Hit-and-run suspect hid in Army camp

A man accused of killing 2 Swiss Tamil children and their cousin in a car accident in Colombo reportedly drove his vehicle into a secured military camp to hide, before eventually being arrested by the police. The suspect is accused of knocking down the victims at a pedestrian crossing in Colombo, before driving the severely battered vehicle into a military base near Cinnamon Gardens. The car was reportedly not stopped at the main gate, and only when senior police officials called the military establishment was the driver and vehicle surrendered. The victims were named as 16-year-old Janani...

UK replaces India as largest tourist source in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka’s tourism industry has grown by 7.7% in March, after growth of 10.9% in the first two months. The island saw a total of 98,155 foreign visitors, with the largest proportion from Western Europe, however the arrivals from neighbouring India slumped. Arrivals from Western Europe rose 10% in March to 44,008, with numbers from the UK rising by 8.8% to 13,088, replacing India as the largest source of tourists. South Asian arrivals fell by 6.7% to 19,261 with arrivals from India dropping by 18.1% to 11,789. Sri Lankan Airlines recently cut the number of flights to Tamil Nadu after a drop...

1983-2009 displaced to be allowed to vote in North elections

The Sri Lankan Cabinet has approved a new law that would allow those who were displaced from the North between 1st May 1983 and 18th May 2009 to vote at the upcoming Northern Provincial Council elections, reports the Daily Mirror. Voting rights will only be given to those who have not registered else where however. The Justice Minister and Sri Lankan Muslim Congress (SLMC) leader, Rauff Hakeen received the submission from Cabinet.

SL airlines halts ‘air taxi’ service

SriLankan airlines, the state-owned carrier, has announced it will halt it’s much talked up ‘air taxi’ service, after admitting it was a “loss-making operation”. Chief Marketing Officer G.T. Jeyaseelan blamed tour operators for the loss, stating, “Instead of making the air taxi an integral part of their packages, they made it an option. To operate the service, we have to sell this product in the international market.” “In the Maldives, the air taxi product is paid for by the resorts and not the passengers.” The company, which has been making increasing losses , is now looking to private...

Former PC members get tax-free cars

Former members of the provincial councils will be eligible to import vehicles, without having to pay import duty, if they served for more than 36 months, according to the Daily Mirror . "Despite the general public reeling under the rising living costs, Cabinet endorsed a proposal yesterday to allow former provincial council members, who had served for more than two and half years, but were not elected this time, to import duty free vehicles," the Sri Lankan daily reported. Sitting members are already exempt from paying the high tax on vehicle imports. The government issues the duty free...

Salley released after 'confesses' to President

Azath Salley, the leader of a new political movement Unity of Diversity and Muslim Tamil National Alliance, who was arrested by the CID under the Prevention of Terrorism Act, was released on Friday and has been transferred to a private hospital. According to several unverified reports, Salley secured his release after signing an affidavit confessing his guilt and seeking an apology from the President. The President then lifted the detention order.

Salley arrested for plotting SL Muslim armed struggle - Gota

Hours after Azath Salley was released by the President , the Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, has publicly stated that Salley was arrested for allegedly conspiring with a Tamil Nadu group to launch a joint Sri Lankan Muslim armed struggle . Whilst refusing to disclose the name of the Tamil Nadu group, Gotabhaya accused the UK based group, British Tamils Forum, of also being involved . Speaking to the sister paper of Ceylon Today, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa said : "Hakeem and other politicians are talking about the... ...detention of Salley without knowing those incriminating details ," "Many...

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...