Govt grapples with defaulting foreign investors

In an effort to deal with the increasing number of foreign investors who are defaulting on loans from state banks, the Sri Lankan government has pledged an investigation - an international one. According to Lokuge, ten garment manufacturing factories have had to close in Biyagama, Nittambuwa and Katunayake investment zones resulting in over Rs. 5 billion in losses to state banks. The Sri Lankan Labour minister Gamini Lokuge will meet with Mahinda Rajapaksa next week to discuss what action needs to be taken.

Military makes up for 'lack of teachers' in Kilinochchi

The Sri Lankan Army has denied allegations that soldiers teach wearing military uniform in Kilinochchi schools, reports the Daily Mirror. Military spokesperson, Ruwan Wanigasuriya said that the troops who had been called in to make up for the 'lack of teachers' in the area were given appropriate training and also contracted to work in civilian clothing and not military uniforms. He also claimed that the current situation was 'temporary' and soldiers had undertaken the work in 'good faith'.

Mutilated body of young woman found in Karainagar

The mutilated body of a 27 year old woman was found in a disused well in Karainagar on Thursday reports Uthayan. The body is believed to be that of Kajenthini Rasathurai, a young woman from Sandilipai with mental health concerns. According to Uthayan , Kajenthini Rasathurai was picked up by Vaddukottai police from Karainagar temple on 7th December, after locals expressed concerns the day before. The vulnerable young woman, who was seen to be with police officers till 1am, was later reported missing.

Media ministry demands registration from websites

The Sri Lankan media ministry has sent letters to websites, asking them to register and pay the fee by January 15, reported ColomboPage. New regulations, brought in by the government last year, stipulate that websites on the island need to register and pay registration fees of Rs 25,000 and an annual fee of Rs 10,000.

It's all about China

Basil Rajapakse, Minister of Economic Development, recently told media that a number of promotional campaigns targetting Chinese tourists will be implemented this year. The ministry expects to increase the number of arrivals from China to 60,000 - up from over 22,000 in 2012 - in 2013, and so has launched several campaigns to raise 'awareness' about Sri Lanka's many tourist 'attractions'. Planned campaigns include special holiday packages during Chinese New Year, bus advertising campaigns and a three day 'Sri Lanka Night'.

'Voluntary' key to refugee return says UN refugee chief

In an interview with The Hindu, Antonio Guterres, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, highlighted the need to re-establish the confidence of Tamils so that they may return, whilst making a point of stressing that this return must be voluntary. See full interview here. Extracts reproduced below: "The number of people going back to Sri Lanka has decreased substantially in the recent past. We need to look into what are the obstacles and how the two governments of India and Sri Lanka, working together can improve the conditions and create opportunities for the voluntary repatriation of the people. Voluntary is the key word here."

SL seeks new $1bn IMF loan

The Sri Lankan government is to seek out a further loan from the International Monetary Fund after the failure of foreign investment to materialise. See LBO's report . Interestingly, Sri Lankan Treasury Chief Punchi Banda Jayasundera said: ''We are asking the IMF to extend budget support ... That money cannot go the central bank.'' IMF loans are usually extended to central banks when countries run into balance of payments problems - meaning they can't meet their external obligations, such as paying in dollars for imports. See here . Sri Lanka is however seeking the IMF loan for government...

Australians protest against cricket tour as campaign grows

More than 50 Australians gathered outside the Sydney Cricket Ground to protest against Australia hosting the Sri Lankan cricket team in their tour of the country, as more supporters signed on to the boycott Sri Lanka cricket campaign.

Rs. 95 billion loss and ‘a high quality service’

Sri Lanka’s state owned Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) posted losses of Rs. 95 billion, according to Managing Director Susantha De Silva, while a government minister insisted that a high quality service was being provided, ruling out privatisation of the company. According to De Silva, the losses were due to the subsidising of fuel and delay in payment by state services, despite several hikes in fuel prices in the last year alone. Debtors included the Ceylon Electricity Board (due to which De Silva claimed to incur losses of Rs. 4.2 billion per month), the national carrier Sri Lankan...

Lions in sheep’s clothing

Two villages in the Vadamaraadchi region of the Jaffna peninsula saw Christmas events organised by the Sri Lankan Army.