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Sri Lanka expects 7.8% growth in 2014 despite drought

Apr 8 (LBO) Sri Lanka is expecting 7.8% growth in 2014, despite a drought that is hurting agriculture and requiring more credit for power subsidies, which has de-stablised the economy in the past. "The drought is worrying us to some extent," Central Bank Governor Nivard Cabraal said. "In the agricultural side we have to make sure that there is no unnecessary spike in prices." "At the same time we can have an impact where more..

Sri Lanka shares close up 0.4%

Apr 8 (LBO) Sri Lanka's shares close up 0.39% higher with diversified John Keells Holdings gaining amid favorable bond market conditions. All Share Price Index closed 23.78 points higher at 6,072.16 up 0.39%. The S&P SL20 closed 5.27 points higher at 3,326.70, up 0.16%. Turnover was 645.14 million rupees, up from 537.61 million rupees a day earlier with 104 stocks close positive against 52 negative. John Keells Holdings closed 4.40 rupees higher at 238.80 rupees with an off market transaction more..

When a doc loses his cool

Apr 8 (Island) A mother had complained to Matale police that her 5-year-old son was brutally assaulted by a doctor attached to the Matale hospital after she had taken the child to the hospital to obtain treatment for fever on Sunday. Mother of the victim said "My son leaned against the wall of the doctors cubicle after another boy tapped in it and the annoyed doctor came out and dragged my son away. My son came rushing to me crying and said that the doctor kicked him on the thigh’" more..

Playing for the people

Apr 8 (CI) Among the many great stories from Sri Lanka's 1996 World Cup triumph is one that Arjuna loves to retell. In the days before the final, team received a fax from Colombo, promising sums of money for runs and wickets. Almost every man in that dressing room had a day-job then. Most had families turning out a modest middle-class living. Team sponsorships barely covered team shirts, flights and equipment. more..

Vietnamese Minister meets President

Apr 8 (PRIU) Vietnamese Minister of Public Security Prof. Gen. Tran Dai Quang called on President Rajapaksa at Temple Tress yesterday. He was on an official visit to Sri Lanka with a view to strengthening cooperation between the two countries in the law and order. Welcoming the visiting Minister, President Rajapaksa thanked the Govt of Vietnam for its consistent support to Sri Lanka at international fora, especially during the recent session of the UNHRC. more..

Drought takes its toll on tea

Apr 8 (Island) Normally April was the time of the year the tea buds would bloom and fields were ready for fertilising, but this year due to the prolonged drought neither was happening and the production in fact had dropped, Chairman of Planters Association (PA) Roshan Rajadurai said. The PA Chairman speaking to The Island said "We can’t go against nature. We can only hope that monsoonal showers would come whilst we try and mitigate the extent of the damage." more..

Muslims raise concerns over BBS

Apr 8 (CG) Muslim organizations in Sri Lanka have once against raised concerns over the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) and comments they continue to make on Muslim related issues. In a letter to President Rajapaksa, a copy which was made available to the media, the Muslim Council of Sri Lanka, the Sri Lanka Jamath-e-Islamia, the All Ceylon Jammiyyathul Ulama and 12 other Muslim organizations noted that the BBS has been more..

Invalid swearing in by newly elected UNP, DP members of WPC, SPC

Apr 8 (Island) The newly elected PC members should swear in before the governor of the respective province, Secretary of the SPC Hemantha Samarakoon said. he said that some of those members had sworn in before their party leaders and MPs but such swearing-ins were not valid. According to the provisions of the Section 4 of the Provincial Councils Act No 47 of 1987 all councillors should swear in before the governor prior to taking their seats in the council chamber. more..

Sri Lanka needs new measures to cut interest rates further - cenbank

Apr 8 (Reuters) Sri Lanka may need new measures including higher deposit rates and help for the elderly before reducing interest rates further in a lower inflation environment, the island nation's central bank head said. The $67 billion economy has already reduced its key monetary policy rates by between 125-175 basis points to multi-year lows between Dec 2012 and Jan 2014 to boost credit growth and sluggish growth. "The reduction in the interest rate has become a challenge," more..

'SLC barred us from speaking to media during T20 WC'

Apr 8 (AD) Kumar Sangakkara says that the Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) had prohibited both Mahela Jayawardena and himself from speaking to the media during the World Twenty20 tournament in Bangladesh. The star batsman, who retired from T20 internationals with Jayawardena following the World Cup, said that they were asked to refrain from speaking to media as the cricket board was irked by their decision to announce the retirement to more..

Soldiers' Bicycle tour, forerunner to the Jaffna New Year Festival

Apr 8 (MoD) Coinciding the Sinhala and Hindu New Year Festival 2014 to be held in Jaffna, Security Force - Jaffna (SF - J) organized a bicycle tour on March 30th. Nearly 700 soldiers serving in 51, 52 and 55 Divisions and Forward Maintenance Area Kankesanthurai participated in the tour. They started their journey in 32 teams from different places, Iyakkachchi, Point Pedro, Vasavilan and Thelippalai at 6. a.m. and finished at the Durayappah Stadium around 9.30. a.m. more..

Irrespective of release of Indian poachers, Lanka vows to arrest any new intruders

Apr 8 (Island) Minister Rajitha Senaratne vowed to continue arresting Indian fishermen who were poaching on Lankan waters in spite of the world’s largest democracy India going to the polls. President Rajapaksa recently ordered the release of 98 Indian fishermen detained for poaching as a "goodwill gesture" after New Delhi abstained from voting for an anti-Sri Lanka resolution at the UNHRC that approved an international inquiry into alleged war crimes in the country. more..

Video: 'We will not allow govts to be toppled by force'

Apr 8 (AD) Govts should be toppled and will be if the people reject it but we cannot allow govts to be toppled by force, President Rajapaksa stated. Speaking at the Central Bank Annual Report launch, he said that no one needs to go to universities like Harvard to learn how to topple govts, adding that he will show anyone how to topple a govt if they come to Madamulana. Opposition is waiting and watching until economy more..

TNA wants Mahinda to control army

Apr 8 (CG) The TNA has called on President Mahinda Rajapaksa to control the activities of the army in the north. TNA MP Suresh Premachandran said that mass roundups and search operations being carried out by the army in the north had spread fear among the people. “The Govt is talking about reconciliation but there is a fear psychosis spreading among the people in the north. As the Defence Chief the President must urgently address this issue,” Premachandran said. more..

Sinhalese too in banned pro-LTTE fronts - SB

Apr 8 (CT) Minister of Higher Education, S.B. Dissanayake stated that the total assets of the 15 pro-LTTE NGOs recently banned by the govt, exceeded Rs 25 billion. He also stated that Sinhala persons were also involved with those front organizations. While adding that the Rs 25 billion was comprised of monies, buildings and vehicles, he also added that the majority of the assets were in the names of the children, relatives and friends of the families running these NGOs. more..

Pakistan reiterates its continuous support to Sri Lanka

Apr 8 (DM) While appreciating the efforts of the Sri Lankan govt in defeating the menace of terrorism from Sri Lankan Soil, Pakistan reiterated its continuous and unflinching support to Sri Lanka at all forums. Visiting Pakistan's Chairman Joint Chief of Staff Committee (CJCSC) General Rashad Mahmood made this remark during a meeting with President Mahinda Rajapaksa today at Temple Trees. more..

Video: Mahela unhappy with SLC over retirement issue

Apr 8 (DM) Former Sri Lanka cricket team captain Mahela Jayawardene said he was disappointed with certain officials of the Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) who had criticised them in the media about their retirements from Twenty20 cricket before the World T20. “We, I and Sanga, feel disappointed about certain officials of the SLC who had criticised in the media about our retirements, without first consulting us whether we had actually made such an announcement,” Jayawardene said. more..

TID grills Nanthagopan after arrest

Apr 8 (CG) Terrorist Investigations Department (TID) is questioning former LTTE member Nanthagopan alias Kapilan following his arrest and subsequent deportation from Malaysia. SSP Ajith Rohana said that the investigations will look into the activities of Nanthagopan when he was in Malaysia including if he was involved in any terrorism related activities prior to his arrest. Nanthagopan had been deported to Sri Lanka some three weeks ago and he was arrested at the Katunayake airport. more..

Sri Lanka party marred by player dispute

Apr 8 (AFP) Sri Lanka's team flew home in triumph Tuesday to a huge street party after winning the world Twenty20 tournament, but celebrations were marred by controversy over the retirements of Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara. Tens of thousands of fans lined the street from the airport to Colombo, a distance of 35 km, causing traffic chaos across the capital as the heroes passed by in a motorcade. more..

A new approach to divide the country?

Apr 9 (NS) When one considers the issues that have emerged following the Geneva resolution, it is only natural that any perceptive observer should ask the question, ‘Has a new approach to divide the country been initiated following the Geneva session?’ Such a question is prompted by a number of factors that have surfaced at the moment.Theses factors should engage our attention. The most important factor that should engage our attention is the behavior of India. An analysis of India’s behavior, I believe, more..

Climate Change: SL among the most affected

Apr 9 (NS) South Asia has been warned. The launch of the Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) of Working Group (WG) II by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, (IPCC) which focused on climate impacts, vulnerability and adaptation has indicated that the region is in greater danger of sea-level rise and severe impact to countries agricultural sector. Key findings stated that the Maldives, China, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka would be among the most-affected countries in Asia. more..

'Marked decline in UNP vote base'

Apr 9 (SO) After serving almost four years as Chief Minister (CM) the people in the Gampaha district voted him to the top of the preferential votes list giving 249,678 votes to make him the CM again. He took oaths again as the CM of the WPC last Friday to assume duties at the CM office on Monday. Q: In the WPC election UPFA has been able to secure an unprecedented victory this time too. According to your opinion what more..

Time for Statistical ‘Jillmarts’

Apr 9 (SL) Geneva and the PC elections resulted in an advanced form of math being resorted to in Sri Lanka. Poor GL he was at Hambantota when the final drama at the Palais des Nations in Geneva was being played out. No one seems to know why? Even GL has not given reasons. May be counting of votes at Hambantota was more important than at Geneva. Apparently GL’s presence in Hambantota was considered more important than his monitors et al directing proceedings at Geneva. more..

Defeat for Sri Lankan govt

Apr 9 (CT) Contrary to the claims of the Sri Lankan govt they have been defeated on many fronts now. Not just in the UN in the form of the UNHRC resolution, but they also suffered a humiliating loss of support in the local provincial election. In the last provincial election in Sri Lanka, the ruling party candidates lashed out at the US and the UK. It wasn’t that the ruling party of the misnamed ‘socialist republic’ suddenly wake up to the reality of the horror of capitalism. more..

Winners, losers and also-rans

Apr 9 (NS) Speak to any leader or spokesperson of any political party that contests and election after all the results are out and it would be surprising if you can find even one person who does not come up with one or more positives. Even someone who voted for the party that got less than a dozen votes from a province which has close to two million voters is happy. He or she would say ‘I made the correct choice and more..

The evolution of the Sinhala language: An important reference

Apr 9 (CT) At this moment in our history, we are engaged once again in discussions and debates on the antiquity of the different communities in Sri Lanka and the languages that identify them, namely Sinhala and Tamil; and the nationhood in terms of exclusivity of each. While searching for information of the evolution of the Sinhala script and spoken language, a language which is claimed to be uniquely Lankan, I came across the following extensively referenced document, more..

Shocking failure to examine UN role in LTTE human shield

Apr 9 (Island) The report of UN General Secretary, Ban Ki-moon’s Panel of Experts (PoE) on Accountability in Sri Lanka called for a comprehensive review of actions by the UN system during the war in Sri Lanka as well as the aftermath. The inquiry was meant to examine the implementation of the UN’s humanitarian and protection mandates. It was the final recommendation made by the three-member PoE comprising former AG of Indonesia more..

Sri Lanka: Post-Geneva, Post-PC elections

Apr 9 (GV) Post- Geneva and post- PC elections, some clarifications are in order because the resolution, locally, came to be obscured by the fog of elections and scare stories that were put out about sanctions and the electric chair, not to mention the absurdity of arithmetic of Geneva vote propounded by no less a personage than Minister of External Affairs. Regime clearly intended to scare the electorate into voting for them. more..

Editorial: The dirtiest month

Apr 9 (Island) April is the cruelest month, Eliot says, in the opening line of The Wasteland. But, in this blessed land April, when the traditional New Year is celebrated on a grand scale by the Sinhalese and Tamils alike with borrowed money in most cases, is the dirtiest month. For, it is in the run-up to this national festival that traders who don’t scruple to cheat even their mothers dispose of their old stocks consisting of goods past shelf life at the expense of unsuspecting, hapless customers. more..

LAUGFS Supermarkets opens 35th outlet in Kolonnawa

Apr 9 (Island) LAUGFS Supermarkets (marked another milestone in its rapid expansion drive with the addition of its 35th outlet in Kolonnawa recently, strengthening the already wide spread retail network. The newest outlet gives people of Kolonnawa the opportunity to experience the convenience of a LAUGFS Supermarket along with its high quality product range and friendly customer service. Due to the visionary leadership of LAUGFS Holdings Chairman, W.K.H. Wegapitiya more..

Mixed prescriptions from Dr. Amunugama, Dr. Harsha on amendments to new taxes

Apr 9 (FT) With Sri Lanka’s economy reporting 7.4% growth in 2013, govt is looking at preparing an economic policy framework till 2030 by taking advantage of the political stability displayed in all election victories, according to Minister Dr. Sarath Amunugama. He added that riding this growth wave, govt is aiming at over 8% growth in 2014 and requests society to embrace the change and the dynamic shift toward development, which is inevitable. more..

The call for the full Implementation of the 13th Amendment

Apr 9 (Island) Paragraph 6 of the recently passed UNHRC Resolution on Sri Lanka "encourages the Govt of Sri Lanka to ensure that all PCs, including the NPC, are able to operate effectively in accordance with the 13th amendment to the Constitution of Sri Lanka". The Indian High Commissioner for Sri Lanka is reported to have stated: "Our emphasis has been to encourage the Govt of Sri Lanka to show concrete movement towards a meaningful devolution of powers". more..

Canada broadcaster ‘apologises’ after missing World T20 final ceremony

Apr 9 (LR) Canadian broadcaster of the World Twenty20 2014 apologised to cricket fans after failing to show the crucial presentation ceremony marking the final of the biggest cricketing event of the year. Cricket fans were left scratching their heads after the channel stopped broadcasting the event shortly after Sri Lanka won the final against India yesterday. The broadcast shifted to other programming, missing the all-important presentation of the coveted ICC World Twenty20 cup. more..

John bemoans failures in housing loans scheme via banks for public servants

Apr 9 (FT) UNP MP John Amaratunga yesterday exposed in Parliament various failures as well as difficulties in the housing loans scheme for public servants via banks as opposed to respective departments. Disapproving the Govt’s violation of privileges for public servants to receive a property loan granted only once throughout their careers, in order to buy a house or a piece of land Amaratunga said: “In granting this loan more..

Colombo Port gets advanced vehicle traffic management system

Apr 9 (ST) Colombo Port has received the latest Vessel Traffic Management System (VTMS) from Queens Group, pioneers in the field of Marine Electronics since 1956. This specialised VTMS is the first and only one of its kind in the country from Signalis of France an Airbus Defence & Space company; owners of Airbus Industries of France & Cassidian Oy Finland. “This state-of- the- art radar and AIS based system with digitisers will enable Sri Lanka Ports Authority to manage and monitor more..

HC allows Lankan Detenu's wife to see him at hospital

Apr 9 (PTI) Madras High Court today permitted the wife of a Sri Lankan detenu to see him in hospital. Chenduran, a Sri Lankan national, was in detention under the Foreigners Act at a refugee camp on March 4. When he staged a fast on March 7, demanding withdrawal of the detention orders, he was arrested and lodged in Vellore Central Prison. As he continued his fast, he fell unconscious and was admitted to the Vellore Govt Hospital there. His wife, Mangayarkarasi, and her daughter more..

Fiscal numbers off target: Revenue, expenditure and debt numbers deviate

Apr 9 (CT) Low revenue generation in 2013 forced the govt to cut expenditure, and the budget deficit deviated slightly from the 5.8% of GDP target to 5.9%, the Central Bank 2013 Annual Report showed, as domestic borrowings exceeded budgeted limits. Total outstanding govt debt reached Rs 6.8 trillion in 2013, up from Rs 6 trillion a year ago. Domestic debt amounted to Rs 3.8 trillion, up from Rs 3.2 trillion a year ago. more..

The Interdependence of Security and Votes

Apr 9 (Island) The issue of the vote at the UNHRC in Geneva became the main political issue during the PC elections. Govt’s decision to conduct those elections in the same week as the UNHRC resolution was being voted upon was likely to have been prompted by political considerations. It reflected the govt’s continuing belief in the domestic electoral process, and obtaining a renewed mandate, as providing it with the legitimacy to rule regardless of other considerations. more..

Central Bank reports Rs 24B loss

Apr 9 (CT) The Central Bank of Sri Lanka released its Annual Report for the year ended 31 December 2013 yesterday, which discloses a loss of Rs 24, 264 million, as against a gain of Rs 66,208 million in the previous period. In carrying out the audit of the Central Bank's accounts, the Auditor General required the services of a firm of Chartered Accountants in public practice, mainly to examine the compliance with International Financial Reporting Standards. more..

G.L. declines to speculate on speculation

Apr 9 (Island) Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris has said that India’s abstention at the vote on US-led resolution at the recently concluded UNHRC session in Geneva had strengthened avenues for dialogue. "If you go on supporting resolutions against Sri Lanka then a dialogue becomes more difficult because of the coercive nature of the means that are required… it [India’s abstention] is certainly helpful and we appreciate it," more..