Keep your eyes on the road

Motorists across Colombo are in danger from giant electronic billboards of Sri Lanka's president, Mahinda Rajapaksa, warned the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC). Rajapaksa's cut outs and billboards could distract unsuspecting motorists the CMC asserted. Billboards after all have a notorious history of leading motoring eyes astray, with ads for Sloggi and Wonderbra said to have resulted in road traffic accidents. The CMC believe that the business men are behind the recent spate of electronic Rajapaksa cut outs popping up by the road side and at roundabouts. It remains unclear what features of...

'Act decisively' on devolution of power - India

India expects Sri Lanka to "act decisively" to achieve a "political settlement based on the devolution of power' announced the External Affairs Ministry in a statement made Sunday on the release of the LLRC report. Urging resettlement and normal civilian life, India continues to avoid the issue of accountability and justice. The ministry's spokesperson, Vishnu Prakash, said, "The LLRC report has underlined that the present situation provides a great window of opportunity to forge a consensual way forward towards reconciliation through a political settlement based on devolution of power ." "...

Public services corruption in Sri Lanka - survey

Political parties and police are amongst the most corrupt in Sri Lanka, according to a survey of South Asian countries by Transparency International. The anti-corruption organization surveyed six countries and found that more than one in three people said they pay bribes when dealing with public services. “ In previous surveys of this nature, only Sub-Saharan Africa had a higher rate of bribe-paying ,” Transparency International said in its press release .

Presents for the privileged

Sri Lanka's president, Mahinda Rajapaksa, presented members of the military with new houses on Saturday. The ceremony, held in Kalutara, is the seventh phase of the 'Api Venuven Api' housing project aimed at giving Sri Lanka's military families houses. Construction work has been undertaken by the army itself. Floods add to IDP woes in Vanni (21 Dec 2011) 2012 budget fosters militarisation (21 Nov 2011) ‘Resettlement’ in Sri Lanka – what the figures show and conceal (29 Oct 2011) India to rebuild Vanni schools, but promised houses yet to materialise (10 Oct 2011) So much for ‘resettlement...

LLRC recommendations ignored already

A huge project to develop the Sri Lankan capital Colombo is going to be implemented by the Sri Lankan military, in an attempt to minimise costs to the government. "The construction work will be entrusted to the engineering services divisions of the Sri Lanka Army, Navy and Air Force so that construction costs would be kept to the minimum," Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said on Thursday. Several parts of Colombo are marked for modernisation, including several markets and bus stand complex. Referring to the recommendations in the recent LLRC, which suggested the removal of the military from...

International investigation is the 'right policy for US' – House of Representatives member

An independent international investigation is the “right policy for the US”, said New York’s member in the US House of Representatives Michael Grimm, writing in Capitol Hill’s Roll Call newspaper. A former FBI agent and US Marine, Grimm commented that President Mahinda Rajapakse had “callously squandered” chances for peace and instead had worsened tensions on the island. “A prime and alarming example of this is the attempts by Rajapaksa's regime to whitewash horrible actions by the government in the final stages of Sri Lanka's civil war, where 10,000 to 40,000 ethnic Tamils were slaughtered...

‘Responsibility now falls on the international community’ – ICG

Commenting on Sri Lanka’s Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC), the International Crisis Group stated the conclusions were ‘untenable’ and called on the international community to lead efforts to bring about an international independent investigation into war crimes on the island. Noting that Sri Lanka is ‘ neither willing nor able to carry out impartial and effective investigations ’ as the recommendations of the LLRC stated, the ICG stated the report, “fails in a crucial task – providing the thorough and independent investigation of alleged violations of international...

Sri Lanka to prosecute LLRC critics

The Sri Lankan Ministry of External Affairs has announced it will take legal action against organisations that have criticised the LLRC, ColomboPage reported on Friday. Deputy Minister of External Affairs, Neomal Peiris said that certain human rights organisations have made false allegations about the LLRC report to the international community. He expressed his regrets over the behaviour of those organisations. The final LLRC report has been criticised by several organisations, including the Tamil National Alliance , the Tamil National People’s Front , the US State Department , a cross-party...

Army set up military check points at Jaffna University

The Sri Lankan Army set up military check points at the two main entrances to the University of Jaffna on Thursday, reported Tamilnet . Deploying extra soldiers to the areas, all students were checked on entering and leaving. Students at the Jaffna University Student Union were forced to leave in order to end the questioning by the Sri Lankan army. See related articles: Jaffna uni students detail their defiant act of remembrance (29 Nov 2011) Jaffna Students: Sri Lankan Government responsible for assault (17 Oct 2011) President of Student Union attacked in Jaffna (16 Oct 2011) Jaffna Uni...

Sri Lankan financial system risk warning

Sri Lanka is among the highest-risk financial systems in Asia’s emerging markets, said a report by a credit ratings agency, citing the rapid growth in credit. "Hong Kong and China were joined by Indonesia and Sri Lanka in the December 2011 assessment [of high-risk financial systems], although Vietnam dropped out as credit growth eased," said a report by Fitch Ratings. The higher credit leveraging by banks and growing asset prices were cited as reasons for the revised risk warning. Though Fitch upgraded Sri Lanka’s credit rating in July 2011, the agency ended the year warning that “foreign direct investment has been surprisingly slow to recover after the end of the country’s long civil war in 2009.” Fitch also expressed concern about the devaluation of the Sri Lankan rupee in November 2011.

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