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SP cuts Sri Lanka outlook to negative on funding pressures

Pressure may ease if Wickremesinghe wins a loan from the International Monetary Fund, S&P said. With few alternative funding sources, the nation’s ruling coalition partners will probably cooperate to implement proposed tax increases, political risk analysts at Eurasia Group said this week. (Colombo Gazette) Standard & Poor’s cut Sri Lanka’s outlook to negative from stable citing worsening external and fiscal indicators, less than two weeks after Fitch Ratings lowered its credit ratings, Bloomberg reported.S&P affirmed the island nation’s B+ long-term and B short-term sovereign ratings, saying robust economic growth prospects are countered by high government debt at 72 percent of gross domestic product. It predicts Sri Lanka’s trade deficit will balloon to 11.4 percent of GDP in 2016 from 10.2 percent over the previous two years as remittances slow and investor outflows are seen reversing only in 2017. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe this month announced a plan to boost revenue by as much as 0.5 percent of GDP citing a “mountain” of hidden debt left by the previous government. The central bank last year allowed the rupee to float against the dollar as propping it up became too expensive, and analysts predict Sri Lanka’s benchmark stock index will continue to lag its regional peers. “The authorities face significant challenges in effectively addressing the rising imbalance due to institutional constraints and a fragmented political landscape,” S&P analysts led by Kyran A. Curry wrote in a statement on Thursday. read more

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Ohio State mens lacrosse putting undefeated mark to the test against Penn

Coming off a dominating 18-8 win against first-year program Marquette, the No. 13 Ohio State men’s lacrosse team takes its unbeaten streak into Happy Valley on Saturday at 1 p.m. to take on the No. 8 Penn State Nittany Lions. At 3-0, the Buckeyes hope to keep up the success that they have found early in the year. Freshman attacker Carter Brown and sophomore midfielder Jesse King recorded a combined 13 points against the Golden Eagles and sparked OSU’s offense which had been stagnant the week before against Jacksonville in a 9-6 win. For his four goals and three assists, Brown was named the Eastern College Athletic Conference Rookie of the Week. The freshman, though, saw the improvement of the team as a whole, not just his individual statistics. “Our offense was clicking in the second quarter especially,” Brown said. “We were just making the easy play and I just got some easy goals.” King, too, said he felt the team improved on offense after a tough week of practice. “Honestly, this week we worked out a lot on working the ball on the outside,” King said. “Our chemistry is coming together, and this week it just clicked.” But the Buckeyes will likely have a tougher challenge this week against Penn State in State College, Pa. The Nittany Lions have already defeated No. 10 Denver on the year and took No. 2 Notre Dame to overtime in their only loss of the season. Last year, Penn State handed OSU its second loss of the season in a 5-2 victory March 3 at Ohio Stadium. In spite of a schedule featuring five games against top-11 opponents in March, some members of the team are staying positive. OSU coach Nick Myers sees how far his players have come so far this year, but understands there are improvements to be made. “We’ve got a lot of work to continue to do,” Myers said. “It’s February … We’re not the team that we wanted to be yet, but we’re taking steps in the right direction.” The game could also be a potential precursor for what is to come, with reports swirling that a Big Ten conference for lacrosse could be on the horizon. “There’s been some positive conversation,” Myers said about the potential new conference. “This Penn State-Ohio State rivalry has been special for years now. I think that will only get more traction if the Big Ten conference continues to move in the right direction.” King, who was a part of the team that lost to Penn State in Columbus last year, is excited to get another shot at the Nittany Lions. “I’m excited, they’re going to be a great game,” King said. “It’s always fun playing against Penn State.” read more