Journalists live dangerously in Sri Lanka

Sri Lankan journalists are going through a trying period. Government leaders are taking a hard line on media freedom, with even senior media persons facing death threats and murderous assaults. Media watchdogs, both national and international, have publicised serious incidents of intimidation by the state and other agencies directed against media organisations. But President Mahinda Rajapaksa denies any repression. 'The media here is free. Newspapers are full of criticism against the government,' Rajapaksa pointed out recently. However, incidents of intimidation abound. The latest scary case...

Sri Lanka’s aggressive foreign policy pays off

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse's foreign policy based on an aggressive display of nationalism appears to be paying off. In the two years Rajapakse has been in power, the government has taken on the UN and the West and has rapped multilateral bodies on the knuckles for being soft on the Tamil Tigers. It has also demonstrated closeness to China and Pakistan regardless of how India, the only neighbour, may view it. But Colombo has been none the worse for all the boldness, even if it has smacked of adventurism and abrasiveness at times. There has been consistent and strident international...

Lanka asks UN to emulate India

Sri Lankan leader, Basil Rajapaksa, had asked the visiting UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Louise Arbour, to emulate India and stop "policing" Sri Lanka, The Nation reported on Sunday. The second most important man in Sri Lanka after President Mahinda Rajapaksa, told the ranking UN official, that India was not acting as the policeman of the South Asian region, but was helping Sri Lanka solve its problems. For example, India had sent food to tackle shortages in Jaffna, he said. "We urge the UN to assist Sri Lanka and refrain from policing human rights in the country," he told Arbour...

Sri Lanka battles cash crunch

Due to inefficiency, corruption, fall in income and the mounting expenditure on war, the Sri Lankan government is facing a financial crunch. This is likely to get worse in the future because of a planned rise in defence expenditure. At last Wednesday's cabinet meeting, President Mahinda Rajapaksa had turned down requests from a number of ministers for more financial allocations, The Sunday Times reported. A cash strapped Central government had slashed allocations to the Provincial Governments by as much as 60%, the paper said. This would affect on-going grass roots level projects. In an...

No going back until peace is restored, refugees say

'The attacker can't be seen. There is no warning that he is going to come. There is no escape!'

US and Sri Lanka sign military pact

The Acquisition and Cross Servicing Agreement (ACSA) had been on hold for five years.

Sri Lanka: a graveyard of pacts

Most of the pacts abrogated in Sri Lanka have been on the Tamil question.

A moderating influence in the LTTE

ANTON Balasingham, the LTTE's chief negotiator and ideologue who died of bile duct cancer in London on Thursday at the age of 68, was a moderating influence on the militant group's supremo, Velupillai Pirapaharan. "He knew the importance of flexibility in political negotiations when flexibility was called for. Even though he fully endorsed the hard line of the LTTE and ultimately, always bowed to the wishes of Pirapaharan, he never failed to argue for accommodation when he thought that prudence demanded it," said a Tamil journalist who was close to him. Towards the end of his life, when he...

SLFP under stress ahead of election

The SLFP feels the consolidation of Sinhala nationalist and left wing votes is necessary to beat the UNP. But it cannot hope to win with a brazenly communal agenda either.