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Last updateThu, 13 Dec 2018 1pm

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The Treasury begins initial activities of the 2019 Budget

The Treasury has begun its initial work in formulating the 2019 Budget. Deputy Secretary to the Treasury: S R Atigala says, views and proposals of civil organizations, the business community, trade unions and the public, will be sought. Mr Atigala added, when giving consideration to views and proposals, the relevant parties will be called to discuss, if necessary.

India scraps tampon tax after campaign

India has scrapped its 12% tax on all sanitary products following months of campaigning by activists. The announcement comes a year after the government introduced the tax, known as GST, on all goods - including the 12% duty on menstrual hygiene products. Campaigners argued the tax would make them even more unaffordable in a country where an estimated four out of five women and girls already have no access to items like sanitary pads. The news was welcomed by campaigners.

300 Suvaseriya ambulances to the northern proivince

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe said that an industrial zone will be established in the northern province in future. Several development projects will be developed under the medium and long term programme in the province. The first development programme in the Northern Province implemented under the Gamperaliya programme was commenced in Kilinochchi yesterday under the patronage of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe. Grain processing centre constructed in Kilinochchi was also vested with the public.

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SLTB makes record profits last year

Deputy Transport and Civil Aviation Minister Asoka Abeysinghe said Sri Lanka Transport Board has managed to turn around its fate from a loss-making company, recording a profit of 1.5 billion rupees in 2017. This profit comes after settling overdue employment benefits, ending the loss-making trend over the last seven years.

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The water-filling of the Kalu Ganga reservoir will take place tomorrow morning

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The Gamperaliya national programme commenced in Kilinochchi today

The first development programme in the Northern Province implemented under the Gamperaliya programme was commenced in Kilinochchi today under the patronage of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe.

Grain processing centre constructed in Kilinochchi was vested with the public today. The Prime Minister said that an industrial zone will be established in the northern province in future. Several development projects will be developed under the medium and short term programme in the province.

Public Private Partnership model proposed for the Hotel Trade

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, participating at the inauguration of the Hotel Show Colombo 2018, suggested converting the hotel school into a Public Private Partnership, with a foreign organisation.
The Sri Lanka Institute of Tourism & Hospitality Management, more commonly known as the Ceylon Hotel School, is the only state-owned hospitality training organization.
The hotel trade has estimated 100,000 new vacancies to be available in the country over the next three years. However, the current hotel schools train only 10,000 workers annually.
The Premier said, three more hotel schools will be opened outside Colombo in a Public Private Partnership model.
He explained, The Youth Ministry is prepared to do a Public Private Partnership with the Hotel Trade, for two more hotel schools; one down South and one in Kandy, and if they succeed, there will be one more school in the East.

Andy Murray due to return to action at the Citi Open in Washington on 30th July

Andy Murray is now the British Men's Number 23, after he dropped to 839 in the world rankings, following his injury problems.
The former World Number One, fell 690 places in Monday's rankings, after he pulled out of Wimbledon.
He had hip surgery in January, after being out of action since last year's Wimbledon. He has only played three matches since then, winning one at Eastbourne last month.
Murray is due to return to action at the Citi Open, which starts in Washington on 30th July.

Former FARC rebels take seats in Colombia congress

Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos has welcomed former FARC rebels, as they took their seats at the opening session of Parliament.
The new members of congress took their seats yesterday, as part of a peace deal reached in 2016.
The FARC, or Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, is now a political party known as: The Revolutionary Alternative Common Force.
It has five seats in the Senate and five in the House of Representatives.

Five billion rupees has been set aside for interest relief in the loan schemes offered under Enterprise Sri Lanka

Minister of Finance: Mangala Samaraweera, joining in the inauguration of the 'Enterprise Sri Lanka Lending Counter' at the Bank of Ceylon Branch in Mullaithivu said, five billion rupees has been set aside for interest relief of the loan schemes under Enterprise Sri Lanka. These loans are provided under half-interest rates or as interest free loans.

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The first Agricultural Entrepreneurship Model Village project commences from Kahaththewela-Haputale

The first Agricultural Entrepreneurship Model Village project commenced from Kahaththewela-Haputaletoday. It is being implemented under the Cultivation Development Programme of the Ministry of Agriculture titled: 'Api Wawalai Api Kanne'. The cost of this project is estimated at 80 million rupees. Thereby, the main canals in the Kahaththewela Village which are the Yatala-Ela and Sirimal-watte-yaya Ela will be fully reconstructed.
In addition, the implementation of Agriculture Development Projects, the establishment of the Kahaththewela Fruit Village, bee-farming, development of roadways in agriculture areas, the planting of 5000 jak saplings, and the development of religious sites will be carried out.

Around 160 families in the Kahaththewela Village will benefit by this project.

Complaint lodged with the CID, regarding fraud at the Anuradhapura Municipal Council, amounting to millions of rupees

Mayor of the Anuradhapura Municipal Council: S.P.Somadasa says, he has made a complaint to the CID, upon yesterday's release of the Auditor General's report regarding fraud at the municipal council amounting to millions of rupees. The swindled sum is over 3 billion rupees. The chief Clerk of the Salaries Division and her husband who is the Revenue Inspector are directly connected to the fraud.  As per the Auditor General's investigations, the funds have been deposited in 19 personal bank accounts. The Clerk in question, together with 6 others, have been suspended.

Construction work of the China-Sri Lanka Friendship Nephrology Hospital in Polonnaruwa, commences tomorrow

Construction work of the China-Sri Lanka Friendship Nephrology Hospital in Polonnaruwa, will commence tomorrow, under the patronage of President Maithripala Sirisena. This hospital is being constructed upon the wishes of the President, through a 'full grant' by the Chinese government. It will be the largest Nephrology Hospital in South Asia. The cost involved is 12 billion rupees. The hospital will consist of an ultra- modern Laboratory, and many other facilities supported by high technology. The hospital will comprise; a ward complex consisting of 200 beds, an OPD unit which will have one hundred dialysis machines, a Renal Diseases Clinic, and 6 modern theatres in which Kidney Transplant Surgeries can be performed.

The objective is to complete the project within 24 months.

The second test between Sri Lanka – South Africa

Sri Lanka won the toss and elected to bat. Stumps, Day 1

Sri Lanka 1st innings 277/9 (DM de Silva 60 & MD Gunathilaka 57

India's Lok Sabha discusses No-Confidence Motion against the government while Japan's No-Confidence Motion is voted down

India's Lok Sabha is discussing a No-Confidence Motion against the government. The motion was moved by the Telugu Desam Party. Participating in the debate, Congress President: Rahul Gandhi accused the government for giving only "lofty promises" to the people. He alleged that farmers, Dalits, women and youth have been victims of the Government’s "empty promises".
As ruling members objected to these remarks and created noisy scenes, the Speaker adjourned the House for ten minutes.

Meanwhile,

Japan's Lower House has voted down a No-Confidence Motion against Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's Cabinet. The motion was submitted by six opposition groups, and was seen as a last ditch effort to block the passage of a controversial Casino Bill.
The leader of the main opposition party accused the Cabinet of focusing on the Casino Bill, instead of concentrating on efforts to help people in western Japan recover from the recent floods and landslides.
The motion was voted down by lawmakers from the ruling coalition, who hold the majority in the House.
Coalition lawmakers are expected to pass the bill, legalizing casinos in Japan, for the first time.

A batch of graduates awarded teaching posts

A ceremony was held at Temple trees today to present letters of appointments to a batch of graduates, for teaching posts.  Speaking at the event Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe said, the Mandatory 13 Year Education Programme was introduced with the intention of producing trained individuals for the country.

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A discussion on holding the Provincial Council Elections as soon as possible, held at the Parliamentary Complex, today

A discussion focussing on holding the Provincial Council Elections as soon as possible, was held under the patronage of Speaker Karu Jayasooriya, at the Parliamentary Complex, today.
At the commencement of the discussion the Speaker said, party leaders should jointly arrive at a decision, regarding under which Electoral System the election needs to be held.
The public and Citizens' Organisations have pointed out the necessity to elect members who are responsible to their constituencies. They reject the Preferential Voting System. The Speaker emphasized, the citizens will not approve increasing the number of elected members, in any way.

Many ideas were shared throughout the lengthy discussion, and all parties were of the opinion that further discussions are needed, in order to arrive at a final decision. Participating at the discussion, the Chairman of the Elections Commission and the Chairman of the Delimitation Committee said, if a final decision is agreed upon before the end of October, the Provincial Council Elections can be held on the 5th of January.
A Review Committee in this regard, has been appointed, chaired by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe.
The next meeting will be held next Thursday, under the patronage of the Premier.

The Gamperaliya National Programme, expanded to the Northern Province

The Gamperaliya National Programme is being expanded to the Northern Province. Thereby, a number of development projects will take effect in the Jaffna, Kilinochchi and Mullativu districts, under the patronage of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe, tomorrow and the day after.
Loans will be provided through the Enterprise Sri Lanka Loan Scheme, as well.

Meanwhile, the 2nd stage of the Suwa Seriya Emergency Ambulance Service will begin from Jaffna tomorrow. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe will be the chief guest at the launching ceremony, to be held at the Jaffna Municipal Council grounds. The Prime Minister of India: Narendra Modi is scheduled to address the event live, over television. The Indian government has granted 1.5 billion dollars for the launch of the 2nd stage of Suva Seriya. These funds will be utilized to deploy more than 200 new ambulances.
The first stage of Suva Seriya is already underway, across six districts in the Western and Southern Provinces

The island-wide programme to take Siri Kotha to the villages begins from the Kegalle District tomorrow

The island-wide programme to take Siri Kotha to the villages begins from the Kegalle District tomorrow.  It is the first meeting among the meetings organised under the restructuring programme of the UNP. The 2nd meeting will be held in the Polonnaruwa District tomorrow evening.  The meeting in the Anuaradhapura District will be held on Sunday. At these meetings, the strategy of the party to bounce back onto the path of victory at future elections, will be outlined. Views and suggestions of party members will be obtained. This series of meetings will also be made use of to identify issues and challenges faced by reginal party leaders and members.  Meetings in other districts will be held in future.

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