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Fitch publishes Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation at IFS 'BB-', Outlook Stable

May 15 (Reuters) Fitch Ratings Lanka has published Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation Limited's (SLIC) Insurer Financial Strength rating (IFS) at 'BB-' with a Stable Outlook. The agency has also affirmed the National Insurer Financial Strength Rating and National Long-Term rating at 'AA(lka)' with a Stable Outlook. The ratings reflect SLIC's strong franchise and capitalisation, supported by sustained profitability and high capital retention. Regulatory solvency at more..

Tamil pressure group to lobby against PCs

May 15 (DN) Tamils for Sri Lanka, a group of Sri Lankan Tamils has begun a process to mobilize Tamil intellectuals in the country and overseas to demand that the govt devise a mechanism to ensure equality and more tangible reconciliation among all communities in the country rather than fostering the Provincial Council system which has proven highly ineffective in the last two and half decades. This organization consisting civil society representatives and representatives from more..

EU told Lanka probing C4 video

May 15 (CG) The govt informed the European Parliament today that irrespective of Sri Lanka’s categorical rejection of the Channel-4 footage in the “Killing Fields” documentary and its authenticity, Sri Lanka nevertheless, is in the process of investigating the allegations. The Head of Mission of Sri Lanka to the EU, Ambassador P.M. Amza also reiterated Sri Lanka’s request to Channel-4 to provide original materials available with more..

Canada, Bahamas raise CHOGM in Lanka

May 15 (CG) Canada and the Bahamas have had discussions on the CHOGM to be held in Sri Lanka. The Bahamas Foreign Ministry said that Bahamas Foreign Affairs Minister Fred Mitchell discussed the Sri Lanka summit with visiting Canadian Minister of State of Foreign Affairs Diane Ablonczy at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs over the weekend. “We are fellow Commonwealth countries and have been working in a spirit of friendly cooperation since The Bahamas attained its independence almost more..

NTC cancels route permit after assault on monk

May 15 (Island) The National Transport Commission has cancelled the route permit of a bus plying between Colombo and Embilipitiya. It has also cancelled the identity cards of the driver and conductor of that bus for assaulting a Buddhist monk. The cancellation of the route permit and the identity cards was based on a directive given by Minister C. B. Ratnayake to the National Transport Commissioner Roshan Gunawardena, an NTC spokesman said more..

The Board of Investment of Sri Lanka introduces a long term investment plan

May 15 (SLBC) The Board of Investment of Sri Lanka introduces a long term investment plan with a new vision. Accordingly, a special information room has been set up in the board. In addition, multi- purpose center and a control department will also be established. Minister Laxman Yapa Abeywardena said that these measures will be implemented within coming few months with the assistance of more..

Massive demo today to protech victory achieved

May 15 (GDI) The Sri Lanka's Joint Trade Union Alliance has organized a massive demonstration from Lake House Roundabout to Pettah today beginning 3 p.m to protest against attempts made by local and international forces to sabotage the accelerated development process launched in the country after the liberaton of the motherland from terrorism. The JTUA called upon the working class including state and private sector employees to protect the victory achieved by the people as more..

Swiss probe reveals Lankan links

May 15 (CG) Investigations carried out by Switzerland last year into money laundering and terror funding had revealed that money had also come from Sri Lanka to fund terrorism. They were among more than 1,500 suspected money-laundering cases that Swiss authorities disrupted last year, including 15 linked to terrorist financing, officials said. One of the terrorist-financing cases in 2012 involved 7.45 million francs ($7.8 million) and accounted for nearly all of the money that more..

SC moved against power tariff hike

May 15 (Island) The Legal Officer of the Lawyers for Human Rights and Development (LHRD) Rathna Dayangani has, in a petition to the Supreme Court, complained that the recent electricity tariff increases, introduced by the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka, were arbitrary and imposed an unbearable financial burden on the people. The petition has said the tariff increase rates for the super rich living in more..

Cyclone destroys IDP settlements in North

May 15 (CT) The cyclone that impacted on various coastal areas in the island had devastated several make-shift houses put up by the IDPs in the Tellipalai area in the Jaffna Peninsula. It has also completely damaged a Catholic church at the fishing hamlet, Gurunagar in Jaffna. According to the Jaffna Government Agent, Suntharam Arumainayagam, 42 internally displaced families who had been affected by the extreme weather conditions, are now temporarily housed in a temple in Tellipalai. more..

Kulasekara sets up win for Sri Lanka

May 15 (CI) Rest of Sri Lanka rode on an all-round performance from Nuwan Kulasekara to secure a second comprehensive victory in the List-A tri-series in Pallekele, defeating Sri Lanka A by 58 runs in a low-scoring match. Both sides ran into trouble early on, against the fast bowlers on a seaming track. However, after having top-scored for Rest SL with 61, Kulasekara combined with Chanaka Welegedara to demolish Sri Lanka A's top order within the first four overs of their innings, reducing them to more..

Future Sri Lankan chief seeks to balance modernity and tradition

May 15 (GPI) As the future chief of the Vedda people, Gunabandiya Uruwarige, 43, will face the challenge of preserving the indigenous community’s traditions while embracing inevitable modernization. Uruwarige has received training since childhood to be the future leader, he says. He did not attend primary school with his younger siblings. Rather, he had to follow the Veddas’ traditions of learning through nature. more..

Minister of Indigenous Medicine visits Charite Medical University

May 15 (GDI) Initiated by the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Germany, a delegation from Sri Lanka headed by Salinda Dissanayake, Minister of Indigenous Medicine, arrived in Germany and held expert level discussions with the high authorities of the Complementary and Alternative Medicine Research Department (CAM) of the Charite Medical University. Professor Andreas Michalsen, Dr. Christian Kessler and Mr. Elmar Stapelfeldt M.A. represented the University on 30th April 2013. more..

'Ministry of Education will abide by Court decision'

May 15 (CT) Minister Bandula Gunawardena, said the ministry is ready to accept the decision given by the Courts in relation to the complaint made by the Ceylon Teachers' Union (CTU) to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), with regard to admitting students to national schools for the GCE A/L exam. The minister said it is the duty of the Ministry of Education to ensure all students in the country, irrespective of who they are or where they come from, the opportunity to more..

Polls chief launches project to attract more voters

May 15 (Island) In the wake of growing voter apathy, the Election Secretariat has launched a special project to attract more Lankans to exercise their franchise. Polls Chief Mahinda Deshapriya said that in support of the unprecedented project, the Election Secretariat had declared June 1 as Voters’ Day. He said that a substantial number of those living in shanties in the city and its suburbs as well as the affluent more..

Editorial: Motor races and tourism - What’s the cost?

May 15 (DM) A roaring controversy appears to be going on over the plans to hold night motor races in the sacred city of Kandy next month. Authoritative sources say the Mahanayake Theras of the Malwatte and Asgiriya Chapters have sent a petition to President Mahinda Rajapaksa urging the proposed night races be put off. Nimal Premawamsa who heads the Foundation to Protect the Heritage of Kandy said the proposed night races would tarnish the image of this historic sacred city, more..

Difference between being Privileged and Ordinary

May 15 (DM) There was a famous joke about USSR in the days of Joseph Stalin. A Muscovite is woken up in the middle of the night by ominous knocks on his apartment door. He opens the door to find grim-looking NKVD men (Stalin’s secret police) standing outside. “Nikolai Nikolayevich, you are under arrest!” one of them barks. Heaving huge sighs of relief, the Muscovite happily points at the adjacent apartment, and says: “Nikolai Nikolayevich, comrades, lives over there!” When I first heard this story more..

Sri Lanka needs to add 600MW to power grid by 2016 to avoid a power crisis

May 15 (CT) There is more than a likelihood of the power and energy sector experiencing a major crisis, unless 600 MW of power is added to the National Grid by 2016, Secretary to the Ministry of Power and Energy, M.C.C. Ferdinando, warned yesterday. He added the recently increased electricity bill has 'been in the pipeline' for two years, before finally manifesting due to 'absolute necessities.' He said, "The commissioning more..

Killed but not forgotten

May 15 (SL) The Matale mass grave issue was back in the limelight last week with families of several persons who had gone missing in the Matale area during the 1988-1989 period requesting courts to carry out investigations to determine whether remains of their loved ones are among the skeletal remains unearthed from the mass grave. The Matale magistrate and additional district judge Chaturika de Silva last week more..

'Remove police and land powers before holding northern elections'

May 15 (ST) As his party prepared for a countrywide campaign next week, NFF leader and Minister Wimal Weerawansa said he has appealed to President Rajapaksa to repeal land and police powers for Provincial Councils enshrined in the 13th Amendment to the Constitution. He said that his party’s campaign would continue till these changes are effected. “We are willing to quit the UPFA if anyone there feels we are doing more..

JVP wants govt to expedite investigations on Matale mass grave

May 15 (LB) The JVP has called on the government to expedite the probe on the Matale mass grave where skeletal remains of over 150 people were found. JVP MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake said that it was the govt's duty to carry out a successful probe on the mass grave. He noted that 154 skeletal remains have been unearthed from the mass grave and experts have determined the time period of the grave to be between more..

Eight districts prone to landslides

May 15 (Island) The National Building Research Organisation (NBRO) and Disaster Management Centre (DMC) issued landslide warnings for eight districts in view of pelting rains experienced in many parts of the country. The warnings went out to the Kurunegala, Kegalle, Nuwara Eliya, Badulla, Matale, Ratnapura, Galle and Kalutara districts. If the prevailing bad weather condition continued for another 24 hours, more..

AI writes to UNHRC on Lanka

May 15 (CG) Amnesty International has written to the UNHRC ahead of its 23rd session beginning on May 27, calling for a credible and independent international investigation into allegations of crimes under international law committed by Sri Lankan govt forces and allied armed groups as well as the LTTE. The human rights group says investigation should be conducted in accordance with international standards and, where more..

Zero maternal mortality in Mullaitivu, Kilinochchi districts

May 15 (Island) The Maternal mortality rates reported from two districts of the North, during the last two years, were nil. Maternal mortality rates reported from the districts of Mulaithivu and Kilinochchi had been zero owing to free maternal health care services provided in those areas. It had been revealed, during a review meeting held at the National Blood Centre in Narahenpita, on the development of the free health service, more..

SL hype runs out as economy struggles

May 15 (AFP) After crushing Tamil rebels four years ago Sri Lanka expected to become South Asia’s tiger economy, but exuberance has given way to mediocre growth and fears of more trouble ahead. The country was almost broke when troops defeated separatist Tamil Tigers in May 2009, but Colombo predicted that ending 37 years of bloodshed alone would jump-start the economy and make SL the ‘Singapore of South Asia’. more..

UNP to support CHOGM conditionally

May 15 (LB) The UNP has saif that it has decided to conditionally support the govt to hold the CHOGM, if the govt organizes the summit in such a way to bring honor to the country. General Secretary of UNP and MP Tissa Attanayake said the party took this decision not to oppose the govt at its working committee meeting held Monday. However, the MP said the party has learned that the govt is spending unnecessary money to bring more..

President says Sri Lanka politically stable

May 15 (CG) The twin pillars of durable peace and political stability have opened doors for Sri Lanka to move forward on accelerated economic and social development, President Rajapaksa said. He said this while delivering the keynote address at the Commonwealth Local Govt Conference 2013 in Kampala, Uganda, under the theme “Developmental Local Govt: Putting Local Govt at the Heart of Development.” more..

The plight of the ordinary Sri Lankans

May 15 (CT) Sunday 19 May will mark the fourth anniversary of the defeat of a near 30-year scourge, but it appears the plight of the ordinary Sri Lankan has only gotten worse. The many promises of a rich peace dividend have turned to ashes, leaving behind the aftertaste of bitter disillusionment, frustration and disappointment. The growing conviction the govt doesn't care for the ordinary Sri Lankan, whose vote propelled the UPFA into power and who wholeheartedly backed its decision more..

Sri Lanka stocks close up 0.2%

May 15 (LBO) Sri Lanka’s stock closed up 0.23% on Wednesday, ending a two days of losses, with sentiment helped by falling Treasuries yields amid strong foreign buying into motor stocks, brokers said. The benchmark Colombo All Share Index closed 14.53 points higher at 6,221.12 up 0.23% and the S&P SL 20 Index closed 02.16 points lower at 3,498.34 down 0.20%. Turnover was 1.6 billion rupees. Turnover was 1.6 billion rupees up from 636 million rupees a day earlier. more..

Northern PC is not a solution for national question – JVP

May 15 (LT) Provincial councils are not a solution for the national question. It is merely an extension of power. It is another power center to oppress masses. Provincial councils as well as the existing structure are not a solution says JVP MP Anura Dissanayake. He said this speaking at a media conference held at JVP head office today. Member of eh JVP Central Committee Lakshman Nipunarachchi too was present. more..

'Loans will be given for solar power generation'

May 15 (Island) The CEB had been left with no alternative but to increase tariffs as banks were refusing to approve loans due to the heavy losses suffered by that state enterprise, Secretary to the Ministry of Power and Energy M.M.C. Ferdinando said. Several power projects were in the pipeline to help the CEB to reduce the power tariffs, he said. Two 600 MW coal power plants were in the process of being approved. They would generate cheap power and power purchase agreements were more..

Thailand Prime Minister to visit Sri Lanka

May 15 (GDI) Thailand Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra will make an official visit to Sri Lanka on the 31st of this month. During her visit, the PM Shinawatra is scheduled to hold bilateral discussions with President Rajapaksa. Four MoU would be signed by the two govts during her visit. During her visit she will also attend a luncheon meeting at the Hilton Hotel in Colombo with SL-Thailand business leaders. She is scheduled to address the Sri Lanka Parliament on the same day. more..

Cases filed against land acquisition

May 15 (CG) Around 1474 persons owning land in Jaffna filed a writ application today in the Court of Appeal challenging the attempts to illegally and unlawfully acquire their private land, the TNA media office said. A further 2000 petitioners are to file on the same issue in the near future. The petition challenges the Section 2 notices issued under the Land Acquisition Act which specifies that 6381 acres and 38.97 perches are to be more..

Sri Lanka in aquaculture drive with Vietnam

May 15 (LBO) Sri Lanka is embarking on an aquaculture drive with technical support from Vietnam starting with culturing sea cucumber, seaweed and lobster fattening and also help devise a master plan, officials said. A team from Vietnam's Research Institute for Aquaculture Number 3 began working with Sri Lanka's National Aquaculture Development Authority (NAQDA) this week. Vietnam will also help Sri Lanka prepare a masterplan for aquaculture with NAQDA. more..

Tamil houses attacked over love

May 15 (CG) At least 16 houses including 15 belonging to Tamils had been attacked in Tangalle last night over an illicit love affair between a Tamil woman and a Sinhalese man. The police said that 8 people were arrested over the incident and further investigations are underway. A complaint was received last night saying that some houses in Tangalle were under attack. It was later found that 15 houses belonging to Tamils and one house belonging to a Sinhalese had been attacked. more..

Rajapaksa ally seeks abolition of Lanka provincial councils

May 15 (PTI) A key nationalist ally of President Mahinda Rajapaksa is planning legislative action for the abolition of the country's provincial councils while opposing local elections in the Tamil-dominated north. Udaya Gammanpila the deputy secretary of JHU said his party's policy making central committee last night decided to move a parliamentary act within the next two weeks to abolish the thirteenth amendment (13A) more..

Reasons for separating military from civilian affairs

May 15 (CT) The acquisition of about 7000 acres of land in the Jaffna peninsula has become a major issue that impacts upon the post-war reconciliation process. The LLRC recommended the release back to their owners of private lands taken over for military purposes during the war. This was also the position taken by President Mahinda Rajapaksa when he made promises to the international community that the displaced people would be returned to their homes. more..

Men with poles seen at demonstration

May 15 (CG) Men with poles were seen standing in Fort as the demonstration launched by the opposition drew close to the area this evening. However the men dispersed and the protest against the govt eventually ended peacefully. The govt and their supporters also staged a demonstration at Fort in support of President Rajapaksa while the opposition began its protest walk from Borella. Hundreds of people took part in both demonstrations resulting in a massive traffic congestion more..

CSA confirms Sri Lanka tour itinerary

May 15 (CI) Cricket South Africa (CSA) has confirmed the itinerary for Russell Domingo's first assignment as head coach. South Africa will play five ODIs and three Twenty20s in Sri Lanka between July 20 and August 6. The tour was initially supposed to include three Tests but SLC asked for those to be postponed to accommodate the Sri Lankan Premier League. That means Domingo will not have to worry about the defence of the more..

Sri Lanka looks for more investments from Malaysia

May 15 (GDI) Sri Lanka, which is on a fast track development process with US dollar 70 bn GDP after 30 years of civil war, is inviting Malaysian companies to invest on large scale infrastructure projects that are on pipe line for disbursement by the government and the private sector. Malaysia, the No. 1 foreign investor in Sri Lanka, with a cumulative investment of about US$1.4 billion, is seen as the frontrunner to secure projects in the island state with 20 million populations. more..