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Sri Lanka govt faces pressure over torture, rape allegations

Nov 11 (AP) Sri Lanka’s govt faced increasing pressure Friday to answer for alleged human rights violations following an Associated Press investigation that found more than 50 men who said they were raped, branded or tortured as recently as this year. The men’s anguished descriptions of their abuses come nearly a decade after Sri Lanka’s civil war ended and days ahead of a review of the Indian Ocean nation by the U.N.’s top human rights body. more..

Sri Lankan batsmen make merry on day one of warm-up game

Nov 11 (PTI) Four batsmen scored half-centuries to take SL to 411 for six on day one of their two-day warm-up against Board President's XI here today. Sadeera Samarawickrama geared up for a potential opening slot with a stroke-filled 74 off 77 balls and shared a 133-run stand with Dimuth Karunaratne (50 retired) as Sri Lanka declared at the end of day's play after being put in to bat by Board President's skipper Sanju Samson. Niroshan Dickwella, who retired on 53, more..

2,500 Uda Gammanas by 2020: Sajith

Nov 11 (DN) 2,500 Uda Gammanas will be set up by 2020, said Housing and Construction Minister Sajith Premadasa. He was addressing the gathering at the opening of the Siythuru Gama Uda Gammana at Lunugamvehera, recently. The minister opened the 46th Uda Gammana in Lunugamwehera which consists of all basic facilities including water, electricity and other infrastructure facilities. Minister added that he was glad that former Suriyawewa Pradeshiya Sabha Deputy Chairman, more..

Works of parliament mafia: Rs.100,000 debt by each citizen in 2018: Champika

Nov 11 (NR) Minister of Megapolis and Western Development Champika Ranawaka says each individual will have to bear a debt of 100,000 rupees by next year. He said the debt which needs to be paid next year does not relate to the loans obtained for development. He said a majority of people say that the govt has taken a lot of loans but has failed to develop the country. However, he said the govt has to pay a large amount of debt totalling to 1970 billion rupees. more..

Fuel stocks sufficient for 12 days: Petroleum Ministry

Nov 11 (NR) Ministry of Petroleum has said the country now had fuel stocks sufficient for the next 12 days. Secretary to the Ministry Upali Marasinghe said that a further fuel tanker is due to arrive in the country next Friday. Furthermore, another oil tanker belonging to the LIOC is due to arrive in the country today as well. He said since sufficient stocks of fuel have been distributed across the country, motorists should not be faced with a fuel shortage anymore. more..

Arjuna not sure how long he will be kept as Minister

Nov 11 (Island) Minister Arjuna Ranatunga said that he didn’t know whether he would be able to hold the portfolio for another three months and his only wish was to see the completion of the repairs to the Sapugaskanda Oil Refinery before that. He said the repair to the refinery would be a blow to the agents who imported fuel. Ranatunga said it was better to go home after doing the right thing than acting against his conscience to retain the ministerial post. more..

Colombo district land price index up 12.6% in 1H 2017

Nov 11 (LBO) Central Bank says that on yearly basis Land Price Index for the period ending June 2017 has increased 12.6%, continuing the recent trend in land price movements in the Colombo district. All three sub-indices of the index (Residential 11.9%, Commercial 11.6% and Industrial 14.6%) have contributed to this increase. In order to monitor the developments in the real estate sector, CB has been compiling and analyzing several indicators. more..

New Honorary Consul of Sri Lanka in Busan, Korea

Nov 11 (FT) Govt of Sri Lanka appointed Kim Im-kweon as the new Honorary Consul of Sri Lanka in Busan with effect from 30 Oct.  Commission of Appointment issued by the Minister of Foreign Affairs Tilak Marapana and the Exequatur issued by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea Kang Kyung-wha were handed over to Kim Im-kwoen by SL’s Ambassador in the Republic of Korea Manisha Gunasekera on Nov 8 Nov at the Sri Lanka Embassy in Seoul.  more..

Maldives ex-pres Gayoom slams govt over Sri Lanka coup claims

Nov 17 (AO) Deposed ruling party leader and former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom has hit-back at claims made by a senior government lawmaker alleging that the Sri Lanka government was helping the opposition in its ongoing efforts to overthrow the govt. Ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) lawmaker Riyaz Rasheed during a press conference on Wednesday alleged that the Sri Lanka govt was backing the opposition to orchestrate a coup in the Maldives. more..

JVP press conference on budget issues

Sugar tax to hit beverage firms

Nov 11 (EN) The govt’s decision to impose a tax on sugar content on beverages is likely to affect the profitability of listed companies selling sweetened drinks. The govt’s 2018 budget proposed to introduce an excise duty of 50 cents per gram of sugar contained in beverages with effect from midnight the same day. The new tax will hit food and beverage sector companies like Ceylon Cold Stores, Nestlé Lanka, and Cargills which make and sell soft drinks. more..

National Sangha Council berates Prof. Sarath Wijesuriya

Nov 11 (DN) Prof. Sarath Wijesuriya has distorted the vision and mission of late Ven. Maduluwawe Sobhitha Thera to fulfill NGO requirements, National Sangha Council President Ven. Pahiyangala Ananda Sagara Thera said. Addressing a press conference yesterday he said that Prof. Wijesuriya tried his best to cover up the Central Bank Bond issue while delivering his speech at late Sobitha Thera’s second commemoration held recently. more..

Debt levy to be borne by banks

Nov 11 (DN) Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera yesterday cleared any doubts on the newly imposed Debt Repayment Levy. He reiterated that the said levy must be borne by the banks and could not be passed on to the consumer. While recapping on his budgetary proposals for 2018, Minister Samaraweera termed the Debt Repayment Levy of Rs. 2 per Rs 10,000 on all cash transactions for three years from April 1, 2018 as the Medamulana Tax. more..

If you see a fallen feathered friend, show a little kindness

Nov 11 (ST) It’s the migratory season for our feathered friends and the public are urged once again to show a little kindness to these winter visitors who are exhausted after their long migratory flight. During the past few days many exhausted Indian Pittas (avichchiya) have been sighted in various parts of the country. In their exhausted state these birds could become easy prey to crows and domesticated cats and dogs. Almost half of the bird species found in Sri Lanka are migratory. more..

Chilaw doctors operate on man after freak accident

Nov 11 (ST) A man injured in a freak accident, which saw a branch pierce his face, was operated on by a team of doctors at the Chilaw hospital on Thursday. The man who had been cutting branches had slipped and fallen onto another tree and a branch had pierced his face. The 45-year-old man, N. Jayantha, had been rushed to the hospital with the part of the branch by villagers. A team of 30 doctors assisted in the operation to remove the branch, more..

New fines and safety rules

Nov 11 (ST) No changes will be made to the traffic fine system and the Gazette pertaining to three-wheeler safety despite protest by unions, the National Council for Road Safety said. The Council’s Chairman Sisira Kodagoda said the regulations were now with the Legal Draftsman Department and would be submitted to Parliament after they are approved. Police Spokesman Ruwan Gunasekara told there would be no changes in the proposed regulations. more..

Sri Lanka’s newest safari outpost puts an otherworldly spin on the classic tented lodge

Nov 11 (RR) Perched on a skinny spit of land between the Indian Ocean and the lush jungles of Sri Lanka’s Yala National Park is a prime example of an entirely new generation of luxury tented camps. Opened early this month, Wild Coast Tented Lodge eschews traditional breezy, safari-style accommodations, instead featuring 28 otherworldly tented cocoon suites—each boasting vaulted ceilings and double-height glass façades that offer panoramic views of the jungle outside. more..

Budget: Vehicle prices may go up and down

Nov 11 (DM) Latest Budget proposals might trigger price increases of some motor vehicles including Aqua, Axio, Premio, Allion, Prado, Toyota Prius (Hybrid) while the prices of some might decrease, SL Vehicle Importers’ Association President Indika Sampath Merinchige said. Budget 2018 had suggested calculating levies of vehicles on a unit duty basis except for Freezer Truck vehicles. “The prices of Toyota Axio, Toyota Aqua, Honda Vezel and Honda Grace will increase by Rs.750, 000 more..

වසන්ත සමරසිංහ

Sri Lanka’s nightingale Latha Walpola completes 70 years in singing career

Nov 11 (FT) Latha Walpola, the greatest living legend of playback singing behind the Sinhala silver screen, the golden voice ever created with the Deshamanya title, the second highest National Award, completes 70 years this year 2017 in her career in singing. This is a remarkable milestone in her life arguably as the longest living legend. The most appropriate time to publish this article is her 83rd birthday which falls today, 11 Nov. Latha was born on 11 Nov, 1934 more..

Future of State Banks

Nov 11 (CT) Among the proposals in Budget 2018 which Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera presented in Parliament on Wednesday was the partial privatization of Bank of Ceylon (BoC) and People's Bank (PB) which together are responsible for 50% of total lending in the market. This is a sound economic move for the Govt to make for the good of the larger economy. This proposal if implemented would help infuse much needed capital to these banks to be compliant with Basel 3 capital requirements more..

President urged to release Mullaitivu land

Nov 11 (Island) TNA and Opposition Leader R. Sampanthan, MP, has requested President Maithripala Sirisena to release 132 acres of Army held land at Keppapulavu in the Mullaitivu district before 23rd of Nov as promised. Sampanthan released the following letter dated Nov. 9, addressed to President Sirisena: (1) I write further to my letters of 20th July and 11th Aug to your Excellency in regard to the above matter. more..

JVP questions practicality of Budget 2018

Nov 11 (FT) The Appropriation Bill 2018 Second Reading Adjourned Debate commenced yesterday, with JVP MP Sunil Handunnetti questioning the Unity Govt on the likelihood of completing the tasks set in Budget Speech 2018, compared to the considerably higher number of unfinished goals and promises made during the last four budgets. “The main aim of a budget is to explain the vision of a govt and to show the plan for more..

Price reductions for essential foods yet to come into effect

Nov 11 (AD) It has been reported that the granting of concessionary rates to several essential food items as declared by the Minister of Finance, will take another few days to be fully implemented. Minister of Finance Mangala Samaraweera declared that the prices of several essential food items were to be reduced from midnight on Nov 8. Reports confirm however that the gazette notification declaring these more..

Family members of dead asylum seeker seek asylum in Switzerland

Nov 11 (ST) Three of the four family members of the Sri Lankan asylum seeker who was shot dead by the Swiss Police are seeking asylum in Switzerland after that country on humanitarian grounds gave them one-week visitor visas to attend the funeral. In Colombo, Swiss embassy officials confirmed that an incident had taken place in the city of Brissago (Canton of Tessin), resulting in the death of a Sri Lankan asylum seeker. more..

Minister Amaraweera says no power struggles in SLFP

Nov 11 (Island) UPFA General Secretary Mahinda Amaraweera said SLFP produced leaders at different levels and, therefore, there was no struggle for party leadership. Unlike other parties where there were cold wars between the party members to be the next leader, SLFP had already formed leadership for all levels, he said. It was Prez Sirisena who broken the tradition of limiting the party leadership to a single person or a family, more..

'Dual citizens among MPs -- If any, they must be jailed'

Nov 11 (DM) If there are any MPs who are dual citizens, they should not only be barred from Parliament, stripped of their parliamentary privileges and asked to pay compensation but should also be sent to jail, Ports and Shipping Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe said. He said that the country's apex court has given a clear ruling on dual citizenship and as such no MP with dual citizenship has the right to sit in the House anymore. more..

Govt takes tough road with Budget: Eran

Nov 11 (FT) State Minister of Finance Eran Wickramaratne staunchly defended the latest Budget, which proposed sweeping changes, insisting the Govt was being brave by taking the tough road and pushing for liberalisation even at potential political cost because it assured consistency.  Responding to questions at the KPMG Post-Budget forum, he emphasised that incremental change, despite being attempted by previous Govts, more..

'Beer healthier than sweetened soft drinks'

Nov 11 (CT) While noting that the Govt is determined to discourage hard liquor consumption in the country, Minister Mangala Samaraweera told Parliament yesterday that drinking beer is healthier than drinking sweetened soft drinks. Responding to a question raised by JVP MP Sunil Handunnetti during the first day of the second reading stage debate on Budget 2018, he said, "In many countries, 80% drink beer. more..

Polythene: Strict enforcement of ban from January

Nov 11 (ST) Just when the angry reaction to the polythene ban appears to be waning and supermarkets are generously handing out High-Density Polythene (HDPE) bags to shoppers, the Central Environment Authority (CEA) has expressed its determination to fully enforce the law. The CEA said it had been working intensely since the gazette notification was published on September 1 this year. more..

Prices rise, farmers and consumers suffer in middlemen’s tyranny

Nov 11 (ST) The already high vegetable and fruit prices are expected to rise further during the upcoming festive season, but farmers say their products could be sold at affordable prices if measures are in place to rein in middlemen and traders making undue profits. Vegetable prices were expected to increase by 40-50% in Nov and Dec. This was because production would be low during these months more..

Letter from a soldier to The President

Nov 11 (DM) The writer served in the Sri Lanka Army for over 27 years from 1973 to 2000 before he took early retirement for professional and personal reasons. He has the unique distinction of Commanding the 1st Battalion the Gemunu Watch an infantry battalion which was raised in December 1962 by his late father Brig. John F. Halangode. His grand uncle Albert Halangode fought in WW 1 as a 19-year-old school boy from Trinity College and was injured in the battle of Somme. more..

Profesionalism towards nation building

Nov 11 (DM) A profession is a vocation on specialized educational training and professionalism is any type of work that needs special training or practical skills after training a high level of education. The Organisation of Professional Associations (OPA), set up in 1974, is currently the most powerful professional body with 53 Professional Associations ever growing serving the community with professional uplift-men and development/prosperity in all sectors. more..

Mangala says banks must absorb Medamulana Tax

Nov 11 (FT) Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera offered greater clarity on several of the contentious proposals of Budget 2018, justifying their inclusion as necessary for a progressive nation. Speaking to the media, Minister was emphatic on the benefits of the proposed tax for debt repayment, identified as the Medamulana Tax, that seeks to charge 20 cents per Rs. 1,000 worth of bank transactions.  more..

Sri Lanka offers scheme to attract former rebels for employment

Nov 11 (GT) Sri Lanka finance ministry has announced a programme to encourage former combatants to find jobs and fund private companies who recruit them. The programme due to come into effect next year was included in the country’s annual budget, which was the subject of parliamentary debate. Under the programme the govt will provide facilities for former rebels to obtain training and certificates in fields of technical education, enabling them to obtain jobs in line with their skills. more..

2.266 Kg of heroin seized in Vavuniya

Nov 11 (DM) The Vavuniya Division Anti-Vice Squad said 2.266 Kg of heroin worth more than Rs.30 million has been taken into custody on Thursday when it was on the verge of being transported to Colombo from Jaffna. A suspect from Jaffna who was about to board a bus to Colombo, was nabbed by officers of the Anti-vice Squad who had taken him into custody on a tip-off received by them at the Vavuniya bus stand. They had received information that suspect was a resident of Velvetithurai more..