News Archives
  • Sikhs and Tamils celebrate their New Year in Singapore

  •    [ Apr 14, 2015 19:02:44 GMT ] [ CNA ]

        Many Indian communities, including the Tamils and Sikhs, are celebrating their New Year this week. The Sikhs celebrated Vesakhi on Tuesday (Apr 14). The community also kicked off a series of celebrations to mark SG50. The light-up at the Central Sikh Temple, along Towner Road, on Tuesday evening marked the highlight of the 300-year-old festival. The community has also organised a slew of activities, such as Sikh Environment Day and Saviour Day (Rakhewala) for the month of April. In May, the spotlight will be on how Sikh ladies celebrate SG50 with the Women's Festival. [ Full Report ]

  • Sri Lanka President Wishes for Ethnic Unity on Sri Lankan New Year

  •    [ Apr 14, 2015 13:36:53 GMT ] [ PTI ]

        Sri Lanka's President Maithripala Sirisena today wished for unity between the country's Sinhala majority and its Tamil minority on the occasion of Sinhalese New Year, which is celebrated by both communities. "What is special in this New Year celebration is the spread of festivity amidst the commitment to good governance that transcends differences of ethnicity, caste and community with important strides being taken to realise the need for unity among all our people," Mr Sirisena said. [ Full Report ]

  • Canadians Wary of Nuclear Deal as India’s Narendra Modi Visits

  •    [ Apr 14, 2015 12:50:32 GMT ] [ Bloomberg ]

        With Narendra Modi set to arrive in Canada for the first visit by an Indian prime minister in a generation, a poll shows Canadians are wary of striking a uranium deal with the country. Modi arrives Tuesday for a three-day visit to Canada, the first by an Indian prime minister in over 40 years. He’s due to meet with political and business leaders, while a possible deal to sell Cameco Corp. [ Full Report ]

    - Protest planned for Indian PM's visit to Toronto 15 - Toronto Sun
  • Sri Lanka: Can Sirisena Deliver on Reforms?

  •    [ Apr 14, 2015 10:19:16 GMT ] [ Diplomat ]

        When Rajapaksa left office, there was hope that things in Sri Lanka were changing for the better, that Rajapaksa’s unexpected defeat would quickly take the country back from the brink of autocracy. The U.N. Human Rights Council’s decision to delay the release of a report on wartime atrocities confirms that the international community still believes that Sri Lanka’s new government is intent on delivering positive change. For now, then, it might be wise to keep the unbridled optimism and talk about “extraordinary positive change” in check. Sri Lanka’s complex political transition – towards more responsible governance, lasting institutional reform, and healing the wounds of three decades of war – is still in its early stages. [ Full Report ]

  • Sri Lanka police in Jaffna criticised for arrest and intimidation of journalists

  •    [ Apr 14, 2015 10:10:30 GMT ] [ IFJ ]

        The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the Free Media Movement (FMM) condemn the heavy-handed action of Sri Lankan police in charging a freelance journalist on Wednesday, April 8 in Jaffna. The IFJ said this attack on press freedom appeared to be aimed at intimidatintg the media. "The FMM urges the government to investigate these incidents at the same time to implement structural and policy changes to avoid such incidents in the future.” “This is clearly an attempt by police to intimidate journalists in Jaffna and shows the dismal status of press freedom in Sri Lanka even after the promise by the new government to improve safety situation” [ Full Report ]

  • McMaster student’s short film thesis will screen at Cannes festival

  •    [ Apr 14, 2015 9:52:12 GMT ] [ Our Windsor ]

        A McMaster student's creative approach to a master's thesis will première at the Cannes International Film Festival this year. The emotional 15-minute docudrama, written and directed by 32-year-old French master's student Charmini Peli Kankanamalage, plays as a message to the unborn son of a Sri Lankan mother struggling to dissect her thoughts after leaving her war-torn country. "I did not want my thesis on a shelf in a library," said Peli Kankanamalage, who hopes the film will reach people who can relate to her story. "I would rather it be on YouTube, where everyone can see it." [ Full Report ]

  • Sri Lanka: Relatives of “disappeared” Tamils protest in Colombo

  •    [ Apr 13, 2015 8:59:51 GMT ] [ WSWS ]

        Several dozen relatives of Tamils who were arrested or abducted during the communal war conducted by successive governments in the country’s north and east joined a picket in Colombo last Tuesday. Most of the protesters were mothers and wives. Many travelled overnight from the northern Mannar district. Holding photographs of their missing loved ones, they demanded that the government release them. They suspect that their children and husbands are alive and detained in secret camps. [ Full Report ]

  • Sri Lanka releases Army-controlled land in Northern Province

  •    [ Apr 13, 2015 8:59:13 GMT ] [ PTI ]

        Sri Lanka's new government has released 570 acres of privately-owned land in the Tamil- dominated Northern Province that were until now held by the army, as part of a reconciliation with the minority community. Sri Lanka Army's Brigadier Jayanath Jayaweera said that privately-owned land held by the military in Jaffna Peninsula's Valikamam sector was released to the charge of the chief administration officer there. The district secretariat office will formally hand the land over to their rightful owners, Jayaweera said. [ Full Report ]

  • Paradise once more in SriLanka

  •    [ Apr 13, 2015 8:57:58 GMT ] [ Jakarta Post ]

        My late grandmother Victoria Gonzales once told me that Sri Lanka was really beautiful. “Even more beautiful than Kerala,” she said, which is quite a thing for a Malayalee to say. But she was talking about Sri Lanka in the late 1930s when she stopped over on the way from India to Malaya. I have always been quite keen to visit Sri Lanka. About a decade ago, I was assigned to go there, but the trip was cancelled because of two bomb attacks. I took it in my stride because that’s what you expected of Sri Lanka. For as long as I remember, there was strife there. The separatist war waged by the Tamil minority Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) against the Singhala majority government was the main focal point ... [ Full Report ]

  • Sirisena, Ranil struggling for good governance with backs to the wall

  •    [ Apr 12, 2015 13:10:47 GMT ] [ Sunday Times ]

        Ahead of last Wednesday’s weekly meeting of ministers; President Maithripala Sirisena was locked in conversation with Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. After he handed over a document, Wickremesinghe was poring over it. Later, the duo arrived for the ministerial meeting which is conducted in the refurbished Well of the former Parliament and now Presidential Secretariat. It was there that Sirisena announced the contents to the ministers. Those were the findings of the three-judge bench of the Supreme Court on petitions before it over the Bill titled 19th Amendment to the Constitution. The SC held that some key provisions required approval at a referendum since they were entrenched clauses. The bench headed by Chief Justice K. Sripavan included Justices Chandra Ekanayake and Priyasath Dep. [ Full Report ]

  • Seeking An Opposition Leader

  •    [ Apr 12, 2015 13:10:06 GMT ] [ Sunday Leader ]

        With the Ilankai Tamil Arasu Kachchi (ITAK) formally informing Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa last Friday that it wants the opposition leader post, the fight for the post has become a three -way battle. In a letter to the Speaker on Friday the ITAK said that they are entitled to the post, because they have 14 members of parliament (MPs). The ITAK letter shows that no MP elected from the UPFA or the UNP can be the Leader of the Opposition. “This clearly is the legal position as well as one that accords with parliamentary tradition, both of our country and the Commonwealth.” [ Full Report ]

  • 100-day programme a mixed bag

  •    [ Apr 12, 2015 13:07:25 GMT ] [ Sunday Times ]

        As the Government’s 100-Day programme draws to an end, before an impending dissolution of Parliament, political parties, trade unions, student leaders and public have voiced mixed reactions over its implementation. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe this week defended the programme, saying the Government has looked beyond the 100-Day programme promises, while some of them were being implemented. However, Opposition political parties say that, despite Government claims, some of the promises including the purchase of paddy at the guaranteed price of Rs 50 a kg, concessions to those who have pawned their jewellery, a code of ethics for MPs and a National Audit Bill among others have yet to see the light of day. [ Full Report ]

  • We Have No Hidden Agenda In Sri Lanka

  •    [ Apr 12, 2015 13:04:58 GMT ] [ Sunday Leader ]

        From the day the new Government took office, China’s dominance in Sri Lanka has been slowly pushed to the back seat. The suspension of the mega Port City project was the biggest blow the Chinese faced. In an interview with The Sunday Leader, the Deputy Head of Mission at the Chinese Embassy in Sri Lanka, Ren Faqiang, expressed regret over the manner in which China has come under fire over several development projects and said that while China had only intended to assist Sri Lanka, the allegations raised against some Chinese projects are tarnishing China’s image. [ Full Report ]

  • Coalition Politics: New Lessons Learnt

  •    [ Apr 12, 2015 13:03:29 GMT ] [ Sunday Leader ]

        The confrontational situation that has arisen in regard to passing the 19th Amendment to the Constitution may create a political crisis. This is a problem that has to be managed with great care. There are a number of parties staunchly opposed to any change to the Executive Presidency. On April 9, the Speaker has stated in parliament that a number of provisions of the 19th amendment should be subject to a referendum, and others should be passed with 2/3 majority- this situation where the matter has to be taken up to the Supreme Court would have been avoided if there was an open discussion among parties about these issues, and some kind of consensus. [ Full Report ]

  • Sri Lanka President expels Rajapaksa loyalists from key body

  •    [ Apr 12, 2015 13:02:00 GMT ] [ PTI ]

        Sri Lanka's new President Maithripala Sirisena has sacked five members from his Freedom Party's central committee in a bid to consolidate his position ahead of plans to adopt the 19th amendment to the Constitution, curtailing executive powers of the President. The Central Committee has notified former ministers Bandula Gunawardena, SM Chandrasena, TB Ekanayake, Rohitha Abeygunawardena and Salinda Dissanayake that they have been removed from the Committee. [ Full Report ]

  • Positive change in prospects for North, says top UNDP official

  •    [ Apr 12, 2015 11:08:18 GMT ] [ Sunday Times ]

        “Our commitment is the same, regardless of who is in government,” Haoliang Xu continued. “But, of course, every new government provides opportunities to reassess priorities, needs, and how you can collaborate. I’m here to understand the perspectives after elections. And I am also very much aware that you have another election coming up. So it is very important to stay engaged, to understand emerging needs and priorities, so we can provide a more coherent, relevant support.” Asked how any donor agency could formulate plans when the Government was so unstable, Mr. Haoliang said, “Let’s hope this is temporary.” [ Full Report ]

  • Observations by the Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence, Mr. Pablo de Greiff

  •    [ Apr 12, 2015 11:01:03 GMT ] [ OHCHR ]

        In the past, Sri Lanka has established numerous commissions of inquiry for mass violations. They have not contributed to closing the significant confidence gap between communities, to securing the rights of victims to truth, justice, reparation, and guarantees of non-recurrence, or to making State institutions more trustworthy in the eyes of citizens.There are violations that we cannot simply expect others to forget. Redressing those violations is not a matter of personal recollection, but of fundamental, basic rights. Hence, the aim should be the articulation of a State policy, rather than a particular Government’s policy that might be abrogated once new authorities are in place. [ Full Report ]

  • ‘Monkey Kingdom’ hangs out with primates in Sri Lanka

  •    [ Apr 12, 2015 3:24:14 GMT ] [ Boston Globe ]

        In the new Disneynature film “Monkey Kingdom,” which opens Friday, the protagonists, a group of jungle-dwelling toque macaque monkeys, make their screen debut to the theme song from the 1960s sitcom “The Monkees.” “Hey, hey, we’re the Monkees/ And people say we monkey around.” Yes, they certainly do monkey around. They groom each other. They dangle from vines. They cannonball into a river. “I know what you’re thinking,” says narrator Tina Fey. Being a monkey seems like “fun and games.” But the interpersonal order of these toque macaques, who inhabit a “land of myth and legend” that includes an abandoned temple complex in Sri Lanka, is as cutthroat as the high school clique system. [ Full Report ]

  • No imported model will fit SL – Anti-apartheid activist Dr. I. Jenkins

  •    [ Apr 12, 2015 3:22:55 GMT ] [ Ceylon Today ]

        Ivor H. Jenkins of Pretoria, South Africa, received a honorary doctorate from North Park University, Chicago, USA for his years of anti-apartheid activism and — since the end of the apartheid era — for his efforts in justice, reconciliation and democracy-building within and far beyond the borders of South Africa, and he has been involved in reconciliation and peace building initiative for Sri Lanka for almost eight years. During apartheid years, Dr. Jenkins was deemed an enemy by the regime in power. He was harassed and threatened by government forces and 13 shots were fired into Jenkins' home in Pretoria under official orders. [ Full Report ]

  • China’s listening post in Indian Ocean

  •    [ Apr 12, 2015 3:22:03 GMT ] [ SAAG ]

        When Sri Lanka’s new President Maithripala Sirisena recently visited China he was literally squeezed by the Chinese leaders not to review the Chinese investments and infrastructure projects in his country and secure Chinese interests. Sirisena had little room to manoeuere Sri Lanka is in a difficult financial situation. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) rejected a request from the Sri Lankan government for a US $ 4 billion loan to restructure debt payment on Chinese loans. Obviously, Sri Lanka has been caught in a Chinese debt trap. Parts of the country seem to have been mortgaged to China to assist Beijing in its advance into the Indian Ocean (see Robert D. Kaplan’s article in March 2009 issue of the Foreign Affairs magazine). [ Full Report ]

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