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'Sri Lanka's forest cover has dropped to 14%'

June 15 (DM) Forests cover in Lanka started to decline with the introduction of typical commercial crops and clearing of forests for agricultural and residential purposes further contributed in reducing the natural forest cover, said Touchwood Investments Consultant Dammika G. Mahipala. He noted that in the early 19th century, it was likely that Sri Lanka's forest cover was probably as high as 90%. more..

HARDtalk: Part 1

White House officials visit Sri Lanka

June 15 (IANS) Two senior foreign policy advisors to US President Barack Obama are visiting Sri Lanka where they will meet government leaders and members of the civil society. Samantha Power, Special Assistant to the president on Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights, and David Pressman, the National Security Council Director for War Crimes and Atrocities, reached Colombo Monday and will be in the country until Friday. more..

Sri Lanka post 242/9 against Pakistan

June 15 (CI) He lumbered in without rhythm from midway between the 30-yard circle and the sightscreen, he limped back to the mark, he panted, he struggled, he took about five minutes to finish each over, but somehow he bowled consistently around 90mph, taking a wicket for 11 runs in his first four overs. In his later spells, he struggled more, he seemed out of breath, he bowled off shorter runs, but he bowled smartly, taking two more wickets.Watch live (US only) more..

Sri Lanka challenges war crimes allegations

June 15 2010 (AFP) Sri Lanka's top defence official challenged international rights groups to produce evidence of war crimes allegedly committed in the final months of the country's civil war. Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapakse said those making the allegations should present evidence before Sri Lankan courts instead of talking to the international media. "If there is evidence, it can be brought to the notice of the established Sri Lankan judicial system," more..

Gold and silver they have none: JVP

June 15 (DM) The JVP, after a fact finding mission in the Wanni, said yesterday that some of the resettled people were looking for ways of retrieving their valuables mortgaged to the Eelam Banks that operated in the former LTTE-held areas. JVP MP Vijitha Herath from Kilinochchi said that these people had receipts to prove they had carried out transactions with these illegal Eelam banks. “They have pawned their gold necklaces, rings or bangles to these banks during financially difficult times. They showed us the receipts,” more..

International envoys arrive as Sri Lanka defends war

June 15 (AFP) A host of international figures, including a US war crimes investigator, landed in Sri Lanka on Tuesday for visits expected to focus on alleged atrocities committed during the country's civil war. As the separate US, Japanese and United Nations officials arrived in Colombo, the government furiously denied that any war crimes were committed during the final months of fighting last year. The US embassy in Colombo said the two advisors had been sent by President Barack Obama to more..

Tuition ban on Sundays pointless – UNP

June 16 (AD) UNP MP Mohan Lal Grero today said that while the UNP approved the restriction of tuition classes on Poya days, such a ban on Sundays due to students not attending Sunday school is pointless. Grero who is also an Educationist explained the United National Parties stance on Education by addressing the issues concerning the prohibition of tuition classes being held on Poya days and Sundays. more..

Debrief News - 15.06.2010

Sri Lanka next forex liberalization wave after budget

June 16 (LBO) Sri Lanka will see the next wave of foreign exchange liberalization after the budget, which is due at the end of June, Central Bank Governor Nivard Cabraal said. "Regulations are being drafted," Cabraal said. "As soon as the regulation are drafted and tested we will announce them. The next set will be after the budget." Cabraal announced sweeping foreign exchange relaxations in January 2010 as part of his annual road map statement on monetary policy direction. more..

India faces flak in Sri Lanka; seen as a bully

June 16 (HT) Mahinda Rajapaksa recently said India should benignly look out for Sri Lanka like its little sister. But not many here currently seem to share that tender emotion; India is being looked upon more as a big bully. India is currently receiving much flak from political parties and the media here over a bilateral business pact, for planning to talk to minority parties directly and – editorials I’m sure are on way -- for triggering the Sunday earthquake off more..

Prof. G. L. Peiris invites Honorary Consuls to play a proactive role in the economic revival of Sri Lanka

June 16 (MoD) Honorary Consuls representing foreign Governments in Sri Lanka have a pivotal role to play in strengthening Sri Lanka's relations abroad, stated Minister of External Affairs, Prof. G. L. Peiris when he addressed Honorary Consuls in Sri Lanka. The Minister noted that after over twenty years, there were opportunities for economic revival in the country and more..

A new (cultural) campaign against Tamils in Vanni

June 16 (AN) The provinces of northern Sri Lanka “are undergoing a different kind of attack, not military, but cultural and religious this time. They are faced with the ‘Sinhalisation’ of the area,” Rukshan Fernando told AsiaNews. The human rights activist and director of the Law and Society Trust just completed a tour of the provinces of Vanni and Killinochi. “A first example and one that might appear trivial but isn’t so is road signs. more..

UNP leader says opposes secret govt. constitutional reforms

June 16 (CT) UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe says his party unreservedly opposes hurried and secret attempts by the government to introduce constitutional reforms.Speaking to a group of select journalists, Mr. Wickremesinghe vowed to fight any change that would be detrimental to the interests of democracy and the people. Without addressing the hunger of the starving people, the government is bent at satisfying its political hunger, he alleged. more..

Malinga helps super Sri Lanka survive Afridi

June 16 (CI) Sri Lanka survived perhaps Shahid Afridi's finest innings and an impressive comeback from Shoaib Akhtar through some superb fielding and lovely bowling from Lasith Malinga. The batsmen before Afridi seemed either incompetent or uninterested, the batsmen with him seemed intent on running themselves out, his cramp-induced groans could be heard through the stump mic, more..

Central Bank seeks SC approval to repay GK depositors

June 16 (BL) Watawala Committee on the collapsed Golden Key Credit Card Company is to present Second Repayment Plan for approval to the Supreme Court when the case is called up for hearing on Friday (June 18). Under the Second Repayment Plan, supervised by the country’s banking watchdog – Central Bank of Sri Lanka, all depositors who had invested below Rs.2mn or nearly 5,100 depositors, which make 75 to 80% of total number of depositors, are to be re-paid, more..

Editorial: Reduced budget deficit, step in right direction

June 16 (BL) The government budget deficit for the first quarter of this year has contracted by 21 percent due to the recovery of government tax revenue after the economic recession of 2008/2009. Total government revenue has improved by 26.3 percent during the first three months of the year to Rs.182.7 billion from Rs.144.6 billion during the corresponding period of 2009. Tax revenue amounted to Rs.150 billion, an increase of 12.35 percent. more..

Auto prices to drop further in 3 months

June 16 (BL) Prices of vehicles are likely to drop further soon as competition gets intense and with the availability of a full range of newly imported vehicles hitting the local market, a senior industry official told The Bottom Line. Accordingly, the availability of the full range is likely to take at least another three months by which time the recent orders placed from various countries will be shipped to Sri Lanka. more..

‘Change mindset on garbage dumping’

June 16 (BL) Sri Lankans should try to change their attitude on irresponsibly dumping garbage while lawbreakers should be strictly dealt with if we were to make this environment more hygienic, a top environmentalist has recommended. Speaking recently on the theme ‘Cash for trash – Economic opportunities of waste management’ at the American Center in Colombo, Dr. Ajantha Perera, founder of the National Program on Recycling of Solid Waste says that more..

Lanka lags behind in combating human trafficking

June 16 (BL) Sri Lanka has been listed as a country which does not fully comply with international laws set up to combat human trafficking, according to a report published by the US Department of State on Monday. ‘The Trafficking in Persons 2010’ (TIP) report has placed Sri Lanka in ‘Tire 2 Watch List.’ The Tire Sri Lanka falls into is described as “Countries whose governments do not fully comply with The Victim Protection Act’s (TVPA) minimum standards, more..

LTTE cadres among foreign militants using Malaysia as base'

June 16 (PTI) Foreign militants, including remnants of the Tamil Tigers, are using Malaysia as their operational base and for recruiting new activists. Home minister Hishammuddin Hussein said that militant groups, both Islamic and non-Islamic, were using Malaysia as their operational base to step up their violent struggle. He said these groups were also using the southeast Asian country for their financial transactions and exchange of information, besides more..

Calling Sri Lanka - Kids make a connection

June 16 (MR) group of fourth graders in Ann Arbor became friends this year with a group of orphans in Sri Lanka. They also raised money to help the kids overseas. Nikki Motson reports. Rob Bauman's fourth grade class at Emerson School in Ann Arbor spent the year getting to know the kids at the Grace Center for orphaned girls in Trincomalee, Sri Lanka. The kids held weekly video chats over the computer and learned how different their lives are. more..

The School the largest ‘workplace’

June 16 (DM) Ergonomics is the scientific study of the people and their work. It helps in improving human performance and finds solutions to health and safety problems. The school is the largest workplace of all. Children are the “workers” there. Matched ergonomic arrangement at the place of work is essential for better human performance. Musculoskeletal pain, general tiredness, lateral deviation of the spine and poor educational performance have been identified as more..

Sri Lanka shows how to defeat terrorism

June 16 (MT) A strong leadership and a disciplined military are the keys in wiping out separatist movements that have resorted to terrorism, the Sri Lankan ambassador to the Philippines said on Tuesday. Nawalge Bennet Cooray cited the principal weapons during a roundtable with editors and reporters of The Manila Times in reference to his country’s successful offensives that more..

Suicide Bombers of Sri Lanka -Part Four

June 16 (LG) Due to decades of war and the consequent destruction of social institutions, structures and processes, society faces a collective trauma or what was called ‘Loss of Communality’ by Kai Erikson (Somasundaram, 2007). The Tamil community had learned to be silent, non-involved and stay in the back¬ground.They have developed a ‘deep suspicion and mistrust.’ People have learned to simply attend to their immediate needs and survive to the next day. more..

CEPA: Why this Excitement?

June 16 (LG) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has made it absolutely clear that he will not sign any agreement with any country that will be detrimental to the interest of Sri Lanka. The Indian Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, has said sometime back that India will be willing to move at a pace Sri Lanka is comfortable with, and that Sri Lanka can take its own time if at all it wants to embark on a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA). more..

Resolving Sri Lanka's conflicts in class

June 16 (Guardian) An education project funded by the German government is trying to help communities divided by civil war to express mutual respect and understanding in a new language. Psyche Kennett, the project's coordinator, explains how this kind of English language training can reduce hostility. The war may be over in Sri Lanka but the issues behind the conflict remain unresolved. Language is one of them. more..

Will mass wedding Thamasha lead to real political wedding between the communities?

June 16 (LG) Point scoring is the present government’s exciting agenda. In order to digress from the real issues facing the country - post war, it is continuing to play trivial games to keep the momentum going. Necessity may be mother of invention, but fun is the father.’(Alex Osborne- US Author1886-1966). As the quote aptly states, it is fun with violence that is dictating the progress of this government. more..

Indebtedness, Lawlessness and Investment

June 16 (LG) A BBC news report has revealed that over 99% percent of the Chinese contributions to the Sri Lankan economy are loans. These are loans either given by the government or by the Chinese banks. Then there are loans taken from other countries, and also from commercial banks. The country today is run entirely on the basis of loans. Investments from outside are small and negligible. There is a vast difference between of development models based on borrowing and more..

'I won’t repeat my father’s mistakes'

June 16 (DM) Q: Do you think the opposition leader Ranil Wickremsinghe has failed as a leader? A: Well, I think during his tenure we have had as a political party our successes and we have had our failures but I have to say that all of us are ollectively responsible for various achievements and for the various setbacks. So having said that every time we are defeated at an electoral contest we have to consider ourselves as having failed. more..

German Ambassador on sudden visit to Jaffna

June 16 (TN) German Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Mr. Jens Ploetner, whose visit to Jaffna Monday was suddenly cancelled due to undisclosed reasons, however made a sudden visit to Jaffna Tuesday, sources in Jaffna said. The ambassador took part in an event in Chaavakachcheari Hindu College Tuesday to which he was invited as the chief guest by the alumni of the college. Meanwhile, German Embassy in Colombo had announced the ‘German Week in Jaffna – 2010’ more..

Ambassador invites international club DC members on signature tour of Sri Lanka

June 16 (SLE) Sri Lankan Ambassador Jaliya Wickramasuriya last week hosted nearly 100 guests of the International Club D.C. for dinner at the official ambassador’s residence where he outlined a “signature tour” of Sri Lanka for American tourists planned for August. The Aug. 18-29 tour, which was arranged by the Ambassador, will feature visits to beaches, ancient cities, tea plantations, wildlife parks and the Perahera more..

Moving to an era of reconciliation

June 16 (MoD) It was just a year ago the war was ended. Yet it brought in misery to people even after that. A very large number of people in the North and the East found they were homeless and could not go back as most of the lands were heavily mined by fleeing terrorists. The number of Internally Displaced People rose to nearly 300,000 in the North. Looking at the difficult but essential task, more..

Government to plant coconut in North

June 16 (MoD) The Government has decided to cultivate coconut plants on 100,000 identified acres in the North. Plantation Industries Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe on his visit to the North recently instructed officials of the Coconut Cultivation Board to take steps to commence coconut cultivation on these lands. Initially, 27,000 families living in the North have been identified to provide saplings and fertilizer free to recommence cultivations destroyed by the war, more..

'Patients might protest when told they are getting blood of MPs'

June 16 (NF) A day could be reserved for parliamentarians to donate blood, but I wonder whether the patients in hospitals would start screaming refusing that blood,” said Maithirpala Sirisena, Minister of Health yesterday. He was expressing his views at an event at the National Blood Transfusion Centre in Narahenpita to mark the World Blood Donor Day. The global campaign focused on young donors with the slogan 'New Blood For The World'. more..

Sri Lanka holds policy rates steady in June

June 16 (LBO) Sri Lanka is holding its main policy rate at which money is injected to the economy steady at 9.75 percent with inflation falling and credit to businesses expanding, the Central Bank said. The Central Bank said inflation fell for the third consecutive month, reaching 5.3 percent in May and it was also a net buyer in foreign exchange markets. more..

US Delegation meets SF-J Commander

June 16 (MoD) A four-member US delegation on fact-finding mission visited Security Forces Headquarters-Jaffna on Tuesday evening to get a comprehensive idea of ongoing post conflict development activities in Jaffna. After being received by Colonel General Staff Security Forces - Jaffna (SF-J) Lieutenant Colonel Wijesundara, the visiting US team was accompanied to SF-J conference hall where Commander SF-J Major General Mahinda Hathurusinghe welcomed the delegation and more..

Speaker meets Most Rev Bishop Malcolm Ranjith

June 16 (LP) Speaker of the house Chamal Rakapalsa yesterday called on Archbishop of Colombo Rt. Rev. Malcolm Ranjith. The Speaker met the Archbishop at the Bishops house in Colombo and had cordial discussions. The Archbishop said he will extend fullest support to the government and the President to carry out the country’s development process. He also said that peace and harmony is now prevailing in the country with the end of the 30 year long war. more..

Sri Lankan family physician conducts pilot project on Dengue

June 16 (LP) In an abstract from a journal of Family Medicine Association, Dr Sanath Hettige, a specialist in Family Medicine reveals that Papaya leaf extract for dengue fever has beneficial results. In the pilot study he had conducted patients had been asked observed for adverse effects for about 2 weeks and asked to report any abnormal signs and symptoms promptly. more..

Another beggar killed - killing spree continues!

June 16 (LT) A beggar, who had been resting in the petrol shed after it had closed, was bashed to death by dropping a concrete block on his head on Monday night. This incident was took place in a petrol shed on Muttiah Road, Colombo 2. The body with severe injuries to the head was found today morning when the shed was open. The police had also found a wheel chair which they believed might have been used by the man. more..