The Web Sri Lanka In Focus

Friday, 6 June 2008

Sri Lanka Vows Secure SAARC Summit Despite Increasing Tamil Tiger Attacks

The 15th summit of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) is scheduled to be held in less than two months, in the Sri Lankan capital. The government there is reassuring member countries it can provide adequate security for the attending heads of government, despite increasing attacks by the Tamil Tigers in and around Colombo. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman, in our South Asian Bureau in New Delhi, has this report.

Leaders of eight South Asian nations are scheduled to meet in Sri Lanka at the end of next month for the annual summit of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation. High-ranking envoys from several other observer nations will also attend the region's most significant diplomatic conference.

The host government is seeking to reassure nervous delegations that adequate security will be in place. In recent months, the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam have escalated bombing, in and around the capital, targeting trains, buses and government ministers.

Media reports quote Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa as informing SAARC Secretary General Sheel Kanta Sarma that all necessary security measures will be in place to protect the one thousand delegates and several hundred media personnel.

The executive director of the Colombo-based Regional Center for Security Studies, Syed Rifaat Hussain, says the capital is as secure as any place in the region to hold the summit.

"Of course, one can never rule out the possibility of a bombing attack. And, I'm sure, that the Sri Lanka government is cognizant of that," he said. "Colombo is really as dangerous or as safe a place as any place else in South Asia."

Maldives originally had been selected as the site for the 15th SAARC summit. When the island nation's officials said they would be unable to host, Sri Lanka stepped in and announced the summit would be held in the ancient hillside capital, Kandy. However, security concerns prompted another change of venue, to Colombo.

This year's summit is considered critical, as the region faces a growing crisis of over rising fuel and food prices, which have the potential to trigger civil unrest.

Hussain, at the Regional Center for Security Studies, expects these will be major issues for the eight-day summit, which begins July 27.

"Energy and the impending food crisis will be the focus of discussion," he said. "Even though we have not seen the agenda. But, I think, this will be definitely part of the informal consultations, if not the formal deliberations."

SAARC has been criticized for achieving little, despite its high-profile annual meetings and lofty declarations. But analysts note that, in the last couple of years, the association appears to be gaining traction - especially in terms of regional counter-terrorism cooperation and creation of social programs.

SAARC is composed of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Also expected to attend this year, as official observers, are: China, the European Union, Iran, Japan and the United States.

Source: VOA

ICC announces umpires and referees for Asia Cup

The International Cricket Council Thursday appointed Mike Procter and Alan Hurst of the Emirates Elite Panel as match referee for the Asia Cup cricket in Pakistan from June 24.

"Procter will oversee the matches staged in Lahore while Alan Hurst will supervise the matches to be played in Karachi," an ICC statement said.

Simon Taufel, Brian Jerling, Ian Gould and Tony Hill have been appointed as umpires for the series.

Asia Cup - Match referees: Mike Procter (Lahore) and Alan Hurst (Karachi)

24 June -- Bangladesh vs UAE, Lahore (Simon Taufel, Ian Gould); Pakistan v Hong Kong, Karachi (Tony Hill and Brian Jerling)

25 June - Bangladesh v Sri Lanka, Lahore (Simon Taufel, Ian Gould); India v Hong Kong, Karachi (ODI) (Tony Hill and Brian Jerling)

26 June - Sri Lanka v UAE, Lahore (ODI) (Simon Taufel, Ian Gould); Pakistan v India, Karachi (ODI) (Tony Hill and Brian Jerling).

Source: newkerala

Lanka's largest IT Park to be set up in Malabe

Sri Lanka's largest Information Technology Park is to be set up at Malabe by two Indian companies, Infinite Infotec Park Company and G.S. Group.
The Sri Lanka Information Technology Institute and India's Ernst and Young Company will assist the BoI in the implementation of this project involving an Investment of US $ 80 million, the Department of Government Information said yesterday quoting BoI Chairman Dhammika Perera.
The BoI handed over the approval letters to the two Indian companies. They are due to sign the agreements with the BoI within 45 days and construction work would begin early next year, Perera said.
The new Information Technology Park is part of Enterprise Development and Investment Promotion Minister Dr. Sarath Amunugama's mission of setting up a national IT industry.
The IT Park to be set up in a 15-acre block adjoining the IT University at Malabe will have uninterrupted electricity and water facilities and a vehicle park.
It is expected to generate 20,000 direct employment opportunities and indirect employment to nearly 80,000 others.

Source: dailynews

Lanka flash flood kills 24

At least 24 people have been killed and as many as 3.62 lakh affected in Sri Lanka’s flash floods even as water started receding in some of the affected areas following respite from rains. The flood situation is vastly improving since Wednesday after a drastic decline in rainfall all over the country during the last two days, an official said.
As many as 93,000 families in nine districts were affected by the floods in the island country, according to official figures.
The government has announced Rs 15,000 each as funeral expenses for those who perished in the flash floods following heavy rains.
As many as 24 people were killed and 3.62 lakh people affected by the disaster, officials said.
Meanwhile, Sri Lankan authorities were trying to coop with the widespread damage caused by the floods.
Steps were also being taken to prevent any outbreak of diseases due to the animal carcasses lying around the huge stretch of marshy land across Sri Lanka following heavy unabated rains. A sum of Rs five crore has been allotted for immediate relief and rehabilitation measures

Source: howrah

Lankan oil exploring license given to Indian comapny

Sri Lanka has granted a license to explore oil to India’s Cairn Energy PLC in an offshore block off the country’s North West Mannar basin. The Indian Oil Company is promoted by Cairn Energy PLC, a crude oil and natural gas exploration and production firm listed in the market of London stock exchange. Cairn Energy PLC currently holds 69% interest in Cairn India.
The company said Sri Lanka granted them Block SL 2007-01-001 is offshore North West Sri Lanka and covers approximately 3,400 Km2 in water depths of 200 metres to 1800 metres.
As soon as the license was granted shares of the company gained Rs. 1.85 or 0.71%to settle at 263.95 Thompson Financial Agency reported.
The energy company announced that the petroleum resources agreement between the company and the government will be signed very soon.
Cairn India currently operates 11 offshore platforms, approximately 200 KM of sub-sea pipelines, and two processing plants.
Company sources revealed Cairn India is at present focused on exploration and production in India, where it has a working interest in 14 blocks, two of which are producing gas and oil. The company made major oil discovery (Mangala) in Rajasthan at the beginning of 2004. More than 20 discoveries have been made in Rajasthan block RJ-ON-90/1.

Source: asiantribune