News Archives
  • Sri Lanka's president dissolves parliament

  •    [ Jun 26, 2015 15:45:47 GMT ] [ BBC ]

        Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena has dissolved parliament, paving the way for an early general election. "The president signed a gazette notification dissolving parliament with effect from midnight today," government spokesman Rajitha Senaratne said. The general election was not scheduled for another 10 months. Mr Sirisena defeated incumbent Mahinda Rajapaksa in presidential elections held in January. [ Full Report ]

    - Sri Lanka leader dissolves parliament, seeking fresh mandate for reforms - Reuters
    - Sri Lanka’s president sacks parliament: Official - AFP
  • Rajapaksa’s plans for polls

  •    [ Jun 26, 2015 12:43:52 GMT ] [ The Hindu ]

        Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa is keen on getting the views of leaders and members of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and the party’s allies before taking any decision about his participation in the Parliamentary polls, Dilan Perera, SLFP spokesperson, said on Friday. “He is willing to do anything to keep the party united,” the spokesperson replied, to a query whether the former President would agree not to contest in the elections on the condition that most of the party tickets was given to his supporters. [ Full Report ]

    - ‘No decision on dissolving Parliament’ - The Hindu
  • The 19th Amendment and the future of Sri Lanka

  •    [ Jun 26, 2015 12:42:14 GMT ] [ Groundviews ]

        Excellencies of the diplomatic community, Mr Abeykoon, Secretary to the President, officials of the Presidential Secretariat, ladies and gentleman, It may sound as if I am repeating what has already been said when I say that I share the sentiments expressed by both Mr. Dhanapala and Prof. Munasinghe. To me, as a citizen, the 19th Amendment brings new beginnings. I say that because, sometimes we suffer in this country from a collective sense of amnesia. We also know that this country has many good laws. But our problem is that even when we have the law in the books and we do not implement it. [ Full Report ]

  • Up-country Tamils: The Forgotten 4.2%

  •    [ Jun 26, 2015 12:38:23 GMT ] [ Sway ]

        Sri Lanka has long been synonymous with fine tea; with a plantation history dating back to 1862 to an export value estimated to reach US$ 2,500 million this year, the humble beverage is the island’s pride across the globe. Accounting for nearly 14% of the country’s total export earnings, it is among the nation’s most valuable and prized produce. However, history has and might continue to overlook the most important cogs in the large machine that is the tea industry of Sri Lanka; the people without whose tireless labour this process would grind to a screeching halt – the workers on the tea estates. [ Full Report ]

  • Emirates A380 makes emergency landing in Colombo

  •    [ Jun 26, 2015 12:11:35 GMT ] [ AFP ]

        An Emirates A380 plane with more than 500 people on board had to make an emergency landing in Sri Lanka due to a "technical fault", aviation officials said. The aircraft was en route to Dubai from Sydney when it was diverted to Colombo, where it landed safely early on Friday morning. "‎Emirates flight EK413 from Sydney to Dubai... was diverted to Colombo due to a technical fault," the airline said in a statement that gave no details about the nature of the problem. [ Full Report ]

  • Sri Lanka’s Mahendran Seeks Overseas Loans to Reduce Debt Costs

  •    [ Jun 26, 2015 10:21:56 GMT ] [ Bloomberg ]

        Sri Lankan central bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran is seeking concessional overseas loans to refinance costlier debt and reduce reliance on global bond markets. “We are looking at tens of billions of dollars” from lenders including the U.S., Japan and the European Union, Mahendran said in a telephone interview from Colombo. Concessional credit will “eventually refinance most of the commercial lending the country has contracted in the last five to seven years.”Under former President Mahinda Rajapaksa Sri Lanka raised $5.5 billion from sovereign bonds with coupons averaging 6.5 percent as it built roads, ports and power plants following the end of a civil war in 2009. [ Full Report ]

  • ICTJ Dispatch: Eduardo Gonzalez on Sri Lanka

  •    [ Jun 25, 2015 20:54:54 GMT ] [ ICTJ ]

        Following the defeat of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE, or Tamil Tigers) by the military in 2009, the Sri Lankan government of the former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, aggressively denied allegations that thousands of civilians have been killed in the final military operation. Despite a damning report by a UN Secretary General’s Commission of Experts which alleged that “tens of thousands of civilians” were killed in the Vanni region between January and May of 2009, the Rajapaksa government would soon be defined by its lack of responsibility for and denial of the allegations. [ Full Report ]

  • Sri Lankan soldier sentenced to death for wartime murders

  •    [ Jun 25, 2015 20:51:10 GMT ] [ Reuters ]

        A Sri Lankan army officer was sentenced to death on Thursday for murdering eight Tamil civilians, including four children, in a verdict officials said showed the state was dealing with crimes committed during its 26-year civil war. Sergeant Sunil Ratnayake detained the four Tamil adults, three teenagers and one five-year-old in 2000, then cut their throats and buried them in a mass grave in the northern Jaffna peninsula, the Colombo High Court heard. "Finally, after a long process, justice is delivered ... This also shows that we definitely have the capacity to conduct a credible investigation,” prosecutor and Additional Solicitor General Sarath Jayamanna told Reuters. [ Full Report ]

  • Eight Indians arrested at Sri Lanka airport for smuggling gold

  •    [ Jun 25, 2015 20:47:11 GMT ] [ PTI ]

        The eight Indians were nabbed along with a Sri Lankan national while they were on board a flight to Chennai at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA). Eight Indians were on Thursday off loaded from a Chennai-bound flight and arrested by Sri Lankan customs officials at the international airport here for allegedly smuggling 1.2 kg of gold to India by hiding it in their rectums. The eight Indians were nabbed along with a Sri Lankan national while they were on board a flight to Chennai at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA). The men, aged between 19 and 58, were deboarded from the Sri Lankan airlines flight UL 125 and on search 1200 grammes of gold were recovered from them. [ Full Report ]

  • Rustom-1 drone to monitor maritime boundary with Lanka

  •    [ Jun 25, 2015 20:45:46 GMT ] [ Business Standard ]

        The international maritime boundary line (IMLB) between India and Sri Lanka, frequently violated by fisherfolk and smugglers from both sides, could soon be kept under surveillance by the Rustom-1 unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) - a drone developed by the Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO). The DRDO tells Business Standard it is working with the navy to fit the Rustom-1 with an Automatic Identification System (AIS) that will identify Indian fishing vessels along the maritime boundary. The AIS on the Rustom-1 will transmit an "interrogator" signal that reflects back from a transponder that will be fitted on every Indian fishing boat. [ Full Report ]

  • Sri Lanka and China Navies to strengthen mutual relationship

  •    [ Jun 25, 2015 10:27:29 GMT ] [ SL MoD ]

        The Commander of the Navy, Vice Admiral Jayantha Perera made an official visit to China recently at the invitation of the Commander in Chief of the People's Liberation Army Navy of the People's Republic of China, Admiral Wu Shengli. During the four day visit, the Commander of the Navy met the Chinese Defense Minister Chang Wanquan and exchanged views on defence related matters of mutual interest giving emphasis to training between the two navies. They also discussed the acquisition of a large naval ship to the Sri Lanka Navy from China. Pledging to strengthen the military co-operation, Minister Chang said that China is ready to maintain the strategic cooperative partnership and the smooth development of military-to-military ties in various fields. [ Full Report ]

  • US wants to build lasting peace and fellowship in Sri Lanka - Atul Keshap, the nominee for US Ambassador to Sri Lanka

  •    [ Jun 25, 2015 10:25:08 GMT ] [ Shillong Times ]

        The United States wants to build a lasting peace and fellowship among Sri Lanka’s various religious and ethnic groups, President Barack Obama’s ambassadorial nominee for Sri Lanka told lawmakers on Wednesday.“We want to help build a lasting peace and fellowship among Sri Lanka’s ethnic and religious communities, including credible justice, accountability and reconciliation that can facilitate closure for those who suffered and lost loved ones during the war,” Atul Keshap, the nominee for US Ambassador to Sri Lanka, told members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during his confirmation hearing. “It is important to get this right, and the UN and international community can lend useful insight to the efforts of the Sri Lankan people,” Keshap said. [ Full Report ]

  • Sri Lanka attempts to weaken funding networks of LTTE

  •    [ Jun 24, 2015 21:19:43 GMT ] [ IANS ]

        The Sri Lankan government on Wednesday said it was in the process of strengthening diplomatic ties with countries that have worked with Sri Lanka in the past to weaken the financial and support networks of the Tamil Tiger rebels. Sri Lanka's Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera told journalists in Colombo that the government was firm in its resolve to combat terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, Xinhua reported. He said the government agencies maintained close cooperation in intelligence sharing with all interlocutors, particularly those committed to combating terrorism and this includes combating financial networks. [ Full Report ]

  • Lanka’s Buddhist clergy opposes Sharia-based banking

  •    [ Jun 24, 2015 21:17:39 GMT ] [ Dawn ]

        A hardline group representing Sri Lanka’s Buddhist clergy has kicked up a storm over the central bank’s decision to allow private banks to offer financial services based on Islamic principles. The BBS, which had a few years ago spearheaded a campaign against Halal food, alleged in a statement on Tuesday that “Muslim extremists” were now attempting to sow divisions by using the banking process. “We blame the previous government for not taking action on the spread of Sharia law. A (BBS) delegation called on the governor of the central bank to discuss the issue as it is a threat to Sri Lankan society,” BBS General Secretary Galagodaatte Gnanasara said. [ Full Report ]

  • Justice in Sri Lanka: With just 273 political prisoners in custody, how many have disappeared?

  •    [ Jun 24, 2015 14:53:55 GMT ] [ Asian Correspondent ]

        The recent revelation that only 300 prisoners remain in Government custody only confirms that the crimes committed by the Government are even more heinous than previously imagined. As such, no Sri Lanka government is going to facilitate the legal, administrative and political changes that domestic judicial institutions need to meet ‘international standards.’ The only way is for international justice to be dispensed by international courts. So even as Tamils in Sri Lanka seek answers from the TNA on those who disappeared from Government custody, it is imperative for the Tamil diaspora to work relentlessly with US and other western democracies to demonstrate that war crime trials in Sri Lanka will only work if tried by international mechanisms, under international law established under UN guarantees. [ Full Report ]

  • In Defence of Diaspora and Sri Lanka's Invisible Victims

  •    [ Jun 24, 2015 14:48:55 GMT ] [ Huffington Post ]

        Nobody knows how many Sri Lankan Tamil war survivors have fled the island since the end of the fighting in 2009 for Europe, Australia, Malaysia, Thailand and India. Why do they currently have no voice in the future of their country?...These are not people who've settled by choice abroad. They should not be rendered invisible...The current rush by human rights and development agencies to secure a presence inside Sri Lanka presupposes all the victims are physically there. The special rapporteur on transitional justice visited Sri Lanka earlier this year and called for any future accountability process to have the participation and trust of the victims. Even he forgot hundreds of recent survivors of the very worst abuses who are now abroad against their will. [ Full Report ]

  • Lanka likely to dissolve house

  •    [ Jun 24, 2015 14:44:07 GMT ] [ Gulf Times ]

        Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has informed minority political parties that the parliament will be dissolved on Wednesday even as it was meeting to debate reforms. Tamil Progressive Alliance (TPA) leader Mano Ganeshan said that the prime minister had indicated that the reasons to dissolve the parliament this week was because the mandate for the current government had expired in April and there were disagreements over key electoral reforms, Xinhua reported. President Maithripala Sirisena had maintained that he would dissolve the parliament and hold a parliamentary election to elect a new government only once the key electoral reforms which are part of the 20th amendment to the constitution are passed. [ Full Report ]

  • Sri Lanka’s Punguduthivu: An island devastated by war

  •    [ Jun 24, 2015 14:40:34 GMT ] [ WSWS ]

        Much of Punguduthivu now looks like a no-man’s land. Just 6,000 people live there, with 17,000 displaced since the military captured the islets from the LTTE in the early 1990s. The flight of people from Punguduthivu increased after President Rajapakse resumed the war in 2006. Only a few families resettled after the war ended.Punguduthivu residents depend on fishing, masonry work, caring for homes owned by displaced people or selling coconuts from abandoned properties. Some gangs produce illegal liquor. People accuse the security forces and police of having close connections with some gangs and the paramilitaries. [ Full Report ]

  • Sri Lanka says war crimes probe delayed by elections

  •    [ Jun 24, 2015 14:37:21 GMT ] [ AFP ]

        Sri Lanka's proposed war crimes investigation has been delayed by several months until September as the government focuses on impending parliamentary elections, Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera said Wednesday.Samaraweera said he hoped the composition of the investigating team along with its terms of reference would now be finalised just before the UN Human Rights Council's session in September in Geneva. "We are working out the contours of a domestic mechanism to look into human rights abuses and war crimes," Samaraweera told reporters in Colombo. "This will be in place before the September sessions in Geneva." [ Full Report ]

  • Bill C-24 is wrong: There is only one kind of Canadian citizen

  •    [ Jun 22, 2015 12:24:36 GMT ] [ Globe and Mail ]

        Canada Day is a time when many of us reflect happily on what it means to be Canadian. This year, the federal government has given us little reason to celebrate after passing legislation that dramatically redefines and substantially weakens what that means. In one respect, Bill C-24 is commendable. It strengthens Canadian citizenship by making it more difficult to acquire. The new law lengthens the residency requirement and asks for a statement of intent from would-be Canadians, to make sure they actually plan to live in this country. These are good moves that will undoubtedly reduce the number of “Canadians of convenience” – people holding Canadian passports for travel or consular assistance, but having little connection to Canada. [ Full Report ]

    - Immigration experts say Bill C-24 discriminatory and weakens citizenship - Toronto Star
    - Critical Review of the New Canadian Citizenship Law Bill C-24 - SFU
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