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Foreign visits by PC members: Follow prescribed guidelines: MS
Wednesday, 28 September 2016 - 9:52 AM SL Time

In the wake of 29 Central Provincial Councillors travelling to Russia yesterday using public funds, the Presidential Secretariat directed the nine Provincial Councils to adhere to the guidelines issued by President Maithripala Sirisena when undertaking foreign trips by public officials and PC members. The President has instructed PC members and public officials to refrain from undertaking trips abroad with more than five at a time. But in this instance there were 29 participants who travelled abroad on the pretext of a training and study tour. It is not desirable for people s representatives and public officials holding senior positions to travel abroad in large groups at one time. A careful study should be made in advance of the need for such trips abroad wehn formulating project proposals to be submitted to foreign agencies in future, the President said. In a note to Cabinet he had stressed the need for all public officers to focus attention on the need and desirability for training or observation tours abroad whenever project proposals are formulated. `Permission should not be granted for trips abroad where invitations have been received from outside unless the total cost of the trip or a substantial portion thereof is being met by the outside agencies,` the President said and added that in case it was necessary for more than the stipulated number of officials should travel abroad, then attention should be focused on arranging such visits on a staggered basis. Full Story     Post Reply To This

Ranjan loses temper, hits video camera
Wednesday, 28 September 2016 - 9:49 AM SL Time

A heated argument between Deputy Minister Ranjan Ramanayake and a journalist from the electronic media ended up with the former hitting a video camera at a media briefing this evening. The incident flared up when the deputy minister was about to after the briefing. The argument which began during the media briefing continued even after it. Mr Ramanayake accused the journalist of making a false allegation against him. An OIC in the police is blamed when he arrests a thief and the thief escapes. This is the situation in this country today, Mr Ramanayake was heard saying to which the journalist replied saying, Even OICs take bribes today . Mr Ramanayake who becomes furious at this point, accused the journalist of making a false allegation. Malli you said I take bribes. I am telling you I have not done it at any time. Don t make false allegations against me, he said. The journalist then replied saying he did not make any false allegations against the deputy minister. The deputy minister while arguing with the journalist hit a video camera which was pionted at him. Monawada me Karanne? ( What are you doing?) he was heard saying while hitting the camera. This camera did not belong to the TV channel which the journalist who argued with the deputy minister was attached to. Mr Ramanayake, when contacted by Daily Mirror, said that he had settled the issue with the authorities of the TV channel concerned. Full Story     Post Reply To This

Wimal at FCID over misusing state vehicles
Tuesday, 27 September 2016 - 2:28 PM SL Time

National Freedom Front Leader MP Wimal Weerawansa arrived at the Police Financial Crimes Investigation Division (FCID) a short while ago.

He will be questioned over his alleged involvement in misusing a fleet of vehicles belonging to Presidential Secretariat during the election. Full Story     Post Reply To This

Getting harassed by IMF: Ravi
Tuesday, 27 September 2016 - 2:26 PM SL Time

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) appears to be hounding Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake in the wake of multiple blunders in attempting to pass the Value Added Tax (VAT) Bill, increasing the taxation rates in recent months. We have another 55 days for the budget, and as the Finance Minister, I get harassed, by nobody else than the IMF, Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake told a recent forum in Colombo. An IMF mission which was in the country last week said that not legislating the VAT Bill soon would threaten the continuation of the 3-year US$ 1.5 billion Extended Fund Facility which started this June and which Sri Lanka is depending on to correct its balance of payments issues. The attempt to legislate the VAT rate increase through the Cabinet this June had resulted in the Joint Opposition filing a fundamental rights petition at the Supreme Court, which ruled that the VAT amendments were not constitutional, since they were not passed through parliament. Karunanayake had then drafted another VAT Bill last month, which got cabinet approval this month to go to parliament. However, the Joint Opposition pointed out that the legislation was published through Government Gazette earlier than it was approved by the cabinet, which was also illegal. The government had planned to increase VAT rates from 11 percent to 15 percent in order to shore up the budget deficit which had spun out of control to 7.4 percent of gross domestic product in 2015 due to unsustainable public sector wage increases, compared to a projected deficit of 4.4 percent.
Full Story     Post Reply To This

Real SLFPers will form a govt. under Maithri`s leadership
Monday, 26 September 2016 - 8:59 AM SL Time

Despite obstacles, the real SLFP members would go ahead with the plans to form a government under the leadership of President Maithripala Sirsena, UPFA Secretary and Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said today. He said him and President Sirisena, who is also the Chairman of the SLFP, are still making their utmost effort to unite all the parties in the future plans to form a SLFP government. Full Story     Post Reply To This

No new party on Oct. 8: MR
Monday, 26 September 2016 - 8:51 AM SL Time

While ruling out plans of the Joint Opposition to form a new political party, former President and Kurunegala District MP Mahinda Rajapaksa today said that it is the people who should decide on the establishment of a new party. He said this as a response to the media after attending a religious event held in Urapola Temple in Pilimathalawa. The rally of the Joint Opposition which will be held on October 8 is not about the formation of a new party, he said. However, it was reported that the inaugural rally of a new political front headed by the Joint Opposition is slated to be held at Eheliyagoda town on October 8. Full Story     Post Reply To This

Gota visits Gatambe Viharaya
Saturday, 24 September 2016 - 10:05 AM SL Time

Former defense secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa visited the Raachopawanaramaya in Gatambe this evening and sought blessings from Chief Incumbent of the temple, Ven. Kappetiyawe Siri Wimala Nayake Thera. Full Story     Post Reply To This

Aluthgamage re-remanded
Friday, 23 September 2016 - 10:14 AM SL Time

Mahindananda Aluthgamage, who was arrested by the CID over money laundering charges for allegedly purchasing a property worth Rs. 27 million in Colombo 7, was today ordered to be re-remanded till September 27 by Colombo Chief Magistrate Gihan Pilapitiya. Full Story     Post Reply To This

Duminda appeals against his death sentence
Friday, 23 September 2016 - 10:13 AM SL Time

Duminda Silva, convicted on charges of murdering Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra and sentenced to death, today filed an appeal in the Supreme Court against the sentence imposed by the High Court, President`s Counsel Anil Silva, who filed the application on behalf of the convict, told Daily Mirror. Full Story     Post Reply To This

Reconciliation will ensure permanent peace Prez tells UNGA
Friday, 23 September 2016 - 10:01 AM SL Time

President Maithripala Sirisena declared at the UNGA on Thursday that the on-going reconciliation process would guarantee that Sri Lanka wouldn t have to face war and terrorism again. The President called for international collaboration and blessings for the on-going Sri Lankan effort.

The President was addressing the 71st session of the UNGA, New York. Commenting on post-January 2015 presidential polls, the President said: `My government has taken effective measures to strengthen democracy, rule of law and good governance in the country paving the way for a positive change to ensure that there will be no more wars on the soils of my country, Sri Lanka. The reconciliation process that is underway today has learnt from the bitter experience of a brutal war of three decades. It will guarantee that my country will not see the cruelty of war and terrorism again and that all communities will live peacefully in a rational and a free-thinking Sri Lanka. For this noble purpose, Sri Lanka welcomes the collaboration and the blessings of the world.`
Full Story     Post Reply To This

SL an example to other countries: Obama
Thursday, 22 September 2016 - 10:50 AM SL Time

US President Barack Obama had told President Maithripala Sirisena that Sri Lanka was at a transformational stage and that it was an example to other countries. President Sirisena, who is in US to attend the 71st session of the UN General Assembly, met world leaders including the US President at a luncheon hosted by the outgoing UN Chief Ban Ki-moon. President Obama said Sri Lanka was an example to others and that US will be with us whenever we need assistance, President Sirisena told media in New York. The President said UN Chief Ban Ki-moon also expressed positive sentiments over the measures taken by Sri Lanka to create a better environment for the people. President Sirisena also met with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Canadian Premier Justin Trudeau. Meanwhile, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Right Prince Zeid Ra`ad Al-Hussein, who met with the President, had assured that there was no rift between the Human Rights Commission and Sri Lanka. All the leaders are happy with the progress we have made in Sri Lanka. We have their blessing. the President said. Full Story     Post Reply To This

Government planning to sell key Govt. institutions: JVP
Wednesday, 21 September 2016 - 10:30 AM SL Time

The Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) alleged yesterday that the government was planning to sell key government institutions such as SriLankan Airlines, Hambantota Port, the Eastern Terminal of the Colombo Harbour, Mattala Airport, and Lanka Hospitals citing they were inefficient and loss- ridden. JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake said it was an utter lie to claim that they were being sold due to their inefficiency and loss-ridden state and added that it was due to the inefficiency of the economic policy of the government. The government should take the responsibility of making government institutions inefficient and loss making. All the government institutions such as police and divisional secretaries are inefficient. Are they going to sell them too? he asked. Speaking at a public seminar held at the Public Library in Colombo on Trading, Sacrifice and ETCA , Mr. Dissanayake said the government s only solution to the economic crisis had been to sell and sacrifice government institutions and further expose service sector through ETCA. He said the government should take control of fair share of key sectors such as finance, energy and electricity as our economy was considerably small and added that the government was doing the complete opposite instead. The government has already planned to sell Hilton Hotel, Trincomalee Oil Tank Farm and Kalpitiya islets. Plans were afoot to rent out 15,000 acres in Hambantota saying that it is for an industry, he said. Mr. Dissanayake said they were completely against the exposing of Information Technology (IT) field through ETCA. We are in a similar state with India when compared to IT sector. We do not need Indian IT experts as we have our own internationally recognised experts. I do not think the first class IT experts would come to Sri Lanka but only third class IT experts would come here and put the job security of our experts in jeopardy with their cheap labour. This would result in our experts migrating to European countries, he said. He said what Government should do was not to expose our IT sector to India but to expand it which had an unlimited scope for development. Mr. Dissanayake said the Rajapaksa faction were creating a bugbear of re-emerging of the LTTE and enacting of a Constitution which would divide the country to show their patriotism and cover up their fraud and corruption while the government was also had given prominence to the new Constitution to cover up their inability and failed economic policies. Full Story     Post Reply To This

Suspects in custody must be checked every half hour: Sagala
Wednesday, 21 September 2016 - 10:28 AM SL Time

With regard to the death of a man while in the custody of the Pussellewa Police, Law and Order Minister Sagala Ratnayake told Parliament yesterday that there had been a lapse on the part of the police when it came to the checking of inmates at regular intervals. He said that though those held in police cells should be checked every half-an-hour, it had not happened. In his response to the question asked by opposition MP Dinesh Gunawardena, the minister said the police had inspected the cell at 18.45 hours and then at 19.40 hours. `It has to be done every 30 minutes but in this instance it had not happened for an hour,` he said. The minister said the man had been arrested on charges of being in possession of 750 litres of toddy without a licence. The suspect (30), was arrested at the Pussellawa town on September 17 and locked up at 17.15 hours. The police had found him hanging from the roof of the cell when the police had gone to his cell. The suspect was rushed to the hospital but he had died on admission. The minister said a postmortem examination was carried out and the body parts would be sent to the Government Analyst while a magisterial inquiry would be held on September 23. `We do not condone people dying while under police custody. The police are bound by law to protect all citizens,` he said. Full Story     Post Reply To This

Whom to trust? Gammanpila
Tuesday, 20 September 2016 - 10:08 AM SL Time

Top government leaders had different opinions on the unitary character of the country and the prominence given to Buddhism which had resulted in utter confusion, Pivithuru Hela Urumaya (PHU) General Secretary MP Udaya Gammanpila said today. He said the President and the Prime Minister had assured to leave the prominence given to Buddhism and the unitary character of the country as it is but former President Chandrika Kumaratunga had expressed contradicting sentiments. Mrs. Kumaratunga is the in-charge of reconciliation. She recently said she wanted to create a federal yet a semi-secular State in Sri Lanka. This contradicts what the President or the Premier had stated. We don t know whom to trust anymore, he told a news conference. Full Story     Post Reply To This

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