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Reforms to reduce budget deficit in 2017 - Minister
Tuesday, 11 October 2016 - 10:48 PM SL Time

The Sri Lankan economy grew moderately by 3.9 per cent during the first half of 2016 supported by improved manufacturing and services activities. The relatively slow growth was mainly a result of disruptions caused by adverse weather conditions in particular to agricultural activities,

Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake said at the 2016 Annual Meeting of the International Monetary Fund in New York.

He said the strong commitment of the government to increase government revenue through further expanding the tax base and improvement in tax administration, as well as rationalisation of expenditure, will help to achieve the targeted budget deficit of 5.4 per cent in 2016 and further reduction of it to 4.7 per cent in 2017.
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Customs ordered to suspend probe into 800 undervalued super luxury vehicles
Tuesday, 11 October 2016 - 2:29 PM SL Time

Senior Customs officers say they are in an embarassing position because they have been ordered to suspend investigations into the release of over 800 luxury vehicles which were undervalued.

General Secretary of Sri Lanka Nidahas Vurthiya Samaithiya W. R. P. Wijekoon told The Island that the government coffers would lose around Rs. 40 million by way of taxes due to this action.

All customs officers have been informed the above directive from the Director General by Director Customs P. R. Athukorale on September 21.
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Lankan PM Wickremesinghe urges Modi to resolve Tamil fishermen issue
Friday, 7 October 2016 - 8:39 AM SL Time

NEW DELHI: Emphasising the need to resolve the Tamil fishermen issue, Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe today said unless a solution is found there will be a `lot of problems` for the country`s fishermen who are being deprived of their catch.
Wickremesinghe, who met Prime Minister Narendra Modi yesterday, said he has taken up the matter with his Indian counterpart and plans to arrange a meeting of ministers concerned in this regard.
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Air Traffic Controllers on work to rule campaign
Tuesday, 4 October 2016 - 2:02 PM SL Time

Air Traffic Controllers yesterday launched a work to rule campaign urging the government to meet their demands.

According to Sasanka Wijeratne of the Air Traffic Controllers Association, air traffic controllers at the Bandaranaike International Airport, Ratmalana and Mattala airports started the work to rule campaign from 4 p.m. yesterday.

He said the Airport and Aviation Services Limited has been taking steps which are leading to undermine their service as Air Traffic Controllers.

The Air Traffic Controllers are playing a prominent role in the country s airspace, but our service has not been recognized by the company,` he said.
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Another scandal reported at HSBC forex law violations under probe
Sunday, 2 October 2016 - 6:15 PM SL Time

HSBC Sri Lanka allegedly violated exchange control regulations by opening offshore current accounts in its Maldives branch for domestic corporate sector clients who used the Sri Lanka Government s External Commercial Borrowing Scheme (ECBS), investigations have shown.

The regulator, Central Bank of Sri Lanka, is now looking into the matter.

The ECBS was available from January 2013 to December last year. It allowed local companies to borrow outside Sri Lanka up to US$ 30 million or its equivalent value in any other foreign currency. These transactions were done via various Sri Lanka-based banks.
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He laughed all the way back home from the Customs
Thursday, 29 September 2016 - 3:38 AM SL Time

This story is about the exploits of a powerful politico belonging to the aforesaid category.

A large shipment of ethanol consigned to a company owned by a close pal of this politico that had arrived in the city harbour was duly sent to a Customs warehouse recently. The Customs authorities who went into action found that the ethanol shipment worth about Rs.500 million had been imported without a valid permit. And the authorities as a matter of procedure slapped a hefty fine amounting to several millions of rupees on the consignee.
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Sarath Fonseka Calls For Disciplinary Action Against Kamal Gunaratne
Tuesday, 27 September 2016 - 1:56 AM SL Time

Former Army Commander Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka called for disciplinary action against Retired Major General Kamal Gunaratne for not carrying out his orders in 2009.

In an interview with the Irida Lankadeepa dated September 25, Fonseka said that he had ordered the identity card and the dog tag of the slain LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran be returned to Colombo.
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COPA looks askance at huge rent on building for Agriculture Ministry
Friday, 23 September 2016 - 2:32 PM SL Time

The Committee on Public Accounts (COPA) has, in its latest report, faulted the Agriculture Ministry for renting a private building for Rs. 958,000,000 without following proper procedures.

The watchdog committee has pointed out that the Agriculture Ministry had not taken action to construct a new building complex in spite of having a block of land of its own. Instead, it had rented building at taxpayers expense.

The committee has emphasized that it wouldn`t approve of the transaction.

However, the report has acknowledged that the transaction had been carried out in keeping with a Cabinet paper submitted by the Prime Minister and endorsed by the Attorney General.
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No immediate power cuts
Sunday, 18 September 2016 - 10:03 PM SL Time

Refuting speculations, Power and Renewable Energy Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya said, no decision has been taken to impose power cuts on account of the current dry spell in the country.

There is no necessity to impose power cuts at this juncture as the Ministry is in a position to manage with current water levels in reservoirs. At present, water levels in reservoirs have dropped to some extent, but we maintain a near 50 percent level, the Minister told the Sunday Observer, yesterday.

Nevertheless, we are ahead when we compare the September figures with those of the past few years, as we have over 50 percent water resources in our reservoirs, the Minister said. Meanwhile, sources at the Norochcholai Coal Power Plant told the Sunday Observer, that currently the coal power plant continues to provide electricity to the national grid even after peak hours.
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Anandasangare urges President to release political prisoners
Saturday, 17 September 2016 - 4:03 AM SL Time

Anandasangaree said he doe not see any justifiable reason for their prolonged detention when it is clear that if charged for any specific offence hey could have by this time served the full period of sentence and gone free.

Once again I reiterate that immediate action should be taken in respect of the release of the Political Prisoners detained in our prisons, for lengthy periods without any trial, very many for untold reasons and hardly any for specific reasons. Many of them had been taken to courts a good number of times regularly and taken back to their prisons without facing any trial, for unjustifiable reasons such as absence of witnesses, failure to receive any reports, case not filed etc. It is wrong for anyone to say that they are not political prisoners. In my view they are very much political prisoners. There is no doubt about it. If not, why should they be detained without trial for many years, Anandasangaree said in the letter.
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Sri Lanka appoints new Airforce chief
Tuesday, 13 September 2016 - 5:00 AM SL Time

Sri Lanka President Maithripala Sirisena today appointed Air Marshal Kapila Jayampathi as the new Air Force Commander and has promoted him to the rank of Air Marshal, Defence Ministry said. Jayampathi will replace the former Commander Gagana Bulathsinhala who retired at the age of 55.
Jayampathy joined Sri Lanka Air Force on March 5, 1982 as an officer cadet and was commissioned as a Pilot Officer in General Duties branch of No 4 Squadron Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF).
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Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra s Murder and Hirunika s Quest for Justice
Saturday, 10 September 2016 - 8:50 PM SL Time

Former parliamentarian and presidential adviser Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra known as Lucky Aiya was gunned down along with three of his bodyguards in Mulleriyawa on October 8th 2011. The past few years have been a taxing period of struggle for Bharatha s daughter Hirunika Premachandra now a Colombo district MP as she sought justice for her father s killing. Finally Hirunika s quest for justice triumphed on September 8th 2016 exactly four years and eleven months after Bharatha s death.

According to newspaper reports a tearful Hirunika Premachandra, who had regularly attended the trial proceedings of her father s killing told reporters outside the court room that the verdict in the case may have been very different if the Government had not changed last year. If the government didn t change we would not have got this verdict. This verdict was only possible because we have a new president who has restored the independence of the judiciary, . There was no place my mothers_day.jsp' class=black>mother and I didn t go crying for justice. Today, justice has been served for my father s murder, she added. Speaking further Hirunika Premachandra said Justice was achieved because the supremacy of law is protected under the new President.I cannot be happy that they were sentenced to death. I am not that inhumane. But injustice was served to us. We still suffer at home. I still hear my father s voice when I go home.Now, justice has been served.
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Duminda, four others sentenced to death
Thursday, 8 September 2016 - 3:44 PM SL Time

Former MP Duminda Silva and four others were,a short while ago, sentenced to death after being found guilty of the charge of murdering former MP and presidential adviser Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra and three others. The case was heard for more than one-and-half years. The judgement was delivered by a High Court Bench comprising Justices Shiran Gunaratne (Chairman), Padmini Ranawaka and M. C. B. S. Moraias. The Attorney General had indicted the accused on charges of killing Mr. Premachandra and three of his bodyguards on October 8, 2011 at Angoda on the day of the Local Government Elections. Full Story     Post Reply To This     Read Replies ( 252 )

Secretary of the Ministry calls in High Commissioner of Malaysia
Tuesday, 6 September 2016 - 5:06 AM SL Time

The Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs called in the High Commissioner of Malaysia to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs this morning, 5 September to express the condemnation of the Government of Sri Lanka, on the assault carried out by a group of persons yesterday Sunday 4 September 2016, on Sri Lanka s High Commissioner to Malaysia, in a restricted area of the Kuala Lumpur International Airport, while he was in the process of carrying out his official duties.
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UNSG Ban Ki-moon holds talks with the President
Friday, 2 September 2016 - 2:44 AM SL Time

The Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon held talks with President Maithripala Sirisena at the President s House in Colombo today (September 1). The two leaders discussed about the ongoing development programmes, the progress of the programmes being implemented to strengthen reconciliation and the process of constitutional reforms.

President briefed the visiting UN Secretary General about the steps taken by the government with regard to constitutional reforms, devolution and structural reforms. He explained the steps taken by the government for resettlement and rehabilitation, release of land to the original owners and livelihood development.
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Bank loans at concessionary rates for ex-LTTErs
Saturday, 27 August 2016 - 12:57 PM SL Time

The Government has decided to grant bank loans at concessionary rates to ex-LTTE combatants for self-employment purposes, officials said today. The parliamentary oversight committee of the Rehabilitation and Resettlement Ministry has discussed this matter and decided to proceed with the granting of loans at low interest rates to the ex-combatants reintegrated into society after rehabilitation. We have to work out the modalities, an official said. About 12,000 LTTE combatants surrendered to the military during the final stages of the war and underwent rehabilitation which included the provision of vocational training skills.
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Govt. to list 4 hotels soon
Thursday, 25 August 2016 - 2:23 PM SL Time

The Government will shortly offer investment opportunities in the tourism sector, with plans underway to resurrect non-strategic enterprises by listing them on the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE), a top Minister said.

The Hilton Colombo, Grand Hyatt, Waters Edge and Grand Oriental Hotel will soon be listed to be divested in the private sector, Minister of Tourism Development and Christian Affairs John Amaratunga said.
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Muzammil nominated for high commissioner post
Tuesday, 23 August 2016 - 1:36 AM SL Time

Former Mayor of Colombo, A J M Muzammil has been nominated for the post of Sri Lankan High Commissioner to Malaysia, informed sources said yesterday. Mr Muzammil, when contacted by Daily Mirror, confirmed that he had been nominated for the post. He said his name had been sent to the High Posts Committee in Parliament for approval. However, he said he would claim his due place at the next local government elections and would contest for a seat in the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC). I am hoping to claim a slot on the UNP list for the CMC, but I will leave it to the party to make the final decision, he said.( - See more at: Full Story     Post Reply To This     Read Replies ( 176 )

Sri Lanka keen to build a team for the future
Sunday, 21 August 2016 - 1:39 AM SL Time

In high spirits after the unexpected 3-0 whitewash in Tests, Sri Lanka wish to find similar joy in the one-day format, but are also looking well beyond the series at hand. Coach Graham Ford has repeatedly said Sri Lanka are on the hunt for long-term players. Ahead of the first ODI, Angelo Mathews echoed those sentiments, as he prepares to lead another relatively youthful XI.

`Our long-term goal is the 2019 World Cup, but we`ll try and take it series by series,` he said. `Winning is important, but trying to build up a team is also important - so we`ll try and strike a balance in that. We`ve got a very good mixture of experience and youth in the team. Most of them are newcomers - the likes of Dhananjaya de Silva and Kusal Mendis. Except for a few players who have played 50-60 games, it is a very exciting time for us.`
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Funds allocated for Hambantota to be used for Hyatt Colombo
Thursday, 18 August 2016 - 3:31 AM SL Time

The Government has decided to utilise the funds allocated for the proposed Hyatt Regency in Hambantota to complete the construction of the Grand Hyatt Colombo Hotel.

A sum of Rs. 18.5 billion was invested by the Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation, the Employees Provident Fund and Litro Gas Lanka Ltd in the equity of Canwill Holdings (Pvt) Ltd for the purpose of construction of Grand Hyatt Colombo Hotel through its fully owned subsidiary Sinolanka Hotels and Spa Pvt Ltd and the constructions commenced in 2012.
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