Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Sri Lankan garment sector may miss US$5bn target

November 28, 2012 (Sri Lanka) | Fiber2Fashion

The Sri Lankan apparel sector may not be able to achieve the US$ 5 billion target fixed by the Government for 2015, mainly due to waning exports and increasing costs of production, according to experts.

In the first three quarters of the current year, clothing exports from Sri Lanka plummeted 7 percent over same period last year. The main fall was witnessed in exports to the EU and the US, which dipped by 10 percent year-on-year and 6 percent year-on-year, respectively.

Sri Lankan garment sector is losing its competitive edge in world market due to high production cost, and leading buyers are now shifting to cheap sourcing destinations, experts said at the annual meeting of the Sri Lankan Apparel Exporters Association.

Moreover, the financial crunch in European countries is making buyers cost conscious, which, too, is affecting Sri Lankan apparel exports, according to industry analysts.

Both the incumbent and the outgoing chiefs of the association said the loss of EU’s Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) Plus concessions by Sri Lanka two years ago have slowly started impacting the Sri Lankan garment industry.

EU has not extended the GSP Plus concessions mainly due to the Sri Lankan Government’s failure to implement UN conventions on labour rights and right to association and formation of trade unions in free trade zones.

In this context, the association urged the Government to implement the recommendations made by the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC).

Eighth International Tipitaka Chanting Ceremony to be held in Bodhgaya from December 2

By Pranava Kumar Chaudhary, | Times of India | Nov 28, 2012, 08.21 PM IST
PATNA: The International Tipitaka Chanting Council has announced that the Eighth International Tipitaka Chanting Ceremony will be held in Bodhgaya, from December 2 -12 2012. Senior monks and their followers from ten countries will come together to chant from the Pali Tipitaka at the ancient Mahabodhi Mahavihara Temple, with a colourful opening ceremony and procession on December 2 following the opening function on the Kalachakra ground.

Organized by the Sangha of Myanmar, over 1500 monks from the countries of Bangladesh, Cambodia, Laos, Indonesia, India, Nepal, Myanmar, Thailand, Sri Lanka and Vietnam will attend the ceremony. The 'Sangharajas' of India, Cambodia and Bangladesh will also grace the gathering, along with five 'Tipitikadharas' from Myanmar. Senior monks from all other countries will also be in attendance. Every evening 'dharma' talks in English and Hindi will be offered under the Bodhi tree and there will also be a free cultural show from Myanmar offered on the evenings of December 2 and 3.

Commenting on the importance of the event, U Nyaninda, president of the International Tipitaka Chanting Council said: "It is a particular pleasure that this year the great Sangha of Myanmar will be organizing this important international gathering. Many Burmese people will also bring the unique atmosphere of Burmese culture to the Place of Enlightenment. With interest in Buddhism growing rapidly in India, this great celebration of the teachings of the Lord Buddha is of particular significance".

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Jethmalani questions Rajiv Gandhi's stand on LTTE chief Prabhakaran

Published: Monday, Nov 26, 2012, 22:29 IST
Agency: PTI
Rajya Sabha MP Ram Jetmalani today questioned the stand of the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi government's stand on slain LTTE chief V Prabhakaran in 1980s.
Jetmalani said he was yet to understand the "behaviour" of Gandhi who had invited Prabhakaran as a government guest in Delhi and the Indian Army was sent to the island nation thereafter to shoot persons fighting for the Tamil cause.
"That is the deception that took place, that after having invited him (Prabhakaran) and providing him monetary assistance, we sent the Indian army to shoot down the very persons whom we had invited as friends and promised all assistance," he said at a function here attended by MDMK leader Vaiko.
Vaiko demanded constitution of a commission of inquiry probing the role of Indian Army in providing military and logistical support to Sri Lanka and the role of Congress party on Sri Lankan issue.
Vaiko, who had held demonstrations against the recent visit of Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa to India, said he would hold much bigger and "peaceful" protest in front of the Prime Minister's residence if President Rajapaksa again visits the country.

Sri Lanka to divert oil payments owed to Iran to finance water project

On Line: 26 November 2012 16:45
In Print: Tuesday 27 November 2012

COLOMBO - Sri Lanka will sidestep U.S.-led sanctions against Iran by diverting its oil payments towards a water management project that Tehran is funding in the island, a senior official was quoted as saying on Sunday. 

Two billion rupees ($15.38 million) owed to Iran for oil will be used to finance the Uma Oya irrigation scheme, Sri Lankan water resources secretary Ivan de Silva told the local Sunday Times. 

Iran had pledged some $450 million for the water project in 2008 but implementation had been delayed due to lack of cash. 

"Because of the U.S. sanctions there is a delay in transferring funds from Iran to Sri Lanka," Silva said, adding that both governments had agreed to the deal. 

The U.S.-led sanctions aimed at spurring Tehran to abandon its civilian nuclear program have hurt Sri Lanka, which is geared to refine only Iranian light crude. 

Sri Lanka imported 92 percent of its crude oil from Iran before the sanctions began earlier this year. 

Tehran insists its nuclear program is only for civilian use and refuses to abandon its uranium enrichment activities.

(Source: AFP)