Sri Lanka's August Parliamentary Election, Seen Up Close

[ The Diplomat ][ Aug 31 20:27 GMT ]

I arrived in Sri Lanka on August 10, a week before the country’s August 17 parliamentary election. Our group of short-term international election observers would spend the first few days in Colombo, the capital, before heading out to the locations from which we’d be monitoring the election. Shortly after my arrival in Colombo, I learned that I would be in Jaffna on voting day. Having spent several years working for a Tamil human rights organization in Sri Lanka, I’m familiar with Jaffna and was really looking forward to heading north. [ full story | comments ]

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Image Courtesy: IPS
Despite six years of peace, life is still hard in areas where Sri Lanka's war was at its worst, especially for internally displaced people (IDPs). [ more ]

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Sri Lanka's August Parliamentary Election, Seen Up Close

I arrived in Sri Lanka on August 10, a week before the country’s Aug...

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Accountability is not limited to a majority-minority dynamic

Logically therefore, whatever domestic accountability process that is ...

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Filling a void: Penn State alumna takes on autism in Sri Lanka

“With my focus areas in mind, I studied at Penn State and spent my s...

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U.K.’s Lebara Group doubles down in Canada, launches ethnic streaming service

[ Financial Post ][ Aug 31 21:09 GMT ]

When U.K.-based Lebara Group BV considered bringing its burgeoning mobile-phone service for migrants to Canada roughly six years ago, the cost of buying access to another carrier’s voice network was too steep. Instead, Lebara has made its Internet-based voice and messaging app, Lebara Talk, available for download in Canada, targeting close to seven million foreign-born residents who connect with their relatives abroad. Since February, it says the Lebara Talk app has amassed 350,000 active users in at least 10 countries. And despite offering free app-to-app calling, Lebara says 95 per cent of calls are paid for. [ full story | comments ]

A Gift to Sri Lanka Which Has Centre Caught in a Political Storm

[ NDTV ][ Aug 31 20:26 GMT ]

A gift from India to Sri Lanka has started a political storm in Tamil Nadu. The state's prominent political parties have launched a scathing attack on the Centre for gifting the Coast Guard vessel 'Varaha' to its neighboring country. "Centre seems to be helping the Lankan Army which continues trouble the Indian fishermen. I oppose this on behalf of the DMK," said former chief minister and party chief Karunanidhi, who is demanding the ship's recall. [ full story | comments ]

Bank of Canada will cut interest rates again on Sept. 9, National Bank predicts

[ Financial Post ][ Aug 31 20:23 GMT ]

The Bank of Canada will cut interest rates at its Sept. 9 meeting, National Bank Financial says, becoming the first major bank to call for a cut amid signs market turmoil threatens an economic recovery. Speaking by phone from Montreal on Wednesday, economist Paul-Andre Pinsonnault predicted Governor Stephen Poloz will cut the policy rate by a quarter point to 0.25 percent next month, matching a record low set in 2009 during the global financial crisis. The odds of a September rate cut have risen to 31 percent from 18 percent a week ago based on trading in swaps markets. Signs of global economic turmoil are being seen from falling stock market and crude oil prices to the weakest Canadian dollar since 2004. [ full story | comments ]

Sri Lanka holds rates at record lows, closely monitors credit

[ Reuters ][ Aug 31 18:41 GMT ]

Aug 31 Sri Lanka's central bank kept its key policy rates steady at record lows on Monday as expected, with inflation seen lower in the next few months, and said it was closely monitoring credit growth to avoid excessive expansion. The central bank left the standing deposit facility rate (SDFR) and the standing lending facility rate (SLFR) unchanged at 6.00 percent and 7.50 percent, respectively. The commercial banks' statutory reserve ratio was unchanged at 6.00 percent. [ full story | comments ]

Sri Lanka: Rajapaksa Foiled Again

[ Diplomat ][ Aug 31 18:37 GMT ]

Sri Lankan voters have snubbed former President Mahinda Rajapaksa for the second time in months. On January 8, Rajapaksa was ousted from power in the presidential election, an upset that denied him a third term as the island’s president.Accordingly, UNP chief Ranil Wickremesinghe was sworn in as prime minister on August 21. Wickremesinghe has held the post since January, following his appointment by Sri Lanka’s new President Maithripala Sirisena. “For now, Rajapaksa will have to be content with functioning only as a member of parliament (MP) representing Kurunegala constituency,” an SLFP parliamentarian who spoke to The Diplomat on condition of anonymity said. [ full story | comments ]

Maithri allows Opposition to select their leader

[ Daily Mirror ][ Aug 31 10:33 GMT ]

National Freedom Front (NFF) Leader Wimal Weerawansa today said President Maithripala Sirisena has allowed Opposition MPs to appoint the Opposition Leader. Mr. Weerawansa and several party leaders of UPFA met President Sirisena who is also the UPFA Chairman this morning to discuss the appointment of opposition leader. The central committee of the SLFP, the main constituent of the UPFA, earlier gave consent to the President to make the final decision on appointing the Opposition Leader. [ full story | comments ]

Will New Sri Lankan Government Prioritize Resettlement of War-Displaced?

[ IPS ][ Aug 31 10:29 GMT ]

The new Sri Lankan government that was voted in on Aug. 17 certainly didn’t inherit as much baggage as its predecessors did during the nearly 30 years of conflict that gripped this South Asian island nation.But six years into ‘peacetime’, the second parliament of President Maithripala Sirisena will need to prioritize some of the most painful, unhealed wounds of war – among them, the fate of over 50,000 internally displaced people (IDPs), some of whom have not been home in over two decades. “Do you know how it feels to live in other people’s houses for so long? You are always an outsider,” Ariyarathnam told IPS. [ full story | comments ]

India May Not Like It, But Sri Lanka Can’t Move Completely Away from China

[ Wire ][ Aug 31 10:24 GMT ]

China is also capable of arm-twisting Sri Lanka if it falls too much out of line and Beijing feels its interests are not being balanced with that of India, or its investments are under threat. The Global Times commentary warns that in the Sirisena government’s efforts to recalibrate its foreign policy and seek a balanced approach in handling relations with big powers, China cannot be ignored. “It’s only the outsider’s wishful thinking that partisan politics will stagnate or even turn back China-Sri Lanka relations. China will not depend on any single party to maintain the bilateral relationship,” it said, adding that Colombo was expected to gradually resume the suspended foreign-invested projects for the needs of economic development. [ full story | comments ]

Vaiko, Ramadoss oppose India gifting away ship to Sri Lanka

[ PTI ][ Aug 30 11:53 GMT ]

Opposing the gifting away of a Indian Coast Guard ship to Sri Lanka, MDMK chief Vaiko today said it was a "betrayal" of Eelam Tamils and Tamil Nadu fishermen. Indian Coast Guard Ship 'Varaha' was gited to Sri Lanka on August 27 in Colombo. The ship was in the service of the island nation since 2006 and it was rechristened 'Sagara' by Sri Lanka. Referring to the hand over, Vaiko said "this is an unforgivable betrayal of Eelam Tamils and Tamil Nadu fishermen by the Indian government." Alleging that the ship was "used for killing Tamils in Sri Lanka", he claimed "the vessel is an evidence of the use of Indian Navy to finish off the Sea Tigers by Sri Lankan Naval forces." [ full story | comments ]

Trading Swiss nationality for Sri Lanka House

[ Economy Next ][ Aug 29 10:59 GMT ]

Sri Lankan film actress Geetha Kumarasinghe has claimed that she renounced her Swiss nationality to qualify for August parliamentary elections, but election officials said they need to verify the time line of her purported action. Kumarasinghe in statements to newspapers on Friday claimed she asked Swiss authorities to strip her foreign nationality and applied for a new Sri Lankan passport."If on the closing day of nominations Ms. Kumarasinghe had not resolved the dual nationality issue, then she is not qualified to be a member of the Sri Lanka parliament," an election official said. "What happened after July 13 is irrelevant." [ full story | comments ]

Lanka's main Tamil party presses for Opposition status in Par

[ PTI ][ Aug 31 20:26 GMT ]

Sri Lanka's main Tamil party TNA, which has emerged as the third largest party in this month's parliamentary polls, has staked claim for the status of main Opposition in the parliament, following an arrangement between the UNP and the SLFP to form a national unity government. The claim is based on an arrangement between Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe's United National Party (UNP) and President Maithripala Sirisena's Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) to form a national unity government. [ full story | comments ]

Report on Sri Lanka’s missing ‘almost ready’

[ The Hindu ][ Aug 31 20:24 GMT ]

Constituted in August 2013, the Commission has looked into complaints about the disappearance of thousands of people in the Northern and Eastern Provinces. The Presidential Commission on Missing Persons has almost completed its task, according to Justice Maxwell Parakrama Paranagama, chairman of the panel. In a chat with The Hindu on Monday, Justice Paranagama said the Commission had virtually finalised its findings. However, he refused to say when he would submit the final report to President Maithripala Sirisena. “The President is busy these days,” he said. [ full story | comments ]

U.S. grants Sri Lanka $ 3.2 million to develop schools in the East

[ GoSL ][ Aug 31 18:43 GMT ]

The United States has agreed to grant US$ 3.2 million for the development of schools in the Eastern Province. The signing of the agreement took place under the patronage of Eastern Province Governor Austin Fernando at his office Friday. David Christine of the U.S. Embassy in Colombo and Chief Secretary of the Eastern Province Sarath Abeygunawardena signed the agreement in the presence of Representatives of the U.S. State Department. New U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka Atul Keshap assured the Eastern Governor another US$ 1million for education development in the Eastern Province. Governor Austin Fernando said that this is a consolidation of trust placed by Western countries in the new Government. [ full story | comments ]

Sri Lanka To Get $200 Million Loan For Wind Energy Program

[ Clean Technica ][ Aug 31 18:39 GMT ]

The Asian Development Bank will soon provide debt finance for Sri Lanka’s wind energy program. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has allocated $200 million to support the wind energy sector in Sri Lanka. The Bank would provide financial support by buying debt instruments issued in the national and international market. The Wind Power Generation Project does not provide any quantitative details about capacity addition but does mention 2018 as a landmark year. Through this program Sri Lanka is looking to tap its substantial wind energy resources. [ full story | comments ]

Accountability is not limited to a majority-minority dynamic

[ Sunday Times ][ Aug 31 18:35 GMT ]

Logically therefore, whatever domestic accountability process that is being contemplated in order to take the sting out of the September UNHRC report must be with full public participation and not shrouded in secrecy as it is now. Above all, we need to acknowledge that Sri Lanka’s accountability problem is not merely limited to a majority-minority dynamic but is far more complex in nature.This understanding is crucial in contextualizing current dilemmas relating to state accountability for violations committed during the final stages of the Wanni war. Ensuring justice and healing the hearts of those who have suffered must take these factors into account. [ full story | comments ]

UNHRC decision will be based on US resolution - FM

[ Island ][ Aug 31 10:31 GMT ]

The Geneva-based United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) will decide future course of action on Sri Lanka on the basis of a US resolution scheduled to be moved at the 30th sessions next month. Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mahishini Kolonne told The Island that UNHRC would decide on the recommendations contained in a report submitted by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) through the passage of a resolution. Kolonne said: "This is not something new. Resolutions are the means by which decisions in the UNHRC are taken." The Foreign Ministry spokesperson was responding to a query by The Island regarding Geneva issue in the wake of the US changing its stance on war crimes inquiry. [ full story | comments ]

Daybreak in Lanka

[ Statesman ][ Aug 31 10:27 GMT ]

Though Rajapaksa has promised to retire from politics, it is not going to be a bed of roses for the just formed national government. The UN Human Rights Council’s war crimes report is due in September. The US administration which worked hard in the UNHRC for three successive years to adopt resolutions on Sri Lankan war crimes cannot be expected to renege on them because of the change of government in Colombo. However, the recent announcement of US Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia, Nisha Biswal, that her country would only seek an independent but credible probe on war crimes by Sri Lanka has cast dismay among ethnic minorities. Prosecuting perpetrators of war crimes can create its own problems for the new government. [ full story | comments ]

Fallout Of US-Sri Lanka Rapprochement

[ Sunday Leadaer ][ Aug 30 11:58 GMT ]

The new government’s approach to resolution of minority rights and reconciliation appears to have convinced those who wanted Sri Lanka in the dock that their objectives of peace and reconciliation could be better achieved through ways and means promoted by the new government.However, more problems lie ahead. A domestic inquiry cannot be a sham as alleged by many, particularly of the Tamil Diaspora. The question whether the domestic inquiry will initiate retributive justice or restorative justice will be a contentious issue. The decisions of any inquiry, domestic or international, could exacerbate the differences and not help to close them up is being actively considered. [ full story | comments ]

Filling a void: Penn State alumna takes on autism in Sri Lanka

[ PSU ][ Aug 29 11:02 GMT ]

“With my focus areas in mind, I studied at Penn State and spent my summers in Sri Lanka implementing my research. I taught a little at the only university in the country, which now offers a degree in speech-language pathology, and gave presentations and talks on various topics related to the field,” Muttiah said. Muttiah’s dissertation research study involved training special education teachers in Sri Lanka who work with students who have severe communication needs. “Special education teachers in Sri Lanka receive limited training. Additionally, they receive minimal to no training in communication interventions and strategies,” Muttiah said. [ full story | comments ]

Karunanidhi Condemns US Support to Sri Lankan Probe Into War Crimes

[ PTI ][ Aug 29 10:53 GMT ]

DMK chief Karunanidhi today condemned the US government's reported proposal for support to a domestic probe by Sri Lanka into alleged war crimes rather than going in for an international investigation. Assistant US Secretary of State Nisha Biswal had said in Sri Lanka that her country proposed to sponsor a resolution at the UN Human Rights meet in September supporting the island nation's initiative for its own probe into alleged war crimes.Referring to the news reports, Karunanidhi said, "I only desire that this news report should not be true...if it happens to be true, I condemn this effort of the US." [ full story | comments ]


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Notices
Featured News

[The Diplomat - Aug 31, 2015 20:27:47 GMT]

Sri Lanka's August Parliamentary Election, Seen Up Close


[Sunday Times - Aug 31, 2015 18:35:03 GMT]

Accountability is not limited to a majority-minority dynamic


[PSU - Aug 29, 2015 11:02:36 GMT]

Filling a void: Penn State alumna takes on autism in Sri Lanka


[FP - Aug 28, 2015 13:44:07 GMT]

Elite Fundraiser for Obama and Clinton Linked to Justice Department Probe


[The Hill - Aug 27, 2015 14:03:05 GMT]

Rare opportunity for meaningful reconciliation in Sri Lanka


[AFP - Aug 27, 2015 14:01:20 GMT]

US warns Sri Lanka that Tamil reconciliation will take time


[The Diplomat - Aug 26, 2015 19:25:58 GMT]

Sri Lanka: A Lesson for U.S. Strategy


[Wire - Aug 26, 2015 15:31:24 GMT]

Putinization Has Been Stopped but Sri Lanka Needs a New Ideological Project


[Toronto Star - Aug 26, 2015 14:29:58 GMT]

Toronto’s first Tamil Fest promises Sri Lankan eats including hoppers


[VoA - Aug 25, 2015 12:24:47 GMT]

US Cautions Patience, Cites Progress in Sri Lanka Reconciliation


[The Hindu - Aug 24, 2015 23:43:09 GMT]

Ranil hopeful of political solution to Tamil question


[Global Times - Aug 24, 2015 19:31:47 GMT]

Keeping good ties with all regional powers in the interest of Sri Lanka


[Asian Correspondent - Aug 24, 2015 17:48:12 GMT]

Sri Lanka election: Tamil voters must keep TNA on straight and narrow


[Eurasia Review - Aug 24, 2015 14:01:40 GMT]

Sri Lanka Elections: A Vote For Reconciliation Process – Analysis


[Green Left - Aug 24, 2015 13:44:58 GMT]

Tamil refugee: How Australia is complicit in Sri Lankan genocide