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Sri Lanka’s external vulnerability still high, but improving: Moody’s

July 30 (DM) Sri Lanka’s short-term debt obligations against its official reserves - a measure of the country’s external sector vulnerability - still remains elevated but the United States-based rating agency said it was on a declining trend. Accordingly, Sri Lanka’s debt maturing within 12 months is over and above the country’s official reserves, at 118.6% in 2014, Moody’s External Vulnerability Indicator (EVI) showed. The EVI measures the adequacy of a country’s official reserves to cover its more..

MoD responds to US embassy allegations pertaining to accountability issues

July 30 (Island) The Ministry of Defence alleges that perceptions of the Colombo based US Embassy officials about reconciliation in Sri Lanka seem to be fashioned primarily on the interests of pro-LTTE diaspora and likeminded elements within the country. The US mission, it says, largely ignors ground realities as well as the tremendous progress in Sri Lanka since the conclusion of the conflict in May 2009. more..

Bogus police spokesman

July 30 (Island) The Mirihana police recently took into custody a suspect who had given them a call pretending to be Police spokesman SSP Ajith Rohana, ordering them to release a motorcycle taken into custody in the early hours of Monday. The rider of that motorcycle and another on the pillion had obeyed a police order to stop but run away, abandoning their vehicle. Later the police had received two calls from a person claiming to be Police spokesman Ajith Rohana. more..

Four year old boy kidnapped

July 30 (DM) Police are investigating the kidnapping of a four year old boy named Damindu Yasen Ekanayake and an attack on his parents in Katugampalagama village in the Meegalewa Division. The Meegalewa Police said that four persons wearing masks had forcibly entered the victims’ house on Mondy. Four persons had come on two motor cycles. They had caused knife injuries to the neck of the chief occupant Mahinda Kumara, a rice miller, and cut the leg of his wife more..

Norway not so keen on Sri Lanka: TNA

July 30 (DM) Norway, which facilitated the peace process between the then Govt and the LTTE is now giving less emphasis to the peace building process in Sri Lanka, a TNA politician said. During his European visit, TNA Northern Provincial Councillor Dharmalingam Sitharthan is reported to have met Norwegian Foreign Affairs Ministry Officials in Oslo and Swiss Govt officials. Mr. Sitharathan said he had talks with more..

SL leases 1200 acres in Trinco to China

July 30 (AM) ‘Green Left Weekly’ reported that SL govt has signed an agreement to give China 1200 acres of land in the Trincomalee area on a long term lease for “defence-related development”. Land which has been allegedly given to the Chinese Republic is an area populated with over 450 families and with places of religious observances. All these will lose their lands and places of worship. Most of the residents in the designated area said to be Tamil speaking Muslims. more..

New legislation to prevent LG bodies milking tourist industry dry

July 30 (Island) Local Government and Provincial Councils Ministry will introduce new legislation to restrict the percentage of licence duty that could be charged by local authorities from hotels, restaurants and lodging houses registered under Sri Lanka Tourist Development Authority (SLTDA). The cabinet approval has been granted to instruct the Legal Draftsman to draft amending legislation for the relevant provisions of the Municipal Councils Ordinance, Urban Councils Ordinance more..

Sri Lanka cautioned on foreign borrowings by IMF, inflation watch urged

July 30 (LBO) IMF has cautioned Sri Lanka on foreign borrowings by the state and banks and urged authorities to watch inflation closely and be prepared to raise rates. "Recent improvements in trade and current account balances notwithstanding, SL remains vulnerable to external shocks," IMF's executive board said following report by a mission which engaged in annual Article IV consultations with the country. more..

Questions over security for BASL Chief

July 30 (DM) The question involving the security of Sri Lanka Bar Association President Upul Jayasuriya continues with the authorities dragging their feet in providing him with security while travelling. In a latest development the IGP has informed Mr. Jayasuriya that the latter’s request for such a security detail had been forwarded to the Secretary to the Ministry of Law and Order. The authorities must be commended for not denying the threat to Mr. Jayasuriya’s life and for not saying that more..

Through the eyes of the damned...

July 30 (DM) The culvert has gone into neglect for a long time. The govt civil engineer had promised the villagers that repairs would be effected soon but that ‘soon’ does not seem to have any definite timeframe. The dilapidated condition has rendered the culvert worthless; its primary function of circumventing the gushing of water from the tertiary canal and inundating the gravel path that leads up to the homesteads of the settlement seems to have been abandoned. more..

When people lose sight of the law

July 30 (DM) It has been reported that a politician of the ruling party recently assaulted a Grama Niladhari in the Rideegama area in Kurunegala. Our sister paper, Sunday Lankadeepa had a discussion with the Kurunegala District MP Nimal Wijesinghe (alias Nilvala Wijesinghe) who is accused of assaulting the Grama Niladhari. Q: What is this incident about? A: high tension transmission line of 33,000 volts of electricity more..

HRC might intervene on behalf of interdicted cop

July 30 (Island) Sri Lanka Human Rights Commissioner Dr. Prathiba Mahanamahewa said that they would screen the fundamental rights violation case filed by Constable Sumith Kumarawansa on Monday against his sudden interdiction and take action to grant him justice considering it an urgent matter. Sumith had filed the Fundamental Rights Violation case against ASP, Rohan Dias and OIC of Borella, more..

Polonnaruwa farmers accuse irrigation officials

July 30 (SL) Farmers in the Polonnaruwa district accuse the Irrigation Department for releasing enough water for cultivation only to the areas in the district that represents Govt Ministers. Farmer Organisations in Maduru Oya, Elahera, Kawudulla, Minneriya and Girithale said how unfair it is for the Irrigation Department to release water to areas that has govt representation but paying no attention to the other areas. more..

Police obtain CCTV footage of persons following BASL Chief

July 30 (Island) The police have obtained the CCTV footage of two unknown persons wearing full-face helmets on a motorcycle following President of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) Upul Jayasuriya’s car recently. The BASL chief alleged that he had been followed while he was returning from Hulfstdorp. Police said that investigators had been able to secure CCTV footage from cameras installed by the police more..

Red alert as corruption, addiction feed tidal wave of heroin

July 30 (ST) Heroin smuggling into Sri Lanka is reaching unprecedented proportions as agencies tasked to combat the menace are struggling to combat it, an investigation by ST has revealed. It was only this week that 93.76kg of heroin with a market value of more than Rs. 700 million was seized in an Orugodawatta container yard. Drugs were hidden inside three plastic moulding machines that had come in from Karachi. more..

US envoy to Lanka keen on UN role

July 30 (CG) The US Ambassador to Sri Lanka and nominee for Deputy Representative of the United States to the United Nations, with the rank of Ambassador, and Deputy Representative of the United States in the Security Council of the UN Michele J. Sison, says if confirmed to her new post she will look at advancing America’s interests at the UN. Making a statement before the US Senate Foreign Relations more..

Ravana Balaya fears US conspiracy

July 30 (CG) The Ravana Balaya today met the Secretary of the Buddhasasana and Religious Affairs Ministry M.K.B. Dissanayaka and handed over a petition alleging a US conspiracy in Sri Lanka. Monks attached to the Ravana Balaya said that the US Embassy is involved in promoting extremist groups in Sri Lanka. The monks, who had on an earlier occasion opposed the new religious police unit setup at the Ministry, said that more..

Tamil film portraying Prabha’s son as a hero creates controversy

July 30 (AM) A Tamil film Pulipaarvai, believed to portray slain LTTE leader V Prabhakaran’s son Balachandran as a hero handling weapons with ease has met with stiff resistance from supporters of the Tigers. The film’s trailer shows Balachandran in LTTE uniform with a pistol in hand, receiving combat training. Pro-Tamil outfits say it could be an attempt to depict the child as a heroic fighter, amidst the heat of war and more..

17 year old boy siphons off millions from Sampath Bank

July 30 (AM) A 17 year old boy from Pollonnaruwa who siphoned off millions of rupees from Sampath Bank in a fraudulent manner was released on bail by the Colombo Fort Magistrate. He was produced before court after Smapath Bank lodged a complaint that the boy had taken mney from ATM machine in a wrongful manner. He had opened an account with Sampath Bank in January 2014 and had deposited more..

Sangakkara alleges cricket official harassing him

July 30 (Island) Star batsman Kumar Sangakkara has opened out saying that a ‘powerful’ cricket official has been victimising him. The former captain had several run ins with this ‘powerful’ official during his tenure as national captain and after that, and yesterday alleged that the individual had a personal agenda against him. Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) issuing a media release yesterday said that the Board had freed Lasith Malinga more..

From shipping hub to drugs hub

July 30 (CT) If Colombo Port is the transshipment hub in South Asia, the city is also fast obtaining the dubious reputation of becoming the region's narcotics hub! Last week this newspaper reported about the authorities busting a Rs 700 million heroin racket at Orugodawatte, where the drugs were stashed in moulding machines. That haul comprised 100 kilos, one of the largest drug hauls in Sri Lanka to date. In the previous month, this newspaper, in its 12 June issue, reported of the police seizing more..

Gotabaya and I were right

July 30 (CT) I was privileged, a couple of weeks back, to attend the release of the Northern Education Sector Review Report at a ceremony held at Vembadi Girls School. I had last been at Vembadi in 2008, when the then Commander of the Special Forces in Jaffna, General Chandrasiri, arranged what was termed a Future Minds Exhibition. It was at the height of the war, but the General had already begun to plan for the future, and sensibly so for he stressed the need for the development of more..

Daily Mirror Cartoon

Sri Lanka shares close up 0.3%

July 30 (LBO) Sri Lanka's shares closed 0.26% higher on Wednesday with Ceylon Tobacco Company gaining amid net foreign buying. All Share Price Index closed 17.57 points higher at 6,801.84, up 0.26%. The S&P SL20 closed 6.75 points higher at 3,768.18, up 0.18%. Turnover was 973.71 million rupees, up from 493.10 million rupees last Monday with 87 stocks closed positive against 98 negative. Amana Bank closed flat at 5.70 rupees with two off-market transactions of 160.71 million rupees more..

Kataragama PS opposition leader joins UPFA

July 30 (Island) Opposition Leader of the Kataragama Pradeshiya Sabha Ashoka Wickramasinghe has resigned from the UNP to contest the forthcoming Uva PC election on the UPFA ticket. Wickremesinghe, who was an active member of the UNP for the last 25 years, received the SLFP membership from President Rajapaksa at Temple Trees yesterday. Wickremesinghe said that he had no confidence in the UNP leadership or the Leadership Council and his former party more..

Video: Minister reserves right to exercise 'any and every option' on asylum seekers

July 30 (ABC) Immigration Minister Scott Morrison says the Govt reserves the right to use 'any and every option' they deem in the national interest in the area of asylum seeker policy, while discussing the case of 157 Sri Lankan asylum seekers kept on a boat for nearly a month. PRESENTER: I'm joined by the Immigration Minister, Scott Morrison. You've said variously that these people are economic migrants. more..

No rains over North, East, North Central till October

July 30 (Island) Meteorology Department said that no rains could be expected in Northern, Eastern, North Central and some parts of Southern Provinces till the end of October. Duty Meteorologist Pabodani Karunapala said that the department had not yet witnessed El Nino situation in Sri Lanka. If the country experienced El Nino conditions the current situation would become worse. The drought like condition in Northern and Eastern Provinces was normal from April to October every year, more..

‘Still no official invitation from Indian govt for TNA visit’

July 30 (AM) The TNA today said that they have still not received an invitation from the govt to conduct their expected visit. Despite the speculations that the TNA is expected visit to India in the coming days, TNA MP Mavai Senathirajah said that they have not yet received the invitation from the Indian Govt. A delegation of five led by R Sampanthan is expected to visit India during the first part of August. The delegation will include TNA Leader R Sampanthan, TNA Spokesperson Suresh Premachandran, more..

Attack on policeman: The Department fails to deliver truth as promised

July 30 (AM) Police have so far failed reveal the truth behind the attack on the then police constable Suminda Saman and arson attack on his car while reporting to work on the May 30, though the Department promised to reveal it by July 25. Earlier, SSP Ajith Rohana said that the investigation conducted by the CCD had been concluded, but they were waiting for a few medical reports to make their findings public. more..

SLT holds prestigious Transformers’ Awards

July 30 (GDI) “As a nation we all must be proud of the economic benefits we are enjoying through the robust ICT services in the country,” commented Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya, speaking at Sri Lanka Telecom's Transformers' Award Ceremony held at Cinnamon Grand Colombo recently. He was the Chief Guest of the event. Janath Fernando, Private Secretary to Minister Telecommunications & IT and Kalinga Indatissa, Director / SLT also graced the event with their presence. more..

36-hour water cut in Colombo & suburbs

July 30 (DM) A 36-hour water cut will be imposed in several areas in Colombo for two days (August 2 -3) due to construction work that is being carried out at the Battaramulla-Polduwa Bridge, the National Water Supple and Drainage Board said. The NSWDB said the construction work is being done to facilitate the connection of the new Ambatale- Dehiwela pipeline to the Battaramulla- Polduwa main line. Water supply will be suspended from 9 am on Saturday until 9 pm on Sunday more..

'Debt crisis worsens in the country'

July 30 (AD) The country currently confronts a worsening economic crisis and the debt accumulation exceeds the annual household income, Minister Champika Ranawaka said. He pointed out that the impact will escalate in near future, if the govt fails to come across a practical plan to defray heavy foreign debts. “Despite the efforts of the govt to demonstrate that the country marches towards the success, foreign debts more..

'Tamils issue an internal matter of Sri Lanka'

July 30 (PTI) Seshadri Chari, National Convener of BJP's Foreign Policy Cell, today denied a report quoting him as saying that India has told Sri Lanka that the Tamils issue should be resolved for making progress on bilateral trade and commerce. Referring to a PTI report from Singapore last week in this regard, he said he never spoke these words in a seminar there. Chari said in Colombo, which he had visited from July 20 to 22, he had expressed his opinion that the Tamils issue was an internal more..

Construction work on 28 bridges completed under French Aid

July 30 (GDI) Construction work of 28 bridges under Reconstruction Programme of 46 bridges implemented under French aid has been completed said Pillipe Matiere, Chairman, Unibridge Agency. This was stated by him when he met Minister Basil Rajapaksa recently. The progress of Bridges construction Programme implemented in Sri Lanka by the French Govt and future construction programmes, were discussed between the Minister and the Chairman of Unibridge Agency. more..

Sri Lanka launches dollar mutual fund to draw foreign investors

July 30 (LBO) Ceylon Asset Management (CAM) has launched a dollar denominated mutual fund that will invest in sovereign debt and securities issued by rated banks and firms in Sri Lanka. CAM Managing Director Dulindra Fernando said the fund expects to draw foreign investors with a target return of over 4% a year. Fernando said the dollar asset fund will be a first step for Sri Lanka based firms to manage foreign funds, more..

Sea, sun, scandal

July 30 (CI) July 13: Moving house is listed among the five most stressful things that can happen in one's lifetime. As someone who travels fairly frequently, I did not believe that until I did it. Two weeks before I was due to head out to Sri Lanka, I left Johannesburg's icy sunshine for Cape Town's wet, windy winter. Being a summer person, I was relieved when it came time to leave for Sri Lanka. Taking off from Cape Town International was a different feeling from more..

Lanka exports clinch hat trick win in first half

July 30 (GDI) Sri Lanka’s exports sector has clinched a triple win for 2014 1st half (January-June) –a first time event. “Latest reports are good news for our $20B goal therefore we should commend our committed exporters for this achievement” said Rishad Bathiudeen, Minister of Industry and Commerce of Sri Lanka on Monday in Colombo. Minister Bathiudeen was responding to Bandula Egodage, Chairman/CEO-EDB who briefed him of the latest provisional export revenues. more..

Video: Bandula to complain to CID

July 30 (DM) Minister Bandula Gunawardene said today he would complain to the CID over a false allegation made by a Ruhunu University Professor that he had provided an answer to a question in the A/L Economics Administration Paper held in 2012. When asked at a news conference whether he had sent such a fax message to the Examinations Department giving the answer to a question in A/L Economics more..

Ranil demands an end to Presidency

July 30 (CG) The UNP says it is firmly against the Executive Presidency and wants it abolished. UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe said that continuing with the Executive Presidency is a threat to the country. “Not just us but even other political parties agree the Executive Presidency must be abolished,” he said. Wickremesinghe said that the main goal of the UNP is not only to remove the current President and his Govt but to also address several key issues. 17th Amendment must be implemented more..

Tense situation arises at Colombo National Hospital

July 30 (NF) A tense situation has arisen between two groups of doctors at the Colombo National Hospital. Police has been deployed to the area. A group of health workers are currently engaging in a countrywide strike action citing several demands including salary anomalies and the non-payment of salary deficits. The Co-convenor of the strike, Deepika Wijeysooriya stated that employees attached to 27 health professions are taking part in this strike action. more..