‘Elections’ in Kilinochchi

From the Associated Press : Sri Lankan Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage told AP while campaigning in Kilinochchi: This election victory "is of value to the government. .. It will enable us to tell the world that we have won the confidence of the Tamil people after winning the war ." The Tamil National Alliance complained to the elections commissioner that a group [it] believes was military, in uniforms and carrying rifles, forcibly collected polling cards used to identify eligible voters in many parts of Kilinochchi on Friday night. From TamilNet : Causing panic and instilling maximum fear...

Sri Lanka ‘relief’ after Clinton visit to Chennai - report

A ‘top official’ in Sri Lanka’s External Affairs ministry is quoted as saying the Clinton- Jayalalithaa meeting Wednesday had not been as consequential as Colombo had feared. “It is not as bad as we expected,” the official told the Daily Mirror. He said the ministry had been alert to any ‘negative fallout’ from the meeting in Chennai, and had expected a stronger statement than Ms. Clinton had made. He added the absence of a powerful outcome was testament to US’s lack of dominance in the region. Ms. Clinton’s “lukewarm remarks” on Sri Lanka underlined that even as the US was “pushing India to...

Malaysian Tamils raise $330,000 in humanitarian aid

A charity dinner held last weekend by the Tamil Diaspora in Malaysia raised a whopping million Ringgit (US$330,000) to support the humanitarian efforts by the Tamil Forum Malaysia (TFM) for Tamils affected by Sri Lanka's war. See the report here .

Clinton and Jayalalitha discuss Sri Lanka

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton with Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa . Photo PTI The United States is “ looking at some innovative and creative ideas to break the impasse over the Sri Lankan Tamils issue ,” PTI quoted visiting US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton telling Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa in Chennai Wednesday. The report did not elaborate. Meanwhile, in a public address Ms. Clinton said that India's example of multicultural democracy should serve as a model for Sri Lanka. Describing Chennai, Tamil Nadu’s capital, as an example of how much society can achieve when all citizens fully join their country's political and economic life, she added: "Every citizen of Sri Lanka deserves the same hope and opportunity for a better future." ( corrected from earlier post ) Her comments predictably drew loud applause from the crowd. Addressing a crowd of students, industrialists, businessmen, artistes and members of civil society at the Anna library, Ms. Clinton said she chose to come to the coastal city as "an admirer of what has been accomplished in the country in the last 18 years". She described Tamil Nadu as one of the "most industrialised and educated states" that indicates why India should take a leadership role in the region . Ms. Clinton’s visit to Tamil Nadu was the only regional engagement of her much anticipated three-day official visit to India. She is the first high-ranking US official to visit the southern state, one of the powerhouses of India’s booming economy, and a key destination for US investment. The US consulate in Chennai issues more skilled temporary worker visas than any other US outpost in the world, the Wall Street Journal says. Aligned interest and values " The United States and India can work together to advance democratic values in the region ,” the Times of India quoted her as saying. " Our interests align and our values converge ." “We can support states transitioning into democracy in Africa and the Middle East. India's Election Commission widely viewed as the gold standard for running elections can play a role in this," she said. " There is no better place to speak about Asia Pacific than Chennai , which looks out onto the Bay of Bengal. Indian traders have sailed these waters for thousands of years and their influence can still be seen across the region – in the Tamil influences in the Angkor Wat temples in Cambodia and in the Ganesha gods that guard homes in Indonesia ." "India will have the duty to speak out against human rights violations in Asia. … "We encourage India not just to look east but also act east." " India's diverse and democratic system can serve as a model for Sri Lanka . In Chennai and in Tamil Nadu, you can see how much society can achieve when all citizens participate in political and economic life. Every citizen of Sri Lanka deserves the same." Meeting Jayalalitha Earlier, Ms. Clinton met with Ms. Jayalalithaa for an hour in the Secretariat. They discussed various social, political and economic issues of common interest, an official press release said. Contrary to assertions attributed to Indian External Affairs Ministry officials last week, the Tamil question in Sri Lanka also featured in their discussions, India press reports said Wednesday. Ms. Jayalalithaa was quoted by PTI as pointing out that though Sri Lanka’s war en ended two years ago, Tamils in Jaffna area are still in camps and unable to go back to the original areas where they used to live. Ms. Clinton also congratulated Ms. Jayalalithaa on her electoral victory in the April 13 Assembly polls, and invited the Tamil Nadu leader to visit the United States, PTI said.

All hail!

In glowing reports on President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s visit to Jaffna on Monday, the state-owned Daily News said he addressed a “mammoth rally” at Velanei, where he received a “rousing welcome by thousands of cheering people. Here’s a picture of them: Velanei, by the way, is on Kayts island, which has for decades been dominated by Sri Lankan military bases and is also the bastion of the pro-government Tamil paramilitary group-cum-political party, the EPDP, led by Douglas Devananda, pictured (r) with President Rajapaksa. Photos Colombopage

Nirupama Rao to Washington

India's External Affairs minister S. M. Krishna and Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao at the opening on Nov. 27, 2011 of the Indian Consulate in Jaffna. Photo Sunday Times. India’s Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao has been appointed the next Ambassador to the United States, The Hindu newspaper reported . Ms. Rao joined the Indian Foreign Service in 1973, assuming the office of the Foreign Secretary on August 1, 2009, becoming the second woman to head the Indian Foreign Secretary. She has served in various key positions and had been India’s envoy to various countries, including China and Sri Lanka...

Sangakkara meets US ambassador

Sri Lanka cricket star and former captian Kumar Sangakkara met with the United States Ambassador in Colombo, Patricia Butenis, Monday, colombopage reports , citing a report in the Sinhala daily Divaina. The newspaper said it was unable to contact Sangakkara to inquire about the matter, and that the US embassy declined to comment on it.

Why cricket can do nothing for peace in Sri Lanka ...

“ Amid the Sri Lankan government’s refusal to accede to a political solution and accountability for war crimes, and its continuing militarised repression in Tamil areas, cricket can no more be a unifying force across Sri Lanka’s communities than whale-watching, or any other human pastime . “Sport is inseparable from politics. Nothing sends a clearer message of international abhorrence of a government’s conduct than when it is shunned by international sportspeople. Conversely, nothing gives a repressive regime greater legitimacy, and makes light of its brutal conduct, than continuing sporting...

India's response to Channel 4 documentary ...

Eight days after the broadcasting in India of Channel 4’s documentary, 'Sri Lanka's Killing Fields' , the Delhi government has finally broken its silence. During an interview with Headlines Today , which rebroadcast the documentary, a spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs said: “Our focus is on the welfare and the well being of the Tamil speaking minorities of Northern and Eastern Sri Lanka. We have consistently emphasized to the Sri Lankan Government that their rehabilitation should be of the highest and most immediate priority. “ A fair and reasonable settlement of the political...

India and Sri Lanka's war crimes

These are comments by former Indian Foreign Secretary Jaswant Singh during the discussion hosted by Headlines Today on the atrocities highlighted by the acclaimed Channel 4 documentary , Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields. When asked if it wasn’t time for India to get off the fenceon Sri Lanka's war crimes?: “You said the government of India appeared to sit on the fence for too long. Governments cannot, cannot even appear to, sit on fences for too long. Otherwise the fence will enter their soul, not just their actions.” When asked if about geopolitical concerns that India's acting would encourage Sri...

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