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Sri Lanka has to continue corrective action, ratings confirmed at 'BB-'

May 4 (LBO) Sri Lanka has to persist with reducing its budget gap and tighten monetary policy further if needed to ward off balance payments pressure, Fitch Ratings which confirmed a sovereign rating at 'BB-' said. The outlook on the rating was 'stable'. "The ratings reflect Fitch's view that the authorities have taken the appropriate action to correct recent pressure on the balance of payments and place it on a more sustainable trajectory," more..

CEB Engineers dismiss Ranawaka’s claim

May 4 (Island) Senior CEB engineers, dismissed the claim made by Minister that Rs. 13 billion had been saved by the Board through energy efficiency measures, implemented since March. The Island yesterday reported, quoting Minister Champika Ranawaka, as telling senior engineers of the CEB that the energy efficiency programme launched by his Ministry had saved Rs. 13 billion. The engineers, however, said they had no idea how the Minister arrived at the figure. more..

Presidential Commission to curb crime proposed

May 4 (DN) As we near the end of the 2,600th Sambuddhatva Jayanthi celebrations the time has come for the govt to appoint a Presidential Commission to investigate the causes for the rise in crime in the country, Most Venerable Aggamahapanditha Kotugoda Dhammawasa Anu Nayaka Thera said. According to the Thera, the Commission should comprise representatives of political parties, the laity and clergy. more..

Tragedy within a tragedy

May 4 (DM) A suspect who had been in remand custody for over three years in connection with the drowning of a mentally unstable youth off the Bambalapitiya beach in 2009, yesterday told court that only he had been in remand while the others including a policeman involved in the incident had been released on bail. Revealing another aspect of the tragedy that resulted from the drowning of the mentally unstable Balawarnam Sivakumar at the Bambalapitiya more..

All-party delegation gives report on Sri Lankan visit to Indian PM

May 4 (PTI) A multi-party parliamentary delegation that visited Sri Lanka submitted a report today on the condition of ethnic Tamils to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who said India will stand “solidly behind” the minority community in their pursuit for a political settlement. The 13-member delegation, headed by Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj, met Dr. Singh at Parliament House for over 45 minutes during more..

Sri Lanka hikes prices of cooking gas, milk powder, cement

May 4 (LBO) Sri Lanka on Friday raised prices of cooking gas, milk powder and cement, after intense lobbying from local suppliers in the face of a weak rupee and higher energy prices. The price of a 12.5 kilo liquefied petroleum gas cylinder goes up by 350 rupees to 2,406 rupees from midnight Friday, Minister Johnston Fernando told reporters. Fernando said a bag of cement will also cost 70 rupees more from midnight Friday. more..

Sri Lankan shares weak

May 4 (LBO) Sri Lankan share prices closed the week in the red on Friday, with large trades in conglomerate John Keells Holdings and computer parts vendor, PC House, brokers said. Colombo’s 240-tracker All Share Price Index slipped 7.33 points or 0.13 percent to close at 5,382.14, while the liquid Milanka Price Index edged up 7.02 points or 0.14 percent. Friday’s turnover was a modest 453.77 million rupees, largely dominated by crossings in John Keells and PC House. more..

Editorial: Every crisis an opportunity for growth

May 4 (DM) The crisis in Dambula has left many troubled and disappointed. There is a common maxim however, that every crisis could become an opportunity for something new to evolve, and work for society’s benefit. It’s an invitation for adherents to the principles of compassion and loving kindness that were taught by our spiritual guides ranging from religious teachers to parents. We may fulfil religious observances and yet if we do not love and care for others, more..

WikiLeaks: US diplomats spied on UN leadership including UN views on Sri Lanka

May 4 (CT) In 2010 The Guardian broke the story “US diplomats spied on UN leadership” based on a leaked US diplomatic cable which explains how Washington is running a secret intelligence campaign targeted at the leadership of the United Nations, including the secretary general, Ban Ki-moon and the permanent security council representatives from China, Russia, France and the UK. US also spied on UN views on Sri Lanka more..

‘Cabraal missile’ has struck again- Ranil

May 4 (DM) UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe said today the ‘Cabraal missile’ had struck again with the increase in the prices of gas and milk powder though a parallel increase in people’s wages had not taken place. “Milk prices went up today, gas goes up today. Who knows where this missile will end up? Things are going to get more and more difficult,” Mr. Wickremesinghe said. He said people including estate workers, farmers, fishermen and labourers needed urgent relief and more..

Soldier shoots soldier & commits suicide

May 4 (CT) A soldier on duty at the check point adjacent to the Naga Vihara, the historic Buddhist Shrine at Jaffna town, had shot another soldier on duty and committed suicide by shooting himself subsequently. Military Spokesman Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasooriya said that the incident had taken place around 7 a.m. today. “There are normally three soldiers on duty at this check point, at the time of the incident one of them had gone to have his meals. The two soldiers more..

Sri Lanka export grows 7.6-pct in Feb

May 4 (LBO) Sri Lanka's exports grew 7.6 percent from a year earlier to 878 million US dollars in February 2012 with tea exports falling and apparels barely growing, while imports powered ahead. Agricultural exports fell 8.6 percent to 185.3 million US dollars with tea falling 11.6 percent to 105.1 million US dollars. Industrial exports grew 3.3 percent to 630.5 million US dollars with rubber products growing 17.5 percent to 75.2 million but more..

No reporter from ITN - Lakshman Yapa

May 4 (CT) No reporters from state-funded television station ITN were assigned to cover the UNP’s May Day rally in Jaffna, Deputy Media Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena said. He was responding to allegations made by the UNP that a plant by the ITN was waving a flag of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, at the united opposition’s rally in Jaffna. “If the person was, as reported, caught, then he should have been handed over to the police instead of being released,” more..

SF to be transferred to National Hospital

May 4 (DM) Colombo High Court Judge Sunil Rajapaksa a short while ago ordered the prison Authorities to transfer former army commander Sarath Fonseka to the Colombo General Hospital from the Nawaloka Hospital citing security reasons. This order was made following a request from the prisons authorities that they could provide enough security to the former army commander if he is transferred to the National Hospital as they are unable to provide enough security to more..

TNA scoffs at SLMC’S mediation offer

May 4 (DM) In the wake of the SLMC coming forward to mediate the currently stalled political talks, the TNA yesterday said the SLMC leadership should try to encourage the govt to restart bilateral talks with them instead of persuading them to join the proposed parliamentary select committee. Earlier, the SLMC said the party would play the role of mediator between the TNA and the govt. more..

Amal Silva resigns as Sri Lanka selector

May 4 (CI) Sri Lanka's selector Amal Silva has resigned from the four-man selection committee, saying his business commitments didn't allow him to do justice to the post. Silva's resignation comes shortly before Pakistan begin their tour of Sri Lanka on May 29. Silva, who was part of the new selection committee that took office on January 20, said he had enjoyed his stint with the national team. "I thought it is not fair for me to stay in the committee and not serve it," more..

Sri Lanka Ports likely to sell two $500 mln, 10-yr bonds this year

May 4 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's state-owned Port Authority is likely to sell two $500 million 10-year bonds this year to repay a series of yen-denominated loans and finance its investment projects, a top government official said on Friday. "Initial expectation is to get $500 million, but our target is to get $1 billion to offset our yen loans and finance a few investment projects," Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) Chairman Priyath Wickrama more..

'Transmission frequency reserved for TNL illegally allocated to another'

May 4 (NF) In separate letters addressed to Lalith Weeratunga, Chairman and Anusha Palpita Director General of the TRC of Sri Lanka, the Chairman of the Teleshan Network Shaan Wickremesinghe has alleged that the transmission frequency reserved for his network has been illegally allocated to another network. In his letter to the Chairman of the TRC, Lalith Weeratunga, Wickremesinghe notes that more..

TNA MP apologizes for raising national flag

May 4 (CG) TNA MP Mavai Senathirajah has apologized on behalf of party leader R. Sampanthan for raising the Sri Lankan flag at the May Day rally in Jaffna. Sampanthan was seen holding up the national flag with opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe during the joint May Day rally. Speaking at an event in Jaffna yesterday Senathirajah said that he received telephone calls from Tamils questioning the actions of Sampanthan, the Uthayan newspaper reported today. more..

TMVP abducts Buddhist prelate over Batticaloa land

May 4 (SM) TMVP members yesterday afternoon abducted chief incumbent of Mangalarama Vihara in Batticaloa and confined him to the Vellavali Pradeshiya Sabha chairman’s office for several hours, media reports said. Ven. Ampitiye Sumana Thera later lodged a complaint with the SP of Batticaloa, alleging that he was threatened with death and the PS chairman and his supporters even tried to assault him. The prelate said he had gone to Vellaveli area earlier in the day to inquire into more..

'Bankrupt Govt. sent agents to discredit successful UNP-TNA Jaffna rally'

May 4 (Island) The UNP said that the Govt was so bankrupt that it had sent two of its agents to display an LTTE flag and an ‘Eelam’ Map, at the UNP-TNA May Day rally in Jaffna on Tuesday. Harin Fernando MP, who had attended the Jaffna meeting, on his return, said that those who were responsible for staging the fiasco at St. Roche Ground, should be dealt with under the Prevention of Terrorism Act, since the LTTE was more..

No Crocs killed by angry villagers

May 4 (Island) Though there were reports that crocodiles were killed by villagers, there wasn’t any evidence to support it, Wildlife Department, Director Operations, H.R. Ratnayaka said. He said that during their search operation they didn’t find a single carcass of a dead crocodile. "If we had found one, we would have had a post mortem to verify whether the animal had been poisoned," he said. He said that two killer crocs had been translocated recently to the Yala National Park, from the Nilwala River. more..

Sri Lanka interest rates move up, liquidity tighter

May 4 (LBO) Sri Lanka's overnight interest rate hovered nearer to a recently hiked policy rates Friday amid tighter liquidity, supporting its exchange rate and bond yields spiked, a day earlier, dealers said. Gilt-backed repos were quoted at 9.25/50 percent, still below the 9.75 percent policy reverse repo rate of the Central Bank but higher than the below 9.0 percent rates seen in April amid excess liquidity from money printed to pay state worker salaries. more..

Graduates and undergraduates protest

May 4 (NF) The Employed Graduates’ Union carried out a demonstration opposite the Ministry of Public Administration and Home Affairs, yesterday. The demonstrators urged the authorities to grant a number of demands. The main demand of the graduates was to integrate them into the graduate field-based and office-based pay grade. Another demand was to allow graduates who have completed five years of service to sit for the Sri Lanka administrative more..

Lanka-Pak trade to cross $2 bn dollar in coming years: Envoy

May 4 (PTI) Bilateral trade between Sri Lanka and Pakistan is likely to cross the USD 2 billion dollar mark in the coming years, Pakistan’s envoy to the country, Seema Ilahi Baloch, has said. Speaking on the occasion of ‘Made in Pakistan Single country exhibition 2012’ the Pakistan High Commissioner said Commercial ties between Sri Lanka and Pakistan offer many profitable prospects. Both countries are committed to further develop commercial ties and more..

Daya Gamage has a dream for Ampara

May 4 (SM) UNP national organizer and eastern provincial council opposition leader Daya Gamage says he has a dream for his native Ampara town – of seeing it become an economic hub on par with the country’s commercial capital Colombo. Mr. Gamage, who is also chairman of Daya Group of Companies, spoke about this dream when he addressed 30 schoolchildren from Ampara who received scholarships and awards for educational excellence. The function at V.K. Samaranayake Hall of more..

Sri Lanka to establish conservation center for elephants

May 4 (Xinhua) Sri Lanka has decided to establish a National Elephant Conservation Center to streamline protection techniques and address human-elephant conflict. Deputy Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywaradana said that the decision had been taken because clashes between humans and elephants have grown, resulting in strong conservation needs. "We will establish the center in Horowapathana, more..

EU delegates conclude SL visit

May 4 (ST) The head of a visiting European Union parliament delegation to Sri Lanka said she is surprised that the report of the LLRC is still unavailable in all three languages. Ms. Jean Lambert of the MEP representing the Green Party /UK told reporters at the end of five day visit to Sri Lanka that that the report should be made available in the languages that are understood by people, especially thsoe who gave evidence before it and are eager to learn about its recommendations. more..

Sri Lanka-Brazil trade expansion mooted

May 4 (GDI) The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the Foreign Trade Chambers Federation Rio de Janeiro of Brazil. President of the Brazil’s Foreign Trade Chambers Federation Rio de Janeiro Paul Marcondes Ferraz has stated at a media briefing during the MOU signing ceremony held in the presence of Ambassador for Sri Lanka in Brazil Dr. Mahinda Balasooriya, that private investors in Brazil will more..

Sri Lanka: A9 to reconciliation

May 4 (EN) The Northern Sri Lankan city of Kilinochchi acted as the de-facto capital for the LTTE for more than a decade. In November 2008 the Sri Lankan army launched sustained attacks on the town from three directions. Battles raged along the A9, the main highway from Colombo to the Tamil areas in the north of the country, many people were killed and most of the town destroyed before the Sri Lankan army regained control in January 2009. more..

Dambulla mosque attack: A litmus test of a nation in transition from chauvinism to civility

May 5 (GV) This is in response to the comments to my previous post – Dambulla Mosque Attack: Is there a hidden hand? At the time of writing this, there were nearly 50 comments displaying a variety of stands taken by commentators. The very positive ones are the ones seeking introspection invoking to put the Buddhist house in order to commensurate with their civilised principles and precepts. This identifies the remorseful feelings of the silent majority more..

LLRC Report recommended access to Information Law

May 5 (TC) The 20th century American politician Thomas “Tip” O’Neill once famously said that “all politics is local.” That was often true of the news in the last century as well. With the advent of so many technological changes, however, the truism for information in the 21st century has become “all news is international.” Local stories quickly become international and the citizen’s right to be informed spans the globe, whether events are happening in the Americas, Africa, more..

Surrendering and disappearing: Where are they now?

May 5 (GV) In the controversial Commission of Inquiry on Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation, 53 LTTE cadres who surrendered during the final days of the war in May 2009 are alleged to have been disappeared and are reported to be under the category of ‘missing’. What happened to these 53 people? Their relatives and close kith and kin say that they were last seen and heard surrendering to the Sri Lankan Army. more..

A bash without the B’day boy

May 5 (DM) They came: They paraded: They cut the cake without the birthday boy and ate it. The far side of the Viharamaha Devi Park looked as if it had snowed the previous night. A closer look did reveal that the white spread was none other than the discarded regiform lunch boxes, thrown haphazardly by those who occupied the park premises the day before. There stood an isolated man with a broom in his hand, and started sweeping the mess left by those who celebrated more..

Going against the Buddha’s word

May 5 (DM) Last weekend, I was in Dambulla. A chance conversation at a local shop whilst having lunch revealed to us that the very mosque that had been vandalised by a violent mob was just behind us. It was barricaded and there was a lone policeman seated on the opposite side of the road watching over the alley entrance. My initial reaction on reading about the incidents that were unfolding in Dambulla were of disbelief and shock. I learnt very quickly that I was not alone in this expression. more..

‘High-tech’ ‘Kottu’ on the way

May 5 (Island) I first tasted a ‘kottu roti’ as a kid traveling to Jaffna, where my father was working at the time. We stopped at a wayside eatery in Vavuniya and ordered a ‘kottu’. I thought that I had not tasted anything so delicious. ‘Koththu Roti’ popularly known as ‘kottu,’ is essentially Sri Lankan cuisine, originating from Batticaloa. It is made from chopped ‘Godamba Roti,’ and vegetables, egg, or meat, and various spices. more..

Buddha Gaya: The site of enlightment

May 5 (Island) The ever flowing Ganges, mother of all great rivers of India, when passing through the ancient city of Varnasi (Benares) is always present in the spirit of Hindu devotees. The waters assuage their spiritual thirst, and give life to the great valley. The temple Gopurams rising high, all ornate with Indian Culture, dedicated to several Hindu deities are found all over the subcontinent, as best seen at Vittachalam, Chittambaram, Tanjore and Madurai. more..

Some thoughts for Vesak

May 5 (Island) Vesak is the most significant, sacred day for Buddhists all over the world. On this day, let us analyse the vision and knowledge of Buddhism, and follow the Great Philosophy that leads us to attain the Blissful nothing-less, signalling the end of the cycle of birth and death - the ultimate bliss of nibbana. The birth of Prince Siddhartha, at Lumbini, on 623 BC at the foothills of the snowy Himalayas in Nepal, attainment of Buddha hood at the foot of the Bodhi Tree at Gaya more..

Taking that extra step towards national reconciliation

May 5 (Island) The need in Sri Lanka today is for genuine national reconciliation. But it cannot be achieved by mouthing slogans or lecturing to the minorities that there are no minorities in Sri Lanka and that they need to be integrated with the majority. The need is to work together in equal partnership in all areas of our life, each community retaining its own identity and character. more..

India’s Agni-V and after: Arms race or stable Asia? Implications for Sri Lanka

May 5 (Island) On April 19, 2012, 38 years after its first nuclear test, India successfully launched Agni-V, the long range ballistic missile capable of carrying multiple warheads that can strike separate targets not only anywhere in Asia including China but also in most parts of Europe. The launch has been greeted by all Indians and has given India entry to the elite ICBM club of US, Russia, China, France and Britain (and possibly Israel) possessing Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile capabilities. more..