The Times says …

In its lead editorial Monday, The Times newspaper said UK Defence Secretary Liam Fox owed the country “an explanation and an apology” for having given unparalleled official access to the Ministry of Defence and talks overseas to Adam Werrity, a close friend. The editorial adds: “Many questions have been asked in the past week about the nature of Dr Fox’s previous business relationship with Mr Werrity. What is of more concern is the record of Mr Werrity’s business dealings with other people and governments . In particular, Mr Werrity has been deeply involved with the Government of Sri Lanka,...

India to rebuild Vanni schools, but promised houses yet to materialise

India will help in re-building 79 schools in the war-shattered Vanni, visiting Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai said Monday. The schools are located in Vavuniya, Mullaithivu and Kilinochchi, he told reporters. India will also restore the famous Tirukoteeswaram Temple in Mannar, and has offered help in restoration of another ancient temple near Sampur. Asked about the once much-vaunted, but crawling, Indian housing project, which he visited on Sunday, he agreed that the pace of progress was slow. In over a year, a mere 52 of the first 1,000 houses meant for the war-affected Tamils in Palai have...

The Sri Lankan army on itself

Addressing soldiers gathered for the army's 62nd anniversary parade, army commander, Jagath Jayasuriya, congratulated them on the 'major development role' they are purported to have played in the North-East. Comparing such development work to the 'humanitarian operation' the army conducted in 2009 - for which the international community is urging an indepedent investigation into credible allegations of war crimes - Jayasuriya urged the troops to work harder towards 'nation building'. Jayasuriya reminded his juniors, that under the watchful eye of the defence secretary Gotabhaya Rajapakse, the...

Sri Lankan people endorse UPFA policies – Prime Minister Jayaratne

The Sri Lankan Prime Minister has said that the people in Sri Lanka have once again endorsed the policies of President Rajapakse’s Government. In a statement, released after the landslide victory for Rajapakse’s Party in the south of the island, Mr Jayaratne says that the people, who voted for the United People’s Front Alliance, want to see continued development of the country. However, he failed to note the lack of support in the Tamil dominated North-East of the island, which the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) won by a huge margin in the previous phase of the local government elections...

While the North starves...

Sri Lanka is “exploring the possibility” of selling excess food that has been produced to the World Food Programme and other global markets under a Presidential directive, the Sunday Times reports. Finance Ministry Secretary Dr. P.B. Jayasundara said, " For over 30 years the WFP has fed our internally displaced people but now there is no longer any need for that. However, even though Sri Lanka has no internally displaced there are many around the world. We are in the process of identifying two districts that can provide rice exports to the WFP." Meanwhile, just days ago, the very same World...

Jayalalithaa on SL navy attacks …

Voicing serious concern over increasing attacks on Tamil Nadu fishermen by the Sri Lankan navy, chief minister J. Jayalalithaa said such assaults on Indian citizens should be viewed as "an act of provocation and aggression against India." Ms. Jayalalithaa conveyed her strong sentiments to foreign secretary Ranjan Mathai, who called on her here ahead of his three-day Colombo visit beginning Sunday. Indian press reports quoted her as saying: “Incidents of apprehension and assault of fishermen belonging to Tamil Nadu by the Sri Lankan Navy should be viewed not as an assault on Tamil fishermen,...

Rajapaksa video adds to Fox - Werritty questions

Dr. Fox (l) during his visit to Sri Lanka in July. Mr. Werritty is at the back (circled). The political storm around the working relationship between British Defence Secretary Liam Fox and close friend Mr. Adam Werritty continues to rage through the weekend. It took a turn when Premier David Cameron said to have demanded a report by an investigation being conducted by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) ‘first thing’ on Monday, reports said. The issue is receiving widespread attention in the British media. The Observer newspaper released photos of a meeting between the duo and Sri Lankan President...

Rajapakse’s UPFA sweeps local polls amidst violence

The United People’s Freedom Alliance, led by President Mahinda Rajapakse, won a landslide victory in local government polls, while violence continued for a second day, after 4 people were killed in a shootout on Saturday. The party won 21 of the 23 local councils up for grabs, but could not show their strength in the capital Colombo, where the United National Party, headed by Ranil Wikremesinghe, held on to its seat. The UNP won 43% of the vote in Colombo, giving them a total of 24 seats. The UPFA won 16 seats and Mano Ganesan’s Democratic People’s Front came third with 6 seats. In the only...

Fox's eleventh hour admission - 'mistakes were made'

The UK defence secretary, Liam Fox, admits 'mistakes were made', the day before a report into recent revelations regarding the defence secretary's working relationship with a personal friend, Adam Werritty, is due to be delivered to the prime minister, David Cameron. The televised statement was delivered the same day a video emerged showing Fox and Werritty in a meeting with Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa. Fox said, " I accept that were mistakes were made and I should not have allowed the impression of wrong-doings to arise. And I am very sorry for that." " However I don't believe...

4 killed, 10 wounded in ruling party gun battle

Four people, including an advisor to President Mahinda Rajapakse, have been killed in as rival factions of his ruling UPFA party clashed in a Colombo suburb, during local government elections. Presidential advisor on trade unions, Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra was allegedly shot dead by MP Duminda Silva's faction at Kotikawatta, northern Colombo. Silva is a member of the ruling regime, who has a close working relationship with the Defence secretary, Gotabhaya Rajapakse. Silva is currently in a critical condition in hospital, according to reports . At least 10 others were injured. The...

Pages