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Trade deficit to widen, drop in balance of payments - Eran

June 6 (Island) Amidst the economic predictions based on various assumptions presented by the Central Bank, an opposition legislator said yesterday that the trade deficit was bound to widen and the balance of payments would drop. Eran Wickremaratne, MP, said that the govt's optimistic predictions were based on many assumptions which were unlikely to materialize. The mandarins claim that Foreign Direct Investment would rise from US$ 2 billion to more..

Gunaratnam faction alleges UPFA complicity in JVP attacks

June 6 (Island) Now, Kumar Gunaratnam’s The Frontline Socialist Party (FSP) alleged that the JVP was carrying out a systematic campaign targeting its members. DNA MP G.H. Ajith Kumara yesterday made representations to IGP N.K. Illangakoon regarding what he called a wave of attacks in several parts of the country, including Hambantota, Colombo, Kurunegala, Matara, Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa. more..

Indo-US-Colombo axis may irk Beijing

June 6 (AA) The emerging Indo-American coalition to help the Sri Lankan Navy opens a new chapter in regional security. The development could also trigger a fresh bout of political anger in Tamil Nadu, where all the prominent parties have been pressing Delhi to get tough with Colombo for not addressing the Tamil question. Interestingly, the new teaming was announced not by India but by the Lankan foreign ministry in Colombo, which revealed that the development followed meetings that more..

Release 'secret' UN document that contradicts Darusman report – Govt

June 6 (Island) The Sri Lankan govt is demanding the immediate release of a vital UN report on the Vanni war, quoted in the UN Secretary General's Panel of Experts (PoE) report on accountability issues in Sri Lanka, as the number of deaths due to war contained in the document runs counter to the much publicised claim that over 40,000 people perished in the final stages of the war from Jan to May 2009. more..

Keheliya joins Rupee talk; Says will settle between 125 and 127

June 6 (FT) Cabinet spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella yesterday became the latest to join a select group of officials to hint at where the Rupee was heading saying the exchange rate will stabilise around Rs. 125-127. “As a Govt, we believe that it will settle down in about six-months, between 125 and 127,” he said, referring to the president’s remarks at the cabinet meeting. He had told Reuters that the president, who is also finance minister, had told the cabinet on more..

Will Hirunika be charged for contempt of court?

June 6 (Island) The CID yesterday told the Colombo Additional Magistrate Prasanna Alwis that the investigations, into the Baratha Lakshman Premachandra killing, had been concluded and govt Analysts Department had also submitted its report. The file had been forwarded to the Attorney General and the CID was awaiting the AG’s instructions for further action. The AG, through Senior State Counsel Madhava Tennekoon, informed Court that as a lengthy statement needed to be obtained from Duminda Silva, more..

President Rajapaksa’s London address to Commonwealth Economic Forum cancelled

June 6 (DBS) In an unexpected,sudden development the Commonwealth Economic Forum the event in which President Mahinda Rajapaksa was scheduled to deliver the keynote address has been called off. The Commonwealth Business Council that had organized the event made a special announcement announcing the decision. In a tersely worded statement the Commonwealth Business Council stated- “After careful consideration the morning sessions more..

'Publish Mahanama committee report on FTZ shooting'

June 6 (Island) The UNP yesterday demanded that the government publish the report of the committee, headed by Mahanama Thillekeratne, appointed to look into the matters regarding the shooting at protesting employees of the Free Trade Zone (FTZ) and killing one of the protestors, Roshen Chanaka. It also demanded that legal action be taken against those who had been found guilty. Acting Opposition Leader John Amaratunga, making a special statement, more..

Southern Expressway to reach Matara next year

June 6 (Island) The extension of the Southern Highway from Galle to Matara currently underway would be completed by 2013, Ports and Highways Deputy Minister Nirmala Kothalawala said. The section between Galle and Matara would have a length of 35 km. It would have four entry points, the Minister added. There are plans to extend the Southern Highway up to Hambantota connecting the Mattala International Airport which is under construction. more..

The unpredictable earth tremors

June 6 (SL) The walls of my house cracked and the tiles also broke as a result of the vibrations caused by what seemed to be a plane flying over the house”. One might assume this statement was made by someone in Indonesia or Japan. However, the fact is that this came from someone in Sri Lanka. This statement came from D. M. Weerasekara, a resident of Kanawegala on the 26th night following an earth tremor felt in parts of the country. Earth tremors are not common in Sri Lanka so more..

Look, they are looking for asylum in Lanka, not the other way about

June 6 (LB) Sri Lankan authorities are deporting foreigners who have been overstaying their visas; however, the looming danger is that foreign asylum seekers who remain in the country, awaiting a final decision on their refugee status could also be targeted in the next phase of the deportation drive. The controller of immigration and emigration Chulananda Silva told this newspaper that asylum seekers, who overstay their visas would be deported. more..

Sri Lanka vehicle transshipping drive flagged off by Hyundai

June 6 (LBO) Vehicle transshipment from Sri Lanka is getting underway, with Asia's second largest automaking group starting to use a new port in the south of the island, where up to four vessels are expected to call each month. Two vessels operated by Hyundai Glovis, a unit of Korea's Hyundai Kia group, Asia's second largest car maker after Toyota and the fourth largest in the world, will berth at Hambantota port in June, the lines agents Aitken Spence Shipping said. more..

'Attempt to expel 23,000 Muslims from Dehiwela'

June 6 (Island) The UNP yesterday questioned if the latest project of an extremist group in the govt issuing ultimatums to religious institutions, including mosques and churches, to shut down, was to evict over 23,000 Muslims from Dehiwela. Senior UNP MP, Ravi Karunanayake said that there were over 23,000 Muslims residing in Dehiwela and it had been their home for generations, but a constituent political party in the Mahinda Rajapaksa regime, more..

New detention centre for naughty jumbos

June 6 (Island) A new elephant detention centre is to be set up shortly to minimise the human-elephant conflict. Wildlife Department officials told The Island yesterday they had already commenced preliminary work on the new centre in the Anuradhapura District. Minister S. M. Chandrasena said the most number of cases of human-elephant conflicts had been reported from the Anuradhapura District and steps would be taken to minimise such incidents. more..

Colleague paid Rs.1.5 mn by LTTE to help kill Muthalif

June 6 (Island) A chance recovery of a barrel containing secret LTTE papers, buried in the Vanni east, has led to the arrest of a security forces officer allegedly involved in the assassination of Lt. Col. T. N. Muthalif in May 2005 in Colombo. The LTTE ambushed Muthalif near the Kirulapone colour lights as he was on his way to the Kotelawela Defence University, Ratmalana. The suspect had been detained on the basis of LTTE papers more..

Reveal action plan submitted to US, demands JVP

June 6 (Island) The JVP yesterday demanded in Parliament that the govt reveal its action plan on accountability and reconciliation, which had been presented to the United States recently. JVP MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake said that a delegation led by Minister G.L. Peiris had submitted an action plan to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Washington in response to the US sponsored anti-Sri Lankan resolution adopted at the 19th session of UNHRC in Geneva. more..

'Let’s have taverns in villages'

June 6 (DM) Despite the govt’s much hyped policy against boozing, a Cabinet minister said in Parliament hat liquor shops should be made available at the village level for ordinary people to enjoy a drink after a hard day’s work. Social Services Minister Felix Perera said that the establishment of legitimate liquor shops would wean people away from consuming illicit liquor. “Rural people have no option but to drink illicit liquor. They do it because there are no authorised liquor outlets in their areas,” he said. more..

Sri Lanka bars entry to two British journalists

June 6 (Xinhua) Sri Lanka said Wednesday it refused entry into the country to two journalists of a British television station which had aired a series of videos accusing the military of war crimes. The Immigration and Emigration Department said that the journalists attached to the British Channel 4 television were sent back after they arrived in Sri Lanka. Shirani Sabaratnam, was refused entry on Tuesday. Her husband Stuart Cosgrove, a director at Channel 4, meanwhile entered the country and more..

'LLRC proposals in four categories'

June 6 (DM) The government has explained to the United States (US) that the recommendations of the LLRC would be designated under four categories for implementation, Leader of the House Nimal Siripala de Silva said yesterday. The categories are: Recommendations relating to; (1) national policy, (2) the final phase of the conflict, (3) human rights and security issues and (4) resettlement, development and humanitarian issues. more..

Editorial: Reduce pay and privileges of politicians

June 6 (DM) Responding to reports that India’s growth rate had fallen to 5.3 per cent, the lowest in more than ten years, and the value of the Indian rupee was plunging, the Indian Government last Friday ordered immediate austerity measures at the top. Visits abroad by big Government delegations and their extravagant spending were banned as were five-star hotel meetings for state institutions. Earlier last month France’s new President Francois Hollande launched a new more..

Stocks at 23-month low; rupee stronger

June 6 (Reuters) Sri Lankan stocks fell on Wednesday in thin trade, hitting a 23-month low as the interest rate outlook weighed on the market. The main index fell 10.85 points to 4,737.75, its lowest since July 19, 2010. Short term T-bill yields edged down at a Wednesday auction, but the 364-day T-bill yield edged up, raising investor concerns over the interest rate outlook. "Interest rates are a concern and we don't see the buying support," said a broker, who declined to be identified. more..

Sri Lanka records 11,000 dengue cases in first five months

June 6 (Xinhua) A rapid increase in dengue cases was recorded in Sri Lanka with over 11,000 patients and 56 deaths in first five months. The Health Ministry said from January to May 11473 patients were reported with highest number from the district where the capital Colombo is located. "The ongoing rainy weather condition would worsen the situation in the coming days," the ministry warned and urged public to keep their garden clean and clear more..

SEC to boost investigation capacity

June 6 (LBO) Securities and Exchange Commission is boosting its investigations capacity this year and modernizing is supervision and regulations, its chairman has said. "In the coming year we are determined to further strengthen the regulatory and supervisory arrangements in keeping with modern trends," Karunaratne said in the regulators 2011 annual report. "Investigation capability will certainly be enhanced and we expect better performance in this area." more..

Two arrested over Trinco murder

June 6 (CG) Two people were arrested today over the murder of Easwarathasan Ketheeswaran, a man who was deported from Britain in 2010 and was found killed in Trincomalee last April. According to the police the man was killed as part of a contract given by his wife who was having an illicit affair with another man. The police said that the main suspect who was arrested is a pilot and he had met the wife of the victim in London. The wife had had an affair with the suspect and more..

Bane of lost IDs after wartime

June 6 (IRIN) Three years after conflict ended in northern Sri Lanka, many thousands of civilians remain separated from their ID cards and other official documents lost in the heat of battle and are consequently unable to access a range of essential govt services. From 2008 until the war was declared over in May 2009, survivors who often endured continuous combat for weeks while trapped in northern Mullaittivu District told IRIN that when more..

The courage of Divya, raped at 13 by a neighbor

June 6 (AN) A "historic" ruling for Sri Lanka, full of joy "for the courage and determination of Divya" and because "it encourages those who seek justice, to break the silence." With these words, Fr. Nandana Mantunga, director of the human rights of Kandy (Central Province), welcomes a sentence of 20 years in prison for Sandanam Jeevaratnem, a 48 year old man who in 2007 raped Divya, then thirteen, the daughter of his neighbors. more..

Legal advice sought on IUSF ban

June 6 (CG) The Higher Education Ministry says it has now sought legal advice on the possibility of banning the Inter University Student Union (IUSF). Higher Education Ministry Secretary Dr. Sunil Jayantha Nawaratne said that details over the unlawful activities of the IUSF will also be revealed to the public soon. Meanwhile the University Grants Commission (UGC) said that the IUSF has no right to use the word ‘university’ in its student union name. more..

Sri Lanka Debrief News - 06.06.2012

Higher education ministry benefits from foreign students

June 6 (DM) The Higher Education Ministry had earned USD 364,780 and LKR 82, 800 from 174 foreign students enrolled in various local universities for first degree programmes last year, Parliament was informed yesterday. Besides, US $ 190,942 and Rs. 1,684,035 had also been earned from such students enrolled in post graduate institutions. Chief Government Whip Dinesh Gunawardene revealed this in the House in response to a question by UNP MP Ajith P. Perera. more..

Massive Industrial Zones in the North

June 6 (GDI) The government has established five industrial zones in the Northern Province to increase the contribution to the national GDP from the Northern Province and to provide employment opportunities to the people in the North thereby uplift the standard of living of these people who were battered by the terrorist atrocities for the last three decades and who were undergoing many hardships. These industrial zones have been established in Atchchuvely, Jaffna, Kilinochchi, Mannar and Vavuniya and more..

Sri Lanka protesters greet Queen at Commonwealth lunch

June 6 (Metro) The Queen passed demonstrators protesting about alleged human rights abuses in Sri Lanka as she arrived at a lunch with Commonwealth leaders in central London. Attending the lunch alone given the Duke of Edinburgh's continued treatment for a bladder infection in hospital, the Queen hosted more than 70 guests including representatives of all 54 states in the Commonwealth and UK prime minister more..

EPF and ETF well secured: Gitanjana

June 6 (DM) The EPF and ETF are well secured as 88 per cent of these funds are invested in govt securities, Deputy Minister of Finance Gitanjana Gunawardena informed Parliament yesterday. He made this point in response to the allegations made by the UNP with regard to the investments made by the EPF on the Colombo Stock Exchange. Mr. Gunawardena said only 0.46 per cent of EPF funds are invested in non listed companies while 0.9 per cent is invested in trading. more..

From Sri Lanka’s Santiniketan, a journey in search of roots

June 6 (Hindu) When K.N. Gunawardene, a former govt engineer, S.S. Jayaratne, a doctor with the Sri Lankan Army, and 25 other alumni from Sri Palee college, Horana, board a plane from here for India next week, they will be on a pilgrimage of sorts: they will head to Visva-Bharati, Santiniketan, the model on which their college is based. “We were students of Sri Palee, which was formed based entirely on the Santiniketan model. Now we want to visit Santinikentan more..

Buttala Land Grab

June 6 (SL) Allegations have been levelled against Minister Jagath Pushpakumara and Buttala Pradeshiya Sabha member R. M. Premaratne for encroaching forest lands in Buttala in the Monaragala district. According to the Environment Conservation Trust (ECT), this 20,000 acre forest land is situated within the Buttala Divisional Secretariat and runs across Niyadella, Demodara, Upaliya, Kaludiyaella, Tenagallanda, Bopitiya, Ethimale, more..

Sri Lanka Cricket to halve its staff

June 6 (PTI) Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC), the local governing cricket body is set to reduce its staff by more than a half, Parliament was told today. Sports Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage answering a query raised by opposition MP said that the full cadre of the SLC currently stood at 251 at the end of 2011. "Permanent staff number is 25, while 226 have been employed on contract basis", Aluthgamage said. The minister said the cadre would be reduced by 60 per cent in the near future. more..

Name badge to be removed from police uniform

June 6 (SM) The police are to immediately remove the gold-coloured badge worn by its officers containing the name of each officer. The decision follows advice by national languages minister Vasudeva Nanayakkara. Since the names in the badges were only in the English language, the measure is taken to ensure language equality, said ministry sources. However, DIG in charge of administration Gamini Nawaratne said the decision had nothing to do with a language issue. more..

Non-academics in continuous strike

June 6 (LT) More than 12,000 employees of the Non-academic staff of universities have commenced a continuous strike from today as discussion held yesterday between the Inter University Trade Union Federation and the Secretary to the Ministry of Higher Education Dr. Sunil Jayanthe Navaratne ended unsuccessfully. They have decided to engage in the continuous strike as there had been no solutions for the issues of salary anomalies that have more..

Petition against dissolution of NCPC dismissed

June 6 (AD) The Civil Appellate High Court of North Central Province today dismissed the petition challenging the dissolution of the North Central Provincial Council before its term ends, and removed the restraining order preventing the Chief Minister from instructing the Governor of the Province to dissolve the provincial council. Ordering the removal of the enjoining order, when the case was taken up before a two-member Judge Bench comprising Nissanka Bandula Karunaratne and more..

SL reduces 60%troops from Tamil dominated Jaffna

June 6 (PTI) Bowing to international pressure, Sri Lanka today said it had "drastically" reduced its troops' presence the former war zones of Tamil-dominated Jaffna peninsula from 50,000 to 15,000. "The number of troops in the Jaffna Peninsula, at present has been reduced to around 15,000, a reduction of over 60 per cent troops deployed at the beginning of the humanitarian operation," military spokesman Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasuriya has said. He said at the peak of more..

US envoy for Sri Lanka to prioritize human rights

June 6 (AP) The nominee to be the next U.S. ambassador to Sri Lanka says human rights will be at the top of her agenda. Michele Sison says serious allegations of violation of international human rights law committed during the island nation's civil war have yet to be investigated and have slowed reconciliation. Sison spoke at her Senate confirmation hearing. Democrat Sen. Robert Casey said Sri Lanka has yet to implement recommendations more..