8:37 AM

UNP has no right to launch a protest campaign against current fuel crisis

The JVP said the UNP has no right to launch a protest campaign against current fuel crisis in Sri Lanka and said the UNP was responsible the present fuel crisis .General Secretary of the JVP Tylwin Silva said the UNP had closed government owned fuel related businesses during their regime. They also introduced open economy which brings worst results for the local businesses and industries.

Speaking at a media briefing held in Colombo on Monday he said JVP would launch an agitation campaign against the current fuel crisis.Replying media he said the JVP ready to face any kind of election in any time.

"We will organize a common collation to defeat opponents .We never join with the UNP but looking a partnership with progressive patriotic allies, he said.

Meanwhile the United National Party says they have decided to launch a protest campaign against the unreasonable fuel hike by the government from tomorrow.

Last week UNPers rode a group of bullock cart to show their protest against the latest escalation in fuel prices. The bullock carts wound their way from Colombo Fort Railway Station to Pettah, Maradana and to the Lipton Circus, where a protest rally took place.

Speaking to the media UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake said they would travel to Parliament by bullock cart to protest the unprecedented fuel price hike.

Sri Lanka born EU MP provides 6000 tents to earthquake victims of China

7:35 AM

US agrees to expand trade and investment with Sri Lanka

The meeting between Sri Lanka and United States at the sixth US-Sri Lanka Trade and investment Framework Agreement Council meeting held in Washington deepened both countries’ commitment to expand bilateral trade and investment said John K. Veroneau.

The US delegation was led by Deputy US Trade Representative John K. Veroneau. Gamini Lakshman (G.L.) Peiris, Minister for Export Development and International Trade, led the Sri Lankan delegation.

“We are honored to play a role in supporting Sri Lanka’s economic development by enhancing opportunities for trade, particularly in the wake of the tsunami that devastated so much of Sri Lanka in late 2004,” Ambassador Veroneau said. “Today’s meetings served to identify areas of common interest and deepen our commitment to expanded bilateral trade and investment between our two countries.”

“Sri Lanka continues to value the importance of long-standing trade and political relations with the United States of America, which is the largest single market for its exports,” said Minister Peiris. “The TIFA process provides an ideal platform for the two countries to engage in a constructive dialogue in further enhancing these relations for their mutual benefit. Enhancing market access for its exports and promoting close cooperation for capacity building in areas such as IPR, customs, anti-dumping and countervailing duties, information technology, etc., rank very high on Sri Lanka’s agenda in this context.”

U.S. and Sri Lankan officials reviewed progress in addressing bilateral trade and investment issues identified at the last TIFA Council meeting in November 2006, including common interests on which the two countries can work together to facilitate expanded trade and cooperation. They discussed the status of the ongoing WTO/Doha negotiations, Sri Lanka’s use of the U.S. Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program, and U.S. trade capacity building assistance to Sri Lanka. In addition, the TIFA Council discussed issues affecting U.S. exports, such as Sri Lanka’s agricultural biotechnology policies, import tariffs, intellectual property rights protection, and transparency in government procurement.

On July 2, 2002, the United States and Sri Lanka signed a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) that provides a forum for both countries to examine ways to expand bilateral trade and investment. The TIFA Council facilitates an ongoing dialogue to identify and works to remove impediments to trade and investment flows between the two nations.

Total two-way trade between Sri Lanka and the United States totaled $2.3 billion in 2007, with U.S. imports of $2.2 billion and U.S. exports of $227 million. The leading U.S. exports to Sri Lanka were cereals (wheat and maize), electrical machinery, optical and medical instruments, and plastics. U.S. imports from Sri Lanka are primarily apparel, rubber, precious stones, and machinery. In 2007, U.S. imports from Sri Lanka qualifying for GSP provisions were valued at $153 million.

1:33 AM

Pulidevan under house arrest?

The Sri Lankan Defence Ministry claimed here that on the basis of “intelligence reports” on Monday that senior LTTE leader Seevaratnam Prabaharan alias Pulidevan is under “house arrest on charges of treachery” against the outfit.

To buttress its claim, the Ministry said Mr. Pulidevan was not seen at the funeral of Balraj, a senior LTTE leader who died of a heart attack recently.

There was no response from the Tigers to the claim. Usually the LTTE does not respond to the military’s claims on the ground situation and suggestions of “power struggle” within the outfit.

Mr. Pulidevan is the chief of “LTTE Peace Secretariat,” a body created after the recently abrogated 2002 Cease Fire Agreement (CFA) between the government and the Tigers, and was also a member of the LTTE negotiating team in the peace talks.

In a statement here, the Defence Ministry claimed that the “arrest” had been made as a result of a “worsening internal dispute” among key LTTE figures. “An armed gang led by LTTE’s intelligence wing leader Pottu Amman had made the arrest few days back.”

It said Pottu Amman “framed charges against Pulidevan for treachery against the outfit. The bitter power struggle fought among the LTTE leaders has led to bloody violence even in European countries where the loyalists of different leaders fight internecine battles.”