News Archives
  • Sri Lanka bans foreigners from old war zone amid UN probe

  •    [ Oct 15, 2014 17:29:53 GMT ] [ Reuters ]

        Sri Lanka on Wednesday banned foreigners from a former battle zone, the government said, weeks after the United Nations began an investigation into alleged war crimes in the final phase of a 26-year conflict between the army and separatist rebels. President Mahinda Rajapaksa in August rejected entry visas for U.N. officials for the war crime investigation. His administration has said an external investigation is unnecessary and Sri Lanka can conduct its own. "Prior permission for the foreigners to visit the north will be implemented," the government's Information Department said in a text message. [ Full Report ]

  • Red card to Sri Lanka: European Commission announces severe fishing trade sanctions

  •    [ Oct 15, 2014 17:27:46 GMT ] [ Greenpeace ]

        Greenpeace welcomed today's announcement by the European Commission that it will take a tougher stance against the government of Sri Lanka for its failure to co-operate in the global fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. The sanctions will extend beyond seafood import bans, covering all fisheries-related business with Sri Lankan companies and fishing vessels. Any such business between EU fishing companies and Sri Lanka must, as a result of today's decision, be put on halt. Saskia Richartz, Greenpeace EU oceans policy director said: "The EU is a major market for seafood products from all over the world. It has a duty to protect the environment and consumers and improve labour standards, regardless of whether it is producing its own seafood or buying it from others. [ Full Report ]

  • Sri Lankan ruling coalition legislator vows to defeat Rajapaksa

  •    [ Oct 15, 2014 17:27:00 GMT ] [ PTI ]

        A Sri Lankan ruling coalition legislator has said that he would do everything to defeat President Mahinda Rajapaksa if he tried to hold Presidential election without amending the constitution. “What we see today is a dictatorial regime controlled by a few bureaucrats,” said Buddhist Monk Venerable Athuraliye Rathana, a legislator of Rajapaksa’s ruling United Peoples Freedom Alliance (UPFA) coalition. His remarks came as a blow to Rajapaksa, who is bracing up for snap presidential polls to seek a record third term. [ Full Report ]

  • Grads create first-ever scholarship in Tamil studies

  •    [ Oct 15, 2014 15:02:26 GMT ] [ YU ]

        A York alumni couple has established the first-ever graduate award in Tamil studies in memory of a pioneer and leader of the Tamil community in Canada. Harini Sivalingam (LLB ’05) and husband Gary Anandasangaree (LLB ’05), lawyers and graduates of Osgoode Hall Law School, created the N. Sivalingam Award in Tamil Studies with an endowed gift. The gift was matched by York’s Faculty of Graduate Studies through the Graduate Support Matching Program. The Sivalingam award, the first of its kind in the country, is intended to encourage and promote research on Tamil language, history, culture, society or the Tamil diaspora – something Nagaratnam (Siva) Sivalingam, Harini’s father, spent his entire life advocating. [ Full Report ]

  • Refugee in limbo, protected and inadmissible at same time

  •    [ Oct 15, 2014 12:06:53 GMT ] [ Toronto Star ]

        Anyone found inadmissible to Canada on the grounds of security, international or human rights violations, or organized criminality must apply for the exemption. “I’ve respected the law of this country. The only thing I’m asking for is to let me be with my wife,” said Arulanantham, who works two jobs at a factory and a restaurant. “I can’t wait forever.” Arulanantham’s lawyer Micheal Crane said Canadian officials’ broad-brushing catch-all approach often associates Tamils to the LTTE, Eritreans to the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front (EPLF) or Pakistanis to the Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM). [ Full Report ]

  • Sri Lanka: ICRC marks 25 years of humanitarian work in the country

  •    [ Oct 15, 2014 10:20:12 GMT ] [ ICRC ]

        "During the past quarter century, the ICRC has striven to protect and assist people detained in connection with the uprising of the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna, and subsequently those who were affected by the conflict between the Sri Lankan government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, such as detainees, displaced people and returnees," said Cherine Pollini, head of the ICRC delegation in Sri Lanka. "These days, the ICRC responds to the remaining humanitarian needs caused by the past conflict." [ Full Report ]

  • Bora Bora Resources renews Sri Lanka graphite licences, starting exploration

  •    [ Oct 15, 2014 10:18:25 GMT ] [ PAN ]

        Bora Bora Resources (ASX:BBR) is poised to continue a much anticipated exploration at the exciting Kingfisher prospect after it successfully renewed its two key exploration licences at the Matale/Kurunegala Graphite Project in central Sri Lanka for an additional two years. Kingfisher is a newly discovered VTEM anomaly that has the potential to host graphite vein swarm mineralisation similar to that found about 13 kilometres to the south at the Kahatagaha Graphite Mine. Land clearing at Kingfisher has been completed for detailed ground geophysics and drilling. [ Full Report ]

  • Pakistani Cadets in Sri Lanka

  •    [ Oct 15, 2014 10:07:25 GMT ] [ GoSL ]

        A group of 18 cadets of Pakistan's Cadet Corps, visiting Sri Lanka on the invitation of Sri Lankan Cadet Corps to participate in Herman Loos & De Zoysa Annual Championship, called on the High Commissioner of Pakistan Maj. Gen. (R) Qasim Qureshi at the High Commission of Pakistan. Commander Aftab Ahmed, Group Leader of the visiting cadets, presented a souvenir to Maj. Gen. (R) Qasim Qureshi to mark the occasion.(KH) [ Full Report ]

  • India was the 'obvious place' to send 157 Sri Lankan asylum seekers: Immigration

  •    [ Oct 15, 2014 10:04:36 GMT ] [ SMH ]

        The federal government has said it acted lawfully when detaining 157 asylum seekers on board a Customs boat for a month, telling the High Court that India was an "obvious place" to send them. In a separate case on Wednesday, the Federal Court in Brisbane dismissed an application to allow a baby born in Australia to asylum-seeker parents to apply for a protection visa. Judge Michael Jarrett ruled that baby Ferouz Myuddin satisfied the criteria to be an "unauthorised maritime arrival", even though he was born in a Brisbane hospital last year. [ Full Report ]

  • Foreigners need prior permission to visit North-Govt

  •    [ Oct 15, 2014 10:02:56 GMT ] [ Daily Mirror ]

        The Defence and Urban Development Ministry said today that foreigners wishing to visit the North should obtain prior permission from the Ministry. Military spokesman Ruwan Wanigasuriya told a media conference that foreigners who wish to visit the North either as tourists or in connection with some projects should inform the Ministry of Defence about the nature of the proposed visit and the area they intend visiting and obtain its prior permission to do so. [ 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 ]

    - 'Northern Railway a milestone in India, Lanka partnership' - PTI
  • Pakistan housing project for war-affected families launched in Sri Lanka

  •    [ Oct 14, 2014 17:49:57 GMT ] [ APP ]

        The ground-breaking ceremony of the Pakistan Housing Project for the rehabilitation of war-affected homeless people of the Northern Province of Sri Lanka was held in Puthukkudiyiruppu village of Mannar town. The High Commissioner of Pakistan in Sri Lanka, retired Maj Gen Qasim Qureshi, Sri Lankan Minister for Economic Affairs Basil Rajapaksa, Minister for Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen and Northern Province Governor retired Maj Gen G.A. Chandrasiri laid the foundation stone of the project. [ Full Report ]

  • EU to ban fish from Sri Lanka, saying lax on illegal fishing

  •    [ Oct 14, 2014 17:45:28 GMT ] [ Reuters ]

        The European Commission proposed a ban on imports of fish from Sri Lanka for not tackling illegal fishing properly and lifted a ban on fish imports from Belize following the reform of its vessel inspection practices. "Five countries receive today our appreciation for getting serious on illegal fishing. Unfortunately, I cannot say the same for Sri Lanka" said EU Maritime Affairs Commissioner Maria Damanaki in a statement.Sri Lanka is one of the biggest exporters to the European Union of high value fishery products such as swordfish and tuna. EU imports in 2013 amounted to 7,400 tonnes of fish worth 74 million euros ($94 million), according to the Commission. [ 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 ]

    - In Pictures: Sri Lanka opens Tamil rail ties - Al Jazeera
    - Sri Lanka bans foreigners from ex-war zone - Al Jazeera
  • President going ahead with January poll, questions over Pope’s visit

  •    [ Oct 14, 2014 13:35:04 GMT ] [ Sunday Times ]

        UPFA parliamentarians caught a glimpse last Friday of how opinions clashed at the highest levels over an unexpected issue that haunts the Government — the alleged assault on Chris Nonis, the then Sri Lankan High Commissioner to the United Kingdom by Sajin de Vass Gunawardena, the Monitoring MP for the External Affairs Ministry at a dinner party in New Jersey, a suburb of New York. President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who chaired the meeting of the Government Parliamentary Group on Thursday mimicked Nonis humorously and declared “Eyagollo amuthu type ekey minissu ney” or they are a strange type of people. [ 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 ]

  • Tamil asylum seeker held at sea wasn't asked basic questions, high court hears

  •    [ Oct 14, 2014 13:31:53 GMT ] [ The Guardian ]

        Australia’s right to intercept boats on the high seas and return asylum seekers to foreign countries has been challenged by a Tamil asylum seeker in the high court, with lawyers for the man arguing the government failed even to ask whether he faced persecution. CPCF as he is known in court documents, is a Tamil Christian man, who was held for a month, along with 156 other asylum seekers, on board an Australian customs vessel in the Indian Ocean, while Australia worked out where it could send them. The asylum seekers were all Sri Lankan Tamils, but had left for Australia from southern India. [ 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 ]

    - Sri Lanka re-opens rail link to former war zone after 24 years - Reuters
  • Sri Lanka faces EU fish export ban

  •    [ Oct 14, 2014 13:26:48 GMT ] [ AFP ]

        The European Union moved Tuesday to ban Sri Lanka from selling its seafood to the massive EU market in a bid to stop illegal fishing by the second biggest exporter to the bloc. The European Commission, the EU's executive arm, meanwhile proposed to scrap a ban on fish from Belize and lifted a threat to bar seafood from Panama, Fiji, Togo and Vanuatu. "The other side of the coin today is Sri Lanka," Maria Damanaki, commissioner for maritime affairs and fisheries, told reporters. [ Full Report ]

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