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Trade deficit will increase to US$ 13 bn. by December - Eran

Apr 4 (Island) Despite various predictions by the govt, the trade deficit would widen by the end of this year, financial analyst and UNP MP Eran Wickremeratne predicted. He said that as at the end of 2011, the trade deficit was nearly US$ 10 billion and it would appreciate by around 30 percent by the end of this year. Exports will take some time to pick up, tea prices will drop, imports would cost more and oil prices are bound to increase further by December, more..

Karu's statement baseless - Shamal

Apr 4 (CT) The statement made by UNP MP Karu Jayasuriya on the report presented concerning the Sirikotha attack is completely baseless, Wayamba Province opposition leader Shamal Senarath alleged. According to the statement made by MP Karu Jayasuriya, the committee that was appointed to look into the attack is neither balanced nor unbiased and that the recorded evidence was taken from one side only. Jayasuriya also added that the committee has finally presented the recommendations more..

Free Fonseka movement’s meeting in Kalutara

Apr 4 (CT) The People’s Movement to Free Fonseka will hold its second meeting in Kalutara on 7 April at 2 p.m., following a successful meeting held recently. The meeting is scheduled to be held at the Kalutara Municipal council auditorium. Speaking at a press conference held in Colombo, wife of the imprisoned former General, Anoma Fonseka invited all who support him and respect democracy to put aside their political, racial and religious differences and rally round the cause. more..

Resettlement Minister takes more than promises to gale damaged Menik Farm

Apr 4 (Island) Minister of Resettlement Gunaratna Weerakoon yesterday empathised with the IDPs whose temporary shelters were blown away by a gale last weekend and promised to settle them in permanent houses within six months. He said that even on Monday evening there was a gale due to the monsoon season and some houses which had been repaired were damaged as it was a location without cover. more..

Back home in Jaffna, after 27 long years

Apr 4 (Hindu) Ever since he arrived in Chennai in August 1983 after violence broke out against Tamils in Sri Lanka, S.C. Chandrahasan and his family lived with the hope that in three months they would be back in their motherland. History proved otherwise and his status was reduced to what he called “a person with no permanent address”. His three children received their education in Chennai and got married. Finally, when he landed in his hometown Tellipallai in the Jaffna peninsula more..

Sri Lanka takes baby steps in war crimes probe

Apr 4 (NST) The spotlight is on post-war Sri Lanka's process of reconciliation and rehabilitation because of a US-sponsored resolution passed by the 19th session of the UNHRC in Geneva. It calls for the implementation of the recommendations of the Sri Lanka govt's own LLRC, for a time-bound road map to bring these into force and "address allegations" of war crimes committed during the conflict. It also asks the UN to provide technical support to the govt to more..

'U.S. funding cuts in UNESCO more audible than visible'

Apr 4 (IPS) When the 194-member General Conference of the UNESCO was on the verge of admitting Palestine as a full-fledged member of the Paris-based U.N. agency last year, the United States warned against it - and threateningly. Still, by an overwhelming vote of 107 to 14 (52 abstentions), Palestine joined the ranks of UNESCO last October despite a U.S. threat that such a move would result in a cut-off of U.S. funding more..

Tax increase necessary to balance BoP: Cabraal

Apr 4 (DM) Even though the recent increase in import duty may create some difficulty for importers it is to be seen an essential step to adjust the trade imbalance and prevent a severe balance of payments deficit, Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal said today. “If the ever widening deficit in the balance of payments continued uncontrolled or without any reduction, the imbalance would have been a bigger risk to the economy,” Mr. Cabraal added. more..

'Insurance cover for poor in case of disaster'

Apr 4 (DN) The govt is having discussions with insurance companies for people to insure with it (govt) so that the claims could be settled by the govt on behalf of the people whose houses and properties are damaged during natural disasters, Disaster Management Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said. The govt is mainly focused on assisting the needy and not the rich, the minister said. “Some persons tell us that natural disasters totally destroyed their factories, offices etc. more..

'Transform ocean into a lucrative resource'

Apr 4 (DN) “It is a big disgrace for us to import canned fish for our consumption spending billions of rupees as an island nation while endowed with a resourceful ocean around the country “, said President Mahinda Rajapaksa. He was addressing a gathering following the opening of the first ever state fish canning factory of Sri Lanka in Galle yesterday. The first fish canning factory established and operated as a joint venture between the more..

Swedish Foreign Minister to visit Sri Lanka

Apr 4 (AT) Sweden has indicated its interest in establishing a bilateral relationship with Sri Laka. This has been revealed at a meeting Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to Sweden Oshadi Alahapperuma had with Sweden’s Foreign Minister Carl Bildt. According to Sri Lanka’s Ambassador Oshadi Alahapperuma, he met the Swedish Foreign Minister at the Minister's office on Monday. At the meeting Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt has asked the Sri Lanka’s Ambassador whether Sri Lanka more..

Saudi philanthropist feeds Lankan maids stranded at Bahrain airport

Apr 4 (AN) A Saudi philanthropist offered a helping hand to a group of Riyadh-bound housemaids who did not have money to buy food at Bahrain International Airport on Sunday. The housemaids, who were coming into the Kingdom from Colombo, were in transit at the airport in Muharraq for more than five hours without food or drink. They were told by their local recruiting agents in Colombo that their meals would be looked after by their counterparts in Bahrain. more..

IMF happy but watchful

Apr 4 (FT) Encouraged by recent positive steps taken by the Govt to better manage the economy, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) yesterday released $ 427 million to boost the country’s reserves. “Fundamentally we are very optimistic about Sri Lanka though since mid-last year we were concerned about the policy mix pursued by the Govt and the drawdown of reserves,” IMF’s Resident Representative Koshy Mathai told journalists yesterday. more..

To save a life, no amount is too much

Apr 4 (Hindu) Sanjana Praveen Shivanka is 20 months old and has severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID). The Sri Lankan ‘bubble baby', suffered from a condition which forced him to live in a sterile environment as his immune system was seriously compromised. Like 16 other boys in his mother's family including his two older siblings, he inherited the condition. He is the first one to survive. Praveen came a year ago to Chennai with funds raised by well-wishers in in Sri Lanka for treatment. more..

Pay hike for Sri Lankan housemaids delayed

Apr 4 (KT) The implementation of the KD75-KD85 monthly salary for Sri Lankan housemaids will be delayed for at least three weeks, the Sri Lankan Ambassador to Kuwait said. The Sri Lankan govt decided to delay the implementation, pending an appeal from Kuwait recruitment agencies and local employers. C.A.H.M. Wijeratne was speaking on the sidelines of a forum held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel on Monday night organized by the Sri Lankan Embassy to promote their skilled and semi-skilled manpower in Kuwait. more..

'Sri Lanka hid vital information, ran into brick wall'

Apr 4 (LBO) Sri Lanka has suppressed information, ignored warnings from independent analysts, manipulated data and markets until the economy ran into 'brick wall' a legislator who is an economist has said. "The govt is hiding information from the public," opposition UNP legislator Harsha de Silva told reporters. "When we warned about the wrong policies, when we said 'See what is happening, take corrective measures', but they were ignored." more..

55 Chinese experts working on A-9 highway

Apr 4 (Island) 55 Chinese engineers and professional technicians are among those employed in the rehabilitation work of the Kandy–Jaffna A 9 highway, Parliament was informed yesterday. Two contracts have been awarded for the construction of the highway, one at an estimated cost of Rs 9,592 million (without VAT) from the Galkulama to Panichchankulam segment while the other contract has been given at an estimated cost of Rs 9,532 million for the Panichchankulama to Jaffna segment. more..

'Govt. blew UNHRC resolution out of proportion'

Apr 4 (Island) UNP National list MP D.M. Swaminathan said in parliament yesterday that the Sri Lankan Govt blew the resolution, brought against it at the UNHRC, out of proportion. "The United States had invited the Sri Lankan authorities to join them to draft the Resolution. The United States throughout supported the Sri Lankan Domestic mechanism. The Govt had spent colossal sums of money and energy to knock their head against a rock, the US Government," more..

They own the roads

Apr 4 (SL) One morning a friend and I were driving past the turn off to the Presidents house in Colombo Fort when a policeman on duty abruptly halted our line of cars to enable a single vehicle coming out of that road to drive through. It was a non-descript Japanese car yet for that policeman a car coming out of the direction of the Presidents’ house was important enough to disrupt the flow of traffic. Down that road, apart from the residency of the President, there are several other offices. more..

Dissatisfied commuters of private bus service on the up

Apr 4 (ST) Complaints by private bus commuters to the National Transport Commission (NTC) doubled last year, compared with the previous year, the Commission revealed this week. NTC Chairman Roshan Gunawardena told the Sunday Times that it received more than 40 complaints a day and that most of the complaints were for overcharging, failure to return the balance of the money tendered and being discourteous to commuters. more..

Tomfoolery tolerated long enough!

Apr 4 (LB) When Wimal Weerawansa called for a boycott of American products, his cabinet colleagues said they don’t share his views. It was not the official stance of the govt, they insisted. Don’t take much notice. When Mervyn Silva threatened to break the limbs of Sri Lankan journalists in exile claiming they had campaigned for the Resolution at the UNHRC, other ministers were horrified. It was not the official government position, they stressed. But nobody sacked the fellow. more..

World Cup T20 ticket sales rise

Apr 4 (IANS) Ticket sales for the World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka this year are on the rise after just one week of their start. More than 25 percent of tickets in the first phase have been already sold with an average of 10,000 tickets being sold each day. Upekha Nell, the tournament director, said that she was delighted with the sale process and the interest shown in the tickets. "There has been a great response from the wonderful Sri Lankan public and more..

Former High Court Judge Warawewa on the independence of the Judiciary

Apr 4 (NF) Former High Court Judge W.M.P.B. Warawewa says that the Attorney General’s Department has been politicised. He made this comment at a seminar on Monday. The third stage of the series of seminars under the theme Justice for Life was held yesterday at the E.L. Senanayake Library Auditorium in Kandy. "The Executive, the Constitutional Authority has destroyed the supremacy of the Judiciary. more..

'Listen to the people and correct mistakes'

Apr 4 (NF) Co-convenor of the People’s Movement to free Sarath Fonseka, MP Arjuna Ranatunga says that a good opportunity has dawned for the govt to correct its wrongs. "We cannot say that human rights in the country are not being violated. We cannot say that individuals are not being abducted in white vans. I think this is what Anoma Fonseka too has to say on behalf of her husband. If the rulers in this country do not listen to the injustices that more..

Sri Lanka trade controls take IMF by surprise

Apr 4 (LBO) Sri Lanka's sudden hike in car taxes has taken the IMF by surprise, and the lender would like to see tighter monetary policy than selective taxes. "The issue of recent taxes on vehicles and other goods, that actually is something we did not discuss with the authorities at all," IMF's resident representative Koshy Mathai said. "We were not expecting it. We were happy to see that it shows that they are taking this balance of payments crisis issue very seriously. more..

'No conspiracy against Dayan'

Apr 4 (NF) The Ministry of External Affairs referring to our news story captioned “Conspiracy against Dayan” states that there was no conspiracy against Dayan Jayatillake who is currently our ambassador in France. “The Ministry wishes to clarify that it is the practice of the Ministry to take appropriate action to rectify administrative and financial irregularities when such matters are brought to the Ministry’s attention,” the Foreign Ministry said in a letter yesterday. more..

Dvelopment initiatives should have a well planned road map - President

Apr 4 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapakse Tuesday declared open the newly constructed building complex of Matara District Secretariat. This modern 03 storied building complex which was constructed with a cost of 140 million rupees comprises of modern facilities. Many government administrative sector institutions which were spread throughout the Matara town will now function from this new building. more..

'We’re facing the biggest economic crisis in history, govt does not see beyond its nose'

Apr 4 (LT) Whatever rose-coloured statistics on the economy is trotted out or however much it is puffed up by the govt all that is overturned due to the creation of the worst economic crisis in the history of Sri Lanka. Despite expecting an economic growth of 8.5% this year, the Governor of the Central Bank now says it would be only 7.2%. There are doubts regarding statistics the Central Bank publishes to the people. more..

Editorial: Looking for splinters with beams in their eyes

Apr 4 (DM) So, Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka has committed a cardinal sin by colour-washing the embassy and his official residence without the consent from Colombo. The move by the External Affairs Ministry to call for explanation from the Sri Lankan ambassador to Paris on such trivialities, has painted the government authority in the deepest shade of black, which no amount of whitewashing by the powers-that-be can clean off. According to the press reports, the External Affairs more..

Sstock close marginally lower, rupee stronger

Apr 4 (LBO) Shares closed slightly lower Wednesday with retail investors active and turnover boosted by several crossings and while the rupee gained ground against the dollar, brokers and dealers said. The rupee closed around 125.40/50 to the US dollar dealers said after opening 126.00/10 levels. The main All Share Price Index fell 0.15 percent to 5408.31, while the more liquid Milanka index fell 0.09 percent to close at 4881.55. Turnover was 1.13 billion rupees, more..

Strauss and Cook provide solid reply

Apr 4 (CI) England have the captain they want and the debate they do not need. A standing ovation from the travelling supporters when Andrew Strauss reached what was surely was one of his most painstaking Test half-centuries indicated that the public, at least, feels the talking can now stop. The debate has been a valid one as any dispassionate analysis of Strauss' batting form reveals. But even those England fans who had dozed their way through more..

Openers stand and deliver

Apr 4 (CI) There are many statistics that show how difficult it has been for England's batsman in 2012 and another is the fact that when Alastair Cook nudged Rangana Herath off his hip in the 21st over it took him and Andrew Strauss to their first fifty opening stand of the year. They had ended the English season with a brace of good contributions against India - 186 at Edgbaston and 75 at The Oval - and carried this effort past three figures during the final session to more..

Govt. begins search for owners of 2,000 abandoned vehicles

Apr 4 (Island) The govt has commenced processing applications, from the general public in the Mullaitivu district, to trace the rightful owners of over 2,000 vehicles that had been abandoned during the final stages of the war. Mullaitivu Govt Agent Nogalingam Vethanayakam said most of the vehicles had been abandoned by people fleeing the East and West Mullivaikkal and Ambalapokkanai areas as govt forces advanced in May 2009 to liberate the North from more..

Sri Lanka keen to implement war commission report

Apr 4 (Xinhua) The Sri Lankan govt on Wednesday informed parliament that it had no objections to implementing recommendations of a war commission appointed by the Sri Lankan president. Minister Susil Premjayantha said that the govt stand has always been to implement the recommendations of the LLRC. However he said there were doubts if the UN Human Rights Council had other intentions and not just to see the implementation of the report. more..

Sri Lanka still poor on women's political participation: UNDP

Apr 4 (Xinhua) The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) said that Sri Lanka still performs poorly on women's political participation despite relative gains on gender parity in education and wage employment. A statement by the UNDP office in Colombo said that in Sri Lanka women's representation in the national parliament stands at 5.6 percent which is amongst the lowest in South Asia and in the Provincial Councils and Local Authorities at under 3 percent. more..

An insider’s account of the JVP: Book review

Apr 4 (EAR) Known to the Arab travelers as Serendib (The island of happy fortune), Sri Lanka, in the post-independence years, was neither happy nor fortunate. The island and its peoples have experienced “a home grown version of internal colonial rule, complete with a ruling class, a caste system and an impoverished peasantry and an ethnic scapegoat”. The book is the “inside story” of Sri Lanka’s indigenous revolutionary movement, the JVP – its origin and development, more..

White van abduction in Grandpass - Mano

Apr 4 (AD) A 45 year old man has been abducted by a white van in Nawa Kelanipura also known as ‘Tamil Nadu’ in the Grandpass police zone today, The DPF Leader and Civil Monitoring Commission Convener Mano Ganesan said. He added that the Civil Monitoring Commission had received the complaint of the abduction which took place at 8am today. The victim, Balakrishnan Anandan was returning home after dropping his child in school by motorbike when more..

Sri Lanka gets new SEC commissioners, officials

Apr 4 (LBO) The Securities and Exchange Commission said two new commissioners and an acting director general have been appointed. Sajith R Attygalle, deputy Treasury secretary has replaced D. Widanagamachchi, who had resigned on March 23. S W Pathiba Mahanamahewa, dean Faculty of Law, Kotelawela Defence University has replaced C P E Gunasingam, who resigned on December 21. D B P Hareendra Dissabandara has been appointed as the acting director more..

SriLankan axes flights to Zurich, Rome

Apr 4 (LBO) SriLankan Airlines said it will cancel flights to Zurich and Rome in May and June which are off-peak months but will resume them from late June, to contain costs. Flights to Zurich which will be cancelled from June May 01 will resume from June 27 to August 21. Rome flights will be cancelled from May 05 but will resume from June 27 to September 09. "SriLankan will continue to review its operations to Switzerland and Italy and directed by forecasts, travel trends more..

'Sri Lanka needs further monetary tightening'

Apr 4 (Reuters) Central bank will have room to raise interest rates by at least another 50 basis points if April trade and inflation data show signs of stabilizing, the treasury secretary said on Wednesday. "Since we have already raised policy rates by half a percent (in February), maybe another 50 basis points upward revision could stabilize the whole macroeconomic environment," P.B. Jayasundera told Reuters more..