IMF concerned as Sri Lanka cuts interest rates

Sri Lanka’s Central Bank has decided to cut the reverse repurchase rate to 9 percent from 9.5 percent and the repurchase rate to 7 percent from 7.5 percent, a bigger reduction than expected by analysts. "[T]here is now a need to stimulate the domestic economy, particularly in the light of the gradual moderation in headline inflation and subdued demand pressures in the economy," the Central Bank said in its May monetary policy review. Economic growth slowed from 8.2% in 2011 to 6.4% in 2012, after a fall in demand for Sri Lankan exports, including tea and textiles, but the treasury has bizarrely forecast growth of 7.5% for this year. Sri Lanka: why the unexpected cut? - Financial Times (10 May 2013) The International Monetary Fund yesterday warned Sri Lanka against further easing of monetary policies.

Sri Lanka: why the unexpected cut?

Sri Lanka’s government says its economy will grow at a zippy 7.5 per cent this year, making it the self-styled fastest growing economy in south Asia. Yet on Friday morning the central bank suddenly and unexpectedly brought interest rates down by half a percentage point, citing fears of a slowdown. Something doesn’t add up.

Rajapaksa instructs schools to teach ‘history, religion and mother language’

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has instructed international schools across the island to include ‘history, religion and mother language’ as separate subjects in their curriculum. According to ColomboPage , the instructions were received as, “The President has remarked that having a good knowledge in country's history and the civilization will help to mould a patriotic future generation that loves the motherland”. The measures are part of the Ministry of Education increasingly regulating the island’s international schools. For more on the government view of history, see our earlier...

@TamilGuardian Twitter account suspended

Message from the Tamil Guardian team: At 17:00 GMT today, our Twitter account - @TamilGuardian - was suspended. We have reason to believe false allegations were made against us. We will of course be appealing this suspension and will update @TamilGuardian readers in due course. We are deeply concerned by this suspension, and feel it represents an extension of the repression of Tamil media that takes place within the island of Sri Lanka. In particular it echoes recent attempts to undermine the presence of other Tamil social media accounts such as @JaffnaPressClub . Follow TG writers on Twitter...

Mahinda to visit Uganda

President Mahinda Rajapaksa of Sri Lanka will visit Uganda on Saturday take part in the Commonwealth Local Government conference. The consul general for Sri Lanka in Uganda, Vellipillai Kanathan, announced that the head of state would spend for days in Uganda. “He will be a key note speaker at the conference. The next commonwealth will be hosted by Sri Lanka in two years and so he will be the next chair for it,” Kanathan said . Kanathan also mentioned that there were a number of Sri Lanka investors in Uganda. The relationship between the two nations was fortified last November, when Mahinda...

UNP: Queen sends 'strong political message'

Commenting on the Queen's decision not to attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Sri Lanka later this year, the UNP spokesperson Ravi Karunanayake said : " The queen has sent a strong political message . The message is improve your [rights] record," Speaking to AFP, Kurnanayake asserted the Queen might have attended " if we [Sri Lanka] didn't have these governance and human rights issues ". "There are lots of other governance issues too that must be addressed."

Tamil newspaper ‘stoking flames of communalism’ – senior military official

Major General Mahinda Hathurusinghe has accused the Tamil daily ‘Uthayan’ of stoking communal flames in its editorial and driving Tamils towards another war. Hathurusinghe said the editorial on the Northern Provincial Elections was an attempt by Uthayan editor and TNA MP Saravanabavan to further his own political prospect and this could be taken as “very unpatriotic”. The Major General further claimed that Saravanabavan was “jealous” of the “friendship and amity” between the military and the civilian population, adding that civilians who have realised his tactics were protesting against the...

UK faces criticism for asylum seeker removal

The United Kingdom went before the United Nations Committee Against Torture in Geneva earlier this week, as it faced criticism over its role in extraordinary rendition, torture and the removal of asylum seekers amongst other human rights issues. Amongst the topics raised were the UK’s role in renditions to Libya, torture in Iraq and the deportation of asylum seekers to Sri Lanka, where they faced torture. The United Nations panel grilled the UK delegation, with Chinese diplomat Xuexian Wang criticising Britain’s ‘non-answers’, and Italian committee member, Alessio Bruni, commenting, "There is...

Tamil political party's office attacked in Amparai

The office of the Ilankai Tamil Arasu Katchi (ITAK) in Amparai district was attacked last night. According to reports , a group of unidentified people were threw stones at the office, smashing the glass in doors and windows. The TNA parliamentarians Mavai Senathirajah, MA Sumanthiran and E. Saravanabavan (also the owner of the Uthayan newspaper) were inside the building during the attack, along with election candidates and party members. The vehicle of Mavai Senathirajah was also damaged. Glasses of doors and the windows were damaged from this attack.

Anti-terrorism act cannot be abolished says Govt.

The government of Sri Lanka told parliament on Tuesday that it cannot abolish the notorious Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) and there would be no possibility of it in the future, due to "some dark shadows of the LTTE and terrorism." Asserting that the government would not use the PTA to curtail political opposition or government critics, Sri Lanka's Prime Minister D.M. Jayaratne said : "It is the duty of the government to ensure the maintenance of law and order and if anyone violates the laws and act in breach of the regulations mentioned in the Penal Code or the Prevention of Terrorism Act...