News Archives
  • A year after Jayalalithaa's passing, 'Amma' still looms over Tamil Nadu's political future

  •    [ Dec 05, 2017 16:44:19 GMT ] [ Sify ]

        On this day last year J Jayalalithaa died. The six-term chief minister had singularly dominated Tamil Nadu's political landscape. In the void that she left behind, Tamil Nadu witnessed many things that make her presence felt even in death. To understand the post-Amma state, we look at some of the events that shaped Tamil Nadu in the last one year. Jayalalithaa, known to her adoring cadres and supporters as 'Amma' or 'mother,' breathed her last at Chennai's Apollo hospital on December 5, 2016. [ Full Report ]

  • Why does India want to buy the world’s emptiest airport?

  •    [ Dec 05, 2017 16:42:11 GMT ] [ Quartz ]

        Geopolitical rivalry between big powers sometimes yields odd results. The latest development in growing strategic competition across the Indian Ocean region is India’s purchase of what has become known as the “world’s emptiest international airport” in Sri Lanka, maybe just to keep it empty. The small fishing town of Hambantota, near the southern tip of Sri Lanka, has long been Exhibit A for those who worry about the strategic impact of China’s Belt and Road Initiative. [ Full Report ]

  • Tropical storm kills at least seven in Sri Lanka

  •    [ Dec 05, 2017 16:38:38 GMT ] [ Reuters ]

        A tropical storm has killed at least seven people and left five fishermen missing in Sri Lanka, bringing down trees across main roads and on houses, officials said on Thursday, warning of landslides and flooding in severely hit areas. Heavy winds hit the island’s southern, western and south-central areas. “At the moment, there are reports of seven deaths, five missing, and more than 20,000 affected,” said Pradeep Kodippili, spokesman for the state-run Disaster Management Centre. The government declared a holiday for schools in the rain-hit areas on Thursday. [ Full Report ]

  • Conservative MP Questions Government on Human Rights of Tamil Community

  •    [ Dec 05, 2017 14:17:22 GMT ] [ PR ]

        Garnett Genuis, Deputy Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs, issued the following statement after requesting information on what the Liberal government has done to promote human rights in the Tamil community and other minority communities in Sri Lanka through the reframed Office of Human Rights, Freedoms and Inclusions: “The previous Conservative government worked hard to promote principal-based foreign policy and human rights as a priority. Unfortunately, since the Trudeau government came to power, it’s not at all clear what, if anything, the reframed Office of Human Rights, Freedoms and Inclusion has done to actually promote the human rights of communities like those in Sri Lanka that face discrimination and increasing human rights concerns. [ Full Report ]

  • RSF urges UN committee to question Sri Lanka’s intelligence chief

  •    [ Dec 04, 2017 20:21:40 GMT ] [ RSF ]

        Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka (JDS) are dismayed to learn that Sri Lanka’s national intelligence chief, Sisira Mendis, who is accused of serious crimes against journalists during the final stages of its civil war, is on the Sri Lankan delegation that is meeting with the United Nations Committee against Torture (UNCAT) in Geneva today and tomorrow. Under Mendis, the CID and TID abducted, arrested, detained and tortured many journalists along with hundreds of other civilians. After release, many of these journalists fled the country fearing reprisals. The well-known journalist J. S. Tissainayagam, the writer and publisher V. Jasikaran and his wife V. Valarmathy, and the journalist K. Wijesinghe are among the prominent media figures who experienced cruel treatment at the hands of the TID. [ Full Report ]

  • PM questions if media firms are really for media rights

  •    [ Dec 04, 2017 17:53:56 GMT ] [ Daily Mirror ]

        Highlighting the poor turnout of heads of Sri Lankan media organizations at today's UNESCO Regional Conference to End Impunity of Crimes against Journalists in Colombo, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe questioned whether the media organizations are really interested in media rights. The event inaugurated by the Premier was held parallel to the 2017 International Day to End Impunity of Crimes against Journalists with a theme of “Reinforcing regional cooperation to promote freedom of expression and the rule of law in Asia through ending impunity for crimes against Journalists”. [ Full Report ]

    - Soundbites and sound bytes: Future of digital conversations in Sri Lanka - Groundviews
  • Sri Lankan family deported after spending 5 years in Canada

  •    [ Dec 04, 2017 17:26:01 GMT ] [ CBC ]

        A Sri Lankan family who spent five years in Canada was deported Sunday despite appeals to Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale to issue a reprieve. Their flight took off from Montreal's Trudeau airport Sunday evening. Before leaving their home in Parc-Extension, Robert Lawrence, the father of the family, said they were all very sad, but still love Canada despite their deportation. "What can you do? We have to all obey the rules and regulations," Lawrence told CBC News. "We enjoyed the last five years of our lives in Canada. Good lives." The family was applying for permanent residence in Canada on humanitarian and compassionate grounds. After review, their application was rejected. He said members of his church in Outremont came to see them Sunday morning and they all cried together. [ Full Report ]

  • Colombia, Sri Lanka and referendums: Interview with Juanita Goebertus

  •    [ Dec 01, 2017 21:01:58 GMT ] [ GroundViews ]

        Juanita Goebertus is the Deputy Director of the Institute for Integrated Transitions. On a recent trip to Colombo, she shared some thoughts on the Colombian referendum, how it came about, her vast experience around planning for a plebiscite and other insights from her country’s violent history and how it could resonate with Sri Lanka’s constitutional reform process.Juanita brings up the point about transitional justice and the role it played in the Colombian referendum. The question is put to her, more from a Sri Lankan context, as to how a process leading up to a referendum on a new constitution should prioritise TJ issues – whether a high visibility undermines or risks gains in other areas, or a low visibility risks the importance of TJ being marginalised. [ Full Report ]

  • Sri Lanka Army chief summoned by court over disappearance of 24 Tamils

  •    [ Dec 01, 2017 20:57:38 GMT ] [ Live MINT ]

        A Sri Lankan court has summoned the commander of the country’s army over the disappearance of 24 Tamils since their arrest in 1996 by security forces during the internal conflict with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). The Jaffna High Court has asked army chief Lieutenant General Mahesh Senanayake along with two other state officials to appear in court on Saturday. Judge Ilancheliyan ordered them to appear in court when a case filed by parents and relatives of the 24 missing persons was taken up on 15 November. [ Full Report ]

  • SL under cavalcade of UN scrutiny

  •    [ Dec 01, 2017 20:16:44 GMT ] [ Island ]

        Close on the heels of UN expert on transitional justice Pablo de Greiff warning the government of dire consequences unless the administration addressed accountability issues in accordance with Geneva Resolution 30/1, another top level UN delegation is due to arrive in Colombo on Dec. 4. De Greiff delivered his warning at the UN compound in Colombo on Oct 23 with UN Resident Coordinator Una McCauley by his side. The Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) is expected to brief the media in Colombo on Dec 15 following a meeting with government leaders. The group will also visit the northern province. [ Full Report ]

  • Sri Lanka could have single day polling in February

  •    [ Dec 01, 2017 20:06:59 GMT ] [ PTI ]

        All 341 local councils of Sri Lanka could have a single-day polling in February, the country's election commission said on Friday. The polls would be the first key test for the unity government headed by President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe which is embroiled in a bitter infighting over a range of issues. The Sirisena faction of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party has been accused of delaying the election over fear of losing by the faction led by former president Mahinda Rajapaksa. [ Full Report ]

  • Sri Lanka sees emerging tensions between Buddhists and Muslims

  •    [ Dec 01, 2017 20:03:22 GMT ] [ Nikkei ]

        Across Asia, religious fundamentalism is posing a growing threat to liberal society. Even Sri Lanka, a country that has only recently emerged from a bloody civil war involving religious as well as ethnic differences, may once more be at risk. Islamist militancy is generating the most headlines. In Bangladesh, for example, liberal commentators have been killed by alleged Islamic fundamentalists. In Malaysia, self-declared atheists have been bullied by militant Islamic organizations. In Indonesia, Muslim fundamentalists have seized the political initiative. [ Full Report ]

  • Sri Lanka's bond inquiry scandal leaves top leaders shaken

  •    [ Nov 30, 2017 20:00:31 GMT ] [ Nikkei ]

        Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe made unwelcome political history on Nov. 20, appearing before a presidential commission of inquiry into a 10 billion rupee ($65 million) bond scandal that is shaking his government and damaging the country's economic prospects. "I have disclosed everything, as we have nothing to hide," Wickremesinghe told supporters as he emerged from the commission hearing after becoming the first sitting prime minister to be questioned at a presidential corruption inquiry. [ Full Report ]

  • Looking at Constitutional Reform in Sri Lanka

  •    [ Nov 30, 2017 19:58:42 GMT ] [ Diplomat ]

        Federalism is subject to many interpretations. It is unlikely that the term itself will be used to describe the arrangements for power-sharing in the constitution. The term “federalism” carries too much negative baggage with the Sinhalese majority who have had it dinned into them that it is tantamount to division of the country. This has been the case for the past sixty years since this demand of the Tamils first emerged and it still continues. One of the key messages of the opposition is that constitutional reform is for the purpose of dividing the country. The report of the steering committee of parliament itself notes that the federal term is too controversial and proposes an alternative formulation. [ Full Report ]

  • Tropical storm kills at least seven in Sri LankaReuters Staff

  •    [ Nov 30, 2017 19:57:04 GMT ] [ Reuters ]

        A tropical storm has killed at least seven people and left five fishermen missing in Sri Lanka, bringing down trees across main roads and on houses, officials said on Thursday, warning of landslides and flooding in severely hit areas. Heavy winds hit the island’s southern, western and south-central areas. “At the moment, there are reports of seven deaths, five missing, and more than 20,000 affected,” said Pradeep Kodippili, spokesman for the state-run Disaster Management Center. [ Full Report ]

    - Storms leave 4 dead in Sri Lanka, fishermen among 23 missing - AP
  • ‘Time is opportune to formulate new constitution’

  •    [ Nov 29, 2017 18:56:39 GMT ] [ CDN ]

        “The Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and the United National Party (UNP) have formed a consensus government to finalise and adopt a new constitution for Sri Lanka as we do not know who would be elected as the Executive President in the future; so let's use this opportunity for the betterment of the country," Finance and Media Minister Mangala Samaraweera said. He was addressing the gathering at the third ‘Sathyagraha’ campaign, ‘6.2 million on alert’, which is carried out island-wide, held opposite the Sacred Bo Tree in Matara last Friday (24) evening. TNA MP M. A. Sumanthiran, Ven. Dambara Amila Thera, NSSP Leader Vikramabahu Karunaratne, religious leaders and activists who supported the National Movement for a Just Society attended. [ Full Report ]

  • Sri Lanka: UN experts on arbitrary detention launch official visit

  •    [ Nov 29, 2017 18:48:23 GMT ] [ UN ]

        A three-member delegation from the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention will carry out an official visit to Sri Lanka from 4 to 15 December 2017 to assess the country’s situation regarding the deprivation of liberty. José Antonio Guevara Bermúdez, Leigh Toomey and Elina Steinerte will visit a variety of places where people are held, including prisons, police stations and institutions for juveniles, migrants and people with psychosocial disabilities, to gather first-hand information which will form part of their overall assessment. The delegation will visit Colombo as well as western, north-central, northern, eastern, southern and central provinces, where they will meet Government officials, civil society groups and other relevant stakeholders. [ Full Report ]

  • ‘Making Haste Slowly’ is a Tired Refrain in Sri Lanka

  •    [ Nov 29, 2017 18:40:23 GMT ] [ HRW ]

        While the government has made some progress, most of the promises remain unfulfilled. Just ahead of the UPR, the government announced that it was operationalizing the much-delayed Office of Missing Persons, one of four key transitional justice mechanisms, and funds had been budgeted. Tellingly, there was no budgetary allowance for the other three. And, while the UPR team referred to draft legislation on a truth-seeking mechanism and a reparations mechanism, they stayed silent on the fourth: a special court with authority to prosecute, which was a key plank in the October 2015 resolution. At the UPR the Sri Lankan delegation accepted many recommendations and voluntarily included some on its own initiative. However, it would not commit to a schedule to implement the resolution. [ Full Report ]

  • In Sri Lanka, Development Begins with Reconciliation

  •    [ Nov 29, 2017 18:38:24 GMT ] [ indepth News ]

        Failure at inclusive nation-building, and successful, effective and efficient service-delivery mechanisms, coupled with several complex factors, led to erosion of trust and confidence among communities in Sri Lanka, that led to two youth insurrections and a prolonged conflict involving terrorism. Such violence has affected all communities, and, as a nation, we have deprived ourselves of the socio-economic heights that our nation could have achieved. Our relations with the United Nations became unfortunately strained in connection with the conclusion of the conflict in May 2009, which led to Sri Lanka being isolated on the international arena. [ Full Report ]

  • Allow NP residents to commemorate their war heroes: TNA

  •    [ Nov 27, 2017 21:03:58 GMT ] [ Daily Mirror ]

        TNA MP Shanthi Skandarajah today requested the government to allow those in the Northern Province to commemorate their war heroes by visiting the cemeteries in which they were buried. Ms Skandarajah who was speaking during the committee stage debate in Parliament today said residents in the Province should be allowed to visit cemeteries and commemorate their war heroes.She went on to say that proper programmes should be launched to help women who were widowed by the war. "These women should be empowered to start self employment schemes and not be obliged t work for others,” she said. [ Full Report ]

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