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Town Hall meeting with SL Youth: Remarks by Ambassador Samantha Power

Nov 25 (USE) Thank you so much, all of you, for being here. Thank you, Dharisha. And let me say the – there is a mutual admiration society that we can create, because, as all of you know, Dharisha is a very distinguished journalist. And what’s most impressive about her work is the risks that she takes to report the stories that many others have shied away from – like her coverage on corruption, erosion of judicial independence, more..

Yahapalana deal making: Three directors for special presidential projects

Nov 25 (DM) President Sirisena has appointed three Directors for Special Presidential Projects in the Uva, North-Western and Central Provinces while another Special Presidential Project Officer has been appointed for the Polonnaruwa District. Former deputy minister Eric Weerawardena was appointed to Central Province, former deputy minister Shantha Bandara to North-Western Province and former minister Jagath Pushpakumara to Uva Province as directors for special presidential projects more..

TNA NPC members demand Tamil speaking Govt Agent

Nov 25 (CG) Northern Provincial Council (NPC) members of the TNA today demanded the appointment of a Tamil speaking Govt Agent (GA) for Vavuniya. Health Minister of NP, TNA member Dr. P. Sathiyalingam said that TNA had raised the issue with PM Ranil Wickremesinghe. He says Wickremesinghe had given an assurance that it will address their concerns but they later found out that someone who cannot communicate in Tamil had been appointed to the post. more..

Video: EPF, ETF will be merged, so its easy to manage: Ravi

Nov 25 (AD) The Govt decided to merge the EPF and ETF so it is easy to manage them in the future, Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake says. He also denied allegations that the funds will be misused by the govt. Earlier, the govt clarifying its stance on the new move announced that the EPF and ETF will not be privatized as well. “For the new national pension scheme, a Board of Directors will be appointed through Constitutional Council,” more..

President wants to re-impose tax on beer

Nov 25 (DM) President Sirisena has instructed finance minister Ravi Karunanayaka to increase the tax on imported beer (5% alcohol content) which was reduced by Rs.30 in the budget proposal, PMD said Finance Ministry had reduced the tax imposed on a liter of beer with low-alcohol percentage to Rs. 160 from Rs. 190 to remove tax discrepancy on import beer. President had instructed the Finance Minister to increase tax on import beer as reduction of tax would lead to promote such beer. more..

Strike after engine driver changes 2 engines

Nov 25 (DM) A strike by engine drivers launched for few hours this morning was called off on an assurance that disciplinary action will be taken against an engine driver who had changed two railway engines without permission, Railway Station Masters' Union said. Its Vice President Piyal Wijesiri said this particular engine driver had changed the two engines without obtaining the prior permission of the Station Master and the Controller on duty at the Peradeniya Railway station. more..

Finance minister in hot water over alleged creative budget

Nov 25 (EN) Some of opposition legislators are planning to move a motion of no confidence on Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake for allegedly inflating spending in education with imputed costs. Bandula Gunewardene, a former Deputy Finance Minister now in the opposition, dropped a bombshell in parliament Monday complaining that recurrent spending in education had been falsely boosted to show a high figure. more..

Her bid to cover mistake proved a bigger mistake

Nov 25 (DM) The New Big Boss who was on an official visit to Bangkok recently was due to meet the compatriot community in that country at a special function on the sidelines of his official engagements. Meanwhile, our fair envoy based in the Thai capital had also organized a dance performance by a well-known troupe from here to enliven the occasion. Before attending the function, new Big Boss had wanted to know who the Sri Lankan artistes were billed to perform on the occasion. more..

Nine new HIV infections every week in SL

Nov 25 (DN) It is estimated that every week there are nine new HIV infections that take place in Sri Lanka and only four of them are reported (detected). Five new HIV infected persons join SL society without getting detected (hidden) which pose a significant risk, National STD/AIDS Control Programme Director Dr. Sisira Liyanage said. According him, it is the responsibility of the media, medical professionals and the common society to raise awareness and encourage more..

Govt insists no rift with coalition partners

Nov 25 (CG) Govt today insisted that there was no rift with its coalition partners despite some differences of opinion. Deputy Minister Ajith P. Perera said that anyone in govt has a right to be critical of any issue and that is part of democracy. However he insisted that when the Cabinet decides on something then the entire Govt stands by that decision. “It is a democratic right for anyone in govt to express their views on any matter. more..

3 estate workers injured in leopard attack

Nov 25 (DN) Three estate workers have been hospitalized following a leopard attack in an estate in Dikoya, Hatton, yesterday. The injured men were attempting to save a tea plucker who was being chased by two leopards. The men managed to chase away one leopard, but, the other charged towards them. One person which escaped the attack was able to finally chase the animal away by throwing stones. Upon admission to hospital, one of the victims needed surgery, while more..

Ravi pooh-poohs no-confidence motion

Nov 25 (DM) People who were personally benefitted by the public money were now trying to bring a no-confidence motion against him as they were no longer able to misappropriate the people’s money, Minister Ravi Karunanayake said. He said that several privileges that people were deprived of for the last 11 years were restored by the new budget. He further said the no-confidence motion was not a challenge for him. He was speaking at the event of granting Rs 50,000 donation for development more..

A split in the Rajapaksa camp imminent

Nov 25 (CT) A major split in the Rajapaksa camp is imminent with at least five UPFA MPs who have opted to sit in the opposition slated to reverse their decisions. Cabinet Spokesman Dr. Rajith Senaratne confirmed that four members of the UPFA opposition group in parliament will join the Sirisena-Ranil led, so-called national govt in the next few days. Senaratne said that the four will vote for the budget after joining the govt. more..

Pro-LTTE posters in Jaffna Uni premises

Nov 25 (DM) Posters have been put up within the Jaffna University premises requesting everyone to celebrate LTTE’s Mahaviru day that falls on Nov 27, University students claimed. Posters with the message, Tamil People’s desire is Tamil Eelam, Our aim is Tamil Eelam, let’s Celebrate Mahaviru Day, were seen in several places within the university premises. Students said that they were unaware as to who had put up these posters. Few days ago, posters displaying the same message, more..

Poverty as a business: Financial institutions

Nov 25 (CT) Majority of Sri Lankan’s, almost 84% are either financially struggling or suffering according to the survey done by Gallup Healthways in 2014. In other words, people are unable to meet their current financials and future obligations while making choices that allow enjoyment of life. Everything can be attained higher education to dream house however only at the cost of obtaining a loan. Increasing debt levels not only erode earning potential of the targeted population more..

Mahinda S. slams tax on electric vehicles

Nov 25 (CT) Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe in Parliament called for the reduction of the vehicle emission tax and the tax on electric vehicles, proposed in Budget 2016. He said that the Rs 5,000 vehicle emission tax was too high. "An increase of 500% from Rs 1,000 to Rs 5,000 for vehicle emission testing is far too steep, not only for motorbikes and three-wheelers but also for a lot of car owners. more..

UN notes efforts by Sri Lanka towards gender equality

Nov 25 (CG) Sri Lanka has made important strides in the journey towards gender equality, the UN organization dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women said today. In a statement to mark the International Day for Elimination of Violence Against Women, Dr. Rebecca Reichmann Tavares, the Representative of the UN Women Multi-Country Office for India, Bhutan, Maldives and Sri Lanka noted that Sri Lanka adopted a Women’s Charter in 1993, two years before more..

Glimmers of hope among Sri Lanka’s poor human rights record

Nov 25 (SO) SRI Lanka’s human rights record is again under scrutiny. In September last year, the UN released a detailed report into the alleged war crimes committed by the Sri Lankan Govt during 2009. The civil war, and its resulting broad violation of human rights, has overshadowed oppressive conditions of the increasingly visible LGBTI community. Like many other South Asian states, Sri Lankan society and govt tend to be highly religious and socially conservative. more..

President Sirisena resorts to half-truths to conceal his brother’s greed

Nov 25 (CT) President Maithripala Sirisena has deliberately tried to conceal that his brother Kumarasinghe Sirisena wanted to triple the salaries he gets as Chairman of SLT and Mobitel. Although claiming that his brother draws the same salary as his predecessor, President did not reveal that in fact, Kumarasinghe Sirisena has submitted Board Papers to both SLT and Mobitel Boards, requesting that his salaries and those of more..

In Sri Lanka, a monk's death unites Catholics and Buddhists

Nov 25 (UCAN) Sri Lankan church officials paid a rare tribute to an influential Buddhist monk who died in November, calling him an inspirational figure who promoted religious harmony in an often divided country. Venerable Maduluwawe Sobitha Thero, who supporters say played a key role in changing SL’s political landscape, died Nov. 8 in Singapore, where he was receiving treatment after heart surgery. He was 73. On Nov. 23, Catholics in SL paid tribute to Venerable Sobitha with a Mass more..

Opposition slams tax imposed on electric cars

Nov 25 (CG) The opposition today slammed the tax imposed on electric cars through the 2016 budget presented to Parliament last week. SLFP opposition member Rohitha Abeygunawardena said that Sri Lanka has created history by becoming the only country to increase taxes on environmentally friendly vehicles. He said that the price of a Nissan Leaf electric car which was sold for around Rs. 2.8 million has now increased to nearly Rs. 6 million as a result of the new tax. more..

India urged to halt Tamil Nadu poaching in Lankan waters

Nov 25 (Island) A group of fishermen yesterday protested outside Indian High Commission in Colombo against India’s failure to stop poaching in Sri Lankan waters. The group affiliated to the National Fisheries Federation handed over a petition to the High Commission. Protesters accused India of depriving the local fishing community of their livelihood. Federation also handed over a petition to President Sirisena, urging him to take more..

Apparel mall proposed to market SL brands

Nov 25 (F2F) Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake has proposed a 400,000 square feet mall to help apparel manufacturers find domestic and foreign buyers, according to a report. Karunanayake said there is a need to operate a permanent exhibition centre where manufacturers will have their own stall with required facilities to offer only Sri Lankan branded goods made in Sri Lanka of comparable quality with labels and a complete range of products from head to toe. more..

Protests and Talks cannot go parallel

Nov 25 (CT) To protest, demonstrate and the occupation of public space is the mildest form of anarchy. It's sole purpose to inconvenience a selected group of people; be it the general populace or the Govt officials. Anarchy has however become an abhorrent to this country with its memories of a bloody revolution and insurgencies of days gone by. It has gone to such a point that anarchy, rebellion and revolution has become clichéd terms that are associated with schoolchildren with more..

MP Vijitha Herath

Sri Lanka to expropriate money in dormant bank accounts

Nov 25 (EN) Budget for 2016 had proposed the expropriation of money lying in dormant bank accounts from Jan 2016. "…I propose that the monies lying in dormant accounts of commercial banks to be remitted to the Consolidated Fund, by 1 Jan, 2016," text of a budget speech. Budget did not specify how accounts that had been dormant for how many years would be taken over by the state. Ousted Rajapaksa administration came under fire when CB took over dormant accounts. more..

Workshop on media for A/L students SLMMF promoting Journalism

Nov 25 (CT) Importance of media and its role in the modern world was stressed by the President of the Sri Lanka Muslim Media Forum (SLMMF) N.M. Ameen at the closing session of a two-day workshop for students of the advanced level form and school leavers organized by the SLMMF, in collaboration with the All Ceylon Muslim League Youth Front, at Polonnaruwa Kaduruwela Muslim Central College, last week. Under SLMMF's moves of promoting media and journalism, among the students more..

Sri Lanka is a paradise that Aussies are missing out on

Nov 25 (News) Sri Lanka has so much packed in to a small area — endless beaches, timeless ruins, plenty of elephants and fantastic food. Home to 20 million people, much of Sri Lanka and it’s surrounding islands lay untouched by tourism, so it’s the perfect alternative to well-trodden routes through other nearby Asian destinations, such Thailand and Indonesia. In Sri Lanka (formerly referred to as Ceylon when the country was more..

Power, Telecom, Water exempted from VAT

Nov 25 (EN) Sri Lanka's power, water and telecom remains exempted from value added tax and there need not be any price increases due to the budget, the Finance Ministry said. Since the wholesale and retail trade has been exempted from VAT, which was previously taxed at 11%, prices of many goods should fall. Exempting wholesale and retail trade from VAT is seen as a setback by some economists. more..

No more court visits: Ven. Gnanasara

Nov 25 (DN) BBS General Secretary Galagodatthe Gnanasara thera said his organisation has decided to refrain from attending any courts in the future. Thera said so while denying allegations that there is no religious freedom in Sri Lanka. Thera supporting this stand said he was prepared for a debate with anyone who claimed that there is no religious freedom in SL and prove that there is 100% religious freedom in the country. more..

JVP opposes contributory pension scheme for public sector

Nov 25 (Island) Alleging that the Budget 2016 had betrayed the working class, the NTUC has vowed to thwart controversial proposal to introduce a contributory pension scheme for those joining the public sector with effect from Jan 1 next year. NTUC, affiliated to the JVP stressed that it had scuttled a previous attempt by the UNP-led UNF to introduce a contributory pension scheme from 2001 to 2004. more..

TNA threatens to ditch govt over broken promises

Nov 25 (Island) TNA said that it would withdraw its support for the govt unless the latter addressed grievances of Tamil speaking people. The warning was given by TNA MP and Deputy Chairman of Committees Selvam Adaikalanathan (former TELO commander) opening the budget debate. MP reminded the govt that those living in Northern and Eastern Provinces had exercised their franchise in support more..

'Govt to end competitive school admissions'

Nov 25 (PSL) President Maithripala Sirisena says the aim of the new govt is to end the competition for school admissions of children soon. He said the new govt’s objective is to develop human and physical resources by providing similar privileges and facilities to all the schools. He added the govt has allocated a huge amount of funds from its first budget on this regard. President was addressing the gathering of the prize giving more..

SC calls for practical solutions on Uma Oya

Nov 25 (DN) Supreme Court directed the Attorney General to inform Court regarding the practical solutions and relief measures taken by govt to solve the hardships faced by people due to Uma Oya multi-purpose project. The Supreme Court made this direction sequent to a fundamental rights petition filed by Centre for Environmental Justice, and four individuals, including M.D.P. Manatunga, who are residents of the Bandarawela area who more..

Illegal sand mining causes chaos in Kurunegala

Nov 25 (SL) In the wake of the re-election of the new government, instances of illegal sand mining allegedly carried out by several influential politicians of the previous regime has come to light. The illegal sand mining and the land distribution to a few favourites of some politicians have reportedly created chaos among the villagers who still are in need of a piece of land in the Kurunegala area. more..

Weather or middleman to blame for chillies at Rs. 1,100?

Nov 25 (ST) Vegetable prices are soaring well ahead of the Christmas season with heavy rains affecting cultivation and harvesting, traders and farmers said this week. Vegetable prices have gone up by more than 50 per cent compared to last month: Limes and green chillies are topping the list at Rs. 1,000 a kilo. Tissa Kumara, a labourer, said he could barely feed his five-member family with the Rs. 1,500 he earns a day. more..