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Fitch, S&P reiterate concerns over high debt

June 18 (CT) International ratings agencies Fitch and Standard and Poor's on Tuesday reiterated concerns about the country's rising debt and weak external liquidity and institutional integrity. "Sovereign credit ratings on SL take into account the country's relatively weak external liquidity, moderately high and increasing external debt, and a high govt debt and interest burden. In addition, some of the country's political more..

Police curfew lifted as tensions ease

June 18 (CG) The police curfew which was imposed in the Aluthgama and Beruwala areas is being lifted this morning after the tense situation eased overnight. Just yesterday the army was deployed to parts of the South around Aluthgama and Beruwala as tensions in the area escalated despite the strict police curfew. According to the Media Center for National Security (MCNS) the army was deployed with effect from yesterday on a request made by the police. Earlier the police and the police STF more..

Huge consignment of fags smuggled through air mail

June 18 (Island) Acting on a tip-off, the Customs Revenue Task Force (RTF) with the help of Post Master General Rohana Abeyratne detected the largest ever haul of cigarettes smuggled into the country by air mail, at the Central Mail Exchange, Colombo. Deputy Director Customs Prarakrama Basnayake said that they had seized 3,000 cartons (one million sticks) of cigarettes worth Rs. 30 million in 61 mail parcels sent to bogus addresses and investigations were on to arrest the suspects more..

'President went to Bolivia and BBS went to Beruwala'

June 18 (FT) Deadly violence in Aluthgama spearheaded by armed mobs engulfing religious tensions figured prominently in the proceedings of Parliament yesterday, with Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe making a special statement and PM D.M. Jayaratne giving the Govt’s reassurances. Wickremesinghe warned of the possibilities of the violence spreading to other parts of the country, especially Mawanella more..

Tweet is not always sweet

June 18 (DM) 'Aluthgama’ is now semi-officially a name for many things such as inter-religious tensions, inciting violence and failure of state authorities. There were simmering tensions, that much is clear. There was an incident, that’s known too. Then entered ‘interpretation’ followed by ‘reportage’. Those who spend a lot of time on Facebook and who tweet and read tweets, if they reflect with any degree of sobriety, would conclude that if one thing was clear it is more..

What we need is a change of mindset

June 18 (DM) The article was written with the intention of understanding the local education system from a student’s perspective. According to Bloom’s taxonomy, a comprehensive education should encompass three key aspects: knowledge, skills and attitudes. A person’s knowledge is reflected in his desire to constantly seek information, and in the way he reflects on and responds to his discoveries. Simple skills such as analytical skills and teamwork should be developed to more..

Sushma mulls options to solve TN fishermen's issue

June 18 (NIE) In a stock-taking exercise, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj met officials from South Block and other ministries on the perennial dispute over fishermen with Sri Lanka on Tuesday morning, as the govt tries to find a ‘lasting solution’ to this political hot potato - especially with TN Chief Minister Jayalalitha putting pressure on the Centre to take strong action. 50-minute long discussion took place ahead of more..

Tech savvy SLFEB IT officers, CID bust Korean job racket

June 18 (ST) Kumara (not his real name), a government worker, had been long aspiring to migrate for work to make some extra money. He returned from a ‘guard job’ in Cyprus three years ago. Not wanting to go to the Middle East, he decided on Japan. A friend of his told him of a ‘trustworthy agency’ in Kollupitiya that would send him to Japan for Rs. 50,000. So, in March, Kumara walked into KLC Placement Services, and more..

Senate urges Morrison to consider visas for dead asylum seeker's family

June 18 (Guardian) A motion calling on the immigration minister, Scott Morrison, to urgently consider the visa applications of the family of a Tamil asylum seeker who self-immolated in Geelong last month has passed the Senate with support from the Australian Labor party and the Australian Greens. Leo Seemanpillai, a 29-year-old asylum seeker on a bridging visa, took his own life last month leaving many in the community where more..

BBS facing possible split: True story behind BBS leader's resignation

June 18 (AM) BBS Leader Kirama Wimalajothi Thera's 'resignation' from his position has left the organization in a quandary as the main bank account of the BBS and its head office come under Wimalajothi Thera's name. The office building has been obtained by Wimalajothi Thera through his personal contacts, when the organization was formed two years ago. Wimalajothi Thera was unanimously appointed as the Leader of more..

Will perpetrators go scot free?

June 18 (SL) Young Sewmini Upeksha (15) left the comfort of her home as usual on the 6th morning with the intention of attending school in St Mary’s, Kandana. No one knew the agony that tormented her. Not showing anyone her feelings she scurried off to school and placed her school bag on her desk. But her peace was brutally shaken by the rough hands of a teacher tugging at her ear and threatening her in a rough tone. more..

'International community will be notified'

June 18 (DM) The international community will be promptly notified of the measures adopted to ensure the safety of the residents in Southern Sri Lanka in the aftermath of the communal violence that erupted in Aluthgama and Beruwala, Deputy External Affairs Minister Neomal Perera said. He made these comments in response to a query regarding action the that being taken with regard to damage control in the wake of more..

Sri Lanka policy rates unchanged, banks urged to narrow spreads

June 18 (LBO) Central bank held policy interest rates at 6.5 and 8% but urged banks to narrow spreads by cutting lending rates, as credit growth continued to be slow. Central Bank said it was "of the firm view that the banks now have adequate space to reduce market lending rates further" to boost credit demand, as deposit rates have fallen over the past few months. "Accordingly, Monetary Board also decided to urge banks more..

FUTA blames police for Aluthgama ethnic violence

June 18 (Island) University teachers accused the police of swiftly seeking judicial orders to prevent university students from holding protest marches, but they had failed to anticipate the consequences of an extremist quasi-religious organisation holding a large public rally in the Alutgama area already simmering with religious tension last Sunday. Secretary of the FUTA Dr. Rohan Fernando said that they wondered more..

Murali joins Australian coaching team

June 18 (AAP) Sri Lankan spin king Muthiah Muralidaran has joined Australia's coaching team to help the squad prepare for its test series against Pakistan. The world's most successful test bowler will join the Australian squad ahead of the series against Pakistan in the UAE in October. The signing is a coup given Muralidaran's knowledge of the doosra delivery which has long baffled the Australians and more..

US and EU call for restraint in Sri Lanka

June 18 (CG) US and the EU called for restraint following clashes involving Muslims and Buddhists in the South. US State Department said it is concerned by the inflammatory rhetoric that has incited violence in recent days, resulting in several deaths, scores of injuries, and destruction of personal property. “We urge the SL Govt to fulfill its obligations to protect religious minorities, including protecting all citizens and places of worship, more..

Let sanity prevail

June 18 (CT) The violent flare up in Aluthgama on Sunday, which left at least three dead, scores injured and homes and business premises in flames, is another black mark for a country already grappling with multiple issues and is indicative of a serious breakdown in the law and order situation. However, unlike the murders, rapes, robberies and abductions reported in the newspapers on a daily basis, Sunday's incident, which quickly spread to the neighbouring town and nearly rendered a more..

Champika Ranawaka is conning

June 18 (CT) Readers, don’t miss a treat: Go to the following link and you will find a must-listen video of Minister Champika Ranawaka (PCR) addressing a Paris crowd of Hela Urumaya followers: Now this is not what I say but it is what PCR says to an adoring crowd who keeps applauding a string of falsehoods and baseless conjectures uttered by him. He appears as a messiah, come to deliver. He doesn’t deliver at the end but manages to provoke the motley crowd of credulous people. more..

Bad news to ponder as Sri Lanka head North

June 18 (CI) Sri Lanka will take heart from the draw at Lord's, Angelo Mathews said at the end of the match. But as the team heads to chilly, unfamiliar Headingley they have enough bad news to temper their mood. Wicketkeeper-batsman Prasanna Jayawardene's finger injury is more serious than first believed, and he will be unavailable. Meanwhile, Lakmal's hamstring tear continues to keep him out of the side, more..

Sri Lanka stocks close down 0.4%

June 18 (LBO) Stocks closed 0.42% lower with index heavy John Keells losing ground ahead of the U.S. Federal Reserve's policy statement, brokers said. All Share Price Index closed 26.80 points lower at 6,317.61, down 0.42%. The S&P SL20 closed 21.58 points lower at 3,499.49, down 0.61%. Turnover was 713.88 million rupees, down from 1.08 billion rupees a day earlier with 67 stocks closed positive against 103 negative. Kelani Tyres closed flat at 66.00 rupees with more..

Rupee ends lower on importer dlr demand

June 18 (Reuters) The Sri Lankan rupee fell for the first time in 10 sessions on Wednesday, slipping from the previous session's near-one-year high, on dollar demand from importers after the central bank held interest rates steady at multi-year lows, dealers said. Demand for the greenback from importers surpassed inward remittances, dealers said. The rupee ended at 130.26/30 per dollar, weaker from Tuesday's close at 130.22/26, its highest since June 26 last year. more..

MR invites ADB President to visit Northern Province

June 18 (DM) President Mahinda Rajapaksa today invited the President of the ADB Takehiko Nakao to visit the Northern Province to witness the development when Mr. Nakao called on President Rajapaksa at the President’s House. During the discussion President Rajapaksa briefed Mr. Nakao on Sri Lanka’s post-war development and described the development projects the govt had undertaken immediately after the war. more..

Wallapatta smuggler caught; Customs refuse to divulge his identity

June 18 (Island) The Customs Preventive Staff at BIA, acting on a tip-off, thwarted an attempt by a Sri Lankan (33) to smuggle out 20 kilos of Wallapatta worth Rs. 20 million to Sharjah, yesterday morning. The investigation was continuing until yesterday evening. Customs investigators yet again did not reveal the name of the smuggler though they were repeatedly asked for his identity. The smuggler from Grandpass had hidden the haul of wallapatta chips in a bag and he had been waiting to more..

No more National schools in CP

June 18 (Island) The number of schools in Central Province had been increased for the benefit of its children, but none of the schools in the province would be made National Schools, said Chief Minister and Education Minister of the Central Province Sarath Ekanayake at the meeting of the Central Provincial Council on Tuesday. Responding to a query, CM Sarath Ekanayake said that no decision had been taken to name any of the schools in the province as National Schools. more..

SLMC slams Govt, skips vote

June 18 (CG) The SLMC has decided to boycott parliament proceedings today during the vote on the UN led investigation on the war in Sri Lanka. SLMC leader and Minister Rauff Hakeem said that the boycott was launched as a token measure and a mark of protest over the Govt’s failure to protect the Muslims in the South. Hakeem said that it has become clear the Govt had failed to act to prevent recent violence in Aluthgama more..

5 casinos operating in Colombo: Govt

June 18 (DM) Govt informed Parliament that five Casino business centres were being operated within the Colombo City, but declined to reveal their names citing restrictions under the Inland Revenue Act. Deputy Minister Sarath Amunugama said this in response to a question. Dr. Amunugama said Rs.200 million was collected by way of taxes from these Casino centres last year. “I cannot divulge the names of these casinos because of restrictions laid down in the Inland Revenue Act,” he said. more..

Muslim refugees protest in Beruwala

June 18 (AM) A group of Muslims have staged a protest in front of a refugee camp in Beruwala after the govt asked them to return to their houses when the curfew was lifted this morning. The group who are staging the protest claim that their houses have been damaged and they have no place to return to. They also demand the govt to ensure security in the area as violence could erupt at any moment in the absence of strong security measures. Senior police officer said security has been beefed up more..

Curfew lifted as normalcy limps back to Sri Lankan towns after communal riots

June 18 (Xinhua) Police curfew was lifted in Sri Lanka's southern towns on Wednesday as President Rajapaksa made a visit more than 48 hours after communal clashes between Buddhists and Muslims killed four and injured 80, officials said. Fatalities from deadly sectarian clashes in the southern town of Aluthgama rose to four on Tuesday, after one more person perished in fresh violence unleashed on Monday night. more..

SLMC endorses Pillay’s stand on religious extremism in Sri Lanka

June 18 (Island) SLMC leader and Justice Minister Rauff Hakeem yesterday demanded that the govt take punitive action against those who had been inciting violence against the Muslim community. An irate Hakeem accused certain members of Buddhist extremist groups of causing chaos in the country. The Minister was participating in the debate on a motion submitted by nine govt MPs against a UNHRC investigation into alleged human rights violations in Sri Lanka. more..

Angry PM walks out of Parliament

June 18 (AM) An angry Prime Minister D.M. Jayarathne today walked out of Parliament when he was not given opportunity to speak in the house on the motion presented by a group of UPFA MPs against an international inquiry panel on Sri Lanka. Minister Douglas Devananda was given the chance to speak in Parliament before the Prime Minister during the debate on the motion and this resulted in the walk-out of the PM. Last week, newspapers reported that the Prime Minister was more..

Parliament votes against UN probe

June 18 (CG) Parliament today voted against the UN led investigation on Sri Lanka after two days of debate which saw both members of the Govt and opposition expressing their views. The motion submitted to Parliament by Govt members against the investigation on the war in Sri Lanka received 144 votes for and 10 against it. TNA was the only party to vote against the motion while UNP abstained and JVP was absent more..

Massive anti-dengue drive in WP

June 18 (DN) A massive dengue control campaign will be implemented in the Western Province, especially in high risk areas on June 20, 21 and 22, National Dengue Control Unit consultant community physician Dr. Nimalka Pannilahetti said. Special teams will visit all homes, private and public institutions etc on June 20, 21 and 22 to inspect mosquito breeding sites. "It is the responsibility of all to make sure that no mosquito breeding sites are located within their premises," more..

President meets violence hit people

June 18 (CG) President Rajapaksa visited violence hits areas in the south today and held talks with Muslim and Buddhist religious leaders and community members. He told the people that no one can be allowed to harm another person or his or her property. Govt politicians were among those who attended the meeting including Ministers Mervyn Silva and Rohitha Abeygunawardena. “We will conduct an impartial inquiry. We can’t let anyone harm any person or property,” President said more..

Muslims demand UN probe into Sri Lanka religious riots

June 18 (AFP) The main Muslim party in Sri Lanka's ruling coalition demanded a UN probe into one of the country's worst-ever religious riots, as President Rajapakse toured the violence-hit resort region. Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) said it was also boycotting parliament Wednesday as a protest against Colombo's failure to rein in a hardline Buddhist group widely accused of sparking the clashes. more..

Docs’ union wants hospitals run by medical administrators

June 18 (Island) All Ceylon Govt Medical Officers’ Association (ACGMOA) General Secretary Dr. Jayantha Bandara alleged that three major hospitals, Maharagama Cancer Institute, Angoda Mental Institute and Gampola Sirimavo Bandaranaike Children’s Hospital were running without qualified heads, though there were about 60 to 70 qualified medical administrators awaiting appointments. He said that Maharagama Cancer hospital Director Dr. Kaniska Karunaratne more..

DMK condemns violence against Sri Lankan Muslims

June 18 (PTI) DMK President M Karunanidhi condemned the anti-Muslim riots in Sri Lanka on Wednesday, and urged India to come forward to voice its concern for members of the minority community in the island nation. While countries like the US had expressed concern over the riots that had left three people dead and around 100 injured, the Centre and Tamil Nadu Govt were yet to raise this issue even as Muslim outfits were staging protests in the state, he said. more..

Supreme Court instructs parties to devise a settlement to 'Hijab issue'

June 18 (AM) The Supreme Court postponed the hearing of the Fundamental Rights application filed by a Muslim parent against the Principal of Janadipathi Balika Vidyalaya today, informing the parties to devise a settlement to the issue. When the matter was taken up before the Supreme Court today, the Counsel appearing for the Principal and the Provincial Education authorities told court that they intend to settle the matter. more..

GTF joins international condemnation of inter-communal violence in Sri Lanka

June 18 (Island) Global Tamil Forum has joined UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms Navi Pillay, and many others in condemning the communal violence targeting the Muslim community in the Kalutara district. GTF spokesman Suren Surendiran issued the following statement: More than 78 people have been seriously injured and at least two have been killed following violence predominantly aimed at the Muslim population in the towns of Aluthgama and Beruwala. more..

SLC baggage master PD Nimal dies in accident

June 18 (CI) SLC's baggage master PD Nimal has died after being struck down in a traffic accident, the board has announced. Nimal handled the player's kits and bags for 15 years, working for both SLC and the Sinhalese Sports Club, and was a popular figure among players and administrators. Nimal would often assist the national team during fielding drills, earning him the unofficial title of "Assistant Fielding Coach". He was the object of such sweeping affection, international players regularly more..

ADB commends Sri Lanka's growth but warns of gov't revenue lapses

June 18 (Xinhua) Asian Development Bank (ADB) described Sri Lanka's economy as "remarkable" but warned increases in govt revenue, attention to law and order as well as reform in state-owned enterprises are crucial to become an upper middle income country. On his first ever visit to Sri Lanka, ADB President Takehiko Nakao met President Rajapaksa upon the latter's return from Bolivia on Wednesday morning, more..