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President hints of elections next year

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President Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday declared the country would be able to decide on their future next year, with the use of the ballot, after the recovery of the economy.

The President addressing a Rotary District Conference said his priority was the country’s economic recovery.

He pledged to restore the country’s economy, improve the people’s quality of life, and establish a functioning democratic society before the end of this year.

Meanwhile, The Election Commission will be compelled to reconsider a new date for scheduled local council elections by next week if a solution is not found to the issue of funding, EC Chairman Nimal Punchihewa has told the Sunday Times newspaper.

His comments come against the backdrop of the Cabinet this week approving a proposal by President Ranil Wickremesinghe in his capacity as Finance Minister, not to use any surplus Treasury funds other than for five areas which have been prioritized.

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Rosewood timber stock rots in Customs for 9 years

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Sri Lanka Customs has had to store 3,669 logs of confiscated Rosewood weighing 420 metric tons at a cost of more than Rs.80 million as storage fees, a report issued by the National Audit Office said.

Although these logs were planned to be sold, they have been stored for 9 years due to the delay in obtaining the permit from the Wildlife Conservation Department.

The logs have already been damaged by insects.

These logs were sent from Zanzibar in Tanzania for re-export to Hong Kong via Sri Lanka by declaring them as African solid wood.

The audit report said that due to the delay in issuing the license, these logs have been stored in a Customs yard from 2014 until April 30, 2023.

Meanwhile, the Sri Lanka Atomic Energy Board has to pay more than Rs.30 million to the Customs in the form of port development tax and value added tax for a high-powered radioactive element imported on April 23, 2021.

The report said that the overdue tax amount has not been paid to the Customs by January 1, 2023.

This information was revealed by an audit report included in the 2022 annual report of Sri Lanka Customs.

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Muthuhettigama released on bail

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Former Member of Parliament Nishantha Muthuhettigama was released on bail by the Galle Magistrate’s Court today (27).

He was released on two sureties of Rs.5 million each and a cash bail of Rs 50,000. The next court hearing is scheduled to be held on February 02.

The former MP was arrested and remanded on charges of illegally assembling a luxury car.

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Raids increased to nab train passengers sans tickets!

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Sri Lanka Railways has taken steps to increase raids to nab passengers travelling without tickets.

Frequent inspections to nab errant passengers were suspended due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Due to this, people are more inclined to travel by train without tickets and the initial raids will be based on Maradana and Colombo Fort Railway Stations.

Meanwhile, the Railways Station Master’s Association said that nearly Rs.225,000 was collected from 72 passengers who travelled without tickets from the Maradana Railway Station from August upto now. 

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