Trinco IDP’s not allowed to return

The Sri Lankan Government has confirmed that internally displaced people from Sampur will not be allowed to return to their homes, BBC Sandeshaya reports. Trincomalle Government Agent Major General TTR de Silva told journalists on Sunday, that the Tamil inhabitants of the town cannot go back to the city, which is the site of a planned thermal plant. Sampur was one of the first LTTE strongholds to be captured by the Sri Lankan Army after the breakdown if the ceasefire.

British PR firm wrote Rajapaksa's UN speech

According to the UK newspaper, Independent , Bell Pottinger wrote Mahinda Rajapaksa's key address to the UN in 2010, after the original draft, written by Sri Lanka's Foreign Ministry was ditched. Speaking to undercover reporters, chairman of Bell Pottinger Public Relations, David Wilson, said, "We had a team working in the President's office. " " We wrote the President's speech to the UN last year which was very well received... it went a long way to taking the country where it needed to go ." The Independent reports that part of Bell Pottinger's remit was to specifically " influence the foreign media in favour of the Sri Lankan government ". During the speech to the UN, Rajapaksa described the military's treatment of the captured LTTE cadres as a "humanitarian" operation and promoted the LLRC as an enquiry where the "full expression to the principles of accountability" had been given. Wilson however, allegedly criticised the LLRC when speaking to the undercover reporters, arguing that the LLRC had a "fundamental flaw in its remit in investigating what has gone on in the past, to try to bury the past".

Catholic Church to boycott all SL government functions

The head of the Catholic Church in Sri Lanka has said he will boycott all government functions over the Christmas period, in protest over the arrest of a nun over child trafficking allegations. Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith said last week’s police raid on a children’s home, founded by Mother Theresa, was carried out without proof. "Our response to this is to stay away from any state functions or state-organised event in the month of December," the cardinal told reporters in Colombo. "They (police) are now trying to fabricate a story." Cardinal Ranjith denied allegations the home was being used to...

'Defenders of the Realm' in Sri Lanka

Columnist, Emil Van Der Poorten writes in the Sunday Leader, Everything from Soup to Nuts: "Defenders of The Realm" in Sri Lanka (04 Dec 2012): "I have in previous columns made passing reference to those whose well-remunerated task it is to defend the status quo in this country." "Let me, on this occasion, make the attempt to differentiate between them and the tasks that they appear to shoulder for a government that sorely needs defenders of various kinds, given the manner of its governance." "One of the “enabling factors” to the Armageddon that seems to await us is certainly a dearth of...

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...

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