News Category: Jaffna
  • Security breach during Narendra Modi's Sri Lanka visit, government probes
  •    [ Mar 22, 2015 1:53:39 GMT ] [ India Today ]

        Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Sri Lanka visit suffered a security breach when a Sri Lankan youth broke the security cordon in Jaffna and reached a vulnerable distance to the PM as he was about to board his car after a public event last Saturday. The Prime Minister's Office is monitoring the probe and the RAW and the Ministries of External Affairs and Home are also part of the investigation, an Indian Express report said. [ Full Report ]

  • ‘Security breach’ at PM Narendra Modi’s Jaffna event
  •    [ Mar 20, 2015 1:25:08 GMT ] [ Indian Express ]

        In a suspected security lapse that set off alarm bells in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s entourage, a Sri Lankan youth broke the security cordon in Jaffna and walked up to within handshaking distance of the PM as he was about to board his car following a public event there last Saturday. Sources said the Special Protection Group (SPG) is “looking into” the incident given that two of its officials were responsible for the section of the security cordon that the youth allegedly breached. [ Full Report ]

  • Sri Lanka's Tamil-majority region CM hits out at his PM for saying Indian fishermen will be shot at
  •    [ Mar 19, 2015 13:50:43 GMT ] [ CNN-IBN ]

        After Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Jaffna, the Chief Minister of Tamil-majority region in Sri Lanka hit out at Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe for his controversial comments on shooting trespassing Indian fishermen. Talking exclusively to CNN-IBN CV Vigneswaran said, "That is not the way for a head of government to say to a friendly country. As far as the fishermen are concerned, all deep sea trawlers must be sent to Bay of Bengal or the Arabian Sea." [ Full Report ]

  • Sri Lanka’s Tamil Minority Grows Impatient With Just Promises
  •    [ Mar 16, 2015 12:50:41 GMT ] [ New York Times ]

        There may be no place more beautiful on the breathtaking tropical island of Sri Lanka than the white sand beaches along the Palka Strait, which is why building a luxury resort here made sense. Still, there are drawbacks to staying at Thalsevana Holiday Resort. Arrive without a reservation, and you could be arrested. Stroll too far down the beach during a blood-red sunset, and a soldier carrying an automatic weapon will appear out of a bunker, declare that you have entered a high-security zone and order you to turn around. [ Full Report ]

  • Be patient with Sri Lankan govt.: Modi to Tamil leaders
  •    [ Mar 16, 2015 12:40:56 GMT ] [ The Hindu ]

        Prime Minister Narendra Modi has asked Sri Lanka’s Tamils to be patient with the new government in Colombo, The Hindu learns from sources. He met senior leaders of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) — the main party representing the island’s northern Tamils — in Colombo on Friday. Pointing to the “beginning of change” in the country following the victory of President Maithripala Sirisena in the January elections, Mr. Modi reportedly said the TNA should “help that change take place,” and not derail the process. [ Full Report ]

  • Modi Visits Tamils’ Cultural Heart in Tour of Sri Lanka
  •    [ Mar 16, 2015 12:38:11 GMT ] [ New York Times ]

        Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India brought his rock-star appeal to this island nation Saturday in a visit that has charmed this once deeply divided society. He became the first Indian prime minister to visit Jaffna, a city in this nation’s northern province that is still struggling to recover from decades of war between Tamil rebels and the central government. Mr. Modi, whose own country is home to millions of Tamils, has made a strong appeal for empowerment of Sri Lanka’s Tamil minority. [ Full Report ]

  • Modi showers promise of achche din for Jaffna
  •    [ Mar 14, 2015 15:44:52 GMT ] [ PTI ]

        Making a historic visit to a region once ravaged by strife, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday called for equitable development and respect for all citizens in Sri Lanka, seen as an oblique reference to Tamils who had suffered during the war between the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam and forces. Winding up his public engagements on his two-day trip to the island with a hugely-symbolic visit to Tamil-dominated Jaffna, the first by an Indian prime minister, he said he was glad that it "is one to wipe tears from the eyes of those who suffered". [ Full Report ]

  • PM Modi hands over houses in Jaffna, to meet Rajapaksa later today
  •    [ Mar 14, 2015 13:57:40 GMT ] [ Zee News ]

        PM Modi will meet former Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa later today in Colombo. Narendra Modi has returned to Colombo. This is a unique type of project - owner driven. This idea was started in Gujarat after 2001 earthquake: PM These houses are not merely walls of bricks and stone. These houses are an effort to make the lives of those who have suffered happier, says the PM. I am glad this programme, my final public programme, during my Sri Lanka visit, is one to wipe tears from the eyes of those who suffered: PM [ Full Report ]

  • Jaffna spreading message of peace to the world - Modi
  •    [ Mar 14, 2015 11:09:58 GMT ] [ Adaderana ]

        Jaffna is making a new mark for itself, spreading message of peace to the world, says Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “India is proud to have an opportunity to establish a unique and world-level cultural centre in Jaffna,” he said, addressing a gathering at Jaffna Public Library after laying the foundation stone for the iconic Jaffna Cultural Centre. When a library is established, a place where books can be found, it unites the generations, he said. [ Full Report ]

  • PM Narendra Modi Visits Jaffna in Sri Lanka
  •    [ Mar 14, 2015 11:07:26 GMT ] [ PTI ]

        PM Narendra Modi meets with Northern Province CM Wigneswaran in Jaffna Public Library. PM Modi flew to Jaffna by an Indian Air Force chopper after brief visits to the holy town of Anuradhapura where he offered prayers at the sacred Mahabodhi tree and Talaimannar where he flagged off a train service. He is only the second foreign leader to visit the battle-scarred region. British Prime Minister David Cameron had visited Jaffna during a Commonwealth summit in Colombo in November 2013. Jaffna is about 400 kilometres north of Colombo. [ Full Report ]

  • U.S. Embassy Visit Emphasizes Commitment to People of Sri Lanka
  •    [ Mar 11, 2015 19:08:07 GMT ] [ US Embassy -Colombo ]

        “This is a time of great potential for all of Sri Lanka, including the North,” said Mr. Mann. “We look forward to the resolution of a number of outstanding concerns for the people here, from returning land to addressing the issue of political prisoners and resolving missing persons’ cases.” The delegation also met with local journalists and civil society leaders to hear their views. “The United States will continue to promote human rights, good governance, transparency, accountability, and economic development for all the people of Sri Lanka,” said Mr. Mann. “We stand ready to work with the new government to help address these issues.” [ Full Report ]

  • India's Modi to visit Sri Lanka's Tamil heartland
  •    [ Mar 05, 2015 15:42:23 GMT ] [ AFP ]

        Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit Sri Lanka's former war zone and Tamil heartland of Jaffna during a visit to the island this month, the government said Thursday. Modi, who will also address parliament during his three-day visit, will be only the second foreign leader to visit Jaffna, the centre of bitter fighting between government forces and Tamil rebels seeking independence. "The Indian prime minister will visit Jaffna and later address the Sri Lankan parliament too," Sri Lankan Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne told reporters in Colombo. [ Full Report ]

  • After Sri Lanka Trip of Feltman, UN Won't Tell ICP If Got Genocide Resolution
  •    [ Mar 05, 2015 14:52:07 GMT ] [ InnerCity Press ]

        Nine days after the UN Human Rights Council under Joachim Rucker granted HCHR Zeid's request to withhold the already delayed report on war crimes in Sri Lanka, the UN on February 26 added Jaffna as a stop to the Sri Lanka visit by Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's highest political official Jeffrey Feltman.That came two days after Inner City Press asked if Feltman would go to Jaffna, site of protests of the delay, and was told "Colombo only." But when Inner City Press asked the UN on both March 3 and again on March 4 if Feltman while in Jaffna had received what's called the genocide resolution, and what he will do with it, the question has gone unanswered. [ Full Report ]

  • Missing Persons in Illegal Detention: CM
  •    [ Mar 04, 2015 15:31:12 GMT ] [ IE ]

        The Northern Province Chief Minister C V Wigneswaran has told President Maithripala Sirisena that many of the Tamils who had allegedly “disappeared” during the war, are actually in “unofficial” government detention. It is high time they were identified and an amnesty was given. Wesak comes on May 3. May I suggest an amnesty for them on that Holy Day?,”... Appealing to the President to look at the war-ravaged Northern and Eastern Provinces differently from other Lankan provinces, Wigneswaran said that administration in the North is hampered by a severe shortage of staff. [ Full Report ]

  • Jaffna may be on PM Modi’s Sri Lanka visit itinerary
  •    [ Feb 28, 2015 14:42:59 GMT ] [ Hindustan Times ]

        Prime Minister Narendra Modi may visit the Tamil-dominated Jaffna region during his trip to Sri Lanka next month. The PM is scheduled to reach Colombo from Mauritius on March 12. There is, however, no word on whether he would visit Maldives which is currently in turmoil over the arrest of former president Mohamed Nasheed, sources in South Block said. A Modi visit to the former stronghold of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) is likely to have immense political significance for Tamil Nadu where elections are due next year. The BJP is trying to enlarge its presence in the southern state. [ Full Report ]

  • UN Feltman's Visit to Sri Lanka Expands to Jaffna, Amid Protest of Delay
  •    [ Feb 26, 2015 20:22:25 GMT ] [ ICP ]

        Nine days after the UN Human Rights Council under Joachim Rucker granted HCHR Zeid's request to withhold the already delayed report on war crimes in Sri Lanka, the UN on February 24 added Jaffna as a stop to the Sri Lanka visit by Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's highest political official Jeffrey Feltman. This comes two days after Inner City Press asked Feltman would go to Jaffna, site of protests of the delay, and was told "Colombo only." But what will Feltman say, in Jaffna? What would Zeid say? [ Full Report ]

  • The mobile technology helping Sri Lanka cope with climate change
  •    [ Feb 25, 2015 13:34:56 GMT ] [ Reuters ]

        Floods and landslides linked to climate change have battered parts of Sri Lanka in the past two years, disrupting food output, but scientists believe a new programme to install low-cost weather stations based on open-source technology could help farmers adapt to increasingly wild weather. New Mobile Weather Stations, made mainly from local parts, are starting to give farmers quick access to rainfall data, so they can better plan for floods or other extreme weather, Yann Chemin, a scientist leading the new initiative, said on Tuesday. The easy-to-make sensors cost about $250 to produce compared with about $10,000 for standard weather stations, he said. [ Full Report ]

  • Tamils hold anti-UN protest in northern Sri LankaTamils protest in Sri Lanka
  •    [ Feb 24, 2015 18:57:53 GMT ] [ Dalje ]

        Tamil academics, politicians and activists staged an anti-United Nations protest Tuesday in northern Sri Lanka for its decision to delay a report on alleged crimes committed during the civil war, police officials said."We cannot delay a solution to the problems of the people affected by the war. The war crimes report should be published immediately," said A Rasakumara, president of the University Teachers' Association in Jaffna. The UN Human Rights Council said last week it would delay publication of the findings by six months, after the newly elected government said it would carry out its own investigation. [ Full Report ]

  • Protest in Jaffna over deferral of UNHRC report
  •    [ Feb 24, 2015 18:56:07 GMT ] [ Daily Mirror ]

        A protest was held outside the Jaffna University over the deferral of the UNHRC report on the probe into allegations of war crimes during the latter stages of the armed conflict. The University Students’Union which organised the protest said in a statement that justice had not been meted out to the Tamil people even after six years had passed since the war ended. It said that though the UNHRC had voted in favour of several resolutions on Sri Lanka the previous Government had ignored them. [ Full Report ]

  • Thousands protest in Jaffna rejecting domestic probe, demanding release of UN report
  •    [ Feb 24, 2015 18:40:29 GMT ] [ Tamil Guardian ]

        Thousands of Tamils protested in Jaffna this morning, calling on the UN Human Rights Council to release the report looking into mass atrocities committed against the Tamil people, the OHCHR Investigation on Sri Lanka (OISL) report, next month as planned. Rejecting any domestic inquiry conducted by the Sri Lankan state, protesters questioned how those responsible for mass atrocities can conduct a credible, independent investigation. The protest, organised by the Jaffna University civil society, including students and teachers, was unanimously endorsed by Tamil political parties and civil organisations in the North-East. Some even travelled from the East to take part. [ Full Report ]

  • Lanka’s Northern Council Passes Damning Resolution on Genocide
  •    [ Feb 10, 2015 15:40:42 GMT ] [ Indian Express ]

        Sri Lanka’s Tamil-majority Northern Provincial Council (NPC) on Tuesday unanimously passed a resolution saying that genocide of the Tamil minority has been continuous since 1948, and that the UN must investigate it, submit a report at the March session of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC), and refer its findings to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for further action. Expressing lack of faith in the current Lankan President, Maithripala Sirisena, and his ally, former Army Commander Gen.Sarath Fonseka, the resolution recalled that Sirisena was Acting Defense Minister at the height of the military assault on the Tamils in May 2009. And Gen.Fonseka had asserted that he strongly believes that Lanka “belongs to the Sinhalese.” [ Full Report ]

  • Northern PC adopts another resolution: calls for international investigation
  •    [ Feb 10, 2015 14:36:50 GMT ] [ Adaderana ]

        The resolution has provided information under the five topics of (a) Killing members of the group; (b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; (c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; (d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; and (e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group. [ Full Report ]

  • Real Executive Powers Of Provinces Rest With Chief Ministers, Not With Governors
  •    [ Feb 08, 2015 11:47:29 GMT ] [ Asian Mirror ]

        Function of democracy depends on rule of law and for ensuring proper function of rule of law the separation of powers is essential. In the process of progressing democratic system, the devolution of powers to the regional units of governance has become fourth pillar of the separation of powers, which in fact ensure the check and balance for good governing of the country. Whoever may be appointed as Governor since he is a representative of the President, imperative is how he acts in the governance of the province. Proper implementation is the essential step for the full implementation of the 13A of the Constitution of Sri Lanka. [ Full Report ]

  • New Sri Lankan president has delicate balancing act
  •    [ Jan 19, 2015 18:27:00 GMT ] [ Japan Times ]

        Once again the people of the Indian subcontinent have sprung a surprise with their commitment to democracy against all the odds. This time, Sri Lankans threw out their strongman President Mahindra Rajapaksa, even though he had brought an end to the long-running civil war and restored stability and high economic growth to a troubled land. Sri Lankans feared that Rajapaksa’s growing power was corrupting the country. Democracy through the ballot box is the easy part. Making true democracy work will tax the competence and commitment of the new government of President Maithripala Sirisena as well as the good will of the potentially rich multi-ethnic country. [ Full Report ]

  • Northern Expressway suspended
  •    [ Jan 19, 2015 10:42:21 GMT ] [ Daily Mirror ]

        The government has decided to suspend the execution of the northern expressway project initiated by the previous regime, till its cost effectiveness is fully checked, a minister said yesterday. Before the presidential election, then President Mahinda Rajapaksa ceremonially launched the project which was to be carried out under a loan agreement with China. The highway was due to link Colombo with Kandy via Kurunegala, and then Dambulla. The new Finance Minister, Ravi Karunanayake, said though such ceremonies were conducted to inaugurate the project, nothing had actually been done on the ground with regard to its implementation. [ Full Report ]

  • New Sri Lankan Leader Replaces Governor of Tamil Stronghold
  •    [ Jan 15, 2015 18:35:33 GMT ] [ New York Times ]

        A week after taking office, Sri Lanka’s new president reached out to ethnic Tamils in the country’s north on Thursday by appointing a new governor for the Northern Province, replacing a retired army commander with a retired diplomat. Tamil leaders have long complained that, five years after declaring victory over Tamil separatists, Sri Lanka’s government remained reluctant to demilitarize the former conflict zone, instead maintaining large detachments of army troops and vast military compounds there. [ Full Report ]

  • Maithripala Sirisena sacks governor in the Tamil-dominated Northern Province
  •    [ Jan 15, 2015 15:21:28 GMT ] [ PTI ]

        Sri Lanka's new President Maithripala Sirisena has sacked the ex-military governor of the Tamil-dominated Northern Province and replaced him with a civilian, in an effort to improve ties with the minority community in the war-ravaged region. Retired Major General GA Chandrasiri was replaced by HMGS Palihakkara, a distinguished retired Sri Lankan foreign service career officer, government officials said today. [ Full Report ]

  • Sri Lankan Tamils defy alleged intimidation to vote
  •    [ Jan 08, 2015 13:32:39 GMT ] [ AFP ]

        "There was a large crowd of people waiting to vote when this happened." Rajapakse is deeply unpopular in Tamil-dominated Jaffna for orchestrating a military campaign against the Tamil Tiger separatist rebels in which thousands of civilians were also killed. Tamils are Sri Lanka's biggest minority, accounting for 13 per cent of its 15 million voters, and could decide the election if the majority Sinhalese vote is split between Rajapakse and his main opponent. The main Tamil party, the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), has thrown its weight behind the opposition candidate Maithripala Sirisena. [ Full Report ]

  • Will Sri Lanka Elect the Devil It Knows?
  •    [ Jan 07, 2015 15:03:53 GMT ] [ New Yorker ]

        “There is a saying that the devil you know is better than the unknown angel,” Rajapaksa said. “I am the known devil, so please vote for me.” These two sentences encapsulated the swift and intriguing fall of the once-mighty President... And yet, despite this challenge, Rajapaksa may still win...he is now a veteran of many elections—“an old fox who can do this in his sleep,” as an Indian politician who knows him well put it...If Rajapaksa triumphs, he will likely hunker down with even greater tenacity, pulling his family closer still. He will bend the state and its machinery even more to the contours of his power, in ways that will bode poorly for Sri Lankan democracy. [ Full Report ]

  • Sri Lanka votes: President Mahinda Rajapaksa fights for his political life
  •    [ Jan 07, 2015 14:52:21 GMT ] [ SMH ]

        Insouciance is the hallmark of Sri Lanka's ever-beaming president, Mahinda Rajapaksa. It's hard to think of another politician who would campaign in Jaffna, the city once capital of a breakaway Tamil Tiger homeland, and ask its cowed population to vote for "the devil you know". As put by H.L. Seneviratne, a Sri Lankan professor of anthropology in the United States: "They have defined this victory as a license to eat, drink and be merry, amass wealth by means foul or fair, tax the poor, sell national assets, commit any illegality with impunity, and in general, do as they please in anything and everything, with no one allowed to ask any questions." [ Full Report ]

  • In Sri Lanka’s Northern Province, an anti-Rajapaksa wave
  •    [ Jan 06, 2015 10:47:10 GMT ] [ Hindu ]

        Rajapaksa has failed in post-war reconciliation, Tamils feel. However, many of them don’t see this as ‘their election’ and can’t see how their lives will change after the polls...Northern Tamils don’t see Maithripala Sririsena as being very different from President Mahinda Rajapaksa. “Both were after all in the same party, working together during the war. However, the Tamils are determined to unseat Mr. Rajapaksa and that is why they will vote for Mr. Sirisena,”...Northern Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran said in a statement: “a vote against the [Rajapaksa] regime is a vote for democracy.” [ Full Report ]

  • On the ‘known devil’ and Sri Lanka’s choices
  •    [ Jan 04, 2015 11:22:34 GMT ] [ Sunday Times ]

        President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s call to Tamil voters during a rally in the North this week to vote for the ‘known devil’ is typical of the unabashedly unapologetic tone of his election campaign. After four years of relentlessly rolling back Sri Lanka’s constitutional freedoms and the Rule of Law, much needed humility would have been well in order on the part of this Presidency. Instead, what we have are arrogant, brash and let it be clearly said, foolish boasts. Even at the bare minimum, the focus is not, (borrowing from opposing candidate Maithripala Sirisena’s theme), on confession of past mistakes coupled with promises of redress. [ Full Report ]

  • Postwar Sri Lanka’s Awkward Peace
  •    [ Dec 29, 2014 11:27:33 GMT ] [ NewYork Times ]

        “They ask me, ‘Now are things good here?’ And I tell them no,” he said. “They look at us as if we are exhibits in a museum. They think we are funny people. They think they won and we lost. Though they don’t say it directly.” “Terrorism memories,” Mr. Kavinda said happily, as he scrambled back onto the train. “They want to know how their soldiers defeated Tamil separatists, put it that way,” said Mr. Subramanian, a Tamil. “That’s what it is, though they don’t say so.” [ Full Report ]

  • The heart of Jaffna Tamil community
  •    [ Dec 17, 2014 15:22:36 GMT ] [ Star ]

        “The area was where the first generation of Jaffna (Sri Lankan) Tamil community in Malaya settled. Many of them were government clerks staying at the Hundred Quarters. Further away, where KL Sentral and Brickfields Asia College are now situated, stood rows of government quarters for Indian civil servants back then. “They sweated blood to build these establishments to preserve their culture and heritage,” said an old-timer of Brickfields who preferred to remain anonymous. [ Full Report ]

  • North in a debt trap
  •    [ Dec 12, 2014 11:15:25 GMT ] [ Sunday Times ]

        Incessant campaigning by finance companies, including door-to-door canvassing, has caused rising debt in the Northern Province amongst people who are only just emerging from a debilitating war, community leaders say. Newspapers are writing of suicides related to an inability to settle dues, although there has been no scientific research to connect these deaths with indebtedness. Several crop failures caused by drought have severely eroded farmer incomes, making it impossible for many to pay off loans. “A severe problem is that most of the people are struggling to settle credit,” said Father Christy Daniel, an Anglican priest in Kilinochchi. “These loans have been taken at the beginning of life after resettlement. They are now finding it difficult to pay.” [ Full Report ]

  • Jaffna’s youth hit the bottle
  •    [ Nov 23, 2014 16:31:56 GMT ] [ Sunday Times ]

        More than 15,000 litres of alcohol are consumed daily in the former war-torn district of Jaffna – a dramatic increase in liquor consumption patterns, statistics from the Excise Department reveal. Figures show some 6 million litres of arrack and beer and 5m litres of toddy were consumed last year in Jaffna district, which has a population of under 600,000. This year, 4.2m litres of beer and arrack were consumed in Jaffna up to September. [ Full Report ]

  • Sri Lanka north assembly calls for release of Tamil detainees
  •    [ Nov 20, 2014 14:56:04 GMT ] [ PTI ]

        Sri Lanka's Northern Provincial Council today unanimously adopted a resolution calling for urgent action for the release of Tamil political prisoners. The resolution was adopted unanimously to this effect, said Council's Chairman CVK Sivagnanam. The Northern Provincial Council is controlled by the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), an amalgam of five Tamil parties. According to the resolution, some of the Tamil political prisoners have spent between 8-15 years in jail and are continued to be held without charges. [ Full Report ]

  • World Bank HOODWINKED
  •    [ Nov 17, 2014 14:19:47 GMT ] [ Nation ]

        A police investigation has now been launched into a fraud amounting to millions of rupees allegedly committed by several senior officials of the Northern Provincial Council (NPC). The alleged fraud involves a project funded by the World Bank. The World Bank, meanwhile, through its Senior External Affairs Officer Sandya Salgado said it was also now ‘looking into the matter in accordance with the World Bank’s Policy on Fraudulent Practice’. Over Rs.100 million had allegedly been defrauded from funds allocated to the project, according to Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Parliamentarian Suresh Premachandran. The Nation also has in its possession documents that do point to corruption over a large scale of this project. [ Full Report ]

  • Yal Devi runaway success, more trains on track
  •    [ Nov 10, 2014 2:23:48 GMT ] [ Sunday Times ]

        Raking in Rs. 10 million since its launch on October 13, the northern-bound Yal Devi has become the highest revenue earner for the Railways Department, which now wants to put on more trains. About 10,000 people are using the train for day-to-day activities, earning the department Rs. 600,000 daily. Given the increase of passengers travelling to the north, the department has decided to launch a second night mail train as well as local train services between Jaffna and Kilinochchi, said Sri Lanka Railways General Manager V. Amaratunga. [ Full Report ]

  • Northern travel ban provokes international warnings
  •    [ Oct 27, 2014 7:25:45 GMT ] [ Sunday Times ]

        A number of countries have revised their travel advisories to reflect recent Defence Ministry restrictions on foreigners wishing to go north of Omanthai. Among them are the United States, Canada, Britain, Germany, France, Australia and Japan. Most European countries have advised their citizens to exercise caution when visiting Sri Lanka with some urging them to avoid all non-essential travel to “certain areas”. Britain was the first to update its advisory following the October 15 Defence Ministry announcement that all foreign travellers to the north must obtain its permission. [ Full Report ]

  • Unfinished war in Sri Lanka threatens paradise regained
  •    [ Oct 22, 2014 10:14:29 GMT ] [ Reuters ]

        Tamil politicians and religious leaders accuse authorities of giving jobs to the majority Sinhalese population, saying there is a policy of "Sinhalisation" - aimed at changing the predominately Tamil demographic in the north. Tamil names of places such as Mathngal and Kantharodai in Jaffna, have been changed to the Sinhala names of Jambukolapatuna and Kathurugoda, add residents. What dampens much of Tamil confidence in a genuine reconciliation is the looming security presence in the north with countless high-walled military camps, packed security trucks and patrols, and soldiers running small shops and hotels. [ Full Report ]

  • Reconnecting Sri Lanka's north: Slow train through Jaffna
  •    [ Oct 15, 2014 2:56:01 GMT ] [ The Economist ]

        RAIL services between the south of Sri Lanka and its battle-scarred northern peninsula resumed on October 13th, for the first time in 24 years. Moments after the first train to complete the reopened service chugged to a halt at the new Jaffna railway station, teenagers bounded onto the tracks to take pictures with their mobile phones. They would have spent most of their lives weathering a brutal war between Tamil Tiger rebels and the government. The last time a ticket had been sold at Jaffna station, near the heart of the insurgency fought on behalf of the country’s Tamil minority, they were yet to be born. [ Full Report ]

  • Rajapaksa re-launches Yal Devi; Wigneswaran gives it a miss
  •    [ Oct 15, 2014 2:55:04 GMT ] [ The Hindu ]

        Northern Province Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran stayed away from a ceremony on Monday in which President Mahinda Rajapaksa re-launched train services to Jaffna. When contacted, Mr. Wigneswaran told The Hindu: “Our letter to President refers to our keeping away from all functions he is staging in the Northern Province,” referring to an October 10 letter, in which he said the Sri Lankan government had carried out consultations in the North without informing the Provincial Council. A huge crowd gathered on Monday morning to see the special train that chugged into the reconstructed Jaffna station, nearly 25 years after the island’s civil war destroyed the region’s rail network. [ Full Report ]

  • Sri Lanka's Colombo-Jaffna railway reopens
  •    [ Oct 14, 2014 13:36:57 GMT ] [ BBC ]

        A popular Sri Lankan rail service known as the "Queen of Jaffna" has reopened, linking the capital, Colombo, to Jaffna in the country's north. President Mahinda Rajapaksa inaugurated the newly renovated railway line, which was closed 24 years ago during Sri Lanka's bloody civil war. The railway had provided a vital link between north and south, transporting goods and people through the country. Its reopening is seen by many as a positive symbol of post-war Sri Lanka. [ Full Report ]

  • Back on track! The Queen of Jaffna train rides again along 250-mile route 24 years after it was suspended during Sri Lankan civil war
  •    [ Oct 14, 2014 13:33:45 GMT ] [ Daily Mail ]

        Cheered by tens of thousands of people, a train decorated with banana trees and colorful flower garlands arrived in Jaffna, the capital of Sri Lanka's northern Tamil heartland, 24 years after the 'Queen of Jaffna' was suspended due to a bloody civil war. 'Yarl Devi,' as it is known in Tamil, was once a popular mode of transport between the ethnic Tamil-majority north and the Sinhala-majority south. It was scaled back in 1990 because of the heightening of the war between the government and the Tamil Tigers, who were fighting to create an independent state for the country's ethnic minority Tamils. [ Full Report ]

  • New Trains, New Hopes, Old Anguish
  •    [ Oct 14, 2014 13:31:05 GMT ] [ IPS ]

        The kids of Kodikaman, a dusty village straddling the newly laid railway line in Sri Lanka’s northern Jaffna District, enjoy a special treat these days. For hours on end, they wait expectantly at the edge of the rails for a track construction engine to pass by; when it nears, they rush to place metal coins on the track and when the trundling vehicle has passed, they run back gleefully to pick up the disfigured money. This little ritual is just one of many signs that the new line, re-laid here after 24 years, is a big deal all over the Vanni, the northern region of Sri Lanka that bore the brunt of the country’s three-decade-old conflict that ended in May 2009. [ Full Report ]

  • Travel restrictions as President visits North
  •    [ Oct 12, 2014 10:07:27 GMT ] [ Sunday Times ]

        The Government has imposed an indefinite travel ban on visits by foreign passport holders including tourists to the North, a senior Army officer said yesterday.The announcement came as President Mahinda Rajapaksa today begins a three-day visit to the north where he will take part in a series of functions in Kilinochchi, Mullaitivu and Jaffna including the opening of the railway track from Pallai to Jaffna.President Rajapaksa earlier this year visited Jaffna, but no travel restrictions were imposed then. [ Full Report ]

  • India puts Jaffna train back on rails
  •    [ Oct 07, 2014 13:06:36 GMT ] [ The Hindu ]

        The iconic Yal Devi Express from Colombo to Jaffna will resume its run on October 13, some 25 years after the link was suspended during the height of the Sri Lankan civil war. IRCON, an Indian Railways subsidiary, restored a section of the line from Omanthai to Pallai in the Northern Province, damaged during the war, with a $800-million line of credit from India. Nearly 4,000 people, 400 of them skilled labourers from India, have been working on the project for over four years. Connecting the south to the north, the 339-km line, inaugurated in 1894, is the longest on the island. [ Full Report ]

  • News from Jaffna: A young reporter dares to cover press freedom in one of the world's most dangerous places for journalists - Sri Lanka.
  •    [ Oct 01, 2014 21:01:09 GMT ] [ Al Jazeera ]

        Despite the dangers involved in working for the Tamil newspaper Uthayan in Jaffna, young journalists like Thadsa still join their ranks. Apart from the chief editor, Uthayan does not have a single news journalist over the age of 40. As they grow older, young journalists come under family pressure to find a safer job. Thadsa is passionate about reporting and wants to cover a story on a journalist who disappeared in 2007, and look into the ongoing restrictions to press freedoms in Sri Lanka today. [ Full Report ]

  • Northern Governor should emulate Colombo Mayor – Defence Secy
  •    [ Sep 17, 2014 12:31:56 GMT ] [ CDN ]

        Defence and Urban Development Ministry Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa said that if the maximum benefits of the government’s endeavour to create an environment that encourages a high quality of life are to be enjoyed, local government institutions irrespective of whatever party is in power, must cooperate with the Central Government. He also said that fortunately in Colombo though the opposition is in power in the local governing body, the Mayor and others corporate with the government but in the Northern Province the lack of corporation on the part of the Chief Minister has denied the people the maximum benefits. - See more at: [ Full Report ]

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