ACC U-19 ASIA CUP 2017: Afghanistan-Nepal and Bangladesh-Pakistan semi finals: Sri Lanka unlucky despite tying 4 points each with Afghanistan.
I will bring to the attention of the Inspector General of Police the escalating sword attacks taking place in Jaffna, NPC Governor Reginald Cooray said.
He made the above comments at the media conference held at the NPC Governor’s Office yesterday.
The NPC Governor said that the sword attacks in Jaffna had increased and hence the issue will be brought to the attention of the IGP.
“I have also sent a letter to the President to relocate the security forces occupying the private lands to the Jaffna Fort,” the NPC Governor said.
Meanwhile, the journalists posed a question to the Governor that the Jaffna Fort belonged to the Department of Archaeology and called for his comments. Responding to it he said that the Dutch, Portuguese, British, Sri Lanka Army and thereafter the LTTE had occupied the Fort and hence the question was irrelevant.
NPC Governor said that social activists will be awarded the Governor’s Award in the coming years. Awards were given by the Departments of Education and Sports Activities including the Chief Minister’s award in the past.
“Steps will be taken to give away awards to social activists, farmers, efficient government officials and employees in the coming years who had been deprived of such awards in the past. Certain members have donated their lands for public use towards the social progress. When we felicitate and honour them, many others too will come forward to make donations. The applications for the Governor’s Award could be obtained from the District Secretariat and return them duly filled,” Governor Reginald Cooray said. (M. Roshanth)
The Eden Gardens cricket ground is covered from the rain ahead of the first Test match between India and Sri Lanka on November 15, 2017. Captain …
Lord Naseby of UK Parliament recently revealed how he accessed confidential reports compiled by the London’s Defence Attache in Sri Lanka during the war and gathered that the number of people who were killed during the last phase of war was 7,000.
Lord Naseby has told WION’s Mandy Clark how he went about the onerous task of accessing confidential reports compiled by none other than London’s own Defence Attache in Sri Lanka during the last phase of war in 2009 and came up with startling discoveries.
“I’ve tracked the war carefully because I just couldn’t believe these official figures – they didn’t stack up to the information I was getting. So I then invoked our freedom of information inquiry. I asked for the dispatches sent by our Defence Attache to our foreign office during the last days of the war. The application was refused twice by our foreign office. I then applied directly to the information commissioner – which is my right – and got 26 pages of redacted dispatches. Missing were the last six weeks of them. So I appealed again. And lo and behold, another 12 arrived. I went through them very carefully,” he said.
He said there was more than enough evidence to say that no one in the Sri Lankan government had said anything about killing any civilians at all.
“That was not the objective of the exercise. And from our Defence attache’s dispatches, I thus gleaned that about 7,000 were probably killed. And even (the Attache) says that about a quarter of those killed were possibly Tamil Tigers (LTTE) because they’d thrown away their uniforms,” he said.
Without being limited to classified documents, Lord Naseby had asked university experts who are “traditionally left-wing” about the casualties.
“They also said that 7,000 casualties was their estimate. There was other evidence too, like what US ambassador to Sri Lanka, Robert Blake, had named a tentative casualty figure: about 5000, a few days before the end of the war,” he said.
He had appealed to the UK government to amend the casualty count from 40,000 to 7,000.
Lord Naseby says that he keeps telling the Metropolitan Police of London that it is wrong to allow LTTE demonstrations as the organisation had been proscribed by most countries including the UK.
The police had claimed that the demonstrators cleverly change tiny details on the flag each year in order to escape the ban on the original design.
He says he is all for an investigation into some controversial deaths during the last phase of war, such as the killing of three top Tigers despite their attempt to surrender carrying a white flag.
“Of course, those really guilty of war crimes must be investigated. But to decry the entire leadership of Sri Lanka as war criminals – it’s not done,” Lord Naseby told WION.
Sri Lanka is making constant efforts to restore human rights of its citizens despite attacks on reforms
Wed, Nov 15, 2017, 10:38 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.
Nov 15, Geneva: Sri Lanka is making constant efforts to restore human rights of all its citizens but being a democracy it is not easy to always make changes at great speed, the country’s envoy to the 28th session of UN Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Working Group said today.
Delivering Sri Lanka’s statement to the third cycle of UPR review of Sri Lanka today in Geneva, Deputy Minister of National Policies and Economic Affairs Dr. Harsha de Silva said promoting and protecting human rights is constant work in progress and not something that can be done overnight despite the most sincere of commitments and the most fervent sense of determination.
“In a democracy, however, it is not easy to always make changes at great speed, or navigate change in a rapid manner, or along a straight and preconceived path. Shifts and changes in the international domain, economic impacts, natural disasters, political developments, all this affects and impacts on our best intentions,” he said.
Highlighting the significant progress Sri Lanka made since the second UPR in 2012, especially, after the unity government came to power in 2015, Dr. de Silva said Sri Lanka is making constant efforts to identify administrative and training requirements, and reform that is necessary to be undertaken, to make its institutions stronger in order to improve the country’s human rights record.
“Our broad vision, and our determination to make changes for the benefit of all our citizens remains firm, and we are open to listen to others with equanimity, heed advise, and take positive steps towards change,” he said.
He said Sri Lanka’s achievements over the past 35 months should be viewed in the context of a developing nation that is firmly committed to taking steps to ensure non-recurrence of conflict through reform, heal the mistrust among communities and restore faith in state institutions, and restore the standards and norms of good governance, transparency and efficiency in the functioning of institutions at all levels.
The envoy remarked that unfortunately, each step taken to reconcile the nation and acknowledge the legacies of the country’s difficult past is contested.
“Our efforts to protect and promote human rights are often attacked by opponents as inviting foreign interference. Our efforts to ensure harmonious relations between the different ethno-religious communities, and our commitment to constitutional reform, are often attacked by opponents as attempts to create divisions. Yet, we persevere with strong determination,” he said.
Welcoming the robust criticism and debate about Sri Lanka’s journey towards the full enjoyment of human rights, the Deputy Minister said since the island’s public sphere features some degree of misinformation, manipulation and prejudice, Sri Lanka has sought to tread cautiously and prudently with a view to building and sustaining national consensus on the importance of protecting and promoting human rights, and advancing reconciliation.
“At this historic moment when the two main political parties are working together, we want to ensure that we tread cautiously to take steps that would ensure that the reform that we initiate is sustained in the long-term,” Deputy Minister Dr. Harsha de Silva said.
Deputy Minister Dr. Harsha de Silva’s full statement can be viewed at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website.
Minister Susil Premajayantha today charged that some bankrupt politicians have engaged in slinging mud at him after he spoke during the debate on the Constitution on November 1, 2017.
Minister Premajayantha who was speaking at the second reading debate on the budget, said the allegation made by an MP that he was involved in bringing down inferior quality fuel was false. “The stock was brought down to the country when I was abroad. This was brought down by Secretary ministry of petroleum resources when I was out of the country. The company which supplied the fuel had paid compensation to the vehicle owners. The Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) later confirmed that there had been no losses incurred as compensation was paid. ” he said.
” These politicians also sling mud at the President and the Maha Nayaka Theras in the same way. Only bankrupt politicians engaged in such activities”, he said.
Responding to MP Thushara Indunil who raised a point of order, the minister said he was making the statement after discussing matters with both President and the Prime Minister. (Yohan Perera and Ajith Siriwardana)
Zimbabwe’s army had insisted that President Robert Mugabe was safe as it took over the state broadcaster and arrested a number of senior government officials during a night that saw military vehicles patrolling the streets of the capital while gunfire and explosions rang out, the Telegraph reported today.
Military officers had denied they had carried out a coup, announcing on state TV that they were targeting a ring of government plotters following a power struggle that saw the vice-president flee the country last week.
“It is not a military takeover of government,” an army spokesman said in a televised statement. “We wish to assure the nation that his excellency the president… and his family are safe and sound and their security is guaranteed.
“We are only targeting criminals around him who are committing crimes that are causing social and economic suffering in the country in order to bring them to justice.
“As soon as we have accomplished our mission we expect that the situation will return to normalcy.”
The address came hours after several loud explosions echoed across central Harare and troops seized the headquarters of the ZBC, Zimbabwe’s state broadcaster.
“Although it doesn’t look like a coup, it is a coup,” Zimbabwe analyst Alex Magaisa, a senior Zimbabwe legal analyst based in the UK, told The Telegraph.
Several cabinet ministers, including local government minister Saviour Kasukuwere and finance minister Ignatius Chombo, and Mugabe’s nephew Patrick Zhuwayo, were arrested.
There was allegedly a brief gun fight outside Mr Chombo’s house. All three are part of the G40 faction of Zanu-PF which is loyal to Grace Mugabe, who was being lined up to take over from her husband after the vice-president Emmerson Mnangagwa was fired last week.
Speculation had been mounting throughout the day that a coup was under way against Mr Mugabe, after the head of the armed forces threatened to “step in” over the sacking of an influential vice president.
Gunfire erupted near Mr Mugabe’s private residence in Harare in the early hours of Wednesday, a witness has told AFP.
“From the direction of his house, we heard about 30 or 40 shots fired over three or four minutes soon after 2.00 am,” a resident who lives close to Mugabe’s mansion in the suburb of Borrowdale said.
Two hours later, soldiers overran ZBC, a principal Mugabe mouthpiece, and ordered staff to leave. Several ZBC workers were manhandled, two members of staff and a human rights activist said.
The United National Party’s Working Committee passed three separate resolutions for the expedition of action regarding cases involving corruption and frauds during the previous rule, it is learnt.
The party resolved that measures should be taken for the appointment of Trial at Bars at High Courts to hear such cases and the appointment of a special prosecution authority under the Attorney General.
It was also resolved that legal provisions should be made available enabling anyone to appeal to the Supreme Court directly against the rulings by the High Court. Currently, such appeals are made to the Court of Appeal.
The resolutions were passed after Law and Order Minister Sagala Ratnayake made a presentation on the progress of investigation to cases of corruption and frauds.
He, in his presentation, said 370 cases had been documented. Of them, 73 have been referred to various institutions for investigation and follow up action. Besides, 92 cases have been referred to the Attorney General. (Kelum Bandara)
Sri Lankan beer makers to regain market share with tax changes- Fitch
Wed, Nov 15, 2017, 10:37 am SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.
Nov 15, Colombo: Sri Lanka’s beer industry will regain market share from hard liquor following a more favorable tax regime for the segment announced in the Sri Lankan government’s budget on 9 November, Fitch Ratings says.
However the global rating agency expects the ratings on Distilleries Company of Sri Lanka PLC (DIST, AAA(lka)/Rating Watch Negative), the largest hard liquor manufacturer, and Lion Brewery (Ceylon) PLC (Lion, A+(lka)/Negative Outlook), the leading beer maker, to remain steady.
The Sri Lankan government’s 2018 budget reduced excise taxes on strong beer by 33% and raised that on hard liquor by 2%, effective immediately. The budget also introduced a Nation Building tax of 2% on all alcoholic beverage sales, which will take effect from April 2018.
“With the latest tax revisions and barring further changes, we expect beer’s market share of total reported alcohol consumption in Sri Lanka, as calculated by Fitch, to increase to around 24%-25% in the medium term, posting an average volume growth of 22% over 2017-2019. We expect hard liquor sales volumes to contract 2% over this period, reversing some of the market share gains it made in the last few years. Hard liquor’s share rose to 84% in 2016 from 71% in 2014, after a series of tax increases for beer. The market share for beer fell to 14% from 27% over the same period.” Fitch Ratings said.
Lion accounts for over 80% of Sri Lanka’s beer sales, and the lower excise tax has led to a 23% drop in the price of its main strong beer product. This will make it competitively priced per unit of alcohol against hard liquor. Beer makers will also be helped by the removal of a tax on beer cans in the government budget. Fitch expects beer to regain market share lost to hard liquor during the last two years, when frequent tax increases on beer eroded its price advantage.
However, Fitch believes beer sales volumes are unlikely to recover fast enough in the next 12 to 18 months for Lion’s net leverage (as measured by net debt/operating EBITDAR) to reduce to less than 3.0x (6.3x at end-March 2017), given the already high debt levels.
At the same time, Fitch Ratings expects sales volumes of hard liquor market leader DIST to drop, as consumers substitute strong beer for arrack, the most popular hard liquor in the country. Effective immediately, spirit producers will also have to pay additional duty on raw materials used for ethanol production, which will increase input costs for hard liquor makers. “However, we expect these taxes to have minimal impact on DIST’s profit margins because the company has increased the price of its key product, Extra Special Arrack, by around 6% per bottle to reflect both the higher input costs and taxes.”
Taxes on alcohol makers are hefty with top-line taxes accounting for around 70% and 60% of gross company revenues for DIST and Lion, respectively, in the financial year ended 31 March 2017.
“We believe the government is unlikely to impose further taxes on the industry to the extent that alcoholic beverages become prohibitively expensive to the average consumer, because the alcohol excise taxes contributed 8% to government tax revenue in 2016. As such, we expect further tax increases to be gradual, especially for hard liquor.”
The budget also proposes to simplify the issuance and rate structure of liquor retail licenses, which threating agency believes will help sales, although further details are yet to be disclosed. Both Lion and DIST command leadership in their respective segments, given their entrenched brands which continue to benefit from a complete ban on advertising of alcoholic beverages.
The statement made by Lord Naseby during the sessions of Britain’s House of Lords will help Sri Lanka to safeguard the dignity of its security forces to some extent, State Minister of Foreign Affairs Wasantha Senanayake told Parliament yesterday.
The State Minister made this remark in response to an allegation made by Joint Opposition Parliamentary Group Leader Dinesh Gunawardene that the government is ignoring this statement and is not making any effort to make use of this statement to create a favourable situation for the Sri Lankan security forces.
“All parties should get together and thank Lord Naseby for backing Sri Lanka,” the Deputy Minister said while suggesting that all parties should get together and thank Lord Naseby. He said he had already sent a letter to him thanking him for the initiative he had taken on behalf of Sri Lanka. He said the information which Lord Naseby came out with makes it clear that Sri Lankan security forces have engaged in the war in a legitimate manner.
“Sri Lanka has got an opportunity which it should not miss. We all should write a letter thanking Lord Naseby for taking an initiative to Help Sri Lankan security forces clear their names of the crimes they never committed,” he added
Mr Gunawardene who moved an adjournment motion on the issue said the following:
“Since Lord Naseby, addressing Britain’s House of Lords, drew attention to the fact that the casualty figures for the last period of the civil conflict in Sri Lanka, which ended in May 2009, cited in the United Nations’ Darusman Report, were brought into question by the figures quoted by former UN spokesman Gordon Weiss, by former US Ambassador Blake, in the report by the UK’s Major General Holmes, and finally, by the heavily-redacted communications from the UK’s Lieutenant Colonel Anton Gash released to him by the British Government; and since he further stated that “UK must recognize that this was a war against terrorism, so the rules of engagement are based on international humanitarian law, not the European Convention on Human Rights” and that “the West, and in particular the US and UK, must remove the threat of war crimes and foreign judges that overhangs and overshadows all Sri Lankans, especially their leaders,” the Government should take action to pursue this matter with Britain’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office and with the UN Human Rights Commission to change their unjust positions in regard to Sri Lanka”. (Yohan Perera and Ajith Siriwardene)