Fists fly as Sri Lankan MPs protest changing of the guard for ex-president

[ Reuters ][ May 03 12:52 GMT ]

Fists flew in Sri Lanka's parliament on Tuesday, leaving several members injured, the speaker said, as lawmakers supporting former president Mahinda Rajapaksa protested against a move to replace his military security guards with police. Aides of Rajapaksa, who led the country to victory in the 26-year war against separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in 2009, say his life is in danger after 50 trained army security guards were withdrawn on Monday. The clash erupted after Regional Development Minister Sarath Fonseka, the ex-army chief who led the military in the war, justified the change in Rajapaksa's security. [ full story | comments ]

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Fists fly as Sri Lankan MPs protest changing of the guard for ex-president

Fists flew in Sri Lanka's parliament on Tuesday, leaving several membe...

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Sri Lankan struggle to recover from the economic and emotional wounds of civil war

It looks peaceful and serene in the late afternoon but Elephant Pass ...

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Battle scars: Sri Lanka's north counts the cost of a 26-year war

An equitable power sharing structure is crucial to resolving the natio...

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Sri Lanka, IMF agree on $1.5B bailout to avert balance of payments crisis

[ Reuters ][ May 03 13:23 GMT ]

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has reached agreement with the Sri Lankan government for a $1.5 billion bailout to help the island nation avert a balance of payments crisis. The three-year loan will require IMF board approval in June, the global lender said on Friday, and is subject to Sri Lanka implementing reforms, including streamlining the tax code and reducing a bloated deficit. "The Sri Lankan authorities and the IMF have reached a staff-level agreement on a 36-month Extended Fund Facility (EFF)," for a $1.5 billion loan, Todd Schneider, IMF mission chief for Sri Lanka, said in a statement. [ full story | comments ]

'Asylum seeker boat' arrives in the Australian territory of the Cocos Islands

[ The Guardian ][ May 03 12:49 GMT ]

A wooden boat, which observers said was clearly an asylum seeker vessel, made it to the Cocos Islands under its own steam and without interception on Monday. The boat, reported by the ABC’s Hack program to be carrying asylum seekers from Sri Lanka, motored into the lagoon between the two largest islands in the archipelago on Monday morning. Guardian Australia has independently verified its arrival with two sources. Guardian Australia understands the boat arrived in the lagoon without interception by Australian officials. [ full story | comments ]

Woman killed in car shooting was 'a brilliant, beautiful mind ... taken too soon'

[ Toronto Star ][ May 03 12:44 GMT ]

“A brilliant, beautiful mind was taken from the world too soon,” Alex Ferro, best friend of the woman killed in a fatal double shooting in Scarborough Friday night, told the Star. It was just days ago the three were talking about going to the Justin Bieber concert together in May. “I remember her saying, ‘You better not go without me!’ — and now, I wouldn’t go, it wouldn’t be the same.” Ferro said. The woman, 24-year-old Cynthia Mullapudi, was at the happiest point of her life, Ferro and her sister, Katrina, said. She had just gotten a new job in March, her “dream job,” after a long post-graduation search to kick start her career. [ full story | comments ]

Debt-ridden Sri Lanka snuggles up to China again at India’s expense

[ ET ][ May 01 11:50 GMT ]

India is hoping to host Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena this month for a multi-religious event at Ujjain which will be inaugurated by PM Narendra Modi. The visit by Sirisena, if it happens, will come at a time when India's strategic gains in the island nation over the past 15 months, or since the ouster of Sirisena's predecessor Mahinda Rajapaksa, seem to be fast petering out. China has managed to not just revive its flagship $1.4 billion Colombo Port City project, but it is now also engaged in expansion of major infrastructure projects it built in the past and which were seen as impracticable until recently. [ full story | comments ]

A Divided House: DMK Is Struggling To Contain Rebellion In The Ranks

[ Huffington Post ][ Apr 29 16:09 GMT ]

It is not just in Coonoor though, where the DMK is a divided house. Sholinganallur, in south Chennai area, too has witnessed factional feuds within the DMK. The candidate for Sholinganallur, Arvind Ramesh, is said to have been pushed through by Duraimurugan, veteran DMK leader and its Deputy General Secretary. South Chennai district deputy secretary of the DMK, Palavakkam Viswanathan, expressed his anger and his supporters protested and burnt Duraimurugan’s effigy. [ full story | comments ]

Sri Lanka Secures $1.5 Billion IMF Loan to Help Bolster Finances

[ Bloomberg ][ Apr 29 15:40 GMT ]

Sri Lanka reached an agreement with the International Monetary Fund for $1.5 billion in loans to help lower its borrowing costs and fix its finances. The South Asian nation has pledged to narrow its fiscal deficit to 3.5 percent of gross domestic product by 2020 through “a comprehensive set of reforms to Sri Lanka’s tax system,” the Washington-based lender said in a statement. The budget gap widened to 7.4 percent of GDP in 2015 from 5.7 percent a year earlier, according to the central bank. The IMF said his government pledged a number of reforms, including limiting support for state-owned companies and making subsidies for the poor more targeted. The central bank will also move to a flexible inflation-targeting program, it said. [ full story | comments ]

Sri Lankan struggle to recover from the economic and emotional wounds of civil war

[ CNBC ][ Apr 29 02:54 GMT ]

It looks peaceful and serene in the late afternoon but Elephant Pass – a strategically important gateway controlling access to and from Jaffna, the captial of Sri Lanka's northern province - was the focus of bitter fighting between the separatist Tamil Tigers and the security forces. This is where war memorials honor the soldiers that fell in the government's campaign against the Tigers. But nothing tells the story of the civilian lives lost. And those that remain say they're struggling to re-build homes, businesses and a broader self-sustaining local economy under the shadow of military occupation. [ full story | comments ]

Seeman Is The Rising Star Of Tamil Politics, Making The Campaign Colourful

[ Swarajya ][ Apr 28 16:29 GMT ]

It will be interesting to see how Seeman sustains the political momentum. While his party candidates are likely to lose their deposits in most of the seats Namm Tamilar Katchi is contesting, ground reports indicate that Seeman is in with a fighting chance in Cuddalore constituency. His entry into the Tamil Nadu Assembly could be a game changing event for both his party and the politics of Tamil Nadu. In case he does not make it to the Assembly, Seeman as an indefatigable campaigner can continue to build his cadre base across the state and emerge as a major player in the 2021 Assembly elections. [ full story | comments ]

UN Special Rapporteurs to visit to Sri Lanka

[ News First ][ Apr 27 19:09 GMT ]

UN Special Rapporteurs to visit to Sri Lanka The UN Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, Mónica Pinto, and the UN Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, Juan E. Méndez, will undertake a joint visit to Sri Lanka from April 29 to May 7,2016, at the invitation of the government.During their visit, the two Special Rapporteurs will meet with relevant ministers, government officials, members of the judiciary, the Attorney General, lawyers, civil society members, the National Human Rights Commission, and victims and their families. In addition to visiting Colombo, they will visit the Northern, North Central, Eastern, Central and Southern Provinces, and also places of detention. [ full story | comments ]

Human rights groups ask Trudeau to end ‘immoral’ arms deal with Saudi Arabia

[ GM ][ Apr 27 18:52 GMT ]

A huge coalition of human-rights, development and arms-control groups are urging Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to rescind the “immoral and unethical” decision to approve export permits for the bulk of a $15-billion sale of combat vehicles to Saudi Arabia. The coalition wrote an open letter to Mr. Trudeau on Wednesday, saying there is a reasonable risk that the ruling House of Saud will use the vehicles against their own citizens and in the Saudi military mission in neighbouring Yemen. [ full story | comments ]

No LTTE to support – President CTC

[ Ceylon Today ][ May 03 12:50 GMT ]

President of the Canadian Tamil Congress (CTC) Raj Thavaratnasingham in an interview with Ceylon Today said he was pleased that the government has delisted CTC and a few other Tamil diaspora organizations. "As a result of the delisting of CTC, for the very first time we were able to raise funds to build houses for war widows in Sampur. We have built 18 houses and handed them over to deserving owners and another 23 houses are to be built in the second phase, for which funding has already been secured," he added. Excerpts: [ full story | comments ]

Opinion poll gives DMK the lead in western Tamil Nadu

[ The Hindu ][ May 03 12:47 GMT ]

An opinion poll conducted by News 7 television channel and Tamil daily Dinamalar gives the DMK the lead in the western districts of the State. The party, according to the poll, is poised to win 33 seats in the region, against 24 by the AIADMK. The survey results released on Monday point to the impact that a multi-cornered contest will have among voters, As per the poll, the DMDK-led third front, the PMK and the BJP make a significant mark in several constituencies. [ full story | comments ]

Sri Lanka sets up panel to investigate 'Panama Papers'

[ AFP ][ May 02 10:27 GMT ]

Cash-strapped Sri Lanka announced on Sunday (May 1) it was setting up a special panel to chase after nationals likely to figure in the "Panama Papers," a trove of leaked documents on global tax evasion. The government, which came to power in January last year on a promise to clean up corruption, has accused former president Mahinda Rajapakse and his family of siphoning off billions of dollars during his decade in power, a charge he has denied.The new administration has also been weighed down by huge foreign loans taken out by the Rajapakse regime. Colombo last week secured an IMF bailout of US$1.5 billion to head off a balance of payments crisis. [ full story | comments ]

Kitchener startup headed to Google Demo Day

[ Record ][ Apr 29 16:11 GMT ]

Travis Ratnam is preparing a five-minute pitch before a who's who of Silicon Valley investors early next month after his startup was selected for the prestigious Google Demo Day at the tech giant's headquarters in Mountain View, Calif. Ratnam is the chief executive officer and co-founder of Knowledgehook, a startup that has developed a web-based platform that helps teachers and students in math classes from kindergarten to Grade 10. The Kitchener company is one of only two Canadian startups picked for the annual event on May 4 — the other is Halifax-based PACTA. Last year, Kitchener startup Bridgit was the winner at Google Demo Day with its mobile app for construction management. [ full story | comments ]

Sri Lankan protest demands new probe of Tamil journalist's killing

[ First Post ][ Apr 29 15:43 GMT ]

Hundreds of journalists and media rights activists protested today to demand Sri Lanka's new government start a fresh investigation into the abduction and killing of a prominent ethnic Tamil journalist 11 years ago, during the country's civil war. Those demonstrating in front of Colombo's main railroad station said Dharmeratnam Sivaram was targeted because of uncompromising coverage of political and military matters. Media rights activist Lasantha Ruhunage said even 11 years after, the law enforcement authorities have failed to find the killers and “therefore they should start a fresh investigation and bring the culprits before law.'' [ full story | comments ]

Samantha Power Misses the Mark on Sri Lanka (Again)

[ Diplomat ][ Apr 29 15:33 GMT ]

Sri Lanka’s new government has ruled in a less authoritarian fashion than the administration of Mahinda Rajapaksa, though it’s unclear how or when Colombo became a “global champion” of human rights and accountability. The truth is that we’re still waiting for the government to move toward deeper reform. Besides, the recent spate of arrests and abductions across the Tamil-dominated Northern and Eastern Provinces should set alarm bells ringing in Washington. That’s the type of anti-Tamil behavior that became increasingly common during Rajapaksa’s divisive decade in power. [ full story | comments ]

Sri Lanka: A Troubling Spate of Arrests Across the Northern and Eastern Provinces

[ Huffington Post ][ Apr 29 02:44 GMT ]

A recent spate of arrests across Sri Lanka’s Tamil-dominated Northern and Eastern Provinces is cause for serious concern. It’s been more than fifteen months since Mahinda Rajapaksa was thrown out of power, yet the island nation’s state security personnel (the vast majority of whom are ethnic Sinhalese) don’t seem to have stopped their discriminatory ways. People for Equality and Relief in Lanka (PEARL), a non-profit organization, has released a press statement about these arrests. [ full story | comments ]

Colombo detains ITAK youth leader cum editor after criticism on PTA arrests

[ TamilNet ][ Apr 27 19:15 GMT ]

The notorious 'Terrorist' Investigation Division (TID), operated by the 'Defence Ministry' of genocidal Sri Lanka has arrested V.S. Sivakaran, the Youth Wing secretary of Ilangkai Thamizh Arasuk Kadchi (ITAK) and the editor of Tamil weekly ‘Puthiyavan’ on Wednesday afternoon at the paper office located on Mannaar Main street. Sivakaran's arrest is an attempt to suppress criticism being levelled against the abduction-styled arrests taking place in the Tamil homeland, journalists in North said. The arrest comes 2 days after Sivakaran went on record strongly condemning the PTA based arrests that have taken place in the North and East. [ full story | comments ]

Battle scars: Sri Lanka's north counts the cost of a 26-year war

[ CNBC ][ Apr 27 19:06 GMT ]

An equitable power sharing structure is crucial to resolving the nation's entrenched racial divisions, particularly as greater regional autonomy was a key request Tamil rebels made during wartime negotiations with Colombo, says Professor Subrata Mitra, director of the Institute of South Asian Studies at the National University of Singapore. But there's no consensus on how this can be achieved, he adds. Sirisena offered to establish a truth and reconciliation commission last year but the U.N. said the country was "not yet ready or equipped" to conduct a "credible investigation" that would address the gravity of the suspected violations. [ full story | comments ]

Tamil & Chinese-speaking pupils ahead of British children in reading and writing English

[ Express ][ Apr 27 18:51 GMT ]

Children whose mother tongue is Tamil are also doing better than those whose first language is English. Figures from the Department for Education reveal children recorded as speaking the Asian languages outperform English-speaking children in all year six tests. A higher proportion of Chinese or Tamil speakers get grade five or above in end of primary school SATs. In reading tests for children aged 10 and 11 around 50 per cent of children who have English as their first language get a grade five or above. [ full story | comments ]


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[Reuters - May 03, 2016 12:52:12 GMT]

Fists fly as Sri Lankan MPs protest changing of the guard for ex-president


[CNBC - Apr 29, 2016 2:54:06 GMT]

Sri Lankan struggle to recover from the economic and emotional wounds of civil war


[CNBC - Apr 27, 2016 19:06:20 GMT]

Battle scars: Sri Lanka's north counts the cost of a 26-year war


[Sunday Times - Apr 24, 2016 15:11:25 GMT]

Sirisena faces May Day test of strength, growing challenge from pro-Rajapaksa ‘JO’


[Huffington Post - Apr 22, 2016 3:05:18 GMT]

Rathika Sitsabaiesan, Former NDP MP, Now Wants To Run For Ontario Liberals


[The Diplomat - Apr 17, 2016 12:13:41 GMT]

Sri Lanka’s National Security Fearmongers


[IPS - Apr 08, 2016 3:23:28 GMT]

Sri Lanka Braces for Extreme Heat


[openDemocracy - Apr 08, 2016 3:20:51 GMT]

Activists in an international system: pushing for change in Sri Lanka


[Reuters - Apr 06, 2016 15:35:48 GMT]

Sri Lanka to negotiate $125 mln Chinese firm seeks for port delay


[Scarborough Mirror - Apr 06, 2016 4:15:17 GMT]

Toronto protests of 2009 shaped lives of young Tamils, author says


[DW - Apr 06, 2016 4:13:31 GMT]

Sri Lanka torture victims call for international war inquiry


[The Guardian - Mar 29, 2016 13:53:10 GMT]

Abbott's Sri Lanka comments 'excuse war crimes', Tamil refugee advocates say


[Quartz - Mar 28, 2016 10:08:27 GMT]

The Tamils of Sri Lanka are still stuck between a bloody past and hope


[Daily Mirror - Mar 19, 2016 11:32:40 GMT]

“perpetrators responsible for enforced disappearances” - R. Sampanthan


[Sunday Times - Mar 14, 2016 14:04:21 GMT]

Sirisena isolating Rajapaksa, also brings UPFA under his fold