Thursday, January 17, 2013

Sri Lanka Confident of Monetary Policy Easing Bias, Cabraal Says

By Anusha Ondaatjie & Rishaad Salamat - Jan 17, 2013 11:12 AM GMT+0530
Sri Lanka’s central bank is confident the time has come to ease rather than tighten monetary policy, Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal said today in a Bloomberg Television interview after holding key interest rates following a surprise cut in December, the first since 2011.
On monetary policy:
“We think that the rates as it is are appropriate. We do see inflation moderating, even though there is some possibility that there could be some kind of a slight hike in the next two months.
‘‘But we know that the demand-driven pressures are very clearly addressed, so therefore we are quite confident that the time has now come to ease monetary policy than to tighten monetary policy.
‘‘So in the next few months we will be watching the progress carefully to see how the external account is behaving, which has been doing reasonably well these last six months. That would give us the opportunity of taking a decision on whether we need to loosen monetary policy further during the course of the first half.’’
On inflation versus growth:
‘‘We believe the inflation-containment goal has been on track and the time has now come for us to look into the possibility of giving a little more support to the growth function, as well.
‘‘And that is what is prompting us to keep monetary policy in a kind of a slow-motion reduction, so that we would be encouraging growth to take place, which we see is being driven by many supportive factors.
‘‘So the next few months we believe that since inflation is pretty much under control and we would be able to see inflation in the mid-single digit numbers by the end of this year, the greater focus would have to be for growth, greater focus would be to maintain stability and to ensure that the industries that Sri Lanka has been promoting, are given the necessary investor support to take it forward.’’
On the rupee:
‘‘We did see the rupee taking a steep depreciation in the first half of last year. But over the last six months, we have also seen the rupee pulling back and there has been appreciation of around 6 percent, which tells us that whatever happens in the next few months, it should be a slower process than what we have experienced.
‘‘So we are encouraging the rupee to stay stable and although the outlook seems to be that there would be mild pressure for the rupee to appreciate, we would like to see that being handled or moving in a fairly reasonable and slow pace rather than to have any volatile movement.
‘‘We are satisfied where it is because it gives a very good handle for importers, exporters, lenders as well as borrowers and we would like to see any movement to be slow rather than being volatile as we have experienced sometime in the first half of last year.’’

‘Sri Lanka not averse to constitutional changes’

The Sri Lankan government on Thursday said it was not averse to changing the constitution.
“We have noted the building of public opinion on the need to change”, Keheliya Rambukwella, the Minister of Information told reporters.
“This whole process (of impeachment) has generated several views. Many seek to strengthen Parliament as well as the judiciary,” Mr. Rambukwella added.
Mr. Rambukwella said President Mahinda Rajapaksa had received legal views which may lead to constitutional changes.
Mr. Rajapaksa, addressing lawyers immediately after the sacking of Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake, admitted that there were inherent flaws in some of the constitutional provisions.
The country’s first woman chief justice was removed after an ex parte trial which she claimed was biased and unfair.
Parliament voted for her sacking despite the Supreme Court’s definition that the process was unconstitutional.
Also, the Appeal Court had quashed the findings against Ms. Bandaranayake.

Bring resolution against Saudi Arabia in the 22nd Human Right Council Session against beheading in the name of religious laws

Mon, 2013-01-14 13:45 — editor
By K.T.Rajasingham
Colombo, 14 January, (
Asian Tribune urges Sri Lanka to join with international community to urge Sri Lanka to bring about international pressure on Saudi Arabia to bring about a resolution against Saudi Arabia in the 22nd regular session of the Human Right Council session (25 February-22 March 2013) condemning Saudi Arabia for beheading in the name of religious law and defending judicial killings.
Asian Tribune urges Sri Lanka to initiate a resolution against Saudi Arabia in the 22nd regular session of the Human Right Council session (25 February-22 March 2013) condemning Saudi Arabia for beheading in the name of Sharia law and defending judicial killings.
It is time Sri Lanka joins with Indonesia and Philippines in drafting a resolution assisted by international community to bring about strictures against Saudi Arabia for its condemnable and beastly acts of beheading human beings in the name of a Wahabist invented religious law.
Earlier, the intensity of the criticism by Asian Tribune and of the international community and media organizations has forced the Saudi Arabian Government led by its Wahabist King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud to defend the beastly and barbaric killing of Sri Lankan housemaid Rizana Nafeek citing excerpts of the case proceedings while there is already call to release the courts proceedings for perusal.
Already Muslim Council Sri Lanka which represents 102 premier Muslim organizations in the country had demanded Saudi authorities to release the copy of the judicial proceedings for Sri Lankan experts to study and advise all those seeking employment in Saudi Arabia to be well advised on how to avoid similar situations in the future.
Muslim Council of Sri Lanka is the first organization to demand for the record of the courts proceedings to Sri Lanka to study. (The full text of their press release is given at the end of this news report.)
Asian Tribune believes that Saudi Arabia has a duty in faith and if they want to be transparent and if they want to be fair by the family of the legally executed Rizana Nafeek that when you convict an innocent girl and if you have a proceeding and bury her after execution without giving her body and if you feel that you are convinced that what you have done is justifiable according to the international norms and good practices, then you don’t need to be afraid to release the proceedings of the courts to authorities in Sri Lanka, because it is a demand from the Council of Muslims which is the more accredited body where there are more than one hundred organisations of the Muslims are amalgamated in it. This is their single joint request.
Asian Tribune is of the opinion that Countries which allow their nationals to Saudi Arabia should have an urgent meeting and immediately to demand, but you can’t demand of a sanction on the Wahabists regime, then that will be counterproductive as they want care because they are only worried about USA only and nobody else. Sanction move will be nothing for them.
What they can do as a first step that these countries must get together and tell the Saudis that look unless you have an internationally accepted standard we cannot send our housemaids or any females to your country. Give them about six month’s time from that date.
During this period we must get the international community to give them the draft rules and laws make it work. Because they will not do that as they might be thinking that would be violating their independence and all that.
So then thereafter lay the ground for all those countries which decided jointly to stop sending their females to that country. That will be a punishment on Saudi Arabia.
Because in case if Sri Lanka alone stop sending housemaids to Saudi Arabia then there are other countries ready to double their quotas of sending housemaid - like Bangladesh, like Pakistan may be India - I don’t know whether India sends their women as Housemaids, so others will gain at Sri Lanka’s expense.
Saudia is a dictatorship of the King and they are not accountable to anybody except to the President of United States. They are definitely accountable for US but not to anybody else. They don’t care a damn.
Though Sri Lanka Government is getting other forms of assistance, getting aids for their projects from Saudi Arabia, so they are thinking of those matters perhaps. But it is more important the country must think of the welfare of its citizens who are exposed to extreme punishments without the concentration of mitigating the confidence.
Therefore it is important that Sri Lanka organize to bring about international pressure on Saudi Arabi by joining with Indonesia and Philippines at least to bring about a resolution against Saudi Arabia in the forthcoming 22nd regular session of the Human Right Council session (25 February-22 March 2013) condemning Saudi Arabia for adopting in the name of religious law beheading and defending judicial killings.
Given below the full text of the press release by the Sri Lanka Muslim Council urging for the Courts Proceedings:
PRESS RELEASE: 09.01.2013
We learn with great sadness the decision of executing Rizana Nafeek, rejecting all appeals for clemency. Rizana was born and brought up in a family that was struggling in poverty in the Eastern Province of Sri Lanka.
It was only the desperate desire to take her family out of poverty that made Rizana, then a minor, to go to Saudi Arabia as a maid. At the time she entered into employment she was an under-aged girl completely unfit to be entrusted with the task of looking after a four month old baby.
We find it shocking that any parent would have entrusted his child to the care of another child. The unfortunate incidents that led to the death of the infant child are, in our view, a direct result of the negligence of the parents who entrusted their infant to the care of Rizana, while she was employed in cooking and cleaning for the parents.In these circumstances we express shock and dismay at the failure on the part of the infant’s parents to take responsibility for their action and pardon Rizana - an option that was available to them under Islamic law and which option of pardoning is strongly encouraged in the Quran. Whilst the Holy Quran provides for the implementation of the death penalty for murder, treating murderas an the circumstances of the infant’s death clearly do not amount to murder under well known principles of Islamic Shariah. In any event it is the Shariah that provides for pardoning even the guilty at the instance of the victim’s kin and states that forgiveness is better than punishment.
The Holy Quran furthermore, urges in Verse 15:85 to overlook (any human faults) with gracious forgiveness. Thus we see the implementation of the death penalty as going against the spirit and the letter of Islamic law. In fact the execution also brings to light another instance of the selective implementation of Saudi laws,for it is curious how an unmarried young female unaccompanied by a male, was permitted to enter, live and work in a country that insists on females entering Saudi Arabia to be accompanied by a male within the prohibited degree of marriage.
We express our deep disappointment and disbelief that the parents of the infant whose death Rizana was held responsible for, did not avail the Quranic provisions of mercy and forgiving overlooking the negligence if any of this poor and youthful worker and also the Saudi Arabian Government for maintaining a regime with regard to migrant labor that does not meet any standards set out in Islamic Shariah law and international laws. The Muslim Council of Sri Lanka representing 102 premier Muslim organisations in the country wish to appeal to the Saudi authorities to release a copy of the judicial proceedings for Sri Lankan experts to study and advise all those seeking employment in Saudi Arabia to be well advised on how to avoid similar situations in the future.In this moment of extreme grief our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Rizana Nafeek and we pray that Almighty Allahgive them solace and grant Rizana Jennathul
Signed on behalf of Muslim Council of Sri Lanka -
S.A. Asker Khan - President
Firdouse. N.M. Ameen - Secretary
- Asian Tribune -

In reaction to CJ removal, is U.S. re-thinking future aid to Sri Lanka?

Fri, 2013-01-18 04:36 — admin
Daya Gamage - US National Correspondent Asian Tribune
Washington, D.C. 17 January (
Apart from the comments by U.S. State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland on the third consecutive day Wednesday, 16 January responding to Sri Lanka's removal of her chief justice, the State Department official web portal on its lead page gave an unusual highlight to Sri Lanka which it never gave before: 'US Aid to Sri Lanka'.
The State Department web site, in its lead news item, gave the link to what Ms. Nuland said on that day to the foreign and domestic media at the daily media briefing in Washington.
When asked if the removal of the chief justice would affect United States assistance to Sri Lanka the spokesperson Nuland said "We did look into the assistance situation".
This was highlighted as the main news story in the official web portal making attack on the Syrian university, situation in Male and other issues closer to American public diplomacy secondary.
The Wednesday media briefing at the State Department discussed vital issues such as Indo-Pakistan internal squabbles, internal situation in Pakistan, situation in Egypt, Israel-Palestinian issue etc., but the State Department official web site posted 'US aid to Sri Lanka issue' as its main story.
The question is: Is the United States giving a message to Sri Lanka? Or a 'trial balloon' ?
Spokesperson Victoria Nuland, also holding the position of assistant under secretary of public affairs and public diplomacy, declared at the Washington media briefing when asked if the department "received any response from the Sri Lankan Government explaining why did it take such a measure", said "We are obviously in contact with them. I would not say that the explanations are satisfactory in terms of protecting democracy".
Three straight days the State Department has been raising issues connected to rule of law, independence of the judiciary, governance, democratic norms in response to the impeachment and the removal of Sri Lanka's chief justice.
At the news briefing Ms. Nuland erroneously said 'billions' instead of 'millions' attached to the aid figure.
Ms. Nuland handles overseas public affairs, public diplomacy and strategic communication for the Secretary of State and the Obama administration.
Here is the complete text of Wednesday, 16 January media briefing on the issue of the removal of the chief justice, aid to Sri Lanka and 'unsatisfactory explanation' according to the spokesperson.
Question: The chief justice issue, do you have anything to add to it? The new chief justice has taken over. And following from yesterday’s question, would it have any impact on the U.S. aid to Sri Lanka?
M.S.Nuland: We talked about the successor yesterday. We did look into the assistance situation. Just for your records, U.S. Government assistance for FY2012 for Sri Lanka was $27 million. This included 13.3 million in bilateral assistance programs which primarily related to peace and security, human rights, economic growth, and democracy programs. We have a 2013 request for 16.5 billion for Sri Lanka in the same – million, million, what did I say?
Question: Billion.
M.S.Nuland: Million. In bilateral assistance for Sri Lanka. Frankly, Lalit, I will say that it is too soon to say what impact the actions will have on our foreign assistance for Sri Lanka going forward.
Question: And have you received any response from the Sri Lankan Government explaining why did it take such a measure?
M.S.Nuland: We are obviously in contact with them. I would not say that the explanations are satisfactory in terms of protecting democracy.
Question: Just so we’re clear, when you say the actions, you mean specifically the impeachment of the chief justice?
M.S.Nuland: Correct, correct.
Question: Thank you.
- Asian Tribune -