News

    Sri Lanka to Boost Investment in Tamil Provinces Devastated by Civil War

    Sri Lanka to Boost Investment in Tamil Provinces Devastated by Civil War
    Sri Lanka to Boost Investment in Tamil Provinces Devastated by Civil War

    Multimedia

    Audio
    <!-- IMAGE -->


    Sri Lanka plans to pour development money into Tamil-dominated provinces that suffered economically during years of civil war. A Sri Lankan cabinet minister spoke at the World Economic Forum's India summit.

    Sri Lankan government officials are predicting the island nation's $41 billion economy will expand between seven and eight percent next year.

    Larger prospects for growth are being proclaimed by government officials after this year's defeat of the Tamil Tiger rebels, which brought an end to a quarter century of civil war.

    A group of the island's top business leaders is visiting New Delhi to entice more of their Indian counterparts to invest in Sri Lanka.

    India is already Sri Lanka's top source of imports, totaling $3.5 billion annually. But analysts say foreign direct investment is hampered by high corporate taxes and a legacy of socialist-era policies and bureaucracy.  

    Sri Lanka's Minister of Public Administration and Home Affairs, Sarath Amunugama, says the government has taken a policy decision to develop the Tamil-dominated provinces which, for years, were effectively controlled by the now-defeated rebels.

    "It is only fair that we do that because that area has not seen growth for three decades," Amunugama saud, "And, if I may put it that way, a disproportionately large part of the forthcoming budget would be allocated for growth in the North and East."

    United Nations officials say about 40,000 Tamils have returned to their villages in the past two weeks under Colombo's resettlement plan. But more than 160,000 are still in displacement camps.

    They fled this year's fighting between government troops and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. The rebel group failed in its violent quest to establishment an ethnic homeland on the island, which is dominated by the mainly Buddhist Sinhalese.

    Despite a doubling of its gross domestic product in the past five years, Sri Lanka still requires foreign aid and loans.
     
    Amunugama, who is also the deputy finance minister, says the United States and the West have been supplanted as the primary aid donors by India, China, Japan, Iran and Arab countries, including Libya.
     
    The International Monetary Fund last week released the second payment of a controversial $2.6 billion loan to Colombo.

    The United States, which has the largest voting share on the IMF's executive board, was seen as attempting to delay the huge loan to pressure Sri Lanka to address human rights issues in the country.

    The United States and European Union are among the voices in the international community still pressing for accountability for thousands of civilian deaths at the end of the Sri Lankan civil war.

    The Colombo government has denied any war crimes were committed by its forces and is promising to investigate. It also accuses the defeated rebels of deliberately firing upon or using as human shields terrified civilians who tried to flee the fighting during the government's final offensive.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.