Patriotic business

It seems apparently no one in Sri Lanka - except the Tamils, of course - wants the regime’s mass killings of 2009 investigated. This week four of the largest private sector associations in Sri Lanka joined the government in denouncing the report by the UN panel of experts on the final months of the war. They are the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Sri Lanka, National Chamber of Commerce of Sri Lanka and Joint Apparel Associations Forum. See Xinhua’s report here . The four released a joint report, titled ‘Sri Lanka Private Sector Assessment’ on...

Out with the old, in with the … old

"On one hand, they abolished the emergency laws to satisfy the international community, while on the other hand, they bring in new regulations to the PTA, which itself is a draconian law. We oppose this move. We have always been calling to abolish the PTA, too." " What's the use of abolishing emergency laws if they include the same tough laws in the PTA? This will not help to strengthen democracy at all." - Suresh Premachandran , senior leader of the Tamil National Alliance, referring to Sri Lanka's extensions to the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA). See the report by the Associated Press...

India and China key to Sri Lanka’s tourism industry – bank study

A report by Sri Lankan bank Capital Alliance has said that India and China would likely be the source of the majority of tourist arrivals in the coming years. Arrivals from Western Europe are expected to taper off with a decreasing rate of growth . The report pointed out that the financial crisis does not seem to have had an impact on tourists travelling abroad from Europe. India, already the largest tourist market for the island, is projected to increase their number of visitors 6 times to 750,000 compared to the 187,000 expected to have visited Sri Lanka by the end of this year. Chinese...

Sikh students oppose execution

In a written statement released today, the National President of the Sikh Students Federation of India, Parmjeet Singh Gazi, called for a cancellation of the death sentence issued to Murugan, Santhan and Perarivalan. “We have three points of concern in this regard; first, the execution would amount to “cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment” prohibited under Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) as accused were put on death row for more than a decade. Secondly, the executions would break the de facto moratorium observed by the Indian state for past seven years as no execution is...

Rupee under pressure as trade deficit widens

Sri Lanka’s trade deficit in the first half of 2011 widened 62.7 percent to $4.25 billion. See The Island's report here . Export earnings grew 35 percent to $ 5.06 billion, but imports grew faster at 46 percent to $9.3 billon. Expatriates' remittances ($2.5bn) were greater than earnings from garments ($2 bn). The widening deficit is putting severe pressure on the rupee to depreciate, but the Central Bank is intervening to prop it up. See The Island’s report here . In July the Central Bank spent $413 million to prop up the rupee – the same amount of foreign direct investment up to end-July...

Sri Lanka replaces lifted powers for military

Sri Lanka's military dominates life in the Tamil areas of the island. The government on Wednesday restored draconian powers lifted amid much publicity last week. Photo AFP. Sri Lanka put in place tough new regulations under the Prevention of Terrorism Act, even as the near identitical Emergency Regulations ended. The new laws have been introduced under the PTA, allowing the authorities to maintain the militarised high-security zones in the Tamil parts of island. High security zones (HSZ) are swathes of residential areas occupied by the military during past offensives and converted into...

Execution stayed

The Madras High Court stayed the execution of the three Tamils sentenced to death for their alleged part in the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi on Tuesday. The execution was due to take place on the 9th September. The interim stay of 8 weeks was announced in order to give time for consideration of petitions submitted by the three accused - Perarivalan, Santhan and Murugan. The petitioners' main contention was that the 11 year and 4 months delay as well as the 20 year incarceration, made a subsequent death sentence “unduly harsh and excessive" and "unjust and inhuman". Further it amounted to a...

Only President can grant clemency

Tamil Nadu chief minister, Jayalalithaa, stated Monday that India's President alone had the power to grant clemency to the 3 Tamils, sentenced to death for their alleged part in the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi. Responding to the growing calls from across the political spectrum urging the chief minister to intervene, Jayalalithaa rejected the notion that Article 161 of the Indian constitution gave any such powers to the State government or chief minister. " I don't have any power to alter the Presidential order rejecting the mercy petitions of the three -- Murugan, Perarivalan and Santhan, " she told the Tamil Nadu Assembly. Quoting directly from a Home Ministry directive, Jayalalithaa stated: "However, if there is a change of circumstances or if any new material is available, the condemned person himself or anyone on his behalf may make a fresh application to the President for reconsideration of the earlier order." " Once the President has rejected a mercy petition, all future applications in this behalf should be addressed to and would be dealt with by the President ."

JHU's Sri Lanka

Speaking at the JHU's 8th party convention, general secretary Champika Ranawaka urged the party to develop a Sri Lanka that will 'suit our culture [and] people'. Referring to 'certain forces' attempting to take Sri Lanka into a 'dark future' through forceful constitutional changes and a 'mental operation' against the government, he rallied JHU members to 'protect the peace we gained'. Extracts from Ranawaka's address : “ We have to protect the peace we gained and protect dignity while developing and leading the country into the future. We should develop the country that will suit our culture...

On justice for war crimes

“As long as [war crimes perpetrators] are alive – however old they are, however long ago their crimes were committed – justice would seem to be served by punishment. “ Reconciliations and amnesties are a postponement of justice in the hope that the victims' relatives will die off and their descendants will lose all interest in the outrages of the past. Unlikely. Who now remembers the Armenians, Hitler asked? Millions of people, is my reply.” - Robert Fisk , senior foreign correspondent. See his comment in The Independent. Dr. Fisk holds more British and International Journalism awards than...

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