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December 14, 2017 [GMT]
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Will inform IMF, WB that Rs.792 bn unused: Bandula
[Wednesday 2017-10-11 18:00]

The joint opposition said today it would inform the World Bank (WB), the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) next week about funds amounting to Rs.792 billion remaining unused from the 2016 Budgetary allocations.
JO MP Bandula Gunawardena said Rs.3,898 billion was allocated through the 2016 Appropriation Bill, but only Rs.3106 billion had been spent during that year.

The joint opposition said today it would inform the World Bank (WB), the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) next week about funds amounting to Rs.792 billion remaining unused from the 2016 Budgetary allocations. JO MP Bandula Gunawardena said Rs.3,898 billion was allocated through the 2016 Appropriation Bill, but only Rs.3106 billion had been spent during that year.


“A staggering Rs.792 billion has been left untouched. This is 20 per cent of the total amount allocated for 2016. When such a huge amount is left untouched, it means the amount of funds available for circulation will be drastically reduced. This leads to a striking disparity in the income of the people with little or no money to spend on essentials,” he told a news briefing. The MP said the government could have built 30 more airports like Mattala or 80 more towers like the Lotus Tower with the unused funds if put to proper use.

The MP who is a member of the Committee on Public Finance, said the unused funds were revealed in a report he had requested from the Auditor General’s Department on the 2016 Budget expenditure. “None of the previous governments had used the entire amount allocated through a budget. But it is unusual to have as much as Rs.792 billion unused. If the IMF and the WB know about this, they would launch a separate investigation,” he said. The MP said former finance minister Ravi Karunanayake was responsible for the economic crisis in the country and said he had manipulated numbers to mislead Parliament in 2015, 2016 and 2017.

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Appeal against the acquittal of suspects in TNA MP's murder to be heard on February 16
[Wednesday 2017-12-13 18:00]

The Court of Appeal today fixed the date to hear the appeal filed against the verdict issued by a lower court in exonerating all the suspects in the murder of Tamil National Alliance parliamentarian Nadarajah Raviraj. Appeal Court Judge, Kumudini Wickremasinghe fixed February 16th to hear the petition when it was taken up before the court today. The petition filed by the wife of late MP Shashikala Raviraj seeks an order to set aside the verdict of the Colombo High Court to acquit and release all accused from the case.

Tamil prisoners’ CA appeal to be supported on 22 Feb.
[Wednesday 2017-12-13 18:00]

Court of Appeal yesterday (12) fixed for support on February 2 the petition filed Tamil prisoners seeking to transfer their case back to Vavuniya High Court from Anuradhapura High Court. The matter came up before Justice L.B.T.Dehideniya (President/CA) Attorney General on November 15 had informed the Court that it is being implored the possibility of transferring the Tamil prisoners’ case back to Vavuniya High Court from Anuradhapura High Court.

Indian Air Force Commander calls on President
[Wednesday 2017-12-13 18:00]

Indian Air Force Commander Air Chief Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa called on President Maithripala Sirisena at the President’s Official residence yesterday. Air Force Commander Air Marshal Kapila Jayampathy and Indian High Commissioner in Colombo Shri Taranjit Singh Sandhu were present.

IAI plans to upgrade Sri Lanka's ageing Kfir fighter jets
[Wednesday 2017-12-13 18:00]

Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) is in discussions with Sri Lanka to upgrade and return to service its Kfir fighter aircraft, according to the UK-based defense publication, Jane's Defence Weekly. Speaking to Jane's on 12 December, a senior IAI official said the company is in talks with the Sri Lankan government to upgrade and return to service its five grounded Kfir fighters.

Malaysian Prime Minister to visit Sri Lanka on December 17
[Wednesday 2017-12-13 18:00]

Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak will pay a two-day official visit to Sri Lanka starting from 17 December, the Malaysian Foreign Ministry said in a statement today. The Foreign Ministry Wisma Putra said in a "planned movement" the Malaysian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Wan Zaidi Wan Abdullah was reassigned and given a new assignment prior to the Prime Minister's visit.

Another UPFA JO MP to join Sirisena?
[Wednesday 2017-12-13 18:00]

A Ratnapura District United People's Freedom Alliance Parliamentarian, now a member of the Joint Opposition, is expected to extend his support to President Maithripala Sirisena, informed political sources said. It is learnt the initial discussions held with a view to supporting the President have thus far proven fruitful. The MP is soon to meet with the President and intimate to him that he is prepared to support the President and the Government, reports say.

President's letter to Naseby: PHU says govt. kept it a secret
[Tuesday 2017-12-12 18:00]

The Pivithuru Hela Urumaya (PHU) yesterday said a letter of thank sent by President Maithripala Sirisena to Lord Naseby had been kept concealed by the government due to the pressure of Tamil separatists. Addressing a news briefing, PHU Leader and MP Udaya Gammanpila said Lord Naseby of the British House of Lords made a statement in UK Parliament in October saying no war crime was committed in Sri Lanka. “The President has sent a letter on behalf of Sri Lanka thanking Lord Naseby. This should be commended but neither Sri Lanka nor the UK knows about this letter,” he said.

PC election could be held after March - AG
[Tuesday 2017-12-12 18:00]

The Attorney General yesterday informed the Supreme Court that Provincial Council elections could be held after March next year following the completion of the delimitation process. Additional Solicitor General Indika Demuni de Silva appearing on behalf of the Attorney General made these remarks pursuant to Fundamental Rights petitions filed by former Minister G.L. Peiris and six others challenging the enactment procedure of Provincial Council Election Bill which were taken up for support.

TNA confident of winning LG polls despite split
[Tuesday 2017-12-12 18:00]

The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) says it is confident of winning the Local Government (LG) elections in the North and East despite a major split in the alliance. TNA spokesman and Parliamentarian M.A. Sumanthiran said that three political parties will contest the LG elections together on behalf of the TNA under the Illangai Thamil Arasu Katchi.

Closing date for postal voting applications extended
[Tuesday 2017-12-12 18:00]

The closing date for postal voting applications for all 341 Local Government bodies has been extended until December 22, 2017, Additional Election Commissioner M.M. Mohammad yesterday said. He was speaking at a media briefing at the Police Headquarters last evening. The applications for postal votes for 93 LG bodies were called on November 28, 2017. Applications for the rest of the LG bodies were called for on December 4, 2017. Since there would be two deadlines for receiving postal vote applications, Mohammad said that a discussion was held to decide on a single date to conclude receiving applications.

Three more Aava thugs arrested
[Tuesday 2017-12-12 18:00]

Three members of the notorious criminal gang, the 'Aava' Group, were arrested from Tellippalai in Jaffna by the Police while they were carrying several weapons. The Police Media Spokesman's Office said that the suspects were arrested on 10 December night in a special operation carried out following a tip off that the armed thugs were threatening and terrorising several villagers in the Manippai and Tellippalai areas of Jaffna.

Constitutional Assembly debate postponed
[Tuesday 2017-12-12 18:00]

The Constitutional Assembly debate which was scheduled to be held yesterday (11) had to be postponed because the ten MPs who were entrusted with the task of discussing the Interim Report of the Constitutional Assembly were not present when the meeting was called to order. The meeting was called to order at 11:30 a.m. by its Chairman, Karu Jayasuriya. Due to this reason, the Chairman decided to postpone the meeting till the third week of January 2018.

Sixty law students pass out from Jaffna Uni Nearly half of them from the South
[Monday 2017-12-11 18:00]

Sixty law students passed out of the Jaffna University on Friday (Dec 8). Twenty four of them were from the South. The eighth batch of the Department of Law, University of Jaffna included the highest number of students from the South. The first five batches hadn’t included students from the South though the Jaffna peninsula was under government control since 1995. The 33rd General Convocation of University of Jaffna was held at the Kailasapillai hall.

Journalist attacked in Mullaitivu One assailant faces citizen’s arrest
[Monday 2017-12-11 18:00]

A journalist was attacked in Mullaitivu on Friday night, the Tamil Guardian reports. Three people on a motorcycle attempted to block the journalist, Subramaniam Baskaran, while he was riding his motorcycle in the Pandiankulam area of Mankulam in Mullaitivu. Although Baskaran attempted to swerve and escape, the assailants continued to chase after him on their motorcycle, which he noted did not have a registration plate. Baskaran sustained injuries to his head and arm. After managing to flee, Baskaran sought refuge in a three-wheeler park at the Mankulam junction. One of the attackers was caught by locals who had given chase and was handed over to police. Mankulam police are investigating the attack.

Parliamentary group condemns US decision on Jerusalem
[Monday 2017-12-11 18:00]

The Sri Lanka Palestine Parliamentary Friendship Society has condemned the US decision to recognise Jeruselam as the captial of Israel. The statement issued by Health Minister Dr Rajitha Senaratne and MP Bimal Ratnayake on behalf of an all- party parliamentary group: "The Sri Lanka Palestine Parliamentary Friendship Society (SPPFS) condemns strongly the decision of US President Donald Trump to recognize Jerusalem as capital of Israel and transfer the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Three NFF leaders join SLFP
[Monday 2017-12-11 18:00]

National Freedom Front (NFF) Deputy Leader Weerakumara Dissanayake, National Organiser Piyasiri Wijenayake and North Central Provincial Councillor P.B. Kumara today joined the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) led by President Maithripala Sirisena. They obtained their new SLFP memberships from the President at the Presidential Secretariat. In a statement, the President’s Media Division said the three members pledged their support to President Sirisena at the upcoming local government election.

Local council polls: Stern warning to public officials
[Monday 2017-12-11 18:00]

Public officials who fail to prevent the misuse of state resources or property during the upcoming local council elections will be liable to a fine or jail term, a senior Elections Commission official said. Additional Elections Commissioner M.M. Mohamed told the Sunday Times that the Commission, in contrast to previous elections of only issuing directives and guidelines, would be issuing a gazette notification thereby giving it legal effect.

JO loses MP to President
[Monday 2017-12-11 18:00]

UPFA Digamadulla MP Sriyani Wijewickrema yesterday evening pledged her support to President Maithripala Sirisena. MP Wijewickrema, who is a lawyer by profession, was among those elected members who joined the Joint Opposition (JO) following the formation of the UNP-SLFP joint administration. The JO comprise 55 members, including former President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Last month, JO member Geetha Kumarasinghe lost her seat due to a court ruling. Altogether 95 were elected and appointed on the UPFA list at the last parliamentary polls in August 2015.

United States, India and Japan raised concerns on Hambantota deal
[Sunday 2017-12-10 18:00]

The United States, India and Japan had raised concerns on the Hambantota deal with China, the Reuters news agency reported. Sri Lanka formally handed over commercial activities in its main southern port to a Chinese company on Saturday and received US$292 million out of a US$1.12 billion deal, Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera said.

New Muslim alliance formed to contest LG polls
[Sunday 2017-12-10 18:00]

A new Muslim alliance has been formed to contest the Local Government (LG) elections next year. The All Ceylon Makkal Congress (ACMC), which is part of the Government, today announced the formation of the new political alliance. “This is a turning point in Sri Lanka’s Muslim political history. The ACMC led by me and the United Peace Alliance led by Basheer Segu Dawood are joining to form the United People’s Alliance (UPA).

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