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Hostile Tamil Diaspora activists invited again
Thursday, 7 July 2016 - 1:14 PM SL Time

Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera has invited Tamil Diaspora activists, including those still promoting a separatist agenda to visit Sri Lanka.

Minister Samaraweera has extended the invitation on behalf of the government of Sri Lanka during a meeting with expatriate Tamils on the sidelines of 32 session of the Geneva-based United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC).

Addressing the media at the Foreign Ministry auditorium, Minister Samaraweera explained the dialogue he had with Diaspora representatives.
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Sri Lanka President intervenes in VAT hike
Tuesday, 5 July 2016 - 2:29 AM SL Time

Sri Lanka`s President Maithripala Sirisena is intervening directly in a recent value added tax hike made without parliamentary debate and minimal public communication, following protests from traders as well as anger among sick people.

President Sirisena has called a meeting of Treasury and Inland Revenue officials for a meeting after earlier saying in public that some relief will be given for VAT, in a sign that he is getting directly involved in economic policy making.
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President calls the shots: Dr. Indrajit Coomaraswamy Central Bank Governor
Sunday, 3 July 2016 - 2:59 PM SL Time

President Maithripala Sirisena yesterday appointed Dr. Indrajit Coomaraswamy a renowned diplomat and economist, as the Governor of the Central Bank ending weeks of speculation over who will take the post.

The move which climaxed a behind-the-scenes drama this week had pitted the two key players of the Government the United National Party (UNP) and the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) on a virtual collision course.
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Navy to look into Yoshitha after financial probe is over
Saturday, 2 July 2016 - 4:07 AM SL Time

Lieutenant Yoshitha Rajapaksa was under investigation for financial crimes and therefore other allegations allegedly done as a Naval Officer would be investigated by the Sri Lanka Navy, after the conclusion of the civil case on financial crimes, Navy Spokesman Captain Alevi Akram said. Captain Akram responding to a question raised by a journalist as to why the Sri Lanka Navy treats Lt. Rajapaksa and Lt. Commander K.C Welagedara differently, he said there was no discrimination whatsoever and added that Sri Lanka Navy was awaiting the ruling from President Maithripala Sirisena as the Commander in Chief on the appeal made to him by Lt. Commander Welagedara against his punishment. He said comparatively, the offence committed by Lt. Commander Welagedara being an officer of a higher rank was serious than the offences committed by Lt. Rajapaksa, of a lower rank and that was why a Court Martial was held against Lt. Commander Welagedara. He was demoted four ranks, which was a minor punishment, considering the magnitude of his offence, Captain Akram said. However, a final decision will be taken on him on the directive of President Sirisena as he has made an appeal to him on the punishments meted out to him by the Navy, he added. Captain Akram said Lt. Commander Welagedara, while serving as the Chief Commanding Officer of the Naval and Maritime Academy in Trincomalee that trains 300 Naval Officers and 1,500 Navy men, had left his service station without prior approval of a higher authority. - See more at: Full Story     Post Reply To This     Read Replies ( 125 )

US strengthens Sri Lanka nuclear counter-proliferation screening
Tuesday, 28 June 2016 - 4:48 AM SL Time

The United States has concluded a training program for Sri Lankan port and military personnel under its International Counterproliferation Program (ICP) aimed at preventing the spread of weapons of mass destruction (WMD).

The US embassy said in a statement a five-day workshop was done in Colombo for members of the Sri Lankan Ports Authority and Customs, Police, Navy, and Coast Guard to provide training on eliminating the proliferation of WMD.
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Ranjan under fire for target practice
Friday, 24 June 2016 - 5:01 AM SL Time

Deputy Minister Ranjan Ramanayake came under fire in Parliament today for using the premises of the MPs` housing complex in Madiwela to do target practicing for a film shoot. JVP Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake, angered by the move, asked Mr. Ramanayake not to consider every place in the country as theatres for film shooting. Mr. Ramanayake, the actor cum MP, was not present at the time in the House. Then, Joint Opposition MP for the Moneragala district Padma Udayasantha Gunasekara raised a question of privilege in this regard, and said the spouses and children of MPs had been terrorised by this act of the Deputy Minister. `This is a place where the MPs live with their families. I too live there. I am asking that member to stop this. Our children have been frightened now,` he said. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe replied that he asked the member concerned to stop target practicing at this site. `It was brought to my notice by MPs Dinesh Gunawardane and Bandula Gunawardane. So, it was stopped. We can provide him the police shooting ground if needed,` he said. ( - See more at: Full Story     Post Reply To This     Read Replies ( 161 )

Sri Lanka`s Dialog launches Voice over LTE
Friday, 24 June 2016 - 4:59 AM SL Time

Sri Lanka`s Dialog Axiata Plc said that its fourth generation fixed and mobile networks have been enabled with Voice over LTE (VoLTE) allowing customers to experience near stereo quality.

`VoLTE capability has been activated across the Dialog LTE Networks,` Dialog said. `Subscribers would however require a LTE handset or LTE CPE (Customer Premise Equipment), which is VoLTE capable in order to experience VoLTE,`
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Other taxes likely to be removed except for VAT: Eran
Saturday, 18 June 2016 - 4:00 AM SL Time

State Enterprise Development Deputy Minister Eran Wickramaratne said today the Government was gradually removing the various taxes imposed on goods and services so that in future the taxation would be restricted to the Value Added Tax (VAT). He said most of the countries were imposing VAT, which has been termed as a progressive form of taxation. The deputy minister said the previous Government had imposed various taxes under different names but those taxes were being removed and only the VAT would remain. The deputy minister said the Government was considering changing the implementation of VAT and that certain healthcare services including outpatient s services in private hospitals would be exempted from the VAT. Medical tests such as dialysis would be exempted from the VAT and services in the outpatients departments in private hospitals would also be exempted from VAT. But if someone was taking in-house treatment at a private hospital, they would be subjected to the VAT, he said adding that the Government was studying imposition of the capital gains tax as a form of reducing the income gap which had increased enormously during the past decade. When asked about reappointment of Central Bank Governor, the deputy minister said it was up to the President to decide after considering several factors including his performance Full Story     Post Reply To This     Read Replies ( 306 )

FCID questions Keheliya over Rs.20Mn accident compensation
Tuesday, 14 June 2016 - 7:02 PM SL Time

Former Minister Keheliya Rambukwella arrived at the FCID this morning after he was summoned in connection with a probe of claiming Rs.20 million from the President s Fund as compensation for his accident in Australia. The FCID commenced a probe recently following a statement made by Deputy Minister Ranjan Ramanayake in Parliament regarding certain allegations involving MP Rambukwella obtaining Rs. 20 million from the President s Fund following an accident he met with in Australia. The FCID detectives said they have learnt through the statement recorded from Deputy Minister Ramanayake that the former Minister had claimed and received the compensation from the President s Fund in 2013 in addition to receiving accident compensation from both the hotel in Melbourne as well as from his personal insurance in Sri Lanka. Rambukwella met with the accident in early February, 2012 during a private visit to Australia to receive treatment to his son, and sustained injuries to his legs after falling off the third storey balcony of his Melbourne hotel. The FCID recorded a four hour statement from Deputy Minister Ramanayake on May 31, regarding his statement on MP Rambukwella - See more at: Full Story     Post Reply To This     Read Replies ( 165 )

Mahindananda Aluthgamage Nominated As COPE Member Despite Corruption Charges
Sunday, 12 June 2016 - 2:29 AM SL Time

The Joint Opposition has nominated MP Mahindananda Aluthgamage as a member of the Parliamentary Committee of Public Enterprises.

Aluthgamage was nominated for the COPE committee after the Joint Opposition was asked to nominate a member for the COPE committee.

Interestingly, Aluthgamage`s name has been linked to some of the allegations investigated by the COPE committee.

Aluthgamage was the Sports Minister under the Rajapaksa administration.

However, none of the members of the committee has so far raised objections over Aluthgamage`s nomination as a member of the COPE, Parliamentary sources said.
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Sri Lankan President under pressure to sack top banker
Saturday, 11 June 2016 - 1:25 AM SL Time

The government should sack Sri Lanka`s Central Bank chief Arjuna Mahendran if his conduct has been found `undesirable`, the country`s Petroleum Minister today demanded amid allegations that the top banker`s son-in- law benefited unduly from a USD 76 million bond auction.

The demand has piled pressure on President Maithripala Sirisena, who won elections in January last year on a promise to end cronyism and corruption, from his own Freedom Party.
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Gota calls for army chief s resignation
Tuesday, 7 June 2016 - 6:00 PM SL Time

Former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa said yesterday the Commander of the Army should accept the full responsibility for the mishap that took place at the Salawa Army Camp in Kosgama where an ammunition dump exploded on Sunday resulting in the evacuation of thousands of people. `The Commander should accept the responsibility and resign immediately,` Rajapaksa said.

The Army Commander should admit that the Sunday s incident was the result of his failure to take necessary security measures to ensure the safety of such an important armoury, Rajapaksa said, adding that had he been the Secretary to the Ministry of Defence still, the commander would have been sacked.
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India to be Stakeholder in Port City
Sunday, 5 June 2016 - 8:18 PM SL Time

Five leading Indian companies, based in Mumbai, have expressed willingness to invest in the Chinese-funded Colombo Port City project.

Three of the five companies already have a strong presence in Sri Lanka, top government sources told the Sunday Observer. With this development, India, which earlier raised concerns over the Colombo Port City project, is likely to become an important stakeholder of the development plan.
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The Story Behind The World`s Emptiest International Airport
Sunday, 29 May 2016 - 8:30 PM SL Time

Hardly anybody goes to Sri Lanka s Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport (HRI) because they have a flight. No, the air transport hub is currently a daily flight or two away from being completely defunct, and the people who do go there tend to be tourists making a side trip from the nearby wildlife parks to see the stunning, fully modern airport in the middle of the jungle for themselves.

I arrived at HRI, which is located in Sri Lanka s southern Hambantota district, in the mid-morning to find a group of tourists huddle together in front of its passenger terminal. I asked them why they wanted to visit an empty airport.
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Another Vehicle bonanza for MPs
Saturday, 28 May 2016 - 5:52 PM SL Time

The government has decided to grant an additional vehicle lease option to all MPs entitling them to an additional vehicle besides the duty free vehicles to which they are now entitled to, Parliament sources said.
A Cabinet Paper in this connection had been submitted by Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake on 10 March and based on that paper the names of MPs who will be entitled to this vehicle bonanza are to be obtained from Party leaders.

All vehicles purchased on this lease provision will be provided through the Ministry of Parliamentary Reforms and Media and once the tenures of such MPs who obtain such vehicles end, the full cost of the said vehicles will be recovered from the MPs at that time. The values of annual insurance covers for, as well as the annual income taxes due on these vehicles are to be borne by the Ministry of Finance while the maintenance costs and repair costs will have to be borne by the MPs.
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Clinton E-Mail Scandal: Never wanted Sri Lanka LTTE defeated
Friday, 27 May 2016 - 12:40 PM SL Time

The U.S. Department of State`s - highly impartial and non-partisan watchdog - Office of Inspector General found fault on May 25 with Hillary Clinton for the use of a private e-mail server which contained sensitive and classified material during the time she was secretary of state.

The OIG found that Clinton did not comply with the agency`s policies on records in her use of private email while US secretary of state.

Thousands of emails that Clinton sent from the private account during her tenure as Secretary of State from 2009 to 2012 have been made public last year as a result of Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by an investigative journalist.
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Army Field Engineers Begin Post-Recovery Work with Other Agencies
Thursday, 26 May 2016 - 5:12 PM SL Time

Sri Lanka Army troops, including 1 Field Engineer Regiment this morning (25) hand in hand with the Ministry of Land Reclamation, began to clear the Attanagalu Oya outfall at Ja-Ela which remained disrupted due to heaps of garbage washed away in recent floods.

Lieutenant General Crishanthe De Silva, Commander of the Army, responding positively to a request of respective state agencies, instructed 1 Field Engineers of the Army to liaise with the post-flood recovery management project of the government and assist it by way of providing necessary machinery and manpower with professional knowledge.
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Harin to make official apology in Parliament today
Wednesday, 25 May 2016 - 12:37 PM SL Time

Minister Harin Fernando is to make an official apology in Parliament today for using unparliamentary language during a heated parliamentary debate last week.

The Telecom Minister under severe criticism for his behaviour, was summoned before Speaker Karu Jayasuriya for a disciplinary inquiry on the incident last Friday as well.

I could have denied the incident as there was no video evidence and there were a lot of MPs around me. But I owned up to my mistake, and I may have to face disciplinary action as a result, Fernando said.
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Anura Senanayake taken into custody in connection to Thajudeen murder
Tuesday, 24 May 2016 - 5:04 AM SL Time

Former senior DIG Anura Senanayake was taken into custody by the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) today in connection to the murder of former Sri Lanka national rugger player Wasim Thajudeen.

He was produced in court and remanded till May 26.

Senanayake was arrested after being questioned earlier in the day and was accused of concealing evidence when he was involved in the investigations.
He was questioned previously as well in connection to the controversial case.
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Disaster rattles Megapolis
Saturday, 21 May 2016 - 7:02 PM SL Time

In light of the current disaster situation in the country, Sri Lanka s Town Planners have called for a radical overhaul of the thinking processes behind new development plans including a change in the standards and regulations for construction and the procedures adopted.

Secretary of the Institute of Town Planners Sri Lanka (ITPSL), Planner H.M.U. Chularathna speaking to Nation said the macro-level planning that goes into evolving patterns of development as projected in the proposed Megapolis would have to take into account the density of housing and land use.
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