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Central Bank gets $400M swap from Reserve Bank of India

Jan 9 (EN) SL's Central Bank says it will get US$ 400 million from a swap arrangement with the Reserve Bank of India, while a request for a further US$ 1 billion is under consideration. The Reserve Bank of India—the central bank of that country—has agreed to provide the funds under its SAARC Swap Facility. "RBI’s very rapid and timely assistance will serve to boost investor confidence by supporting Sri Lanka to maintain an adequate level of more..

Foreign earnings remitted to Sri Lanka exempted from income tax

Jan 9 (NR) Minister of Finance Mangala Samaraweera says the Cabinet of Ministers has granted approval to amend the Inland Revenue Act No.24 of 2017. Accordingly the govt has decided to exempt several taxes imposed on the general public. He said foreign earnings remitted to SL through a bank, have been exempted from income tax from the 15th of Nov 2018. Furthermore interest income of NRFC and RFC account holders have also been exempted from 15th of Nov last year. more..

Wigneswaran approves new Northern Governor

Jan 9 (AD) Former Northern Province Chief Minister C. V. Wigneswaran says that he is pleased with the appointment of Suren Ragawan as the new Governor of the Northern Province. Wigneswaran said that he is glad that as this the first time the Northern Province has received a Tamil person as the Governor. A Tamil person has an understanding of the issues of the Tamil community and it is important to think as a Tamil when working with Tamil people’s issues, he pointed out. more..

Treatment of detainees at Welisara Navy camp detention barrack comes under fire

Jan 9 (CT) A group of Navy officers who had been apprehended on charges of deserting the Force due to various reasons as well as another group of Navy officers who had been nabbed for having allegedly flouted rules and regulations, are being allegedly held at a Detention Barrack at the Welisara Navy Camp without basic facilities, Ceylon Today reliably learns. A Navy officer who freed himself from Detention more..

I won't accept PRECIFAC report: MR

Jan 9 (DM) Opposition Leader Mahinda Rajapaksa said today he did not accept the report of the Prez Commission to Investigate and Inquire into Serious Acts of Fraud, Corruption and Abuse of Power, State Resources and Privileges (PRECIFAC) because it was presented with political bias. He said this in parliament in response to a statement made by Minister Mangala Samaraweera, who said that the PRECIFAC report had held Mr. Rajapaksa and several others responsible of more..

Ill-treated acolyte to turn tables on him!

Jan 9 (DM) This businessman from the neighbouring country came here eyeing a big Ministry contract. As per the prior arrangement, he met a political authority from the upcountry and having the deal wrapped he offered a wad of greenbacks to the latter. Waving off the money, he told the businessman: “It is my acolyte who is going to handle the entire job on my behalf. Therefore, you had better give this money to him!” The politico had already briefed the acolyte on his role more..

Carbon tax from Jan 1, exempt electric cars

Jan 9 (DN) While exempting electric cars, a Carbon Tax will be imposed on directly fossil-fueled vehicles including petrol cars from Jan 1, DMT Commissioner General A.H.K. Jagath Chandrasiri said. The carbon tax will be based on the fuel consumption of vehicles. "The tax will be charged under the 2018 financial Act and under three categories -- manufacturing year of the vehicles of less than 5 years, between more..

Five Parliamentary Committees appointed

Jan 9 (DN) Deputy Speaker Ananda Kumarasiri today tabled the names of members appointed to Parliament committees including the COPA, Public Finance Committee, Committee on Standing Orders, House Committee and the Committee on Ethics and Privileges. The Committee on Public Accounts includes MPs Niroshan Wickremeratne, Ali Zahir Mawulana, Budhdhika Pathirana, Wasudeva Nanayakkara, Duminda Dissanayake, Rohitha Abeygunawardena, Udaya Gammanpila, more..

'Sri Lankan judiciary has proved it is capable of handling probes'

Jan 9 (DM) It is a known fact that there have been war crimes and violation of human rights in Sri Lanka but the local judiciary has proved that it is fully capable of dealing with those, JVP MP Bimal Ratnayake said yesterday. Speaking in Parliament Mr. Ratnayake said the way Sri Lankan judiciary has acted during the recent political crisis has clearly shown that Sri Lanka does not need international judges to look into war crimes and violation of human rights. more..

Shavendra Silva appointed Army Chief of Staff

Jan 9 (AD) Major General Shavendra Silva has been appointed as the new Chief of Staff of the SL Army. Silva is currently serving as the Adjutant General of Sri Lanka Army. He was the former Director of Operations, SL Army and the General Officer Commanding, 58th Division during the civil war. He has received some of the highest medals in the Sri Lankan armed forces, which includes the Weera Wickrama Vibhushanaya, more..

Suraksha insurance for students to be increased

Jan 9 (NR) Cabinet has approved a proposal to increase privileges granted to school students through the Suraksha Insurance scheme. Accordingly steps have been taken to increase the per-day cover of Rs.1000 granted for hospitalisation at a state run hospital to Rs.3000. Ministry of Education said the Rs. 10,000 cover for outpatient treatments will be increased to Rs.20,000. Meanwhile the hospitalisation cover granted for govt & private hospitals will remain at Rs.200,000. more..

Gangster Pappa in custody over five shootouts in Colombo

Jan 9 (DM) Colombo Crimes Division (CCD) yesterday revealed that a 28-year-old suspect known as Pappa, who was in custody, had been wanted over several recent shooting incidents in the Maligawatte and Grandpass areas. They said the suspect, Bamunu Arachchige Duminda, who goes under the alias Mohammed Salman Rilvan (Pappa), was arrested with 5.3 grammes of heroin in Maligawatte last week. He was detained for seven days for further questioning after being more..

Sri Lanka will cease to exist if new constitution is passed: MR

Jan 9 (AD) Opposition Leader Mahinda Rajapaksa says there is a clear danger of a breakdown in governmental mechanism of the country, due to the irrational provisions of the 19th Amendment. Issuing a statement, he claimed that Sri Lanka faces three major dangers as we complete four years since the change of govt on 9 Jan 2015. The first among them, he said, is the danger of the economy collapsing at any moment. more..

MP Siddarthan says TNA wrong to demand Opposition Leader post

Jan 9 (Island) The decision taken by Speaker Karu Jayasuriya to name former President Mahinda Rajapaksa as the opposition leader was correct, Tamil National Alliance (TNA) MP Dharmalingam Siddarthan told journalists in Jaffna. He said that the Speaker has awarded the post of opposition leader to the MP who commanded the support of highest number of opposition MPs in Parliament. The TNA did not command the support of the majority of opposition MPs, Siddarthan told journalists. more..

Case against Gamini Senarath postponed to Jan 11

Jan 9 (AD) Permanent High Court Trial-at-Bar today heard the case against former Prez’s Chief of Staff Gamini Senarath and three others for allegedly misappropriating Rs 500 million in funds belong to Litro Gas. The case was taken up before the Special High Court three-judge bench comprising Justices Sampath Abeykoon, Sampath Wijeratne, and Champa Rajaratne. Recording statements from the 9th witness of the case Menaka Rajakaruna, accountant of Canvil Holdings was concluded more..

ICC grant 14-day amnesty to report on match fixing approaches to Sri Lankans

Jan 9 (DM) The International Cricket Council (ICC) will, for the first time ever, start a two-week amnesty period for Sri Lankan cricketers and others involved in the game to come clean and tell them what they know about corruption. The 14 days will begin next week and the ICC expects all those who have been approached by bookies, but failed to report these approaches to anti-corruptions officials, to divulge details. ‘Let me make this clear, more..

Open warrant re-issued against Jaliya

Jan 9 (AD) The Colombo Fort Magistrate’s Court has re-issued an open warrant on former SL Ambassador to the US, Jaliya Wickramasuriya. Wickramasuriya has been charged with allegedly accepting a commission of US$ 332,000 following a contract awarded to refurbish the Sri Lankan Embassy in Washington DC while serving as the Ambassador to the US, under the previous government. The court had issues open warrants on a number of previous occasions against more..

President appoints SC judges after delay

Jan 9 (EN) President Sirisena has appointed three judges to the Supreme Court, including two whose appointments were delayed following a constitutional coup. Court of Appeal President Preethi Padman Surasena, S Thurairaja and E N P G R Amarasekera were sworn in before the president, his office said. Justice Sursena replaces controversial judge Eva Wanasundra who retired in January. Constitutional Council, which has powers to veto any nominee of the president, more..

Foreign ministry under increasing pressure to initiate inquiry into Dayan’s conduct

Jan 9 (CT) The Foreign Minister has come under increasing pressure to initiate an investigation into SL Ambassador to Russia Dayan Jayatilleka following the JVP’s revelation in Parliament yesterday on his overt political campaigning. The Foreign Affairs Ministry has pussyfooted around Jayatilleka’s appointment thus far due to the latter’s connections with President Maithripala Sirisena. It was based on Sirisena recommendation that more..

Fake Vaalampuries: Businessman granted bail

Jan 9 (DN) A businessman who had cheated several people with fake Vaalampuries was arrested by a team of Police officers attached to the Special Crime Investigation Unit of the Mirihana Police Station yesterday. He was later granted bail. The businessman is alleged to be the owner of the Namo Naarayana Center in Pitakotte. The arrest was made by a team of Police officers after a complaint which lodged by one of his clients after he client was cheated by the suspect businessman more..

Finance minister to Washington to get IMF facility back

Jan 9 (EN) Minister Mangala Samaraweera will leave for Washington on Friday (11) for talks on getting the IMF External Fund Facility (EFF) back on track. Samaraweera is expected to signal the govt's intention to continue with IMF reform program. He will be meeting Christine Lagarde, IMF Managing Director, Mitsuhiro Furusawa, Deputy Managing Director, Chanyong Rhee, Director, Asia Pacific Department, Manuel Goretti, Team Leader and other members of the IMF Sri Lanka Team. more..

හරීන් ප්රනාන්දු සහ බන්දුල වර්ණපුර

From death to a larger liberty

Jan 9 (FT) Why are they all here? The mournful friends and grief-stricken family. That sly fox of a phoenix-like politico. Those happy humbugs. These hysterical hyenas with their hopeful platitudes. Their hypocrisy hamstrung only by the disbelieving silence of a few die-hards stunned into aggrieved silence by their presence. But who am I to judge? I who have been here but twice in 10 years. The first time when a few faithful believers in good governance voted for the democratic-republicans we thought more..

Declaring Tripitaka National Heritage timely

Jan 9 (CT) Every religion that exists in the world has a set of sacred scriptures which are highly revered and widely read by the followers of the religion. Tripitaka is the treasure house of Buddha’s teachings and is revered as the supreme religious scripture of Buddhism. Tripitaka, which is also known as the Pali Canon, was imparted in ancient Ceylon with the advent of Buddhism by Arhant Mahinda Thera in 3 BC. As recorded in the ancient chronicle of Ceylon, the Deepawamsa, more..

JVP blows whistle on IWMI being given powers against country’s interests

Jan 9 (CT) The JVP yesterday, requested the Govt to review Sri Lanka’s agreement with the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) as some provisions of that agreement are against national interests. JVP MP Bimal Rathnayake, participating in the debate on the Regulations under the Diplomatic Privileges Act, noted that the Govt has given diplomatic privileges to a number of organisations including the IWMI. more..

DCSL, Lion Brewery cry foul over Excise Duty anomalies

Jan 9 (FT) An in-depth investigation conducted by a team of private sector professionals has revealed that the Govt is losing a whopping Rs. 10-12 billion annually in Excise Duty from illicit manufacturers of alcohol. They claim that the legal beer and arrack manufacturers, Distilleries Company of SL (DCSL) & Lion Brewery, alone pay a consolidated Rs. 80 billion to State coffers annually, which accounts for 71% of total Excise Duty more..

Inside story of the first-ever foreign indictment of a Lankan ambassador

Jan 9 (DM) It was revealed last month that former SL Ambassador to Washington D.C., Jaliya Wickramasuriya is facing criminal prosecution in the US, according to an indictment and supporting documents unsealed on Dec 20, 2018 in the US District Court for the District of Colombia. The indictment, filed under seal on May 1, 2018, charges Wickramasuriya with two counts of wire fraud, two counts of money laundering and more..

President rules out snap Presidential polls

Jan 9 (NR) President Maithripala Sirisena has reportedly ruled out a snap Presidential Election. The Head of State is vested with powers to call for an early election during the last 365-day period of the five-year term. However, UPFA MP Mahinda Samarasinghe says President Sirisena has claimed that the next Presidential Election date will not be brought forward. MP said the President had indicated on several occasions that more..

OMP launches campaign to spotlight families of the missing

Jan 9 (FT) Office on Missing Persons (OMP), as it completes a year following its establishment on 28 Feb 2018, has launched a communications campaign to bring attention to the plight of the families of the missing and disappeared. The campaign titled Pain never disappears, let’s fulfil our responsibility to find the truth aims to generate awareness and empathy towards the suffering of Sri Lankans who are still waiting to learn truth more..

JVP rakes up police attack on ITN employees and corruption there

Jan 9 (Island) Minister Mangala Samaraweera would make a statement in Parliament, today, on the situation at ITN, said Minister Lakshman Kiriella. Kiriella said so, replying to JVP Leader, MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake, who asked what measures would be taken as regards corruption and fraudulent activities that had taken place due to political meddling at ITN, why proper procedures were not followed in recruitment, more..

Ravi K, Daya differ on executive presidency

Jan 9 (Island) UNP lawmakers continue to express contrary views on executive presidency and 19th Amendment in respect of the size of the Cabinet and its presidential candidate. Minister Daya Gamage said that the executive presidency could help rapid development of the country. Gamage said that the country shouldn’t forget how crucial decisions were taken using executive powers for the benefit of the people. more..

Poverty cut-off mark rises by 50%

Jan 9 (CT) Rising inflation, coupled with the rising cost of living (CoL), driven by the effects of the 26 Oct abortive political coup, has seen the island’s poverty cutoff mark increase sharply by 50% in a mere two months to last month, compared with its overall increase for the totality of last year. SL’s poverty cut-off mark which was Rs 4,648 as at end October, rose to Rs 4,711 last month, an increase of Rs 63, compared to an overall increase of more..

Plantation workers set for islandwide token strike on 23rd

Jan 9 (CT) An islandwide token strike is set to take place on 23 January by 15 civil society organisations titled 1,000 Movement in support of the Rs 1,000 basic pay being demanded by plantation workers. Organisers are in the process of contacting all estates to group themselves up to hold the token strike between 4 to 6 p.m. on that day. Also, a massive strike has been planned in Colombo on that day between 4 to 6 p.m. more..

Busting the Bangladeshi link in Lanka’s biggest heroin detection

Jan 9 (ST) Sri Lanka police will seek Interpol assistance to arrest a Bangladeshi woman suspected to be the mastermind behind a network, that was busted, and led to the discovery of the biggest single seizure of heroin in the country’s history. Police Narcotics Bureau (PNB) recovered 278 kilograms of heroin during a raid where they arrested two Bangladeshi nationals last Monday (31). These arrests were directly linked to more..

Politicians are both: The cause & effect of corruption

Jan 9 (DM) A rustle of leaves emanated something beckoning a gentle sigh of an old man. Bending tree trunks and wavy paddy, pregnant with budding grains underneath, were absent. In the distant landscape, the horizon is a blending of shady mountain tops with mighty grey skies; the heavens have released a drape of clouds to obscure what lay behind the mountains. Trees which stood like sentries guarding the hilltops and what lay behind too have been covered by cascading clouds more..

Noise pollution: Let’s listen to the sound of silence

Jan 9 (DM) Right next to the National Institute of Mental Health; popularly known as Angoda hospital, there is a playground. The ground is used for matches between sports clubs and during the festive seasons for carnivals, all with loud speakers and loud music. How fair this is to the poor inmates is the question. These hospital patients with their vulnerable minds need peace of mind more than anyone else and subjecting them to loud disturbances at regular intervals threatening more..