over to BoI to set up four projects. However, he declined to give details due to the investment being in the early stages of development. more..

Police crackdown on hawkers at traffic lights

Nov 17 (Island) Operations had been launched to arrest hawkers who approached vehicles at traffic lights, police spokesman DIG Ajith Rohana said yesterday. Policemen had been deployed near signal lights to prevent such interactions as it could lead to transmission of COVID19, Rohana said. The Police Spokesman added that people had to avoid interactions with strangers. The spread of COVID19 continues with 704 new cases being reported on Sunday alone. more..

Video: Live Update: 2021 Budget Speech

Nov 17 (AD) “I request all of you to give your blessing to the development budget aimed at economic revival and poverty reduction” - PM. - The expected economic growth rate for 2021 is 5.5%. He emphasize that it is the govt’s medium term vision to reduce the budget gap through increasing the economic growth up to 6% and increasing the govt revenue from its current level of 9.7% to 14.1%. more..

UN Representative meddling in internal affairs: Chandraratne Thera

Nov 17 (CT) Ven. Jamburawela Chandraratne Thera, representing the People's Responsibility Centre (PRC), has criticised the UN Resident Coordinator to SL, Hanaa Singer for her undue attempts to influence internal affairs of Sri Lanka, by urging the PM to change the decision of cremating the bodies of Muslims dying of COVID-19. PRC representatives yesterday visited the UN office in Colombo and handed over the petition opposing Singer's intervention in SL's affairs. more..

UK appoints champion to support countries like Sri Lanka to deal with climate change

Nov 17 (Island) British PM Boris Johnson has appointed the former Secretary of State for International Development, Anne-Marie Trevelyan MP, as the UK’s International Champion on Adaptation and Resilience for the COP26 Presidency. With one year to go until COP26 is held in Glasgow, the role of the Champion will be to drive global ambition and action to support countries like Sri Lanka on the frontline of climate change to adapt to its impacts and to build resilience. more..

Budget 2021: Fully-fledged Techno Parks proposed for 5 districts

Nov 17 (AD) PM Mahinda Rajapaksa has proposed to establish fully-fledged plug and play Techno Parks in Galle, Kurunegala, Anuradhapura, Kandy and Batticaloa districts. Finance Minister said creating a techno-entrepreneur-led economy will contribute to the increase of exports and foreign earnings from the technology field and broaden the knowledge and professional services to the national economy within the next 2 years. more..

Tourism, foreign & commercial activities of Port City to commence in 2021: PM

Nov 17 (TM) PM Mahinda Rajapaksa said tourism, foreign and commercial activities of the first phase of the Colombo Port City is scheduled to be commenced in 2021. In the Budget speech, he said steps are expeditiously underway to develop the Colombo Port City Special Economic Zone as an attractive business hub. “The preliminary work related to the construction if the first financial and commercial centre has already been initiated. I expect to present to the Parliament a new more..

Softlogic inflicted with tougher 2Q; Healthcare biz fairs well

Nov 17 (FT) Softlogic Holdings PLC yesterday reported a loss in the second quarter as well as in the first half amidst challenging times arising out of the COVID-19 pandemic, but expressed optimism of a turnaround going forward. Second quarter pre-tax loss was Rs. 873 million, as against a loss of Rs. 197 million a year earlier, while the after-tax loss was Rs. 936 million, up by 115%. Net profit attributable to equity holders of the parent was a negative Rs. 1 billion, more..

Video: Business tycoon Dhammika Perera assesses COVID-19 situation

Nov 17 (AD) Business magnate Dhammika Perera says that the seriousness of an issue depends on how one perceives the issue. He mentioned this speaking on the COVID-19 and its effects on the economy on TV Derana. Perera says that the coronavirus epidemic had emerged in the world on 06 previous occasions and it had died down on all 06 occasions even without a vaccine. He says that his belief and more..

SriLankan to offer a whopping handshake to retiring employees: Cabinet

Nov 17 (EN) The Cabinet has approved a Voluntary Retirement Scheme for 560 employees of SriLankan Airlines which will cost a whopping LKR 1.46bn, the Govt announced today. A Three-Member Committee headed by the Secretary to the State Ministry of Aviation and Export Zones Development was appointed to study the aforesaid matter. The committee recommended the implementation of the proposed Voluntary Retirement Scheme which will not hinder the operations of the company more..

Video: Most Ven. Napane Premasiri Thera passes away, aged 98

Nov 17 (AD) Most Venerable Napane Pemasiri Thera, Mahanayake of the SL Ramanna Maha Nikaya, has passed away at the age of 98. Thera had been receiving treatment at the Peradeniya Hospital at the time of his passing. He was appointed the Mahanayke of the Ramanna Maha Nikaya on the 03rd of Sept in 2012. Prior to the appointment, Napane Premasiri Thera had served as the Chief Incumbent of Menikhinna Hurikaduwa Vidyasagara Pirivena and more..

Talaimannar proposed to bury Muslim COVID-19 victims

Nov 17 (DM) Talaimannar has been proposed to bury Muslim coronavirus victims. Govt sources said that Talaimannar island had been proposed as the safest option considering some concerns raised by certain experts. A source said that when the matter was discussed by the cabinet last week most of the cabinet Ministers had agreed to the proposal. Daily Mirror learns that initially a proposal was made to bury the remains of more..

Closing date for renewal of gun licenses, permits extended

Nov 17 (DN) The closing date for the renewal of all gun licenses and permits for private security firms, for 2021 has been extended by the Defence Ministry. Ministry said that the closing date for the renewal of licenses and permits has been extended until Feb 28, 2021. The process which was to be conducted by the Defence Ministry together with the District Secretariats was scheduled to be completed before 31st Dec 2020. The Defence Ministry said, however, that it had decided to extend the renewal date more..

Pandemic or propaganda? Let’s clear our mental sinuses

Nov 17 (FT) Clearly, Sri Lanka should panic immediately, shut down, lock down the districts, blow up the economy further, inflict more suffering upon its citizens, because this uncontrollable scourge has clearly devastated the land! Clearly, I’m joshing. Lanka should be beaming comparatively! Just post these comparative figures, which are some of the most positive in the world (India in terms of caseload exempted, mortality-wise perspective is gained by realising more than one million die of more..

Sunil Handunneththi, Former MP, JVP

To sleep or not to sleep

Nov 17 (FT) The people of the resplendent island, also sometimes known as (aska) Fools’ Paradise, have made a magnificent bed that is wide, strong and luxurious especially in protest against the previous Govt. It is up to the Rajapaksas to sleep in it or not. The proverbial bed-making has a negative connotation: You’ve made your bed, now lie in it. The bed for the Rajapaksa family is made by people with positive intentions, leaving no room for a complaint of the type ‘there are troublesome more..

Mangrove cultivation project gets impetus

Nov 17 (DN) A programme to replant mangrove saplings in coastal and lagoon areas is being implemented on the instructions of PM Mahinda Rajapaksa who is also the Minister of Urban Development and Housing. This programme has been initiated in order to protect the mangrove environment. PM Mahinda Rajapaksa instructed the Marine Environment Protection Authority to take all possible measures to further develop the existing mangrove environment in the country, more..

Dual cluster exceeds 14,000 cases with 387 new patients

Nov 17 (FT) The dual COVID-19 cluster that emerged from Divulapitiya and Peliyagoda yesterday exceeded 14,000 cases with the detection of 387 cases. Of the cases identified yesterday, 382 were associates of the Peliyagoda cluster and five were overseas arrivals. With all recent cases linked to the Peliyagoda cluster, authorities stated that the Divulapitiya COVID-19 cluster was under control. more..

Motor showroom accident: SSP’s daughter released on Police bail

Nov 17 (DM) Following the incident of a luxury vehicle crashing into a motor showroom opposite the Nelum Pokuna Theatre in Colombo on Sunday, Cinnamon Gardens Police have released the suspect, who is a daughter of a Senior Superintendent of Police, on police bail of Rs.10,000. The suspect was charged with negligent driving, failing to avoid an accident as well as driving without a valid licence. The suspect, who was released on bail, will be produced before more..

COVID-19 death toll increases to 61

Nov 17 (FT) The COVID-19 death toll yesterday rose to 61, with health authorities confirming three more COVID-19-related deaths. According to the Dept of Govt Information, all three deaths occurred in the Colombo District, with two being residents of Colombo city. An 84-year-old resident of Moratuwa passed away at home due to diabetes with COVID-19 infection. A resident of Colombo 10 was admitted to the National Institute of Infectious Diseases (NIID) after he tested positive for the virus. more..

Govt’s first Budget to Parliament today

Nov 17 (FT) PM and Minister of Finance Mahinda Rajapaksa will present the new Govt’s first budget to Parliament at 1:40 p.m. today. The private sector is hoping that the Budget 2021 will provide clear-cut policies as well as tax and other support for small and medium enterprises (SMEs), particularly those targeted at import substitution. Ahead of the Budget presentation, key Govt officials had indicated the Budget would also more..

Romesh Kaluwitharana: Just how effective was Sri Lanka’s innovative opener?

Nov 17 (Wisden) Sri Lankan opener was a part of the famous side which won the 1996 World Cup, yet his name is not quite as synonymous with that team’s success like teammates Arjuna Ranatunga, Aravinda de Silva, Sanath Jayasuriya and Muttiah Muralitharan. Looking back it is easy to see why. Despite his partnership with Sanath Jayasuriya being referenced as key part of SL’s success in 1996, Kaluwitharana made just 73 runs across six innings at an average of 12.16. more..

Give immunity boosting meds to prison staff, inmates

Nov 17 (CT) State Minister Dr. Sudarshani Fernandopulle, instructed the Prisons Department to take steps to provide immunity enhancing medicines to prison officers and inmates, to help them combat the spread of COVID-19 within the prisons system. She had also ordered the Prisons Department to initiate a probe into how the pandemic had spread fast within the system and forward a report on it to her. State Minister had also ordered the Prisons Commissioner General to subject inmates to more..

Bathiudeen, Haleem visited suspect Ahamed’s house: GN

Nov 17 (CT) Former Ministers Rishad Bathiudeen and Mohamed Haleem had on a number of occasions visited the house of Muhinuddin Ihsan Ahamed, who was arrested in connection with the Easter Sunday bombings. This was revealed yesterday, when Nilantha Fonseka, Grama Niladhari (GN) of the GN Division where Ihsan's house is located, testified before the PCoI. A State Counsel questioned the witness whether there was more..

Companies paying pro-rate wages to require permission from Labour Ministry

Nov 17 (FT) Labour Ministry yesterday said companies paying pro-rate wages had to notify the Ministry of why they were facing cash flow issues and get permission to initiate paying partial salaries to employees not reporting to work. Earlier this year a tripartite COVID-19 task force, which included the Labour Ministry, Trade Unions and the Employers Federation reached an agreement for private sector employees to be paid the highest of either 50% of the total salary or a minimum of Rs. 14, 500. more..

Central Bank says inflation is on target despite food price pressures

Nov 17 (Island) While it is correct to say that the cost of living is rising particularly in terms of food prices, the Central Bank observes that inflation is well anchored broadly within the target range of 4-6%, Dr. Chandranath Amarasekara, Director of Economic Research at the Central Bank told the Island Financial Review (IFR). IFR put this query to the Central Bank as many people are often heard complaining about rising food prices adding that there is no mechanism in place to stem it. more..

Sri Lanka to receive same benefits of EU GSP+ for UK from 2021

Nov 17 (CT) Since the UK is the main market for SL’s exports to the EU region and the second largest export market after the USA, it is important for SL to receive the same tariff preferences it was enjoying prior to Brexit when trading with the UK in the post-Brexit period, Export Development Board (EDB) said. Once the transition period ends on 31 Dec this year, UK Global Tariff will replace EU’s Common External Tariff more..

Lanka IOC nearing completion of Sri Lanka’s first grease plant

Nov 17 (FT) Lanka IOC Ltd. is nearing the completion of work on SL’s first grease manufacturing plant in Trincomalee, a move which will help save valuable foreign exchange as at present the requirement is met entirely via imports. The company began construction work on the ground breaking venture early this year and is estimated to have invested Rs. 200 million. The plant’s capacity of 3,000 tons is capable of meeting the entire market demand in Sri Lanka. more..