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'Sri Lanka's deficit plan could face risks'

July 1 (LBO) An expansion of the public service, losses in state enterprises, high oil price and lower than expected global growth could put a government deficit reduction plan at risk, a finance ministry report said. Sri Lanka is planning an 8.0 percent of gross domestic product budget deficit for 2010 down from 9.9 percent (10.4 percent with grants) for 2010. Revenues are expected to grow 16.9 percent primarily from an economic revival and more..

Bollywood star Salman Khan shoots his latest film 'Ready' in Sri Lanka

July 1 (CP) Bollywood superstar Salman Khan has begun shooting his latest film "Ready" in Sri Lanka, weeks after the Indian ocean island hosted the annual Bollywood awards that drew protests from South Indian film artists. The film, directed by Anees Bazmee, also stars South Indian actress Asin Thottumkal and Paresh Rawal. The story is woven around Prem (Khan), who falls for Sanjanna (Thottumkal) and more..

LP Gas prices reduced

July 1 (CT) Domestic LP gas prices have been reduced with effect from midnight today (June 30), said consumer affairs minister Johnston Fernando. The reduction is Rs. 117 for a 12.5 kg gas cylinder of Shell Gas. Its new price will be Rs. 1,652. For Laugfs Gas, the price will be reduced by Rs. 85, to Rs. 1,659 per cylinder, said the minister.

IMF lifts Sri Lanka foreign borrowing ceiling

July 1 (LBO) The IMF has lifted a ceiling on foreign commercial borrowing placed on Sri Lanka in 2009, in a new deal agreed with the government this month. Sri Lanka struck the original deal in May 2009 after foreign reserves hit a low of 1.2 billion US dollars as a cycle of peg defence and liquidity injections drained foreign reserves. In a revised deal which was renewed this month Sri Lanka asked the IMF to lift the medium to long-term debt ceiling of 1,750 million US dollars more..

Sri Lanka donor list headed by Japan, Russia, China

July 1 (LBO) Sri Lanka has received the most aid commitments from Japan in the first four months of 2010 with 421.8 million US dollars, Russia came a surprise second with 300 million US dollars and China third, official data showed. In 2009 China became the top country to commit aid to Sri Lanka lining up 1.2 billion US dollars out of 2.2 billion US dollars offered by lending agencies and donor countries to the island. more..

Property of Danuna confiscated

July 1 (CT) The Colombo Fort Magistrate, Lanka Jayaratne today (June 30) ordered to confiscate all properties of Danuna Tillekaratne, the son-in-law of Gen. Sarath Fonseka, after he failed to appear in court ahead of the deadline that expired at 9.00 a.m. today. On May 31, Colombo Fort magistrate ordered that all assets of Danuna Tilakaratne to be confiscated if he failed to present himself at the court on or before 9.00 am on June 30. more..

Faithful welcome ban on ‘Illegal’ worship sites

July 1 (UCAN) Sri Lanka’s religious community welcomes a construction ban on illegal places of worship. Prime Minister D.M. Jayaratne, who also heads the Buddha Sasana Ministry and is Religious Affairs Minister, announced the ban on June 23, saying all new places of worship need government approval, or they will be declared illegal and building work suspended. He said the move was to promote and protect religious harmony. more..

Sri Lanka could lose trade concessions in EU spat

July 1 (Reuters) The European Commission on Wednesday rejected Sri Lankan accusations that a letter it sent urging the south Asian country to comply with conditions tied to a trade concession agreement was politically motivated. The European Union's executive wrote to Colombo on June 17, requesting the government fully comply with and implement provisions of international human rights agreements and more..

Ukraine President's statement at joint press conference with President of Sri Lanka

July 1 (UP) Dear Mr. President! Ladies and Gentlemen, I am sincerely glad to welcome President of Sri Lanka Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa in Ukraine with the official visit. I am confident this first top-level visit in the history of our countries will be a landmark event in bilateral relations and open new opportunities for development of Ukrainian-Sri Lankan cooperation. more..

Energy-efficient LED lamps for Sri Lanka fishermen

July 1 (CS) There are 85,000 canoe fishermen in Sri Lanka, many of whom catch prawns in the mangrove swamps at night. The prawns are attracted by the light of the fishermen's kerosene lamps and trapped in a complex system of baskets. While the prawns are fished sustainably, the kerosene lamps used by the fishermen pose a genuine environmental hazard. Leaking kerosene can pollute the water and spawning grounds; more..

Gen. Fonseka to have Arjuna as deputy of his new party

July 1 (CT) A new political party under the leadership of MP Gen. Sarath Fonseka has applied for registration with the Elections Secretariat. According to reports, deputy leader of the party - to be named the Democratic National Front - will be MP Arjuna Ranatunga. MP Tiran Alles will serve as its secretary. Gen. Fonseka will continue to be leader of the Democratic National Alliance and his party will become an affiliate of the alliance. more..

LTTE to assist UN panel

July 1 (DM) The LTTE international network has offered to co-operate with the UN panel appointed by UN Secretary General Ban ki-moon to advice him on Sri Lanka and also urged the committee to protect witnesses who come forward to testify. The LTTE also urged the panel to eventually publish its findings in order to ensure complete transparency, to help launch a needed public discourse about the violations of international law and more..

N/E people of Sri Lanka will go against South Indian Film Industry very soon

July 1 (TC) The ongoing debate on Sri Lanka in the Indian film world in general and the South Indian Film Industry (SIFI) in particular is intriguing and thought provoking. The just recently IIFA award festival was devoid of participation of leading film stars from India presumably on account of the pressure mounted by the South Indian Film Industry on Bollywood film stars to stay away. Interestingly, we have not seen any statement on the IIFA from either the representatives of the Tamil Nadu Government or major political parties. more..

Sri Lanka seeks more Saudi tourists

July 1 (AN) Sri Lankan Ambassador Ahmed A. Jawad told Arab News the aim of the program, organized by his embassy in coordination with the country’s tourism promotion bureau and SriLankan Airlines, was to attract more tourists from Saudi Arabia. He was speaking at a reception in honor of the journalists late Saturday night. There has been a significant increase in Saudi tourists visiting Sri Lanka. In 2009, 7,900 visited the island. more..

'School texts in Sri Lanka defame Christians, the Church and the Pope'

July 1 (AN) "The history and geography programs used in schools and published by the Ministry contain conclusions that defame the Catholic Church, the Holy Father and Catholics”, denounces Mgr. Malcolm Ranjit, Archbishop of Colombo, who these days has met Bandula Gunawerdena, Minister of Education, to discuss the problem. The new textbooks proposed by the Ministry equate Christianity and more..

'My main aim is to find unorthodox players'

July 1 (Gulf) Aravinda de Silva, one of Sri Lanka's greatest batsmen and the chairman of their national selection committee, has played a pivotal role in steering Sri Lanka to stunning victories over top teams. The stylish right-hander has scored 6,361 runs in Test cricket including 20 centuries, while in the one-dayers he has 9,284 runs to his credit with 11 centuries and 64 half centuries. De Silva, who is here to support the Fosters Legends Cricket Series, more..

Ukraine, Sri Lanka to cooperate in tourism and military engineering

July 1 (KP) Ukraine and Sri Lanka will cooperate in the sphere of tourism and military engineering. Respective agreements were signed in Kyiv on Wednesday after a meeting between Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and his Sri Lankan counterpart Mahinda Rajapaksa. "During the talks held between the Ukrainian and Sri Lankan sides, we have reached agreement on the need to continue expanding our cooperation in trade, tourism and defense," more..

A new war: SL backed KP vs India backed TNA

July 1 (TC) Though some are waiting in expectation for the release of KP alias Kumar Pathmanathan, it was a long time since he had been released. The fact that he was freed came to light officially when he recently toured the North East along with the leaders of the Tamil Diaspora. This tour was wholly organized by KP. He made the entire arrangement as the unofficial Chairman of the of the Tamil Rehabilitation Centre. more..

'Govt must assure the public of the independent status of the AG'

July 1 (TC) The Friday Forum is an informal gathering of public spirited persons wishing to contribute to the future development of Sri Lanka within a framework of democracy, social justice and pluralism. The Forum brings together a diversity of expertise and viewpoints reflecting its membership consisting of academics, various professionals, retired diplomats and civil servants, educationists, more..

Sri Lanka lures Indian houseboat tourism firm

July 1 (LBO) An Indian company has been given approval by Sri Lanka’s investment promotion agency to launch houseboat tourism services in a lake in the central hills, a statement said. The Board of Investment said SAJ House Boat Builders & Operators signed a deal to provide houseboat services in Nuwara Eliya with an initial investment of 55 million rupees that will be increased to 100 million. more..

Pak-Sri Lanka bilateral trade to reach $1 billion

July 1 (ON) The bilateral trade between Pakistan and Sri Lanka currently $300 million per annum will soon reach $1 billion, says outgoing Consul General of Sri Lanka, Sidath Kumar. Talking to media at the dinner hosted by Rashid Ahmed Siddiqi, Chairman Afeef Group and President, Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum (PBIF), Mian Zahid Husain the Sri Lankan diplomat said that diplomatic efforts from both sides have done a lot during couple of years and more..

Jaffna GA K. Ganesh retires from service

July 1 (TN) Mr. K. Ganesh, Government Agent (GA), Jaffna who is retiring from service Wednesday expressed his gratitude to all, particularly the media, for the cooperation offered to him in performing duties as the GA even under trying circumstances during war time, in a message to local media Tuesday. Ms. Imelda Sukumar, presently the GA of Mullaiththeevu district, will succeed Mr. K. Ganesh as the GA of Jaffna district from Thursday, more..

UN on alert over threat

July 1 (DM) The United Nations says its security officials are monitoring comments made by government Minister Wimal Weerawansa who had today urged the public to surround the UN office in Colombo and hold its staff hostage until moves by the UN to appoint a panel on Sri Lanka is dropped. When asked by a journalist to respond to the comments made by Weerawansa, UN spokesman said the UN had contacted the Sri Lankan government over the article and more..

‘Patriotism’ And GSP+

July 1 (SL) A long time ago, there was a witty column in a Sinhala newspaper that captured the best news headlines of the week and tagged them with its own pithy comments. Today, if that column was there, some of it would go like this. We can’t sacrifice our sovereignty for the sake of 150 million dollars. Look for other ways – President Rajapaksa at cabinet meeting. (Now they are rich. What is 150 million dollars?) more..

What is going wrong?

July 1 (DM) We are suddenly in the international incinerator, after successfully navigating in troubled waters during times of war, when the weather was far more cyclonic. The US State Department despatched a tomb with over 300 charges on war crimes while we snuggle to cuddle its head, Hillary Clinton; European Union decided to draw the curtain on GST + after listening to the pleas of every Tom Dick and Harry from Colombo. UN Secretary General appoints a team of three to advice on Sri Lanka after more..

UN stands firm on Sri Lanka human rights investigation

July 1 (National) The UN has defended the creation of a controversial three-person panel to probe rights violations committed during the endgame to Sri Lanka’s brutal civil war, which was dismissed by officials in Colombo as “totally unnecessary”. This month, the UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, made a long-awaited decision to appoint experts to advise him on “accountability issues” relating to abuses committed last year during more..

A glimpse of the Tiger's lair

July 1 (Gulf) "No further," the lance corporal says, moving his Chinese-made T56 rifle off his shoulder. He means business. I open my arms out to show I am not a threat and plan to obey his order. "Prabhakaran's house," I point, still hoping to get by this young sentry with obvious orders to stop all from going up the rutted lane. A second soldier arrives. Then a third, this one a sergeant and clearly not used to foreigners wanting to visit the home of Velupillai Prabhakaran, more..

'Political stooges causing education breakdown'

July 1 (LB) Everyone talks about the quality drop in the education sector. But nobody talks about the grievances of teachers. Political stooges who are running the education sector are responsible for the quality drop in the education sector, teacher unions say. Henchmen of politicos have been appointed as acting principals and administrative officers in the education sector. There are 3500 principals and 1500 administrative officers among these henchmen. more..

Engg course entry cleared for Lankan refugees

July 1 (TOI) In a major relief for children of Sri Lankan Tamil refugees who had completed schooling through regular schools in Tamil Nadu, the state government has decided to permit them to enrol in BE/BTech courses through the single window counselling from this year. The higher education ministry has issued a government order dated June 29 which says: "Under the prevailing circumstances, children of Sri Lankan Tamil refugees who have studied in schools in Tamil Nadu and more..

Will Vasu, DEW and Tissa dare oppose Mahinda?

July 1 (Island) A constitutional amendment, which will, presumably among other things, lift the restriction on a person holding the presidency for more than two terms, is being prepared. However, Ravaya (6 June) reported that the Left parties in government, that is the LSSP, CP and DLF, are opposed to the change and Vasu is on public record as having spoken rather strongly against relaxing term restrictions. more..

Is recovering money spent for houses government's tribute to war heroes? Handunneththi asks

July 1 (LT) The government recovering money from the houses which were built under the donations of people can't be justified. MP of DNA Sunil Handunneththi said in parliament today. He said this when posing a question rearding the housing scheme of war heroes at Ipalogama in Anuradhapura which was built by the allocations from "API WENUWEN API" fund. more..

The "Selective" application of international laws

July 1 (MoD) Most thought that with the formation of the UN world peace would prevail & international laws that were supposed to apply equally to all nations would ensure a country whether big or small, powerful or not would be given the same justice, the same voice & the same hearing. We all are aware that the expectations do not match the actualities & in this context we examine the situation facing Sri Lanka. more..

Muslim school to function with Sinhala name in Trincomalee

July 1 (TN) Nallakuddiyaa'ru Muslim School has been given a Sinhalese name as Namalwatte Vidiyalayam without identifying it as a Muslim school. A Sinhalese woman Principal has been appointed with four Muslim teachers to Muslim students about 65. Not even a single Sinhala student is studying in the school which is located in Nallakuddiyaa'ru Muslim village in Morawewa (Muthalikku'lam) division in Trincomalee district. more..

'Lak Sathosa a profit-making venture'

July 1 (CT) Cooperatives and Internal Trade Minister Johnston Fernando yesterday said that Lak Sathosa has now become a profit-making venture. Mr. Fernando made the comment in parliament in response to an oral question posed by UNP parliamentarian Ravi Karunanayake. The minister said that the institution had incurred a loss of Rs. 17 million in 2006 and has recorded profits since 2007. more..

Nurses to wear black bands to work as protest

July 1 (CT) Seeking several demands, around 20,000 nurses islandwide will wear black arm bands to work for a week from tomorrow (July 02), the Public Services United Nurses Union say. Speaking to 'Colombo Today', a senior official of the PSUNU said that they are seeking 11 demands and that they will launch an island wide trade union action if their grievances are not met. more..

Rs 600,000 Welfare Finance fraud

July 1 (LP) The National Housing Development Authority (NHDA) handed over the investigation related to the financial fraud of Rs 61/2 crores which occurred in the welfare unit of the NHDA to the CID. Chairman of the NHDA, Jayantha Samaraweera said that the investigation were handed over CID on instructions of the Minister Wimal Weerawansa. The President, Secretary and Treasurer of the welfare society were suspended subsequent to investigations conducted in more..

'Govt not prepared to give into any conditions of International Institutions'

July 1 (GDI) Minister Basil Rajapaksa categorically denying the opposition allegations said that the government did not give in to any sort of conditions imposed by the IMF to obtain loans He said that Sri Lanka’s economic policies will not be altered to meet the needs of international financial agencies, betraying the country’s sovereignty. Minister made this observation addressing the parliament on the second day of the budget debate. more..

Speech delivered by President Rajapaksa to the Sri Lanka-Ukraine Business Forum

July 1 (GDI) Let me at the outset thank your Excellency President Yanukovich for your words of introduction. I am pleased to speak a few words on this occasion which convenes the Ukraine –Sri Lanka Business Forum. In my view this Forum is one of special significance to the relations between Sri Lanka and Ukraine, as its objective is to widen the scope of our bilateral relations beyond official contacts between our two governments, more..

Sri Lanka getting more violent and self-disastrous against UN

July 1 (LP) Sri Lanka is resorting to more violent and self-disastrous methods to deal with the war crime charges raised by international community against the rulers. Instead of handling the issue directly with the UN in framework of international politics, the government of Sri Lanka is seeking statements from other countries that can be manipulated to pressure the UN General Secretary to withdraw the panel. more..

Not only are the Executive Presidency terms to be extended, the previous Presidents are also to be barred from the post

July 1 (LeN) The amendment to the constitution is sought not only to extend the period of the Executive Presidency beyond two terms , but is also to bar the previous Presidents of SL from seeking appointment to the post again. Under Section 31 (2) of the chapter 7 of the SL constitution, a candidate who had been elected as the President for two terms is disqualified from seeking a third term. more..

Breaking the backbone of Civil Society in Sri Lanka

July 1 (LeN) Civil society is rejected and hated--that is the opinion created in Sri Lanka. This did not happen overnight. Even those who contributed to the breaking of the backbone of the civil society are at times talking about the need to have a strong civil society in different contexts. Those who campaign against NGOs do not want the public to know that there are approximately two million NGOs in the United States and probably 200,000 in India. more..

Sri Lanka to import Chicken from Brazil

July 1 (LP) The Sri Lankan Government is planning to import Chicken from Brazil revealed the Minister of Internal Trade and Cooperatives. Accordingly the government will import an additional 3,000 tonnes in line with the country’s requirement. Chicken price has escalated despite price control as the traders have raised prices of the products with value addition. Sri Lanka presently produces only 9,000 metric tons of chicken per annum while the annual consumption is 12,000 metric tons. more..

Editorial: The Handshake

July 1 (DM) The rush of emotions is obvious. Though both General Fonseka and young Namal Rajapaksa looked a little diffident there was certainly no sign of regret. The handshake however would have brought back the memories of the good old days when the two families remained thick before the dark clouds of the present day saga overshadowed the recollections. Reportedly it was Namal who had first extended the hand to the former Army Commander and more..

60 new political parties apply for registration as deadline closes

July 1 (TN) The deadline to submit applications to the Elections Secretariat for the registration by new political parties closed Wesdnday June 30. Sixty political groups have submitted their applications to the Elections Commissioner for registration. Except two, details of other new political groups are not available to media immediately. General (retired) Sarath Fonseka submitted his application to register his own new party under more..

Jayalalithaa welcomes UN panel on Sri Lanka

July 1 (IANS) Former Tamil Nadu chief minister J. Jayalalithaa Thursday welcomed the appointment of a three-member UN panel to look into rights abuses and war crimes in Sri Lanka. 'It shows that, at a time when the Tamil Nadu government and its Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi have forsaken the Tamil people of Sri Lanka, the world peace body and its head, Ban Ki Moon, have not. The act of the UN chief gives us confidence that all is not lost for the Tamil race and people,' more..

Opposition objects to Dr. Amunugama's absence

July 1 (CT) The opposition raised objections in parliament against the absence of acting finance minister Dr. Sarath Amunugama in parliament when the debate on the second reading of the 2010 budget commenced this morning (June 30). Opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe said that a cabinet minister in-charge of the finance portfolio needed to be present in the House during the budget debate and observed that in this case, more..

No War Zone: Final Episode-4

Civil affairs of SF-J decentralized; New office opened at Kodikamam

July 1 (MoD) Following requests of civilians reaching Jaffna Civil Affairs and Public Relations Office functioning under the Security Forces Headquarters-Jaffna seeking Army's assistance on various personal requirements, a similar office was declared open in Kodikamam Wednesday morning to offer more effective service to civilians in need. Brigadier Lal Perera functions as the Head of administration of this new Civil Affairs and Public Relations Office which more..

Editorial: A budget but not a budget

July 1 (LNP) The government is praising its own interim budget presented to Parliament on Tuesday. But, one may be still trying to figure out what it really was. For, nothing could have been more dissimilar to a budget than that. Anyway, that fiscal aberration was something to be expected. Last November the government craftily avoided presenting a budget for the current year on some flimsy pretext in view of two crucial elections on the horizon at that time more..

'Sri Lanka peace, stability help exporters cope with GSP loss'

July 1 (LBO) Lower interest rates and inflation, ending of a war, reduced war risk premiums, strong foreign reserves and better access to foreign capital markets will help exporters cope with the loss of European trade preferences, the Central Bank said. Sri Lanka is due to lose the GSP Plus benefit which gives access to European Union markets on August 15 over a perceived refusal by the state to grant rights to citizens more..