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Sri Lanka's export earnings races ahead of import bill in Sept: Central Bank

Nov 15 (LBO) Sri Lanka's trade deficit expanded 38.4 percent to 2,597 million dollars for the nine months to September, over the same period 2005, the central bank said Wednesday, as the island spent more to import fuel. Sri Lanka's import bill from January-September, climbed up 17.4 percent to 7,616.8 million dollars over the corresponding period 2005, while exports rose 8.8 percent to 5,019 million dollars. more..

Friends, Enemies and Countrymen

Nov 15 (AT) Post war Italy’s most respected political and legal philosopher was Norberto Bobbio, who died a few years ago. A liberal leftist in orientation, he nonetheless endorsed and considered foundational, the work of a thinker of very different ideological persuasion, Carl Schmitt. more..

Indo Lanka Trade Agreement brought in substantial relief – Lanka Minister

Nov 15 (AT) Minister for Mass Media Anura Priyadarshana Yapa appealed to the local business community to enter the export sector as the government has now created the necessary climate and 'opened doors' to this end. "The Indo Lanka Free Trade Agreement has brought in substantial relief for the local businessman" he added. more..

Jayawardene and three other cricketers to be honoured

Nov 15 (CI) Cricketers Mahela Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakkara, Sanath Jayasuriya and Upul Tharanga are to be honoured by Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) at a gala dinner at the Cinnamon Grand hotel on Sunday, November 19 for their recent achievements on the international fold. Jayawardene, who took over as captain from Marvan Atapattu, was named the captain of the year in the recent ICC Awards held in Mumbai. more..

Kumar Dharmasena to pursue umpiring career

Nov 15 (CI) Kumar Dharmasena, the former Sri Lankan offspinner, has retired from competitive cricket to concentrate on a new career as an umpire. His farewell failed to pan out as expected when the Premier limited-overs match between Dharmasena's club Bloomfield and BRC was abandoned without a ball bowled due to poor ground conditions at Reid Avenue. more..

Warnapura leads Sri Lankan resistance

Nov 15 (CI) Malinda Warnapura led Sri Lanka A's resistance on a day on which North Zone struggled to maintain their control over the Duleep Trophy final at the Eden Gardens. North declared as soon as Mahesh Rawat got to his hundred in the morning, and the bowlers grabbed a few early wickets, but Warnapura's unbeaten 82 ensured the home side worked hard for their wickets before bad light forced an early close with Sri Lanka A 81 runs behind. more..

51st Convention of UNP unlikely!

Nov 15 (LT) The 51st Annual Convention of the UNP scheduled to take place on the 19th might not take place say internal sources of the UNP. This is due to the attempt by certain higher ups in the party not to implement agreements reached at the executive committee held recently. At the executive committee meeting party leader Ranil Wickremasinghe had to accept certain proposals put forward by the group loyal to UNP Deputy Leader Karu Jayasuriya. more..

Pariahs as states and states as pariahs

Nov 15 (MoD) The position of the international community on Sri Lanka's conflict is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma-with apologies to Churchill. It says different things at different times and does exactly the opposite of what it says. The EU has condemned the LTTE for its violence and banned it. But, the outfit is very much active in the UK and continues to raise funds in other European countries. more..

Defeat conspiracy behind Allen Rock’s statement! – JVP

Nov 15 (LT) The statement made by Mr. Allen Rock, Special Advisor to the UN Representative for Children and Armed Conflict on Sri Lanka is a part of a conspiracy against Sri Lanka states the JVP issuing a communiqué. Alan rock had accused the security forces of GoSL of aiding Karuna faction of the tiger organization to recruit children for military purposes. more..

Karu goes to courts

Nov 15 (LeN) A pro reform member of the UNP told 'Lanka E News' that deputy leader with the UNP dissident group in expected to file action to obtain an injunction preventing the party convention being held on Nov. 19th. According to him there are plans to prevent the resolutions passed unopposed at the Exco meeting, being presented at the party convention despite recent working committee agreement. more..

Hartals in North East for Raviraj

Nov 15 (LeN) Life in Vauniya has come to a standstill since last 11th against the slaying of Jaffna District parliamentarian Nadaraja Raviraj. Government offices, Banks, Schools and shops remained close since 11 th up to 15 th and the transport services too has become partially paralyzed. Sinhala Schools and govt offices in remote area have functioned irrespective of the hartal As a result of this hartal which lasted several days, more..

Britain`s trouble shooter to meet LTTE tomorrow

Nov 15 (LNP) With violence continuing to escalate and the peace process between the government and the LTTE at breaking point special British peace envoy Paul Murphy who arrived in the country yesterday will meet the political leadership of the rebels in Kilinochchi tomorrow in an attempt to revive the process. more..

Fifteen policemen accused of taking bribes at city checkpoints

Nov 15 (LNP) The Bribery Commission has launched a special investigation against 15 policemen who are alleged to have taken bribes from motorists entering and leaving the Colombo City, SP Neville Guruge told The Island yesterday (14). Most of these policemen were deployed for duty at special checkpoints and the Commission has received 20 complaints against them, he said. more..

Nobody’s child

Nov 15 (SAMN) Almost two years after the tsunami, children without identities are still making news. The latest is Mohammed Naushad --according to the woman who claimed she brought the child up. “We conducted an investigation following a complaint by the residents that a child displaced during the tsunami was being brought up by a woman in Alles Road, Negombo,” NCPA Police Unit Chief Inspector W.D.T. Wijesena said. more..

SLFP-UNP committee to push forward MoU

Nov 15 (SAMN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Opposition UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe have decided to appoint a high powered committee to monitor the implementation of the SLFP-UNP MoU signed between the two parties. The two leaders who met on Monday agreed to have members of both parties in the committee. more..

Kotmale reservoir reaches spill level

Nov 15 (SAMN) Over 4249 families have been rendered homeless by the floods and landslides in many parts of the island during the past few days. Meanwhile, National Building Research Organization (NBRO) has warned of more possible landslides in some areas. The floods displaced a large number of families in Mahaweva, Chilaw, Anamaduwa, Navagathegama and Arachchikattuwa, while landslides and earth quakes that had struck in Badulla, Kandy and Ratnapura have taken a toll in life and property. more..

Sri Lanka records higher trade deficit

Nov 15 (Xinhua) Sri Lanka's trade deficit widened in the first nine months of 2006 to 2.6 billion U.S. dollars while the country's overall balance of payments had registered a surplus of 49 million dollars, the country's central bank said late Tuesday. The bank said that the cumulative exports in the first nine months of 2006 grew by 8.8 percent to 5.0 billion dollars from the same period of 2005, while the imports grew by 17.4 percent to 7.6 billion dollars. more..

Sri Lankan Christians cry for justice amid anarchy

Nov 15 (CD) In a worsening climate of impunity as Sri Lanka falls into civil war, Buddhist militants have continued their campaign against Christianity, attacking churches and threatening Christian schools. Christians in Sri Lanka are calling for help from the international community following a rapid deterioration of law and order in the past week. more..

Sri Lanka select two new caps for New Zealand tour

Nov 15 (Reuters) Sri Lanka have selected uncapped middle order batsman Chamara Silva and pace bowler Akalanka Ganegama for their two-test tour of New Zealand starting this month. Silva, 26, who has played 10 one-day internationals, takes the place of opener Michael Vandort. Ganegama, 25, has also won a place in the 14-man squad after bowling well for the A team during their current tour of India. more..

Raja FM says suspension unreasonable

Nov 15 (SAMN) The Court of Appeal Tuesday decided to take up on November 27 the Writ application filed by Colombo Communication Ltd against the suspension of its “Raja FM” channel and the withdrawal of its several radio frequencies. Since the petitioner had not tendered the broadcasting licence along with the petition, the Bench comprising Justices K. Sripavan and Eric Basnayake ordered that the matter be re-supported on the new date with the broadcasting license. more..

Govt to invite legal and rights experts today

Nov 15 (DN) Making a fresh bid to probe recent political assassinations and disappearances, the Government today will invite international legal luminaries and rights experts to investigate 16 selected extra judicial killings, including the assassination of TNA legislator Nadaraja Raviraj. "An 11-member committee headed by a senior Indian Supreme Court judge Bagawathy will be formed shortly to probe 16 political assassinations, including the killing of Nadaraja Raviraj," more..

Russia, Sri Lanka to sign WTO protocol Nov 17

Nov 15 (IT) Russia and Sri Lanka will sign a protocol on completion of bilateral talks over Russia's accession to the World Trade Organization, the press service of the Economic Development Ministry reported. The document will be signed within the framework of the visit to Sri Lanka by Russian Minister of Economic Development and Trade German Gref on November 16-17, where he will hold talks with Sri Lankian Minister of Trade Jeyaraj Fernandopulle, more..

British official to visit Tamil Tigers' stronghold

Nov 15 (AP) A former British Cabinet minister closely associated with the Northern Ireland peace process will hold talks with Sri Lanka's Tamil rebels in the guerrillas' northern stronghold on Thursday, a British High Commission official said. Paul Murphy, who arrived in Sri Lanka Tuesday, was the Cabinet minister responsible for Northern Irish affairs between 2002 and 2005, and was closely involved in the Northern Ireland peace process. more..

Sri Lanka plans war budget

Nov 15 (AFP) Sri Lanka plans to announce a war budget Thursday in which it will hike defence spending next year by 45 percent amid a spiralling conflict with separatist Tamil Tiger rebels, officials say. The budget comes against the backdrop of an International Monetary Fund warning Tuesday to Sri Lanka that the escalating violence could prompt an economic crisis with surging inflation and dwindling foreign currency reserves. more..

Anger, frustration: Sri Lankan Tamils mourn slain MP

Nov 15 (Reuters) Black flags draped in mourning, shops shut in protest, thousands of Tamils gathered in Sri Lanka's far north on Wednesday to pay their last respects to the second pro-rebel lawmaker assassinated in a year. Surrounded by pictures of Hindu gods, mourners sprinkled flowers at the feet of Tamil Tiger-endorsed MP and human rights lawyer Nadarajah Raviraj, murdered in Colombo on Friday by an unknown gunman. more..

India needn't play direct role in Lanka: Mahinda

Nov 15 (HT) In an interesting comment, which comes in the wake of a vociferous demand in Tamil Nadu that India should intervene in Sri Lanka's ethnic crisis, the President Mahinda Rajapaksa has said that India need not play a direct role in the peace process in his country. Rajapaksa said that it would be enough if India carried on a global campaign against the collection of funds and arms by the LTTE. more..

Catholics, Methodists 'picket' with powdered milk packets

Nov 16 (UCAN) Wearing black "Stop Starvation" headbands, Catholic and Methodist priests and laypeople recently overran the main post office here to draw attention to what they called a "humanitarian crisis" in Jaffna. On Nov. 8, about 150 members of Negombo People's Collective for a Political Solution, a church-based group, crowded the Colombo General Post Office, armed not with signs but with 400-gram packets of powdered infant formula. more..

Manel Mal blasts UN envoy

Nov 16 (BBC) The Manel Mal Movement (MMM) in Sri Lanka has accused United Nations of publishing misleading allegations against security forces. Report by advisor to UN Special Representative of Children and Armed Conflict, Allan Rock, contained false allegations that security forces help Karuna faction to recruit chills soldiers, the movement said. more..

Sweeping changes for Sri Lanka A tour

Nov 16 (CI) The selectors have made sweeping changes to the Sri Lanka A team for their tour of the Caribbean starting later this week retaining only seven players from the 15-member squad currently playing in the Duleep trophy competition in India. The captain Tilan Samaraweera and his deputy Jehan Mubarak retain their places in the side along with batsmen Mahela Udawatte, Malintha Warnapura, Jeevan Mendis, wicketkeeper Kaushal Silva and fast bowler Ishara Amarasinghe. more..

Army distributes food items in Jaffna as Tigers threaten private traders

Nov 16 (RW) Amidst other duties and continuous tiger attacks, the Sri Lanka Army undertook to distribute essential food items in Jaffna following LTTE threats on private traders not to operate in the area. "None of the private traders are allowed to operate by the LTTE" the Essential Services Commissioner General, Mr. S. B. Divaratne said. more..

Competition winners offered tour in London

Nov 16 (BBC) “I hope this friendship we built would last longer beyond our stay in London,” comments Madhusha Situmini Jayasinghe, winner of the 2005 National Essay competition. Situmini and six of her colleagues, from the north and the south, were in London as a part of their prize as winners of the 2005 Arts and Essay competition. more..

Sri Lanka national power grid down, lightning blamed

Nov 16 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's national electricity grid went down on Wednesday night, probably because of a lightning strike, a state electricity company official said. Colombo hotels, shops and private residences turned to diesel generators where they could, but most of the capital was in darkness. "A big (power) line has tripped, we think because of lightning," Ceylon Electricity Board General Manager Ranjit Palleperuma told Reuters. more..

Desperate civilians in Sri Lanka hold UN official captive

Nov 16 (AT) UN special representative Alan Rock was in for a surprise when he visited the crisis ridden area of Vakarai on late last week, after helpless civilians barred him, the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) and International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) officers from leaving their area on grounds that as soon as the foreigners leave, shelling in the area will begin. more..

Multi nationals destroy SMEs in Sri Lanka

Nov 16 (AT) Local Small and Medium Scale Food and Beverage manufacturers say they face severe difficulties due to the brand promotion and anti trading activities of the multi national companies who manage the local food and beverage market in Sri Lanka. According to the small and medium scale food and beverage manufacturers a number of multi national food and beverage companies have banned keeping other companies products in their deep freezers which were provided them for the traders. more..

UN Rock repeats Tiger accusations - Karuna Group

Nov 16 (AT) TMVP led by the Karuna faction accused Alan Rock, UN's Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, of repeating "fictitious, fallacious and frivolous information" fed to him by "quislings who oppose them in the east". After a quick 10-day visit Rock rushed to a press conference to announce that "the Government security forces are supporting and sometimes participating in the abductions and forced recruitment of children by the Karuna faction." more..

Army refuses Monitors access to Vakarai

Nov 16 (AT) As thousands of helpless and panic stricken victims continue to languish without proper aid in the LTTE controlled area of Vakarai, the Army has refused access to the SLMM citing 'security concerns.' SLMM acting spokesperson Helen Olafsdottir told the Asian Tribune that the army refused the monitors access due to security reasons. "But even the LTTE has given us a security guarantee and we don't know why the Army refused to give us permission," she said. more..

Politicians do not create waves, they just ride them – President completes one year in office

Nov 16 (AT) The Australian Prime Minister John Howard is an astute politician who has mastered the art of riding political waves. It is not entirely correct to say he hasn’t created any waves. In fact he has created a significant wave with changes to industrial relations laws in the country. Whether that wave will sink him or lift him to another historic election victory remains to be seen. more..

India's beaches are bellwether of Sri Lanka's war

Nov 16 (CSM) Early one morning last week, K. Thangaraja, a tractor driver from eastern Sri Lanka, stood knee-deep in seawater fearing his end was near. Surrounding him was the murky confluence of the Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean - the barrier between his home in Sri Lanka and a new life in India. Five hours earlier, a fisherman pushed Mr. Thangaraja and 19 relatives, some of them young children, from his 26-foot wooden boat and onto a shallow sand bank. more..

In Sri Lanka, children at risk

Nov 16 (Hindu) ALLAN ROCK, the Special Adviser to the United Nations Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, has sent ripples through Sri Lanka's polity with his revelation that elements of the island-nation's military are actively aiding and abetting recruitment of child soldiers by the Karuna group in the east. more..

Government promises better budget for Sri Lanka; opposition skeptical

Nov 16 (LBO) The government says the upcoming budget would be growth oriented, with medium term objectives in view, while the opposition which is supporting the budget in parliament, warns that the poor would be hurt if fiscal weaknesses continue. Sri Lanka’s governments have a well-earned reputation for presenting budgets with very high deficits around 8 or 9 percent of GDP which are then exceeded despite cuts in capital spending. more..

Sri Lankan expats to raise fund

Nov 16 (TP) The Embassy of Sri Lanka and Sri Lanka Coordinating Committee (SLCC) will jointly launch the Sri Lankan Community Benevolent Fund (SLCBF), on November 17. SLCC is the coordinating body established to coordinate efforts of the community with the Sri Lankan Embassy. This will benefit Lankans residing in Qatar, facing varied hardship. more..

Special programme to reduce the natural disasters in the Kandy district

Nov 16 (SLBC) Special programme has been implemented to reduce natural disasters in the Kandy district. GA of the district Gotabhaya Jayarathne says the decision was taken at a meeting of the district�s environmental committee, which was held yesterday. Under this a long-term programme will be carried out to reside people who are living in unsafe areas. more..

Police anticipate interference in Raviraj murder probe

Nov 16 (TW) In a rare and unusual display of professional integrity Criminal Investigation department (CID) officials of the Sri Lankan Police have informed courts that there could be high-level “interference” in the investigation of Tamil National Alliance Jaffna district Parliamentarian Nadarajah Raviraj and his bodyguard Police sgt. Lakshman Lokuwellage. more..

Tamil party implicated in Raviraj shooting

Nov 16 (TW) Police sleuths investigating the assassination of Jaffna district Parliamentarian Nadarajah Raviiraj have uncovered evidence that implicates a Tamil Political Party with links to the Government in the daylight murder. The motor cycle used by the assassins to get away from the scene of crime was last registered in the name of a prominent member of this party. The vehicle was bought from a garage in Tangalle in the Hambantota district. more..

Govt attempts to stifle Raviraj funeral processions

Nov 16 (TW) Deatails are now becoming public of how the Government and its agents tried to suppress, stifle and sabotage funeral processions in Jaffna and Colombo of assassinated Jaffna district Parliamentarian Nadarajah Raviraj. In Jaffna all participants in the funeral procession were video filmed by Sri Lankan security force soldiers as well as Tamil paramilitary operatives wearing black masks. more..

Were Wanni’s hands behind the killing of Raviraj?

Nov 16 (ISL) The cowardly assassination of the Jaffna District Member of Parliament Nadarajah Raviraj Friday November 10, 2006 in full public view near his home in Manning Town, Borella despite effective security arrangements available to him, conveys a very chilling message to every Sri Lankan that the country has now moved into the chaotic realms of anarchy. His Sinhalese bodyguard, Sergeant Lakshman died instantly in the shooting. more..

Sri Lanka gives tax incentives to develop shipping industry

Nov 16 (LBO) Sri Lanka is to give a range of tax incentives and relaxed foreign borrowing restrictions to boost shipping and allied maritime activity, as part of budget proposals announced Thursday. "Sri Lanka is an island nation which is active in international trade, and we want develop shipping, and shipping service activities as an important economic activity," more..

Sri Lanka lowers economic forecasts for 2006

Nov 16 (LBO) Sri Lanka's Central Bank Thursday cut the island's next year economic growth to 7.5 percent from 8.0 percent announced earlier. In its half yearly review of this year's economy, the bank expects year-end gross domestic product to touch 7.4 percent, led by growth in telecom, ports, industrial and agricultural services. more..

Sri Lanka's state power utility to post 20 billion rupee loss this year

Nov 16 (LBO) Sri Lanka's state owned, monopoly power utility is likely to post a 20 billion rupee loss this year, largely due to selling power below costs of generation. According to provisional accounts, the Ceylon Electricity Board's (CEB) net operating losses was up 16 percent in the first half of this year to 8.8 billion rupees, the Central Bank said Thursday. more..

Share prices create records for third straight day

Nov 16 (LBO) Share prices in Sri Lanka broke records for the third day running Thursday, with local retailer leading the way in the absence of sustained buying support from foreign investors, dealers said. The benchmark All Share Price Index climbed 25.46 points or 0.95 percent to 2,692.92 over sales of 913.12 million rupees, more..