The Web Sri Lanka In Focus

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Sri Lankan military says planes bomb rebel base

Sri Lankan fighter planes bombed a Tamil Tiger base Tuesday and the rebels ambushed an army patrol killing two soldiers in the country's war-ravaged north, the military said.

The attacks came a day after ground battles along the front lines of the civil war killed 19 rebels and two soldiers, according to the military.

The air force jets twice hit a logistics facility in the rebel-controlled Kilinochchi district Tuesday, the defense ministry said in a statement. The pilots confirmed the attacks were successful, but did not give casualty or damage details, the military said.

Hours later guerrillas ambushed soldiers on foot patrol, killing two of them in Vavuniya district bordering the rebel-held region in the north, the statement said.

In ground fighting Monday, troops killed 11 rebels in Vavuniya while in Jaffna a confrontation killed one soldier and wounded six others, the military said Tuesday.

Separate battles in Welioya killed seven guerrillas and one soldier, while in Mannar one rebel was killed, the military said.

Rebel spokesman Rasiah Ilanthirayan could not be reached for comment.

It was not possible to independently verify the military reports because journalists are banned from the northern jungles where much of the fighting takes place. Each side commonly exaggerates its enemy's casualties while underreporting their own.

The rebels have been fighting since 1983 to create an independent state for ethnic minority Tamils, who have been marginalized by successive governments controlled by ethnic Sinhalese. More than 70,000 people have been killed in the conflict.

Source: AP

England name Sri Lanka as Zimbabwe replacement

England will host Sri Lanka for two Tests and three ODIs in April and May next year. Sri Lanka's tour slots in the fixture gap caused by England's decision to suspend bilateral ties with Zimbabwe and the cancellation of their 2009 visit.

David Collier, the ECB chief executive, was pleased with Sri Lankan's willingness to step in and ensure England will have a competitive series ahead of the Ashes later in the summer.

"The strong and close relationship which we built up during our recent winter tours to Sri Lanka allowed the ECB, at short notice, to be able to approach Sri Lanka and confirm their availability for the international matches in the early part of next summer," he said.

The ECB cancelled Zimbabwe's tour last month, minutes after Gordon Brown, the prime minister, told the House of Commons that he wanted the tour scrapped. The ban on a team from Zimbabwe entering the country also put in doubt England's hosting of next year's World Twenty20 next year, but as of now the issue has been resolved with Zimbabwe pulling out of the event.

Sri Lanka play three three-day games ahead of the Tests series, followed by a warm-up one-dayer before the ODI series.

Source: cricinfo

Turkish PKK running guns to tigers

Chief of Turkish General Staff Gen. Yasar Buyukanit said on Tuesday that terrorism was the biggest threat for global peace and security in the age of globalization.

Gen. Yasar Buyukanit

"For instance, the terrorist organization PKK/Kongra-Gel is responsible for the 80 percent of heroin smuggled into Europe, extortion in several European countries, or even running guns to terrorist organization Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka. These are all meaningful in terms of showing the activities of terrorist organizations in international level,"

Source: turkishpress

S.Lankan shares slide to 1-year closing low

Sri Lankan shares fell 1.19 percent to a one-year low on Tuesday as concerns about the impact of high interest rates and inflation on corporate earnings added to worries about the long-running civil war.

The Colombo All-Share index .CSE closed 28.67 points weaker at 2,372.50, a 10th consecutive fall that took it to its lowest close since July 19, 2007. The market has fallen 11.8 percent from an 11-month high on April 23.

"Investor sentiment is very weak, mainly on earning fears," said Geeth Balasuriya, assistant research manager at HNB Stockbrokers.

"High inflation and high interest rates are pressurising profit margins of the companies due to high costs, while some companies are discouraged to go for new investments due to high borrowing cost."

Later this month, companies are due to start releasing their results for the quarter ended on June 30.

Sentiment on the corporate sector has been hit by poor economic data. Annual consumer price inflation rose to a 5-year high of 28.2 percent in June, while annual economic growth in the March quarter slowed to 6.2 percent from 7.6 percent in the previous quarter. See [ID:nCOL109662].

Market heavyweight Dailog Telekom DIAL.CM fell 1.82 percent at 13.50 rupees a share calculated on a weighted average, and leading fixed-line telephone operator Sri Lanka Telecom SLTL.CM fell 2.38 percent to 41 rupees.

Top conglomerate by market capitalisation, John Keells Holdings JKH.CM closed 0.69 percent weaker at 107.25 rupees, and private lender Hatton National Bank HNB.CM fell 1.23 percent to 100 rupees.

Conglomerate Hayleys HAYL.CM closed 0.73 percent firmer at 137.75 rupees. Traders said four block deals in the stock were seen during trade.

Hayleys accounted for more than 32 percent of total turnover of 270.55 million rupees ($2.5 million), which was two-thirds of last year's daily average of 400 million rupees.

The rupee edged up to 107.65/67 per dollar from Monday's close of 107.66/68 on dollar sales by exporters.

The interbank lending rate CLIBOR rose to 14.906 percent, up from Monday's 13.650 percent. ($1=107.65 rupees)

Source: Reuters