Educating Sri Lanka

Photograph www.dailynews.lk Sri Lankan President, Mahinda Rajapaksa, launched his book, 'Mahinda Rajapaksa Janadhipathidun Eda Parlimenthuwedi Negu Handa' this week at Temple Trees. The book, 'Voice of President Mahinda Rajapaksa in Parliament', contains a litany of his speeches made in parliament, since his first speech in 1970, till 2005. Since release, Rajapaksa has issued copies of his book to the Maha Sangha, religious figures from Christian, Hindu and Muslim faiths, to student debating teams at Colombo Nalanda College, Thusrstan College and Richmond College in Galle, as well as issuing...

Sri Lankan Airlines looks for external sources to stay afloat

The government owned Sri Lankan Airlines has sought S$175 million of external funding after posting a record loss last year. The cash strapped airlines posted a Rs.2.6 billion loss, and is turning to both the government and external funders in order to keep the company running. Initially, the Civil Aviation Ministry of Sri Lanka sought an allocation of US$500 million over a period of three years for the airline from the budget. The Ministry also asked for US$20 million each over a period of three for Mihin Lanka, a wholly government owned enterprise which has made a loss of Rs.7 billion since...

Supreme court sanctions Media Ministry's authoritarianism

Sri Lanka's Supreme Court ruled in favour of the Media Ministry's plans to ensure all wesbites covering news and information on Sri Lanka register with the ministry, on Friday. The ruling came during a case filed by the website, www.srilankamirror.com , who had been blocked by the government since 5th November. The three-member panel of judges instructed the Media Ministry to continue with the programme of registering the websites and ordered the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC) launch an enquiry into all websites operating in Sri Lanka and file a report in the Supreme Court on...

Sri Lanka bans Tamil Remembrance Day

The Sri Lankan Government has banned all forms of commemorations of the Tamil National Remembrance Day. Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said today, Sri Lanka will urge other countries to follow suit. The ban comes as the Tamil people in the North-East defiantly commemorated the National Remembrance Day in the face of increased militarisation and threats by Sri Lankan security forces. Rambukwella also defended the attack of Tamil political prisoners by guards at Anuradhapuram prison on November 27, which resulted in injuries to several inmates. According to the minister, if the guards didn...

Canadian foreign minister condemns 'growing authoritarian trend'

Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister, John Baird, asserted that Sri Lanka must take accountability for alleged war crimes seriously, and highlighted the "growing authoritarian trend". Addressing the Commons foreign affairs committee on Thursday, Baird said, "Two years after the civil war we've seen no meaningful attempt at reconciliation with the Tamil minority." "We've also seen a growing authoritarian trend by the government in Colombo." "Other countries have taken 10 years for reconciliation, other countries never reconcile. But it's incredibly important." See related articles: Harper '...

Sri Lankan Air Force purchases more helicopters

Sri Lanka has purchased two Bell 412 helicopters which were delivered to its storage facility in Piney Flats, Tennessee, adding to their growing fleet of aircraft. The helicopters, bought of the US-based Bell Helicopter company have been modified for “VIP travel”. The Air Force recently purchased 14 military transport helicopters from Russia and two aircraft from China to add to it’s expanding commercial arm, Helitours. Previously, Bell helicopters were modified with weapons and used for attack missions during the war. Larry D Roberts, senior vice president for Bell Helicopter's Commercial...

Army to publish 'new report' into war crimes allegations

Sri Lanka's armed forces announced the release of a new report, by the country's security forces, as a response to the report by the UN panel of experts. Army Commander Lieutenant General Jagath Jayasuriya said . “As a response to specific paragraphs that made allegations against the military during humanitarian operations in the Darusman report, we all in the tri-services are now giving final touches to the compilation of a new report that will be shortly submitted to the international community,” “The Security Forces conducted the humanitarian operations, with a zero casualty policy,”...

At the mercy of the King

Mahinda Rajapaksa granted presidential "permission" for displaced Tamils from Talaimannar to return to their lands, following a dispute over the lands. Displaced Tamils from the Talaimannar area had been evicted from their homes by Sri Lankan security authorities who accused the 550 displaced families of "squatting on State land". In an article, entitled " MR intervenes to resettle evicted IDPs ", the pro-government newspaper, The Island, stated that the matter was only settled after the Industry and Commerce Minister, Rishard Bathiudeen, raised the issue with Rajapaksa. According to The Island, "those evicted had been given permission to return to their land as President Rajapaksa had intervened."

Sri Lanka’s first motorway in the South

President Mahinda Rajapakse unveiled Sri Lanka’s first motorway on Sunday, linking Colombo to the Southern city of Galle. Rajapakse hailed the construction a "revolution" and declared , "Separatist tendencies will fade away when we have better road connectivity." He went on to say that the expressway would be further extended to the Mattala International Airport and reach his hometown of Hambantota. While Rajapakse claimed that it was constructed “in line with the best global practices” , the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport Sri Lanka complained that all the lanes ae narrower...

Akashi pushes for accountability

Japan, one of Sri Lanka's largest donors, has reiterated the importance of accountability in Sri Lanka during talks with President Mahinda Rajapakse and called for a probe into human rights abuses in the country. 80-year-old s enior Japanese diplomat Yasushi Akashi , who was the Japanese special envoy to Sri Lanka, told reporters, "Japan hopes that the Sri Lankan government will make the (LLRC) report public in due course and takes steps to implement recommendations by the commission." Akashi met with Rajapakse on Monday, during a four-day visit to the island, where he said he emphasised the...

Pages