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DEW blows whistle on another CB scam
Tuesday, 12 April 2016 - 2:35 PM SL Time

Communist Party (CP) leader D. E. W. Gunasekera yesterday urged the government to give an explanation regarding the issue of treasury bonds by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) worth Rs. 80 billion on March 29, 2016 after announcing that it would issue treasury bonds worth only Rs. 40 billion.

Addressing a press conference at the Dr. N. M Perera Centre in Borella, former COPE Chairman Gunasekera stressed that the recent incident was the second biggest financial controversy within a year.
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Ravi predicts enhanced economic growth this year
Tuesday, 12 April 2016 - 1:17 AM SL Time

With 6% GDP growth forecast for this year, up from 4.8% in 2015, `Sri Lanka is on the move,` Finance Minister, Ravi Karunanayake maintained in his keynote address at the Asian Investment Conference at Hotel Conrad in Hong Kong last week (8).

Since a new president and prime minister took office at the beginning of 2015, the government had worked to get the country back onto a path of strong economic growth, Minister Karunanayake said. `It was necessary for fiscal consolidation to take place.` A key priority had been to better manage debt and trim costs. To this end, Sri Lanka was set to agree on a standby facility with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) this week.
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Security withdrawn not to disgrace MR
Saturday, 9 April 2016 - 4:54 PM SL Time

State Minister of Defence Ruwan Wijewardene today said the withdrawal of military personnel from former president Mahinda Rajapaksa s security detail was never aimed at humiliating him or putting his life in danger. Addressing a ceremony to amrk the launch of the fifth phase of the `Virusara` Privilege card at the Light Infantry Headquarters in Panagoda, the minister said specially trained police personnel would replace military personnel in Mr. Rajapaksa s security division. Minister Wijewardene further said that military security was not given even to President Maithripala Sirisena, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe or to himself as the State Minister of Defence. The State Minister emphasized that tri-forces security should be provided not for VIPs, but for the national security. According to the Security Council s decision to withdraw military security from VIPs, no politician will be provided with military security hereafter, the minister added. During the last regime, our military personnel had to carry even sandbags when they participated in some sports events organized by the children of VIPs, he recalled. - See more at: Full Story     Post Reply To This     Read Replies ( 209 )

Sri Lanka hoping to wrap up billion dollar deal with IMF next week
Thursday, 7 April 2016 - 8:58 PM SL Time

Sri Lanka is expecting to finalize and agreement with the International Monetary Fund next week which may involve a loan of about a billion US dollars, State Minister for Finance, Lakshman Yapa Abeywardene said.

`By next week we are hoping to reach an agreement with the IMF,` Minister Abeywardene said.

`It is not that they tell us what to do. We have to present our plan and show we are going to manage the economy.`
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Tough action against those who violate party discipline
Wednesday, 6 April 2016 - 1:05 AM SL Time

The SLFP Central Committee will sack the parliamentarians who attend the proposed rival May Day rally to be organized by the joint opposition on May, a senior SLFPer said today. When asked about the reported preparation by the joint opposition to hold a separate May Day rally at Kirula Grounds in Kirillapone, th said he believed that no SLFP parliamentarian would participate in that rally by violating party instructions and discipline, but assured that the Central Committee would definitely take punitive action against any MP who participates in that rally. It is true that the SLFP CC was lenient and did not take any disciplinary action against those who participated in the joint opposition rally at Hyde Park on March 17 despite strict instructions by the SLFP hierarchy not to do so. As a political party which gives a prominent place to discipline, we have decided to take tough action against those who participate in a rival May Day rally, he said and added that those who violate party discipline might probably be expelled. Meanwhile, UPFA General Secretary and Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said the main SLFP May Day rally would be held in Galle under the leadership of President Maithripala Sirisena. `We have invited all constituent parties of the UPFA for the May Day rally in Galle and expect them to attend, he said. The minister said he would not give up his efforts to unite the SLFP, as divisions in the party would diminish the chances of returning to power in 2020. No one I spoke to was agreeable to the forming of a separate political party. I have already spoken to Communist Party leader DEW Gunasekara, MEP leader Dinesh Gunawardana, Deshavimukthi Party Leader Appuhami, parliamentarians Keheliya Rambukwella, Kumara Welgama and Udaya Gammanpila,who had earlier refused to talk to me. They all want to contest the forthcoming local government poll under the UPFA, he said. The minister said the SLFP CC last week decided to suspend the party membership of 10 local government heads who failed to respond to the letters of explanation and failed to appear before the CC when summoned. They are, former Maharagama mayor Kanthi Kodikara, former Moratuwa mayor Saman Lal Fernando, former Walallawita PS chairman Udeni Athukorala, former Gampaha PS chairman Ranjith Gunawardana, former Attanagalla PS chairman Priyantha Pushpakumara, former Mirigama PS chairman Sarath Nandasiri, former Matale PS chairman Kapila Bandara, former Ukuwela PS chairman W.Somasiri, former Dambulla PS chairman K.G. Somatilaka and former Boralesgamuwa Urban Council chairman Aruna Priyashantha. The minister said the local government polls would be held in six months, after the issues pertaining to delimitation were addressed and the necessary ground work was in place. Full Story     Post Reply To This     Read Replies ( 110 )

Crucial talks with IMF as Govt. grapples to avoid financial crisis
Sunday, 3 April 2016 - 12:07 PM SL Time

The Government this week stepped up efforts to resuscitate the country s economy in the wake of a looming financial crisis. Towards this end, top level talks got under way on Friday with an International Monetary Fund (IMF) mission which arrived in Colombo the previous day. It is headed by Todd Schneider who has led previous IMF missions to Sri Lanka. Representing the Government were Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake, Development Strategies and International Trade Minister Malik Samarawickrema, Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran and Prime Minister s Advisor R. Paskaralingam.
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Suicide jacket and Tiger cadre in custody
Saturday, 2 April 2016 - 4:51 AM SL Time

An LTTE cadre now under interrogation had brought a suicide jacket, four claymore mines, three parcels containing about 12 kgs of TNT, two battery packs as well as 100 rounds of 9mm ammunition to a safe house in the Meesalai area, Chavakachcheri, in the Jaffna on Sunday night.

The police identified the suspect as Edward Julian alias Ramesh (32).

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Wednesday, 30 March 2016 - 2:58 PM SL Time

SriLankan Airlines has been asked to do a major overhaul of their strategies and structure to deal with the losses the company has been making.

The Committee on Public Enterprise (COPE) which carried out an inquiry on the government airline, has directed the company to conduct a `restructuring programme` to address the current financial crisis faced, COPE Chairman Sunil Hadunnetti told the Daily News.

`SriLankan Airlines currently does not have any strategic plan or restructuring plan to deal with the losses, the COPE inquiry highlighted. Sri Lankan was advised by COPE to evaluate their route options, draw up a new route schedule at least to cover the key destinations in the Asian region, and come up with sound market strategy to deal with the loss. The company is on a minus equity footing right now, they should at least try to break even,` Handunnetti said.
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Discount if you use less electricity
Sunday, 27 March 2016 - 5:45 PM SL Time

The Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) will offer discounts on bills of domestic consumers for reduced consumption.
The CEB has been instructed by the Ministry of Power and Renewable Energy to prepare a mechanism to offer discounts to consumers who use 10 percent less than the average monthly consumption.

Power and Renewable Energy Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya told the Sunday Times that the scheme had been initiated as one of the moves to reduce power consumption as the drought conditions may continue for another three months.
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Tax collection up by 122% in 2015 - Finance Ministry Secretary
Saturday, 26 March 2016 - 11:52 PM SL Time

An estimated income of Rs. 900 billion is expected to be collected by the end of this year and collection of taxes has increased by 122 percent in 2015 as against the corresponding period in 2014, Finance Ministry Secretary Dr. R.M.S. Samaratunga said.

The Inland Revenue Department collected a tax income of Rs. 512 billion in 2015 and efforts are being made by the department officials led by Commissioner General of Inland Revenue Kalpani Dahanayake to exceed the 2015 figures.

New technology is also to be introduced to the department to promote its administrative efficiency.
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Colossal SriLankan Airlines losses, Airbus deal, a financial crime: Minister
Friday, 25 March 2016 - 4:39 AM SL Time

Colossal losses that state-run SriLankan Airlines was made to suffer since ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa chased away Emirates Airlines, and a questionable aircraft deal, is a national financial crime, Deputy Minister Eran Wickramaratne said.

SriLankan Airlines, which made profit of 4.4 billion rupees in 2008, the year in which the management agreement with Emirates Airlines ended, has lost 107 billion rupees since, then.

The Rajapaksa administration had cancelled the visa of then Chief Executive Peter Hill because he did not bump enough paying passengers to accommodate a large entourage of the President Mahinda Rajapaksa in a single aircraft, he said.
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UK Strongly Snubs Sri Lanka Over Visa Requests For Daham Sirisena Whilst President Orders News Blackout
Tuesday, 22 March 2016 - 1:46 AM SL Time

Sri Lanka demanded an explanation from the United Kingdom government why the request of President Maithripala Sirisena s son Daham and his three friends to travel to UK was subject to long delays. This unusual protest received a right royal snub and a strong telling off from UK officials.

This is while President Sirisena, who speaks of press freedom, telephoned newspaper editors and proprietors to request them not to print any news report in this regard. Like the power blackout, there is also news blackout in the Sirisena era that is ordered by him. His explanation was that he was unaware about the son s matter. The same President Sirisena told a meeting of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress in Kalmunai this week that there was media freedom in Sri Lanka now and the media could report on anything without fear or favour.
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FBI to Help Track Bangladesh Bank Hackers
Monday, 21 March 2016 - 6:03 PM SL Time

The FBI has agreed to help Bangladesh investigate an audacious $81 million theft from the nation`s foreign reserves, authorities said Sunday, days after the finance minister accused central bank officials of complicity in the heist.

A FBI official in Dhaka met with representatives from Bangladesh`s Criminal Investigation Department and offered to assist with the investigation into the spectacular cross-country theft.

`Both the FBI and the CID have agreed to work together since it`s a transnational organised crime and transnational criminal networks are involved,` Md. Saiful Alam, deputy inspector general of CID, told AFP.
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Wimal Weerawansa Released On Bail Over Protest Against UNHRC Chief
Friday, 18 March 2016 - 7:35 PM SL Time

Colombo Chief Magistrate Gihan Pilapitiya ordered the release of seven members of National Freedom Front including Wimal Weerawansa on a surety bail of Rs 100,000 each over alleged unlawful protest march in early February.

The NFF staged a protest near the UNDP office against the arrival of the UNHRC Chief Zeid Ra`ad Al-Hussein to the island.

They are charged of causing hardship to the public by blocking the roads and using loudspeakers, with no prior permission from the police.
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Mahinda wont quit politics
Friday, 18 March 2016 - 2:46 AM SL Time

Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa says that the government is attempting to pin the blame on him for the country s current economic situation by saying the former government obtained excessive loans and that he is also being accused of taking secret loans.

The UPFA Kurunegala District MP said he did work for the loans he took and that if he had taken secret loans and there are no records kept, then the incumbent government should refrain from paying back the loans. Don t pay it back. Then the problem is solved.
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CEB announces times of countrywide power cuts
Tuesday, 15 March 2016 - 7:35 PM SL Time

The Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) today announced the times of the countrywide power cuts for next two days.

It said power cuts of five and half hour duration during the day and two hour power cuts during the night will be imposed throughout the country.

The CEB said the power supply would be cut either from 7.00 am to 12.30 pm and from 6.00 pm to 8.00 pm or from 12.30 pm to 6.00 pm and from 8.00 pm to 10.00 pm.

A: 7.00am - 12.30pm & 6.00pm 8.00pm
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CEB Chairman A. Wijepala decides to step down
Sunday, 13 March 2016 - 7:39 PM SL Time

Chairman of the Ceylon Electricity Board Anura Wijepala has decided to step down from his post.

Wijepala said that he is taking this decision, after taking the responsibility for the 3 island-wide power cuts which took place within the past 6 months.

Anura Wijepala said that he will hand over his letter of resignation after the supply of electricity to the country is restored.
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Bonanza for MPs
Sunday, 13 March 2016 - 1:59 AM SL Time

Rs. 75,000 for office
Rs. 50,000 for housing
Rs. 50,000 for calls etc
Better food, beverages

By Saman Indrajith

Close on the heels of additional burden placed on taxpayers, the UNP, the SLFP, the Opposition and the Joint Opposition consisting of UPFA rebels, in a rare display of unity, yesterday unanimously approved a range of allowances for MPs. Besides, they agreed to pay a special allowance to the parliamentary staff, according to highly placed sources.
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UN Rights chief says Sri Lanka must move faster in addressing past human rights violations
Thursday, 10 March 2016 - 10:48 PM SL Time

Sri Lanka must promptly investigate and adequately address past human rights violations to prevent any recurrence of conflicts, the top human rights official of the United Nations said. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra`ad Al Hussein presenting his annual report to the31st session of UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva on Thursday said the central message of transitional justice is that if past human rights violations are not adequately addressed, grievances and other issues at the root of the past conflicts will continue to fester, and may even lead to their recurrence. Full Story     Post Reply To This     Read Replies ( 195 )

Sri Lanka hikes VAT, taxes capital gains before IMF loan talks
Wednesday, 9 March 2016 - 8:18 AM SL Time

Sri Lanka will raise its value added tax and reintroduce capital gains tax to break out of a debt trap, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said on Tuesday, ahead of talks on a $1.5-billion loan it is seeking from the International Monetary Fund.

Sri Lanka`s finances are under scrutiny after ratings agency Fitch last week downgraded its sovereign rating by a notch, to `B+`, spurred by a ballooning fiscal deficit, rising foreign debt and sluggish growth prospects.
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