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Sri Lanka strikes US$ 1.5bn EFF reform deal with IMF; US$ 650 million for budget

Apr 29 (EN) Sri Lanka has reached a three year deal to borrow US$ 1.5 billion from the IMF which boost tax collections and state enterprises losses, which will trim the budget deficit and stabilize the credit system. In addition to the US$ 1.5 billion going to the central bank to boost reserves under IMF's Extended Fund Facility, another US$ 650 million in program loans will come from the World Bank, and other lenders to finance the budget directly. more..

Missive not to use Joint Opposition tag not by govt: Karunathilake

Apr 29 (DM) The missive issued to the media not to use the term Joint Opposition was not an official statement of either the Govt or the Ministry, but merely a request letter issued by the Ministry Secretary based on his personal views, Minister Gayantha Karunathilake said. He said he, too, received a copy of the letter from Ministry Secretary, Nimal Bopage, but it reached him after he released it to the media. “I was in Galle when I received it and as I went through it, I realized more..

Police Comm re-opens Embilipitiya killing probe Police Procedures were flawed

Apr 29 (CT) Secretary to the National Police Commission (NPC) Ariyadasa Cooray said that Police procedures adopted in handling the allegation of the killing of 29-year-old Sumith Prasanna in Embilipitiya were flawed. Cooray added, the report on the probe into Prasanna's death was submitted to the IGP Pujith Jayasundara. "Some of the shortcomings have been detailed and the IGP has been asked to take appropriate action in connection with those lapses" he said. more..

Northern CM skipping important meeting to resurrect KKS cement plant irks many

Apr 29 (Island) The absence of NPC Chief Minister C.V. Wigneshwaran at a top level meeting in Jaffna Monday to discuss the re-opening of the Kankesanthurai cement factory has irked those who went from Colombo. Kankesanthurai Cement factory, when re-commissioned would mean generation of direct employment to at least 2,000 and indirect employment for another 5,000 to 10,000 and many from the visiting team were more..

Priyankara before PRECIFAC today

Apr 29 (DN) Former Minister Priyankara Jayaratne and several other officers have been noticed to appear before the PRECIFAC on April 29 when initial evidence is recorded regarding alleged misuse of state resources and fraud and corruption committed in the Sri Lankan Airlines and Sri Lankan catering services during the previous regime. Among others noticed to appear before the commissions are Former Sri Lankan Airlines Chairman Nishantha Wickramasinghe, Sarathchandra Fernando, more..

Bell helicopter makes rough landing

Apr 29 (DN) A Bell 206 helicopter belonging to the Sri Lanka Air Force made a rough landing during a training session in Hinguraggoda yesterday morning. This incident occurred at the Sri Lanka Air Force Base in Hingurakgoda at around 11.00 a.m. Air Force Media Spokesman Group Captain Chandima Alwis said a trainee cadet officer and an instructor pilot had been in the helicopter at the time of the incident. “No injuries were reported,” he added. more..

LTTE revival bid confirmed: TNA youth leader arrested

Apr 29 (Island) President Maithripala Sirisena, who is also the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces on Wednesday assured that he would inquire into recent arrest of LTTE cadres in the Northern and Eastern Provinces. President was responding to Velayutham Thayanidhi alias Daya Master, one-time head of the LTTE media unit. Daya Master sought an explanation regarding a spate of recent arrests from President Sirisena more..

Sri Lanka savings rate drops in 2016 after state overspending

Apr 29 (EN) Sri Lanka's domestic savings rate dropped to 22.6% of GDP in 2015 from 24% a year earlier as state overspending increased sharply. Sri Lanka's state, with a top heavy political establishment and bloated public service overspent 246 billion rupees in 2015, up from 127 billion rupees in 2015 as the current account deficit of the budget increased from 1.2% of GDP to 2.2%. Private savings at 24.8% was higher than national savings of 22.6% as the state dragged down more..

IMF statement of US$1.5bn Extended Fund Facility with Sri Lanka - full text

Apr 29 (EN) The full text of the IMF statement on reaching a staff level agreement is reproduced below. The deal has to be approved by its executive board. Following discussions held between IMF staff and the Sri Lankan authorities during the 2016 Spring Meetings in Washington, staff-level agreement was reached on a three-year program to be supported by the IMF’s Extended Fund Facility (EFF). Mr. Todd Schneider, IMF mission chief for Sri Lanka, made the following statement: more..

Young SLFP MPs ready to face any punishment after attending Kirulapone rally

Apr 29 (Island) Confirming their participation at the Kirulapone May Day rally, young MPs in the Joint Opposition said they would not give up the struggle against the UNP-led govt despite SLFP General Secretary’s threat to take disciplinary action against those who attended other rallies instead of the party’s official rally in Galle on May 1. A'pura District MP Shehan Semasinghe said that SLFP General Secretary more..

Police hunt for Japanese woman’s alleged rapist

Apr 29 (DN) Anuradhapura Police are on the look out for a man who allegedly raped a Japanese woman aged 31 at knife point after forcibly entering her boarding room yesterday. IGP Pujith Jayasundara ordered officers at the Anuradhapura Police Headquarters to arrest the accused, SSP Ruwan Gunasekera said. The woman was taken to Anuradhapura Hospital, he said. According to sources, the victim, a Japanese language teacher arrived in the country a few months ago. more..

Tea exports up Rs. 678 m in 1Q as Iraq retains import crown

Apr 29 (FT) Confirming improved prospects tea exports have got off to a positive start in the first quarter of this year after suffering lowest value in five years in 2015. Total revenue from tea exports in the first three months of 2016 increased by Rs. 678 million or 1.5% to Rs. 45.07 billion with volume growing by 1.2% to 74.45 million kilos. A drop in approximate average unit FOB value per kg of Re. 1 when compared to the same period has been recorded, noted John Keells Tea Plc more..

BOI signs 19 agreements worth Rs.319Mn in March 2016

Apr 29 (LBO) Sri Lanka’s Board of Investment signed a total of 19 new investment agreements in varied sectors in March 2016, the investment agency said. The agreements signed are valued of US$ 139 million and are expected to generate 3100 direct new employment opportunities. These projects cover a wide range of sectors as outlined below. Housing Apartment Complexes: 5 investment agreements have been signed more..

Ukraine International Airlines to fly to Colombo in November

Apr 29 (FT) In Winter 2016/2017, Ukraine International Airlines will be operating non-stop scheduled flights between Colombo and Kiev, Ukraine. Tickets are available on UIA official website, at the carrier’s Contact Centres, UIA ticket offices, and authorised travel agencies. Starting from 1 November, UIA will offer passengers to take advantage of non-stop scheduled double weekly services between Kiev (KBP – Boryspil International Airport) and Colombo (BIA). more..

'No reason to keep exporter’s money abroad'

Apr 29 (LBO) Sri Lankan exporters do not have a clear reason to keep their money abroad as the Central Bank has already removed restrictions on foreign currency withdrawals from foreign currency accounts, a senior official said. Deputy Governor of the Central Bank Nandalal Weerasinghe speaking at an event said the exporters will have a higher return bringing in money here. “Earlier the exporters had a concern over bring in money into Sri Lanka,” Weerasinghe said. more..

Video: 'Statement shows govt helpless'

Apr 29 (DM) The statement made by Media Ministry Secretary on the Joint Opposition indicated the bankrupt status of the govt and how helpless the govt had become before the Joint Opposition, MP Wimal Weerawansa said. While condemning the statement, the MP said there was no need to ask for permission from the Secretary of the Media Ministry on using a name and asked what his issue was over using the name Joint Opposition. more..

26th IMBL meeting held onboard SLNS Sagara

Apr 29 (SLN) The 26th International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) annual meeting between the representatives of Navies and Coast Guards of Sri Lanka and India was held onboard SLNS Sagara at the Indo-SL Maritime Boundary Line off Kankasanthurai on 28th April. Sri Lankan delegation comprised of Deputy Director General of SL Coast Guard Commodore Kassapa Paul and nine naval officers was headed by the Commander Northern Naval Area, Rear Admiral Piyal De Silva. more..

'Army occupying land in terms of National Security Act'

Apr 29 (DN) Although the President had stated that he would not allow the country to be divided into two and that he would not allow a federal system to be implemented, no trust can be placed on his statements, as none of the statements had come true so far, Ven. Bengamuwe Nalaka Thera said. Thera aid that they strongly objected the motion presented by the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) for merging the Northern and Eastern provinces into one federal ruling system. more..

Sri Lanka among six high leverage risk countries: Moody’s

Apr 29 (FT) Sri Lanka has been categorised among six high leverage risk countries by Moody’s along with China, Japan, Mongolia, Hong Kong and Macao as high public, private sector leverage poses credit risks across the Asia Pacific region. With regard to SL, Moody’s said SL has a very high debt burden compared to its rating peers. General govt debt stood at around 76.0% of GDP in 2015, up from 71.6% five years earlier, and well above more..

Barefoot Luxury comes to the South shore of Sri Lanka: Anantara Peace Haven Tangalle

Apr 29 (Forbes) Ever since Sri Lanka emerged from its civil war in 2009, it’s been on everyone’s hot list of next destinations. So far, most of that interest has centered on the UNESCO-designated colonial treasures and tea plantations in the north of the country. Now the sleepy south coast, with its glorious white beaches and secluded blue-green coves, is about to catch up. There are more luxury resorts, including a Shangri-La, in the works, and there’s talk of a proper airport. more..

CIMA pass rates increase in Sri Lanka

Apr 29 (DN) With an increase in pass rates, Sri Lankan students have regained their high performance trend at CIMA exams. The pass rates from the March 2016 exams reveal a marked improvement from previous results. Operational level pass rates in particular are above the global pass rate, which are Management Case Study Exam 54%, Operational Case Study Exam 65% and Strategic Case Study Exam 55%. “It’s encouraging to observe rapid change in exam pass rates more..

Drug shortage looming large?

Apr 29 (CT) National Medicinal Drugs Policy has been the pinnacle of all the medical discussions in Sri Lanka during the past few decades. Almost all govts in the past have openly expressed their willingness to incorporate such policy but failed until the present govt made it a distinct reality. As per the presidential manifesto of the common candidate, "All adverse stratagems of multi-national companies will be defeated and more..

Editorial: Need for learning from history

Apr 29 (Island) The so-called cadaver politics or using dead bodies for political purposes is nothing new in this country. In the run-up to the 1977 general election UNP effectively flogged the issue of Kataragama beauty queen Premawathie Manamperi’s tragic death at the hands of the military during the first JVP uprising under the SLFP-led United Front government six years back. In 1994, SLFP opened up a mass grave at Suriyakanda containing the skeletal remains of a group of more..

Role of franchise in a democracy

Apr 29 (Island) Franchise is the bedrock of Democracy. The right of franchise is granted to those who qualify to participate in processes that involve the two forms of Democracy, namely, Direct and Indirect Democracy. The right of Franchise is the right to vote directly on issues related to the sovereignty of the People at Referenda, or indirectly, in order to elect representatives to whom the People temporarily delegate their sovereignty. This enables the elected representatives to act on more..

New Prisons Chief outlines plans to improve prisons despite challenges

Apr 29 (FT) Commissioner General of Prisons Nishan Dhanasinghe revealed that lives of some of the Prisons officials are at risk due to threats from underworld criminals, including drug kingpins. “The underworld kingpins in jails demand certain facilities and help from Prisons officials and when the officers refuse these demands, the lives of unarmed Prisons officers are under threat as the supporters of those underworld criminals more..

Common Opposition’s aim is to destroy SLFP: Arjuna

Apr 29 (DN) The so called Common Opposition is a movement formulated with the sole intention of destroying the SLFP, Minister Arjuna Ranatunga said. He said that since former Minister Basil Rajapaksa has taken the leadership of this movement, his brother Prasanna Ranatunga should try to understand whether he should continue as a member of the Common Opposition or leave it after assessing the past record of Basil Rajapaksa. He expressed these sentiments when more..

Asia Rugby Championship: Marija accepts coaching role

Apr 29 (CT) Kandy Sports Club Captain Fazil Marija has accepted an invitation by Sri Lanka Rugby Football Union (SLRFU) to be part of the country's coaching staff for the upcoming Asia Rugby Championship which will be kicked off next month. Marija who spearheaded his side to win three titles in the previous season however, suffered an injury during one of the league matches which kept him out of action for few weeks. Although he did appear in the final of the Clifford Cup tournament, more..

Aluth Parlimantuwa

Economic crisis looms large

Apr 29 (CT) In late 2015, presenting his economic strategy in Parliament, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said the indirect and direct tax revenue ratio in the country will be adjusted to 60-40 by 2020, currently the ratio is 80-20. This was to be done by bringing at least 60 per cent of the affluent class who were not paying taxes under the tax net. However, those who had been keeping tabs on Wickremesinghe's economic outlook and his policies felt that the UNP leader was just playing lip service more..

Biggest crisis in North

Apr 29 (CT) The issue of Internally Displaced Persons in Jaffna is getting exacerbated because they have not been provided with land, either original or alternative, and they are suffering, living at welfare centres. When the war ended the previous regime built welfare centres for the IDPs in Jaffna. The current govt promised people in Jaffna that they will provide IDPs with their original lands. Currently many housing projects are in the process of being constructed in Jaffna. more..

SLFP on May Day: Torn apart by rival rallies

Apr 29 (SO) The May Day rallies and parades that political parties in this country traditionally use as a show of strength threaten to further divide an already deeply factionalised SLFP. The Joint Opposition allied to former President Mahinda Rajapaksa will hold its May Day rally at Kirulapone - it is expected that a number of SLFP MPs will attend, despite the fact that SLFPs own May Day rally will be held in Galle. more..

May Day mayhem lying in wait

Apr 29 (DN) May Day is the day where the clarion call is for workers of the world to unite. In Sri Lanka though, this is the day when political parties divide themselves into every possible faction and stage rallies at various venues in an attempt to impress the masses with a show of strength. This year, those divisions will be even more marked as the ruling SLFP will be split right down the middle and staging two rallies: the mainstream party taking to stage at the Samanala grounds in Galle and more..

No longer a black spot for press freedom; But all journalist murders still unsolved

Apr 29 (CT) Sri Lanka is no longer regarded a black spot for press freedom, but all killings and disappearances during the dark years remain unsolved. April 28 2005, the most influential Tamil journalist, Dharmeratnam Sivaram, was abducted and shot dead. His body was found in a high-security zone near the parliament building in Kotte. It had a discouraging effect on Tamils and colleagues and friends in the media. Several more journalists, and workers active in the chain of spreading more..

'Cabinet portfolios a bait to catch pro-Rajapaksa MPs'

Apr 29 (SL) Parliament has been converted into a Constitutional Assembly, and according to veteran journalist and social activist Sunanda Deshapriya, this is a positive development. He said that the country needs a comprehensive constitutional reform in order to establish a democratic system based on rights. These rights should include not only individual rights but collective rights as well. more..

From inclusive left to excluding right

Apr 29 (CT) The caption above is derived from, and relates to, a book by Daniel Oppenheimer titled Exit Right: the People Who Left the Left and Reshaped the American Century. Oppenheimer studies the character and career of six apostates, individuals who left the visionary politics of the Left and moved to the extreme right. Where did they start off from, and where did they end? Why did they change belief, values and commitment? What were the consequences? To cite one case, more..

Mismatch promps return

Apr 29 (NS) Thousands of Sri Lankans left the country and settled down in various parts of the world over the 30 years that the war lasted in the country. Many of them wouldn’t have visited Sri Lanka in decades, for obvious reasons. While many have settled in the Western countries, there are others who fled to the nearby TN to save their lives and have been living in camps for decades. One of the important aspects of post-war reconciliation programmes has been to call back refugees more..