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Govt's budget no-balled by cricket drama and SC verdict on architects of economic crisis

Nov 19 (TM) Prez Ranil Wickremesinghe’s choice of date to present his second budget as Finance Minister seems quite interesting, since the number 13 is considered to be numerologically unlucky. Therefore, only time will tell if Wickremesinghe’s Budget for 2024 presented on Monday (13) will be unlucky for the Wickremesinghe Govt or the country and its people. However, going by the presented Budget for 2024, more..

Match-fixers, ghost cricketers turn Sri Lanka into a jukebox

Nov 19 (SO) A privatized administration at Sri Lanka Cricket paved the way for shady characters involved in match-fixing and players with hidden agendas to hold sway for nearly three years while officials entrusted with the welfare of the sport and team were too preoccupied with personal interests to take stock. The accusations have been made by none other than the SL team’s head selector Pramodya Wickremasinghe whose own scalp disgruntled cricket followers have called for more..

Editorial: The continuing onslaught on Gaza

Nov 19 (Island) As many as 159 of SL’s 225 MPs have signed a petition expressing support for the besieged Palestinian people, demanding an immediate halt to Israel’s disproportionate response to the atrocity committed by Hamas on Oct 7. This document, no doubt initiated by the Muslim MPs in the House, was duly delivered to the Palestine Embassy in Colombo with attendant publicity. The chances are there would have been many more signatories on the list had its promoters had more..

'Ambitious targets reflect Govt’s plans to uplift economy'

Nov 19 (SO) In a candid interview following Budget 2024, State Minister of Finance, Shehan Semasinghe, shares insights into the Govt’s economic strategies and addresses key concerns raised by the public and the Opposition. From managing the Cost of Living (COL) to navigating the intricacies of foreign debt restructuring and seeking support from international institutions, Minister provides more..

Parliament and the question of sovereignty

Nov 19 (Island) Conversations lay down the foundation for consensus, they provoke discussion and enable debate. One Text Initiative’s (OTI) session on strengthening parliamentary fiscal sovereignty through the Committee System, held last Thursday (16), at Water’s Edge, opened such a debate and discussion. While it’s still hard to think of consensus over matters like fiscal sovereignty, the issue remains relevant enough. At its core is whether Parliament should take up responsibility more..

At Modi’s hometown

Nov 19 (Island) There are many women leaders who have shaped politics of their countries. We produced the world’s first female PM in Sirimavo Bandaranayake. Then, Israel had Golda Meir, India had Indira Gandhi, Britain had Margret Thatcher and Australia had Julia Gillard. There is a famous story regarding Gillard. During the SL cricket team’s tour of Australia in 2012, she hosted the team for tea at her residence in Canberra. Team Manager Charith Senanayake was introducing the players to more..

Anura Kumara Dissanayake

Mahela opens a can of worms and comes under fire

Nov 19 (SO) With more and more secretive dealings coming to light in the aftermath of SL’s World Cup debacle, former team captain and now a so-called Consultant, Mahela Jayawardena, confessed that he was given a half baked, half fit group of players who failed to deliver by losing seven of the nine matches at the global showpiece in India. “The biggest thing was the fitness. Because of our fitness, the fatigue got into us and our performance died down from the first game towards the last game. more..

Retired hurt Thisara Perera warns cricket at the threshold of burial

Nov 19 (SO) Thisara Perera, one of the power hitters who stroked balls deep into the crowd stands has warned that cricket is doomed for the worse if nothing is done to prevent it from entering its eternal rest. Thisara retired hurt over differences with team selectors more than two years ago and is even prepared to make a comeback to save the team provided the highly disputed incumbent team Selection Committee is disbanded and replaced. “If I am to come out of retirement with my position more..

Govt foreign policy bearing fruit? Lanka elected to two important UN bodies

Nov 19 (ST) Govt’s foreign policy initiatives must be doing something right, judging by the fact that it has won two consecutive multilateral elections of the United Nations recently. Foreign Ministry has won the endorsement of the international community firstly by the election of Prasad Kariyawasam, former Foreign Secretary and one-time ambassador to the US, Committee on Protection of Rights of All Migrant Workers more..

Will it be Australia’s sixth or India’s third?

Nov 19 (ST) The defending champions crashed out. The runners-up in 2019 failed to make it to their third consecutive final. Proteas choked once again. Afghanistan showed grit but failed to make it, and after 47 matches of exciting and dramatic events, it’s a battle between the 2003 finalists—India and Australia–in front of a legion of home fans. They began the campaign facing each other on October 8. After nearly six weeks, they will meet for one last time in the 13th edition of ICC Men’s WC more..

Budget 2024: Do-or-Die walk with IMF

Nov 19 (ST) Balancing a budget usually entails balancing expenditures for the next year with income. You find deficit budgets, surplus budgets or balanced budgets. Budget 2024 presented on Monday seemed more one of balancing expectations – of the IMF and the citizens. The expectations are high on both sides. The IMF has given the Government a road map for economic recovery. A Technical Assistance Report – Governance Diagnosis Assessment – more..

Patali Champika Ranawaka

Sri Lanka targets USD 5 b from tourism next year: Tourism Authority chief

Nov 19 (SO) Sri Lanka will generate a revenue of over USD 5 billion from tourism receipts next year, said Chairman, SLTDA, Priantha Fernando at a post-Budget forum in Colombo on Wednesday. It was organised by the Institute of Certified Management Accountants of SL (CMA) in partnership with Ram Ratings (Lanka) Ltd. He said that this USD 5 billion would be the highest ever revenue figure generated by the industry. The industry targets 2.3 million in the number of tourist arrivals for next year. more..

Prez proposes ambitious regional integration and economic transformation

Nov 19 (PMD) During the key note address at the YPO Colombo Experience: Rediscover the Pearl conference held today (18) at the Shangri La hotel Colombo, Prez Ranil Wickremesinghe revealed his vision for transforming the economic landscape of the region. The President, who held discussions with the new Maldivian President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu, yesterday (17), expressed a desire for closer collaboration between SL and the Maldives, envisioning a unified Tourist area. more..

Budget 2024: Construction proposal on shaky ground?

Nov 19 (TM) Chamber of Construction Industry (CCI) of SL has expressed uncertainty regarding the viability of the proposal made in the 2024 Budget in relation to the construction industry, based on past experiences. Delivering his 2024 Budget speech on Monday, Prez Ranil Wickremesinghe as the Minister of Finance announced that the Govt would provide free lands where construction companies could more..

From refugees to unstoppables

Nov 19 (ST) Belief, hard work and talent define Afghanistan’s meteoric rise in int'l cricket. From competing in the ICC World Cricket League Division V in 2008 to gaining Test status in 2017—with their first World Cup appearance in 2015—to winning four of their nine games in 2023, their journey has been swift and relentless. Despite the challenges and hardships faced by their country due to political instability and conflict, the Afghan national cricket team made significant strides more..

WindForce PLC to consolidate projects in SL

Nov 19 (ST) WindForce PLC, SL’s largest renewable energy company, will be focusing on projects at hand in Sri Lanka for the next two years while welcoming the unbundling and restructuring of the energy sector, its Managing Director Manjula Perera said. The company, with 245 megawatts (MW) of installed renewable energy (RE) amidst a plethora of economic challenges in the country managed to develop two power plants. “During past 2 years we developed a 10 MW solar power plant more..

Poonakary solar project: Australian investors to infuse $ 500 m by March

Nov 19 (TM) Australian investors are poised to inject the first tranche of $ 500 million into the controversial solar project slated for launch in Poonakary, Jaffna. This substantial investment is expected to materialise before March next year. Total investment value is $ 1,727 million, aimed at developing a mega-scale 700 MW solar power plant at the Poonakary Tank. It is also learnt that SLSEA has already issued provisional approval more..

SJB eyes on no-confidence motion against COPE chairman

Nov 19 (AD) SJB has drawn attention to bringing up a no-confidence motion against the Chairman of COPE Prof. Ranjith Bandara. SJB MP Lakshman Kiriella stated that discussions pertaining to the matter are currently in progress. COPE chairman Prof. Ranjith Bandara came under fire for his conduct at the latest committee meeting, for which the officials of SLC were summoned. This prompted Speaker to announce on Friday (17) the suspension of COPE meetings until further notice. more..

22 Indian fishermen nabbed off Point Pedro for poaching in SL waters

Nov 19 (SLN) SL Navy conducted a special operation to chase away Indian poaching trawlers from SL waters in the morning (18). The operation resulted in the apprehension of 2 Indian dhows with 22 Indian fishermen engaged in poaching activities off the coast of Point Pedro. Navy remains committed to conducting routine patrols and operations within SL waters to deter the unlawful fishing activities of foreign fishermen. This effort is driven by an understanding of the impact of more..

කෝප් කඩේ වැහුවා

Ultra-luxury liner Celebrity Edge arrives in Colombo with over 2,700 tourists

Nov 19 (DM) Celebrity Edge, a cruise ship operated by Celebrity Cruises, will arrive from Kochi, India to Colombo, with 2,780 passengers, primarily from US, Australia and Canada, along with 1,273 crew members. 306m-long vessel boasts 15 decks and modern amenities. Having set sail from Dubai on Nov 13 and docking in Mumbai on Nov 16, the Celebrity Edge is en route to Phuket, Thailand, as part of its 12-day voyage. The final destination is Singapore, where the journey will conclude more..

High-powered unit to woo Diaspora investments

Nov 19 (SO) Govt has set up a unit to attract the Sri Lanka Diaspora to invest in the country on favourable terms to uplift the economy, a senior official said. The unit known as the Office for Overseas SL Affairs (OOSLA) under the Presidential Secretariat will work with 23 other partners, both from the State and private sector, the head of the unit V. Krishnamoorthy said. Among the partners will be the Foreign, Labour, Finance and ministries along with the Chamber of Commerce, more..

VAT net widens: Range of exempted items included

Nov 19 (ST) The govt has proposed to Parliament that it remove a host of VAT exemptions. Once approved, everything from books and magazines to fruit seeds, pearls, diamonds and public library services by the state, a provincial council or local authority will be liable to taxation at the new rate of 18% that comes into effect in January next year. Also included are cellular mobile phones, computers and computer accessories; more..

IRD officials claim Rs. 453 m as incentives, but Treasury to insist on targets first

Nov 19 (ST) Treasury is set to maintain a strict policy of payment to Inland Revenue Dept (IRD) officials, who have claimed up to Rs 453 million as incentive payments due to them for collecting taxes. At a meeting with IRD officials next week, the Treasury will insist that the incentive should be paid in accordance with reaching targets set by the govt. The move came as the Treasury directed the IRD to open 30,000 new tax files next year with a revised income target of Rs 2,200 billion more..

Sajith tables SLC letter to ICC over undue interference

Nov 19 (DM) Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa revealed that Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) president Shammi Silva had sent a letter to ICC alleging that the Sports Ministry had made undue interferences in its activities and claimed that this had paved the way for the ICC ban on SLC. He told Parliament that the communique which contained five serious allegations with an additional point had been sent to ICC Chairman Greg Barclay on Aug 28, 2023, and he tabled the letter in Parliament. more..

හිරු ටීවී පත්තරේ විස්තරේ

IMF second tranche by December: Minister

Nov 19 (EN) The disbursement of the second instalment of the loan under the extended funding facility provided to SL by the IMF is anticipated to occur in December, minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said. “We anticipate the disbursement of the second instalment from the IMF by December. Beyond the financial inflow, the paramount significance lies in the trust instilled by other lenders through this transaction,” minister de Silva was quoted as saying at a press briefing on Friday (17). more..

45,000 train journeys cancelled in 10 months

Nov 19 (CT) A staggering number of 45,000 train journeys were cancelled in the past 10 months and an average of 150 daily scheduled train journeys continue to face cancellations, presenting a stark contradiction to the Dept of Railways’ vision of becoming the most efficient transport provider in Southern Asia. This was revealed by a senior official from the Department of Railways. The official highlighted that as a result of several issues within the department, more..

Suspect drug company involved in another scandal: Health Ministry collects details...

Nov 19 (ST) The Health Ministry has started gathering details of all patients who were treated with the counterfeit Rituximab 500mg injection sold to the Medical Supplies Division (MSD) by Isolez Biotech Pharma AG, the company that sold fake human immunoglobulin to the govt. An MSD circular states that it is “collecting details of all patients who were treated with the above-mentioned products [Rituximab Inj 500 mg] and more..

Over 1million three-wheelers to have access to affordable electric battery swapping

Nov 19 (DM) One million two hundred thousand three-wheelers in SL to be able to offer clean and affordable transportation solutions, with Lanka E-mobility Solutions (Pte) Ltd (LEMS) introducing electric three-wheel battery swapping technology, branded as e-wheel, in SL. The novel battery-swapping technology means the three-wheeler owner no longer has to purchase a costly battery or worry about end-of-life replacement. The battery-swapping process takes a mere two minutes. more..

Appointments to superior courts must be on merits, integrity rather than seniority

Nov 19 (DM) The Lawyers’ Collective, a prominent legal advocacy group in Sri Lanka emphasized that appointments made by the Prez to the superior courts in consultation with the Chief Justice and as approved by the Constitutional Council must be on merit and integrity rather than merely on seniority. The Lawyer’s Collective has requested for a prompt response to recent allegations of abuse of judicial office against the President of the Court of Appeal by Sports Minister Roshan Ranasinghe more..

New appointments to Superior Courts: CC delays approving President’s nominees

Nov 19 (ST) Presidency and the Constitutional Council are locked in a serious controversy over filling vacancies in the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal. Prez Ranil Wickremesinghe recommended the appointment of Court of Appeal President Justice Nissanka Karunaratne to the Supreme Court. That is to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Justice Buwaneka Aluwihare. more..

Don’t let Ice freeze Sri Lanka’s youth

Nov 20 (Island) The menace of dangerous drugs in SL has taken a drastic change for the worse after the introduction of Methamphetamine or Ice, as it is called in the streets. Until 2007, it was heroin that was mainly used; Methamphetamine was almost unheard of. In 2007, however, following a detection by the Customs at the BIA, 09kg of the substance were submitted to the Govt Analyst’s Dept, thereby indicating that the drug was probably already being widely used. more..

Pummelled by presidency

Nov 20 (ST) My dear Mahinda maama, Gota maama and Basil maama, I thought I must write to you this week to congratulate you on your great achievement in finally being granted official recognition–by the highest court of the land, no less. They declared that it was you–and a few of your cronies like Cabraal and PB–who led us to where we are today, a bankrupt nation. If you are wondering why I am congratulating you, why shouldn’t I? You brought about the country’s biggest economic crisis, more..

Still, the Mirage

Nov 20 (GV) Supreme Court judgement about the Rajapaksa culpability for Sri Lanka's economic ruin couldn’t have come at a better time. The sense of hope generated by the ending of chronic shortages and the partial restoration of normalcy has waned. The forward movement of the economy has grinded to a halt, impeded by multiple malaises solidified through inaction and indifference into components of the governance landscape. more..

Is there light at the end of the ‘SLR’ tunnel?

Nov 20 (CT) It was reported that shortcomings in Sri Lanka Railways (SLR) operations have resulted in the cancellation of 45,000 train journeys in the last 10 months, averaging around 150 daily train schedule cancellations. Moreover, about 64,000 train journeys were delayed within the same period, averaging 214 train delays a day. Considering SLR operates only 390 daily train journeys, the numbers suggest that around 55 per cent of daily train journeys on average have been delayed more..

Budget 2024: Revolutionary or a fairytale; depends on which side of the House one is in

Nov 20 (ST) Prez Ranil Wickremesinghe presented his govt’s Budget 2024 on Monday (13) under the theme Prelude to a Bright Future. MPs from the govt praised his budget as revolutionary during the seven-day debate on the Second Reading that started on Tuesday. The opposition, however, dismissed it as a fairytale that would not have a happy ending. Prez’s budget speech was like being taken on a holiday to Disneyland. “But today, we have to look at Disneyland from the outside,” more..

'Public debt at around Rs. 1.6 m for every Lankan'

Nov 20 (TM) Sri Lanka’s total public debt translates to around Rs. 1.6 million for every man, woman, and child in the country and if we are to get out of this economic crisis once and for all, we have to be serious about addressing the issues in the fiscal sector, asserted public policy specialist and Advocata Institute Senior Research Fellow Dr. Roshan Perera. Commenting on the recently-unveiled Budget 2024, she said more..