Sri Lankan airlines owed over 100 million rupees for Rajapaksa private flights

Sri Lanka’s national airline is owed 122.3 million rupees in outstanding costs for chartered flights taken during Mahinda Rajapaksa’s presidency. The outstanding amount, of which Rs. 114 million is attributed to the Presidential Secretariat and the remainder to the foreign ministry, was for several flights out of 65 chartered by Rajapaksa between March 2009 and December 2014, including to Israel, South Africa, Italy and Bolivia. The details were revealed by a SriLankan Airlines official to the Presidential Commission of Inquiry into ‘irregularities’ at the airline and its subsidiaries. See...

Mangala discusses ‘human rights’ with British minister in London

Sri Lanka’s Minister of Finance & Media Mangala Samaraweera met with Lord Tariq Ahmad, the UK Minister of State for the UN and Commonwealth, and the Prime Minister’s Envoy on Preventing Sexual Violence, in Westminster on Monday. Discussions reportedly were on the topic of “[Human Rights] & Reconciliation and other matters of mutual interest,” according to Samaraweera, who tweeted a photograph of the meeting. The meeting comes after Samaraweera met with IMF officials in the United States, and as Sri Lanka gears up to face the UN Human Rights Council in March, where the topic of...

Sri Lankan army dismisses UK arrest warrant for brigadier

The Sri Lankan military said it was not aware of the issuing of an arrest warrant for Brigadier Priyanka Fernando by a UK court yesterday, stating that it was “not concerned” over the matter. "If a warrant has been issued then the relevant authorities must follow the due procedure in order to inform us formally" Media Spokesperson of Sri Lanka Army Brigadier Sumith Atapattu told Times Online. Fernando had been found guilty through a private prosecution of committing public order offences, when he was filmed motioning a death threat to Tamils in London last year, running his finger across his...

Sri Lanka’s defence secretary pledges to arrest soldiers

Sri Lanka’s current defence secretary Hemasiri Fernando stated that his government would be arresting a group of soldiers accused of committing murder, in a surprise announcement on Monday. He said that a group of 11 soldiers would be arrested in coming weeks, accusing them of having committed a crime - but did not elaborate on the specific incident he was referring to. “When within two weeks we indict these 11 security personnel, the diaspora will not be able to accuse us of sheltering those responsible for atrocities,” he said in Colombo. “I urge them, if they have evidence, I am sure they...

Committee requests ‘revised response’ from UK over petition on taking Sri Lanka to ICC

Britain’s Petitions Committee has called on the UK government to give a “revised response” to a petition which has gathered over 17,000 signatures, calling on Britain to refer Sri Lanka to the International Criminal Court. The Petitions Committee, made up of a group of MPs who oversee the petitions system, said the response from Britain to the petition “did not directly address the request of petition”. The Committee has “therefore written back to the Government to ask them to provide a revised response”. Last month the British government responded to the petition by saying "international...

UK Foreign Office accused of cover up after destroying hundreds of files on Sri Lanka

The British Foreign Office stands accused of “shredding history” after it emerged that it had destroyed almost 400 files related to its links with the Sri Lankan government as it waged a war against the Tamil armed struggle. A freedom of information request by the Morning Star found that the Foreign Office had destroyed nearly twice as many files on its engagement with Sri Lanka from the 1970’s onwards, than it had previously admitted. Though the British government admitted last year that it had destroyed 195 files from the 1970’s, the Morning Star revealed that shredded another 177 files...

Sri Lankan navy arrests 4 Indian nationals for illegal entry

The Sri Lankan navy arrested four Indian nationals for attempting to allegedly attempting to enter the country illegally. The men were detained in seas off the Northern province in two dinghies. The navy have accused them of illegal immigration and taken them to their base at Kankasanthurai.

Farmers' festival celebrated in Batticaloa

Farmers and local residents celebrated the annual 'Ulavar Vizha' or farmers' festival on January 18 in Palachcholai, Porathivu Pattu, Batticaloa. Families with children gathered to celebrate the harvest and traditional farming.

Students demand action against increased drug use in Jaffna

Students from the Hindu College in Kalviyankadu, Jaffna protested this morning against the authorities failure to curb the increased use of drugs in Jaffna. Condemning the violent attacks related to the use of drugs, students accused authorities of allowing the ongoing smuggling of drugs into the region.

Jaffna protest against Sri Lanka's anti-terror laws

Civil society organisations and women's rights group protested in Jaffna on Sunday against Sri Lanka's Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) and the planned Counter Terror Act (CTA). "Say no to PTA & CTA" and "don't take away rights by PTA & CTA", protesters demanded, as they gathered by Vempady junction in Jaffna town, and marched towards the main bus station.