Dole drops plans for controversial banana plantation

US company Dole, the world’s largest fruit and vegetable producer has dropped plans for a vast banana plantation in a Sri Lankan national park. Dole planned to team up with Sri Lankan company Letsgrow Ltd to establish the plantation in Somawathiya National Park. Letsgrow Ltd is owned by cricketers Pramodya Wicramasinghe and Muttiah Muralitharan. The land in question was acquired by the company from the Sri Lankan Army. Dole said in a statement to the BBC it had vacated the site and had ‘ceased all commercial operations’. The national park is inhabited by an endangered subspecies of the Asian...

Prison guards attack Tamil detainees over Heroes’ Day

Tamil prisoners have been attacked by guards in a prison in Anuradhapuram, The Island reports . According to the Commissioner General of Prisons, P.W. Kodippilli, prison officials received information the inmates were planning to commemorate fallen Tamil soldiers on Heroes’ Day. A search operation was launched by guards, which resulted in clashes with the Tamil prisoners. A Sri Lankan NGO has accused prison guards of violently attacking 65 Tamil inmates. Committee member of the WESL (We are Sri Lankans), Udul Premaratne, said drunk officials assaulted the Tamils for 30 minutes, after...

Peiris accuses Western powers of colluding with LTTE

According to reports in the pro-government newspaper, Island, Sri Lanka's External Affairs minister, G.L. Peiris, accused the West of allowing the LTTE to "operate with impunity". Peiris added, that even now the West were "playing ball with the LTTE" and " facilitating LTTE operations ". The External Affairs minister went on to accuse an unnamed UK minister of " receiving a well paid job from an LTTE front organisation ". His comments were made at a conference on reconciliation and the international community, over two years after Sri Lanka proclaimed victory over the LTTE.

'We are Eelam Tamil'

"As youth, we are the future of our nation and in the face of genocide, I am proud to say we stand strong and united." "Our brothers and sisters have shown bravery that is unmatched. Their struggle, their suffering, their strength, is the reason why we are here today. When faced with a choice that we have never had to make, they did not shy away. They sacrificed their today, for our tomorrow; their present for our future. They were not some distant people in an unknown island. They were us. The same blood that stains the soil of our homeland, courses through each one of us. " "That is...

'Not for outsiders to impose their values or their judgments' - Gotabhaya

Addressing delegates in the National Conference on Reconciliation, Sri Lanka's defence secretary, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa said , “ It is evident that cultural norms differ from country to country . People living in the United States of America, or Australia, or Canada, or the United Kingdom, or any other country, have no proper understanding of the ground situation in Sri Lanka nor do they understand our current cultural context . " It is not for outsiders to impose their values or their judgments on Sri Lanka. ” “Sri Lankans who suffered from the war for 30 years and who are now reaping the...

Jaffna uni students mark Remembrance Day, defying military

Posters, honouring the sacrifice of Eelam's heroes and proclaiming the continuation of the struggle for independence, were found across Jaffna University campus on Wednesday. The posters, seen at the student's common room and parking area, had increased in number by the following morning. Students reported that the posters read, “We take a vow that we will travel in the ultimate path of our heroes who sacrificed their life for the truth.” Jaffna university students are understood to have been behind it. One student, who wished to remain anonymous, stated, "Repression and murders will not wipe out our maaverar from our hearts , nor will it diminish the sacrifice they made for Tamils’ struggle and their goal . This is our clear message from these posters, SL Gov and the international community should understand that.” " No matter how the SL gov continues its repression, our struggle for liberation will not diminish ."

‘Competent authorities’ for takeover appointed

The Sri Lankan government has appointed six “Competent Authorities” that will handle the 37 enterprises that are due to be taken over by the recently passed Assets Acquisition Bill. The District Secretary of Hambantota and the District Secretary of Monaragala are set to oversee the running of two sugar companies, while the District Secretary of Badulla has been appointed as the Competent Authority for Colombo Commercial Company Limited. Working alongside these new committees will be a team of five ministers to “assist” them in the management and administration. There is a further team of six...

Gas reserves ‘un-economical’

The much celebrated discovery of natural gas in the Mannar basin may turn out to be a damp squib. The Daily Mirror reported that one of the wells discovered recently has been assessed and proven to be inadequate for extraction. Cairn Lanka is said to have communicated to the government that of the three wells offered to the subsidiary of Cairn International, two hold unusable gas reserves. See our previous articles: Second gas well discovered in Mannar basin (15 Nov 2011) Natural gas found in Mannar basin (3 Oct 2011) Speculations as drilling begins in Mannar (17 Aug 2011)

US Senators write to Clinton on LLRC

Three US Senators have written to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, urging her that if the LLRC report was found to be neither credible nor independent, that an “independent international accountability mechanism” be established. The letter , signed by Senators Patrick Leahy, Benjamin L. Cardin and Robert P. Casey, cited allegations of government shelling of no-fire zones and hospitals, as well as extrajudicial executions of detainees. Noting that the Sri Lankan government “have often insisted that no civilians were killed by its forces”, the letter says that, “However, if the LLRC fails to...

Number of SL dead ‘too small’ to be war crimes – Gothabaya

Sri Lankan defence secretary Gothabaya Rajapakse has told a conference on reconciliation in Colombo that the number of civilians killed during the final phase of the military conflict was far too small to be classed as war crimes or genocide. The brother of the Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse, also revealed that the government was in the final stages of completing a census on the number of killed during the war. "As a result of the census, we already know that the real number of the dead and missing is far too small to provide any substance to absurd allegations of genocide and war...

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