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SF warns LTTE threat not over

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By Saman Indrajith

Sparks of terrorism were still surfacing from the smoldering ashes even though the political leaders boasted in air-conditioned rooms that they had ended the war, former army commander and SJB Gampaha District MP Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka said in Parliament yesterday.

Participating in the third reading debate on the budget 2021 under the expenditure heads of the Ministry of Defence, Field Marshal Fonseka said that a former female LTTE cadre had been captured with a bomb the previous day. “Boasting in air-conditioned rooms that we have defeated terrorism would not ensure safety and security. Thorough investigations must be conducted into incidents such as the arrest of the woman with a bomb.

It is illegal to commemorate the LTTE dead. The LTTE is a banned organisation so it is illegal to commemorate the LTTE terrorists killed in the war. Our MP Mano Ganeshan has spoken in favour of the LTTE Maveerar Commemoration. That is wrong.”

The former war-winning Army Commander said that he had thought out of the box to win the war. “When I commanded 200,000 officers and men during the war, I did not give place to the talented, instead I removed the mediocre so that it allowed the talented to come forward. We managed to change our fighting methods such as stretching the 400 metre frontline to 15 km. Such thinking is needed to ensure that safety and security is intact.”

“The Burevi cyclone should have come several more days early so that there would have been no Maveerar commemoration. It exactly hit the areas from where we swept away the Maveerar ceremonies years back. I do not like people getting affected but those who talk of the Maveerar day arouse racism here. It must be stopped.”



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UNDP: Rs 600 bn tax cut a huge mistake

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Director of the Sustainable Finance Hub of the UNDP Marcos Neto has called the decision to do away with a range of taxes here a fundamental mistake committed by Sri Lanka.The comment was made at the Parliament complex during an interactive dialogue on ‘Revenue Generation as a Pathway to Sri Lanka’s Economic Recovery’ on Tuesday (09). It was organised on a request by Anura Priyadarshana Yapa, former Chairman of the Committee on Public Finance to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

The Opposition as well as several other parties alleged that the government had lost as much as Rs 600 bn due to the controversial decision to do away with a range of taxes including PAYE, NBT (Nation Building Tax), Withholding tax, Capital Gain tax imposed on the Colombo Stock Exchange, Bank Debit tax and unprecedented reduction of VAT (Value Added Tax). The 15% VAT and the 2% NBT which amounted to 17% imposed on all goods and services were unified and reduced to 8%, effective from the first of December 2019.

The decision was taken at the first Cabinet meeting of the Gotabaya Rajapaksa government on 27 Nov. 2019.Governor of the Central Bank Dr. Nandalal Weerasinghe is on record as having said that the powers that be ignored the IMF warning not to do so and also the immediate need to restructure Sri Lanka’s debt (SF)

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Debate on power tariff hike on 29 Aug.

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Party leaders have decided to debate the electricity tariff hikes in parliament on 29 August.The date was fixed for the debate following a request by the main opposition SJB.The debate will be held from 9.30 am to 4.30 pm on 29 August.

Chief Opposition Whip Kandy District MP Lakshman Kiriella told Parliament on Wednesday (10) that as per the proposed tariff hike the monthly electricity bill of domestic consumers would increase by 75 percent to 125 percent. “This is unbearable. This is like sending the people to an electric chair while they are struggling to make ends meet amidst a massive increase in cost of living.

How does this government expect people would be able to pay such an exorbitant price for electricity? We demand a debate in parliament before this proposed tariff hike is implemented,” Kiriella said.

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British national to be deported

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By Rathindra Kuruwita

The Department of Immigration and Emigration has ordered Kayleigh Fraser, a British national whose passport has been taken into custody after she posted on social media anti-government protests, for violating her visa conditions, to leave the country by 15 August. The Department has already cancelled her visa.

Earlier this month Immigration and Emigration officials visited Fraser at her home and took her passport into custody. The Department said Fraser had been in Sri Lanka for medical reasons since 2019. She had returned home several times, it said.

The Immigration and Emigration officers told her to visit them within the next seven days.Fraser on 02 August said that a group of immigration officers had visited her and asked for her travel document. She said that officials told her that they would return her passport when she visited the Department of Immigration and Emigration.

Fraser added that she had received an anonymous call asking her to leave Sri Lanka as soon as possible before facing ‘big problems.’ Immigration officials visited her house a few days after the call.

Fraser has shared a number of photographs and videos from the ‘Gota Go Gama’ site. Human Rights groups and activists have accused the Sri Lankan government of using Emergency regulations to harass and arbitrarily detain activists seeking political reform and accountability for the country’s economic crisis.

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