Suspended Sri Lankan Port Project Complicates Sirisena's Trip to China

[ The Diplomat ][ Mar 26 15:13 GMT ]

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena is headed to China this week, both to pay a state visit to Beijing and to attend the annual Boao Forum in Hainan. It will be Sirisena’s first chance to interact directly with China’s top leaders since he came into office in January, after running in part on a promise to scrutinize foreign (including Chinese) investment in Sri Lanka. That promise has played out in the strange saga of Colombo Port City, a $1.4 billion project funded by a Chinese company. Sirisena’s government said it would “reassess” the deal back in January, citing concerns over the environmental impact as well as the original agreement to cede or lease 108 hectares of land to the Chinese construction firm involved, China Communications Co. Ltd. (CCCC). [ full story | comments ]

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Suspended Sri Lankan Port Project Complicates Sirisena's Trip to China

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena is headed to China this week...

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In Sri Lanka, Elephants and Humans Struggle to Live in Close Quarters

Elephants in Sri Lanka can have the demeanor of cranky wedding guests ...

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A House For Tamils

This excerpt is from Chapter X and is about the historic Northern Prov...

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Ex-Lankan President to head task force for reconciliation of Tamils

[ PTI ][ Mar 26 15:11 GMT ]

Former Sri Lankan president Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga will head a special presidential task force to identify urgent reconciliation needs of the minority Tamil community, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said on Thursday. “We are focused in achieving communal and religious harmony,” Mr. Wickremesinghe said. The new government has set up a dedicated office for reconciliation under the Chair of 69-year-old Ms. Kumaratunga, the country’s first woman president. [ full story | comments ]

China offers Sri Lanka olive branch and warnings

[ AFP ][ Mar 26 13:03 GMT ]

President Xi Jinping worked to mend relations with Sri Lanka on Thursday as Chinese state-run media warned the island nation's new government against shutting off billions in investments from Beijing.China has said any disruptions to the project will spook foreign investors and an op-ed in the Global Times, a paper affiliated with the Communist Party mouthpiece People's Daily, reminded Sirisena that "Sri Lanka needs foreign investment more than ever"."A consistent policy is crucial for attracting foreign investment," wrote Lan Jianxue, of the China Institute of International Studies. "Sri Lanka's strategic goals will be better guaranteed if Colombo can integrate them with China-backed projects." [ full story | comments ]

Lanka police wants Rajapaksa sibling for quizzing

[ PTI ][ Mar 25 14:04 GMT ]

Sri Lankan police is looking for Basil Rajapaksa, the brother of former president Mahinda Rajapaksa, for questioning in a corruption probe. Basil is wanted in a probe about a fund under the Ministry of Economic Development, Assistant Superintendent of police Ruwan Gunasekera said. Basil was the key advisor of Rajapaksa during his nine- year rule. After Rajapaksa's defeat in the January 8 election by current president Maithripala Sirisena, a number of anti- graft cases were registered against him and his family members. [ full story | comments ]

Rajapakse beats Sirisena in releasing Sri Lanka Tamil lands

[ Economy Next ][ Mar 25 10:37 GMT ]

Sri Lanka's new President Maithripala Sirisena on Monday released part of military-occupied land in Jaffna, but his predecessor had begun the process and even signed title deeds just two days before his defeat at elections. Despite the high-profile ceremony involving President Sirisena, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and former president Chandrika Kumaratunga, the former strongman transferred land to Tamils even though they were not given possession.A day after Sirisena released 425 acres from a former high security zone in Jaffna, the authorities there issued "Ran Bima," or golden land, deeds to Tamils who had lost their ownership records during decades of war. Rajapakse had signed the deeds on January 6, 2015, just two days before the election but it was registered at the Jaffna Kachcheri (district secretariat) only on February 11, 2015. [ full story | comments ]

Bill curbing Sri Lankan President’s powers tabled

[ The Hindu ][ Mar 25 02:44 GMT ]

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on Tuesday presented the draft of a key constitutional amendment — which seeks to prune presidential powers — to the Sri Lankan Parliament. Part of the reforms promised by newly elected President Maithripala Sirisena, the draft bill for the 19th amendment was tabled in Parliament after it received Cabinet approval on March 15. The draft Bill envisages converting the current presidential form of government to a presidential-parliamentary system. It prunes presidential powers and proposes a two-term limit for the President. In effect, it seeks to restore the Sri Lankan Constitution’s 17th amendment, rendered void in 2010 when President Mahinda Rajapaksa was in power. [ full story | comments ]

Tamil Nadu Threatens to Call off Talks if Sri Lanka Doesn't Release Fishermen

[ PTI ][ Mar 25 02:40 GMT ]

The Tamil Nadu Government yesterday threatened to call off the bilateral talks between fishermen of India and Sri Lanka today if 54 fishermen from Tamil Nadu, arrested recently by the Navy of the island nation, were not released as assured by the Sri Lankan Government. An official release, yesterday, said that following persistent efforts by the state government, which had informed the Centre that talks without the release of the 54 arrested fishermen would be of no use, the Lankan Government had informed that they would be released today. [ full story | comments ]

19A a ‘Constitutional Coup’-JHU

[ Daily Mirror ][ Mar 24 10:30 GMT ]

JHU General Secretary and Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka said the objective of the newest reforms was to create the Executive President powerless and to make the Prime Minister powerful going against ‘Yahapalanaya’. “People’s franchise was given to the President to curtail arbitrary powers of the Executive. They didn’t vote to make the Prime Minister the Head of the Government and to allow the Parliament to conquer the Executive,” he told a news conference held at Party Head Office in Battaramulla. [ full story | comments ]

New Sri Lanka Government Gives Military-Held Land Back to Tamils

[ WSJ ][ Mar 24 10:24 GMT ]

Sri Lanka’s new government handed back 425 acres of military-held land to minority Tamil families in the country’s north on Monday in its latest effort to rekindle ethnic reconciliation. President Maithripala Sirisena distributed deeds to hundreds of families whose land was taken by the armed forces to create so-called high security zones around military installations during a decadeslong civil war with Tamil separatist insurgents. “The Government is committed to building peace,” Mr. Sirisena said. He said authorities need to eradicate “mistrust, fear and suspicion among communities.” [ full story | comments ]

Resetting Indo-Lanka Relations

[ SAAG ][ Mar 23 09:34 GMT ]

Indo-Lanka relations were in the doldrums throughout the Rajapaksa period; they have never been worse, not even during the JR Jayewardene period (1977-1989). The factor that bedevilled the relationship in both periods was the Tamil question; furthermore one other issue each gave rise to disquiet during each of these two ‘regencies’. During the first term of JR’s presidency, Lanka’s foreign policy swung alarmingly in a pro-US direction (JR is known as Yankee-Dickey) at a time when Indira Gandhi’s Delhi was aligned with Moscow. More recently, Rajapaksa, light-fingered with Chinese project funds, treated Lanka as a grotto of Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves legerdemain. [ full story | comments ]

Sri Lanka promotes former general who defeated Tigers to field marshal

[ Reuters ][ Mar 23 09:29 GMT ]

A former Sri Lankan army general who led the military to victory in a 26-year war against Tamil Tiger separatists and later served time in jail was elevated to become the nation's first five-star field marshal on Sunday. Sarath Fonseka had won a pardon in January from newly elected President Maithripala Sirisena after being convicted by the government of former President Machinate Rajapaksa of offences ranging from corruption to engaging in politics in uniform. [ full story | comments ]

Lanka court orders inspection of Rajapaksa’s brother account

[ PTI ][ Mar 26 13:05 GMT ]

A Sri Lankan court on Thursday ordered the southern town of Galle to inspect the bank accounts of Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, the former defence secretary and brother of ex-president Mahinda Rajapaksa. A magistrate court in Galle had on March 9 issued an order preventing Gotabhaya — the powerful defence secretary under his brother’s administration — and three others from leaving the country until the conclusion of investigation. The court also impounded their passports, police said. [ full story | comments ]

In Sri Lanka, Elephants and Humans Struggle to Live in Close Quarters

[ CityLab ][ Mar 25 14:06 GMT ]

Elephants in Sri Lanka can have the demeanor of cranky wedding guests in a slow buffet line. They munch away at grass and leaves, kicking their heels back in annoyance at the pure white egrets standing behind them. Cross their path in a safari vehicle and you might get a raised trunk and a trumpeted warning: I’m walking here! But these feisty Asian elephants have a problem: Their turf is dwindling. Just a few years out of its 26-year civil war, the tiny island nation actually has one of the fastest growing economies in Asia. [ full story | comments ]

Sri Lanka grants amnesty for military deserters

[ PTI ][ Mar 25 14:04 GMT ]

President Maithripala Sirisena has granted a period of amnesty for the military deserters to receive legal discharge from service between 2 and 16 April, Sri Lankan Army said on Wednesday. The military absentees can directly reach their respective regimental headquarters and receive their discharge under four categories during this period, Major General Mahinda Hathurusinghe said. Hathurusinghe said there were 17 officers and over 41,000 other rankers who had deserted the service at various times. [ full story | comments ]

A House For Tamils

[ Outlook ][ Mar 25 02:46 GMT ]

This excerpt is from Chapter X and is about the historic Northern Province elections that were held in Jaffna in September 2013 for the first time in decades and just 4 years after the end of the devastating civil war against the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), during which more than 120,000 people were killed. The elections were contested by former Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa's then ruling coalition, but won resoundingly by the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), whose candidate Justice CV Wigneswaran was named Chief Minister. The author spoke to a vast cross-section of Sri Lankan Jaffna Tamils, first at the TNA's last election rally before the polls, in bustling markets, in a village rebuilt by the Sri Lankan army and finally... [ full story | comments ]

Centre will consider citizenship for Sri Lankan refugees if TN recommends it, minister says

[ Times of India ][ Mar 25 02:43 GMT ]

The Centre will consider the demand for granting Indian citizenship to Sri Lankan refugees if the Tamil Nadu government recommends it, said Union minister of state for home affairs Kiren Rijiju on Tuesday. Rijiju, who visited a refugee camp at Gummidipoondi near Chennai, said the Centre and the state government had taken various measures to ensure the welfare of the refugees. The minister said he was visiting the camp to see if the refugees were happy with the welfare measures extended to them. [ full story | comments ]

Sri Lankan Tamils demand international probe into war crimes

[ The Hindu ][ Mar 25 02:39 GMT ]

A large number of Tamils in Sri Lanka on Monday held demonstrations in the North and Eastern provinces, demanding an international probe into the alleged human rights violations during the last phase of war with the LTTE. Rejecting Maithripala Sirisena government’s proposed domestic investigation rather than an international probe into the human rights violations, Tamils, including activists of Tamil National People’s Front, held protest in eight northern and eastern districts. The demonstrators raised slogans holding placards and banners that read ‘No local inquiry’ in Tamil and English. [ full story | comments ]

Sri Lanka plans legislation outlawing racist, religious extremist groupsSri Lanka plans legislation outlawing racist, religious extremist groups

[ Ecumenical News ][ Mar 24 10:27 GMT ]

The Sri Lankan government is planning implement a law that bans racist and religious extremist groups at a time of heightening tensions in the predominantly Buddhist country. Newly-elected President Maithripala Sirisena intends to propose the measure when the Sri Lankan parliament convenes in the coming weeks. It is part of his "100 Days Work Program," said National Executive Committee member Azath Salley. [ full story | comments ]

Tamils in Sri Lanka hold demontrations demanding international probe into war crimes

[ PTI ][ Mar 23 10:23 GMT ]

A large number of Tamils in Sri Lanka on Monday held demonstrations in the North and Eastern provinces, demanding an international probe into the alleged human rights violations during the last phase of war with the LTTE. Rejecting Maithripala Sirisena government's proposed domestic investigation rather than an international probe into the human rights violations, Tamils including activists of Tamil National People's Front, held protest in eight northern and eastern districts. [ full story | comments ]

Sri Lanka's Sirisena forms national govt with opposition

[ Reuters ][ Mar 23 09:33 GMT ]

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena formed a national government incorporating the main opposition party on Sunday in a bid to push through reforms and preserve political stability, a government spokesman said. The move came amid talk of a possible split in the opposition Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), caused by Sirisena's predecessor Mahinda Rajapaksa gaining in popularity among opposition supporters. [ full story | comments ]

PM Narendra Modi's 'persuasion' leads Sri Lanka to rethink CEPA

[ PTI ][ Mar 23 09:28 GMT ]

In a surprise move, the new Sri Lankan government is bringing back the long-pending CEPA with India to the negotiating table after Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "gentle persuasion", a media report said today. The Sri Lankan government's move comes despite President Maithripala Sirisena's assurance to entrepreneurs at a recent meeting of Chamber of Young Lankan Entrepreneurs that he will not go ahead with the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) or any agreement that i .. [ full story | comments ]


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Featured News

[The Diplomat - Mar 26, 2015 15:13:53 GMT]

Suspended Sri Lankan Port Project Complicates Sirisena's Trip to China


[CityLab - Mar 25, 2015 14:06:37 GMT]

In Sri Lanka, Elephants and Humans Struggle to Live in Close Quarters


[Outlook - Mar 25, 2015 2:46:37 GMT]

A House For Tamils


[PTI - Mar 23, 2015 10:23:28 GMT]

Tamils in Sri Lanka hold demontrations demanding international probe into war crimes


[SAAG - Mar 23, 2015 9:34:36 GMT]

Resetting Indo-Lanka Relations


[CNN-IBN - Mar 22, 2015 2:17:52 GMT]

A bridge too far: Special report from Sri Lanka


[Groundviews - Mar 22, 2015 2:02:29 GMT]

Sri Lankan National Anthem: Symbolism, Nationalism, Racism and Other Stories


[Tribune India - Mar 20, 2015 1:44:03 GMT]

Sri Lanka as Indian Ocean pivot


[Reuters - Mar 20, 2015 1:35:01 GMT]

Sri Lanka says Rajapaksa officials stashed over $2 billion in Dubai


[Indian Express - Mar 20, 2015 1:34:17 GMT]

Delhi plays Buddhist card in Lanka to send signal to China


[Channel 4 News - Mar 20, 2015 1:29:33 GMT]

'Tortured' UK asylum seeker gets deportation reprieve


[The Economist - Mar 19, 2015 17:04:24 GMT]

Investment in Sri Lanka: Storm in a port


[CNN-IBN - Mar 19, 2015 13:52:40 GMT]

Hope to be heard during inquiry on alleged war crimes: Former Sri Lankan Army Chief Gen Fonseka


[AFP - Mar 19, 2015 13:25:57 GMT]

Up to US$10b in public funds stolen: Sri Lanka


[AFP - Mar 18, 2015 19:31:39 GMT]

Sri Lanka planning to lift 'terrorist' ban on Tamils abroad