Armitage, Bue and Curtis: Sri Lanka Is Ready to Take Center Stage

[ Wall Street Journal ][ Jan 28 17:41 GMT ]

Sri Lanka has rarely, if ever, topped any U.S. foreign-policy agenda. But after the surprising outcome of its presidential election earlier this month, it should get higher billing. In a stunning reversal, Sri Lankans ousted President Mahinda Rajapaksa after 10 years of increasingly authoritarian and corrupt rule. By the time of the election, Mr. Rajapaksa had effectively turned the nation into a family-owned business, with seemingly little room for political opposition and scant attention to the reconciliation and accountability needed by all Sri Lankans following the violent, decades-long fight against Tamil separatists. The Rajapaksa family’s grip on the country made the election outcome all the more surprising. [ full story | comments ]

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Sri Lanka's NGOs test limits of new freedoms [ more ]

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Current political trend signals harmony among communities - M.A.Sumanthiran MP

Tamil National Alliance (TNA) frontliner M.A.Sumanthiran MP in an excl...

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Armitage, Bue and Curtis: Sri Lanka Is Ready to Take Center Stage

Sri Lanka has rarely, if ever, topped any U.S. foreign-policy agenda. ...

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Sri Lanka reinstates Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake

Sri Lanka's new president has reinstated the former chief justice two ...

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Current political trend signals harmony among communities - M.A.Sumanthiran MP

[ Sunday Observer ][ Jan 28 19:35 GMT ]

Tamil National Alliance (TNA) frontliner M.A.Sumanthiran MP in an exclusive interview with the Sunday Observer spelt out the TNA’s needs - their stance with regard to a lasting solution to the Tamil problem, the immediate measures that they have insisted over the livelihood and rehabilitation of the conflict-affected Tamils, the current controversy over the post of Chief Minister (CM) of the Eastern Provincial Council (PC) and the Government’s measures to implement the 13th Amendment to the Constitution in full. He said that the Maithripala administration which the Tamils exuberantly supported has already initiated measures to resolve their outstanding issues and expressed optimism that the current political trend signals harmony and mutual understanding among the different communities in the country. [ full story | comments ]

One Way Sri Lanka Can Shield its ex-Defense Secretary from a U.S. Criminal Prosecution

[ Just Security ][ Jan 28 15:51 GMT ]

Last week, Sri Lanka’s Justice Deputy Minister responded to an Op-Ed that I published in the New York Times, in which I described reasons that the United States can and should pursue a criminal investigation of U.S. citizen and Sri Lanka’s ex-Defense Secretary, Gotabaya Rajapaksa. In this post, I respond to the Deputy Minister’s statement that his administration would protect Mr. Rajapaksa from a criminal trial by the United States, if it ever came to that. Here are the key parts of the Deputy Minister’s remarks, published in the state-owned newspaper News Daily: [ full story | comments ]

Asylum seekers legally detained on Customs vessel, High Court rules

[ The Age ][ Jan 28 15:46 GMT ]

The Australian government acted legally when it detained 157 Tamil asylum seekers on the high seas for a month last year, the High Court has ruled. In a 4-3 majority decision announced on Wednesday afternoon, the court found that the 157 asylum seekers were lawfully held by Australian authorities on the Customs vessel Ocean Protector and the asylum seekers, who are now in Nauru, were not entitled to any compensation. [ full story | comments ]

Tamil Daily threatened of 'Charlie Hebdo style' attack

[ PTI ][ Jan 28 15:31 GMT ]

A Tamil newspaper has received a letter threatening an attack similar to the one on the office of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, police said. "We have received the letter from the newspaper and a probe is on," a senior police official said. The letter, typed in English, says "Yesterday-Paris Charlie Hebdo, Tomorrow - Dinamalar." The words appear against the background of India's map. The letter was sent by post by unidentified elements claiming to belong to an outfit called "The Base Moment," and said to be based at "3/10, Ukkadam, Kovai, Tamil Nadu, India. [ full story | comments ]

Builder quietly cancels condo complex

[ Toronto Star ][ Jan 28 03:22 GMT ]

Urbancorp has quietly cancelled its Kingsclub condo complex on King St. W. and plans to build three towers of rental apartments instead. It is the second downtown condo project in just the last few weeks to suddenly convert to rental apartments instead, leaving hundreds of buyers of preconstruction units out in the cold. The two back-to-back conversions are being seen as a sign that developers are growing fearful that condo interest is waning in Toronto, at the same time that rental demand shows no signs of letting up. [ full story | comments ]

Sri Lanka chooses changes

[ East Asia Forum ][ Jan 28 03:04 GMT ]

The recent election of President Maithripala Sirisena heralds a golden opportunity for Sri Lanka to heal old wounds and to open up its economy — and for the West, India and even East Asian countries to re-engage. New Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena hands a letter of appointment to Mangala Samaraweera as the Minister of Foreign Affairs during the swearing-in of the new Cabinet in Colombo, 12 January 2015. (Photo: AAP). In November 2014 the former president, Mahinda Rajapaksa, called an early election in the hope it would be a cakewalk. Instead he was defeated by an effective opposition challenge that tapped into a groundswell of popular resentment with one-family rule. Only two months ago, the Rajapaksas seemed invincible. On 8 January, their edifice collapsed. [ full story | comments ]

Memories of Prageeth Ekneligoda

[ Groundviews ][ Jan 28 03:02 GMT ]

Prageeth Ekneligoda, one of the best political cartoonists this country has ever produced was known for his great talent and political vision. He is now remembered for his disappearance on the night of 24 January, just two days before the 2010 Presidential elections. It was reported that Prageeth had previously been abducted in August 2009 and was released. On that occasion when he was taken by a white van he pleaded with his abductors that he needed to take his medication. [ full story | comments ]

Canadian banks on brink of mortgage price war

[ Globe and Mail ][ Jan 27 17:00 GMT ]

Canada’s major banks are heading into a renewed mortgage price war in the wake of the Bank of Canada’s surprise decision to cut interest rates. Mortgage brokers reported that Royal Bank of Canada dropped its five-year fixed rate for qualified borrowers to 2.84 per cent over the weekend. While smaller, non-bank lenders have started offering even cheaper rates, RBC's rate cut is likely a record for a major bank, said Drew Donaldson, executive vice-president of Safebridge Financial Group. The bank also slashed its posted 10-year fixed rate to 3.84 per cent, the lowest nationally advertised rate in the country, said Robert McLister, founder of Ratespy.com. [ full story | comments ]

Jackfruit: A fruit, a vegetable and everything in between

[ Indian Express ][ Jan 27 16:36 GMT ]

The one thing that anyone travelling across Kerala just cannot miss is the jackfruit tree as it is tall and well spread. On most occasions, one can see the greenish-yellow jackfruit hanging in adequate numbers – not surprising as this is by far the largest tree-borne fruit. Over the years this fruit still maintains its status as one that is affordable to all and can be consumed raw or ripe. Each jackfruit weighs from three to 30 kilograms. [ full story | comments ]

'Facebook Lite' App Targets Users in Sudan, Sri Lanka

[ NBC News ][ Jan 27 16:32 GMT ]

Facebook has quietly launched a stripped-down version of its mobile app, aimed at emerging market users with low-end mobile devices. The social media giant confirmed to CNBC on Monday that "Facebook Lite" was an official app. It is available in eight countries: Bangladesh, Vietnam, Nigeria, Nepal, South Africa, Sudan, Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe. Facebook Lite takes less than 1 megabyte of storage space, according to a description of the app on the Google Play store for Android apps -- substantially less than the standard app, which takes around 25MB of storage. [ full story | comments ]

Sri Lanka reinstates Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake

[ BBC ][ Jan 28 15:51 GMT ]

Sri Lanka's new president has reinstated the former chief justice two years after she was sacked by his predecessor over corruption claims. A smiling Shirani Bandaranayake returned to the Supreme Court to be given flowers by her supporters. President Maithripala Sirisena's office called her removal a "procedural" error. She always denied corruption. However, her return is thought only temporary as reports say she is to retire now her name has been cleared. [ full story | comments ]

Sri Lanka's NGOs test limits of new freedoms

[ IRIN ][ Jan 28 15:50 GMT ]

Less than three weeks since Sri Lanka voted in a new president, rights activists and other NGOs say there are already encouraging signs that they may have more freedom to work under the new administration, including in the former conflict zone in the north. Six days after the 8 January election, around 300 families of those still missing as a result of Sri Lanka’s two and half decade long civil war attended a prayer service led by Pope Francis at the Madhu Shrine in the northwestern district of Mannar. Some held pictures of missing relatives; others held small signs calling for justice. But in a marked departure from the pattern of recent years, security forces prevented no one from protesting or entering the shrine compound. [ full story | comments ]

Indonesian Attorney-General deals blow to Bali nine's Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran

[ The Age ][ Jan 28 15:36 GMT ]

The condemned Bali nine members Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan could be executed as early as next month after the Indonesian Attorney-General said there could not be a second judicial review into their case. Chan and Sukumaran are among 11 convicts on death row in Indonesia who will now face the firing squad because their clemency pleas have been rejected by the President. Eight have been condemned for narcotics offences and three for premeditated murder. H.M. Prasetyo said the Australians would not be executed in Bali but the location was yet to be decided. [ full story | comments ]

Time not right for repatriating Tamil refugees: TN CM Panneerselvam

[ IANS ][ Jan 28 15:03 GMT ]

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam Wednesday said discussions on voluntary repatriation of Sri Lankan Tamil refugees should be deferred as it is premature to deliberate the matter now. In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the text of which was released to the media here, Panneerselvam said: "The process of voluntary repatriation could be considered only after concrete and credible measures are taken by the Sri Lankan government and the Sri Lankan refugees in Tamil Nadu are given adequate verifiable assurances and gain the requisite confidence to return to their native land." "In this context, we believe that having a meeting to discuss voluntary repatriation of Sri Lankan Tamil refugees is premature and should be deferred for the present," he said. [ full story | comments ]

The Lanka question

[ Pakistan Today ][ Jan 28 03:05 GMT ]

New Delhi has lots to explain when Mohinder Rajpaksa was reelected as Sri Lanka’s President for the second time. India had supplied him small arms which he liberally used to kill the Tamils, the largest minority in that country. He should have been tried for war crimes because he killed 40,000 Tamils in cold blood even after the surrender by what was then called the LTTE, the militant face of Tamils in the Northern Sri Lanka. That he tried to woo both military and police chiefs to stay back even after the defeat show. This shows how adroitly he led a democratic India up to a garden path. [ full story | comments ]

India to take bilateral ties with Lanka to new level: Envoy

[ PTI ][ Jan 28 03:03 GMT ]

India will work closely with the new Sri Lankan government led by Maithripala Sirisena - whose victory was a tribute to Lankan people's yearning for change - to take bilateral ties to a new level, the Indian High Commissioner Y K Sinha said on Monday. Addressing the celebrations of the 66th Indian Republic Day held at India House here, Sinha said India stands ready to continue to provide support and partnership to Sri Lanka in realising its people's aspirations. He congratulated the people of Sri Lanka on the peaceful conduct of the recent landmark elections that installed a new government under Sirisena in the island after defeating two-time president Mahinda Rajapaksa. [ full story | comments ]

Pakistan's silent partition

[ Al Jazeera ][ Jan 27 17:04 GMT ]

Pakistan’s story began with a parting — partition from India — and now, for a growing number of people, it is ending with another parting. Negombo, a beach town 24 miles from Sri Lanka’s capital, Colombo, is refuge for hundreds of Ahmadi Muslims fleeing persecution in Pakistan. According to the Colombo office of the UN Refugee Agency, or UNHCR, there was a nearly 780 percent increase in the number of Pakistani asylum seekers in Sri Lanka from 2012, when 152 people sought asylum, to 2013, when this number jumped to 1,338. While most of them are Ahmadis, the number also includes Pakistani Christians and Shia Muslims, who have also faced increasing persecution in Pakistan over the years. [ full story | comments ]

The Ugliness Of The Tamil Hero

[ Outlook ][ Jan 27 16:40 GMT ]

The closest Bollywood came to it was with the title of a film: Ugly. Bollywood’s version of heroes going unglamorous stops with a tonsure. Bollywood heroes from their 20s to 50s prefer to drop shirts to reveal gleaming torsos leaving the audience to count their pack abs. Not so in Tamil filmdom. A Tamil matinee idol of my mother's vintage possibly got a hike in asking price for every inch added to his waistline. The fan base and fame of Tamil cinema’s leading men has not been based on their good looks. A hero’s plain looks invited comments but never affected his popularity if he was talented or had good fortune. [ full story | comments ]

Sri Lanka probes political links to drug kingpin

[ AFP ][ Jan 27 16:34 GMT ]

Sri Lanka`s police said on Tuesday they were investigating whether a man who confessed to smuggling over 1,000 kilos of heroin to the island over three years had political protection. Samantha Kumara Vithanage was arrested in Pakistan earlier this month and taken back to Sri Lanka, police spokesman Ajith Rohana said. He told detectives he had imported about 1,000 kilos (2,200 pounds) of heroin since 2012 worth a total of USD 75 million to Colombo, a key hub for the narcotic originating in Afghanistan and Pakistan. [ full story | comments ]

How Sri Lanka's new president can ease decade of repressive press measures

[ CPJ ][ Jan 27 13:56 GMT ]

If the new leadership truly aspires to foster a healthier climate for press freedom it must take serious steps to address the culture of impunity in anti-press violence that has flourished in the past decade. Sri Lanka ranks fourth in the world on CPJ's 2014 Impunity Index, which spotlights countries where journalists are frequently murdered and the killers remain free. CPJ research shows that many of those killed in Sri Lanka had reported on politically sensitive matters and were critical of the government. The island nation also ranks among the top countries from where journalists flee, according to data compiled by CPJ. [ full story | comments ]


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Notices
Featured News

[Sunday Observer - Jan 28, 2015 19:35:55 GMT]

Current political trend signals harmony among communities - M.A.Sumanthiran MP


[Wall Street Journal - Jan 28, 2015 17:41:40 GMT]

Armitage, Bue and Curtis: Sri Lanka Is Ready to Take Center Stage


[BBC - Jan 28, 2015 15:51:59 GMT]

Sri Lanka reinstates Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake


[Just Security - Jan 28, 2015 15:51:28 GMT]

One Way Sri Lanka Can Shield its ex-Defense Secretary from a U.S. Criminal Prosecution


[IRIN - Jan 28, 2015 15:50:38 GMT]

Sri Lanka's NGOs test limits of new freedoms


[The Age - Jan 28, 2015 15:46:04 GMT]

Asylum seekers legally detained on Customs vessel, High Court rules


[The Age - Jan 28, 2015 15:36:47 GMT]

Indonesian Attorney-General deals blow to Bali nine's Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran


[Toronto Star - Jan 28, 2015 3:22:49 GMT]

Builder quietly cancels condo complex


[Pakistan Today - Jan 28, 2015 3:05:21 GMT]

The Lanka question


[East Asia Forum - Jan 28, 2015 3:04:26 GMT]

Sri Lanka chooses changes


[Al Jazeera - Jan 27, 2015 17:04:04 GMT]

Pakistan's silent partition


[Globe and Mail - Jan 27, 2015 17:00:54 GMT]

Canadian banks on brink of mortgage price war


[CPJ - Jan 27, 2015 13:56:56 GMT]

How Sri Lanka's new president can ease decade of repressive press measures


[IntLawGrrls - Jan 27, 2015 13:53:39 GMT]

Increased prospects for Transitional Justice after the political transition in Sri Lanka?


[Cicero Magazine - Jan 26, 2015 14:18:14 GMT]

Is Sri Lanka Ready Yet For Postwar Reconciliation?