The Prime Minister said that his party is to form a broad alliance to protect democracy and it is only through a democratic environment in which the voice of the people is considered and the rights of the people are protected. “And also, we will have discussions with the Tamil National Alliance and Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna to bring about a political solution in which all citizens can live in harmony in a unitary state,” he said. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe says abolishing the executive Presidency and bringing about a political solution will be part of the main issues the new Government will focus on.In a special statement after being appointed as Prime Minister, Wickremesinghe said that discussions are ongoing with a number of political parties in respect to abolishing the executive Presidency. He also urged all sides to forget all differences and join hands with him in the broad alliance, for the sake of the motherland, democracy, rights of the people and to bring about a free country for the unborn generation. (Colombo Gazette)Click here for full statement
Summer Budget 2015: Chancellor George Osborne has announced that the government is to consult on a reformation of pensions tax relief.It will publish a green paper shortly setting out the various options, which range from fundamental reforms, for example moving to a system which is tax exempt like individual savings accounts (Isas), to less radical changes, such as retaining the current system and altering the lifetime and annual allowances.Osborne (pictured) said: “Britain isn’t saving enough. I am open to further radical change. Pensions could be treated like Isas: you pay in from taxed income, and it is tax free when taken out, and inbetween it receives a top up by the government.”Joanne Segars, chief executive of the National Association of Pension Funds (NAPF), said: “Today’s announcement of a wider review of pensions tax is welcome news.”We are pleased the government has wisely chosen not to rush into any new wider reforms or jump to conclusions about what will work best as a reform, such as taxing pensions in the same way as Isas. This will be an important step and we will work with the government to secure a clear understanding of the long-term implications of any decisions.“Experience shows us that long-term success in pension policy is built on a shared understanding of a problem, a shared building of the policy solution and a shared responsibility for delivering that solution. For this review to succeed, it must look at taxation of pensions in the bigger picture of what genuinely incentivises people to save consistently over the long-term for their retirement.”Malcolm McLean, senior consultant at Barnett Waddingham, added: “Bringing pensions and Isas together under the same tax regime would be a major change and all the ramifications need to be carefully thought through.”As always with pensions, which are a long-term savings vehicle, the change over from one system to another would require some fairly complex transitional arrangements to be put in force to smooth the operation going forward. It is good that the government is consulting on all of this and not making the mistake it made with the pension freedoms which were brought in hastily and without full consideration of all the issues that could arise. “Overall this has been yet another eventful Budget from the Chancellor, albeit with major and radical decisions still to be taken over the coming year. It looks very much like pensions will continue to be big news over the next few years.”
New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t like Sponsored Stories The new report from the Comptroller and Auditor General looked into the sale of 142 coalfields since 2004. It said the sales procedure “lacked transparency and objectivity” and accused the states of deciding who should get which fields. It exonerated Singh personally, even though he was running the ministry at the time, while he also held the prime minister’s chair.The auditor did blame the government for not swiftly changing the procedures to allow for auctions of the coal blocks, which presumably would have brought in more money.In a detailed statement that Singh submitted in Parliament, the prime minister said it was the opposition BJP that created the system for selling off the coal blocks when it was in power. He argued that the shift to auctions as envisioned by the auditor’s report would have taken years and could have damaged energy-starved companies and the economy as a whole. And he said opposition-ruled states, which recommended the recipients of the coal blocks, had opposed changing the rules.Government officials also said any estimate of government losses was impossible because the coalfields were unexplored when they were sold.The BJP said it would continue blocking Parliament and demanding Singh’s ouster. Check your body, save your life Quick workouts for men Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project `’He has only given a list of excuses. He is hiding the facts,” said Prakash Javdekar, a BJP spokesman.The opposition party also demanded that the coal block sales be canceled and auctions be held for all the blocks in question.The opposition has repeatedly paralyzed Parliament over the past two years in protest over the corruption scandals, slowing work on important reform bills.Singh lamented he was not able to present his case to legislators.“I appeal to the opposition to come back to the House, to debate all these issues and let the country judge where the truth lies,” he said.___Follow Ravi Nessman on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/ravinessman Top Stories Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix (Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Comments Share Singh stood up in Parliament to make a statement defending his government, but was drowned out by members of the Bharatiya Janata Party who were screaming, “The prime minister must resign.”His office instead posted his defense on the microblogging site Twitter.`’I wish to say that any allegations of impropriety are without basis and unsupported by the facts,” Singh’s office tweeted, adding that the auditor’s observations were “clearly disputable.”A string of tweets went on to accuse the auditors of using faulty logic and disputable math to produce their report.Singh also said that as the minister in charge at the time, he would take full responsibility for the decision not to switch the government’s method of allocating coal fields to an auction system sooner.At one point he tweeted, in Hindi, an Indian saying, “My silence is better than a thousand answers.”Speaking outside Parliament, Singh told reporters, `’Let the country judge where the truth lies.”Singh’s government has come under fire in recent years for a string of corruption scandals that has tarnished his image as an upstanding technocrat. While few have accused him of personal corruption, his government has been repeatedly battered by criticism of its handling of everything from the 2010 Commonwealth Games to the sale of cellphone spectrum in an irregular process the auditor said cost the country tens of billions of dollars. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Associated PressNEW DELHI (AP) – After being shouted down by opposition politicians in Parliament, India’s prime minister took to Twitter on Monday to defend himself against a coal scandal roiling the country, saying accusations his government lost huge amounts of money were baseless.Parliament has been all but paralyzed since the national auditor released a report two weeks ago saying the sale of coal blocks without competitive bidding was expected to net private companies windfall profits of up to $34 billion. The main opposition has demanded Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s resignation.
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