Navy denies arresting Indian fishermen

The Sri Lankan Navy has denied arresting Indian fishermen, as alleged attacks against Indian fishermen remained rampant over the past week. As Indian officials and the President of the local fishermen association alleged that 9 fishermen were held in custody by the Sri Lankan Navy, spokesperson Commander Kosala Warnakulasuriya said , "We have not arrested any Indian fishermen anywhere". Earlier this month 56 Indian fishermen were arrested by the Sri Lankan Navy, prompting widespread criticism in Tamil Nadu. They have not yet been freed. There have been continued allegations of attacks by the...

US proposes aid cut citing SL military interference

The US Secretary of State John Kerry proposed cutting aid to Sri Lanka by 20 per cent, citing difficulties experienced in channelling money towards IDPs due to military interference. A senior state department official has been quoted as saying: " This reflects both the fact that we had difficult time in programming a lot of our money in Sri Lanka . We tried to do a lot in the North to help the IDPs and get back to their normal life and support reconstruction efforts there. But in several cases we had programmes that we were trying to support, to which the government - the military got quite...

SL Washington embassy hires firms to lobby US govt

The Sri Lankan embassy in the Washington DC, has hired the lobbying firm Majority Group to 'lobby the US government to change its attitude towards Sri Lanka', reports the SundayTimes.lk. Ambassador Wickremesuriya made the agreement on behalf of the Sri Lankan government for US $50,000 a month. Last week the SundayTimes.lk reported that Sri Lanka's Central Bank hired the US lobby firm, Thompson Advisory Group LLC for US $ 66,600 a month. See here .

British Airways resumes flights to Sri Lanka

British Airways resumed flights to Sri Lanka, for the first time in 15 years, after the service was suspended due to the country’s civil war, which was concluded by a mass onslaught on Tamil civilians. The British Airways Boeing 777 touched down, to a warm welcome, at Colombo’s Bandaranaike International airport. A celebratory reception was held for 19 crew members, including the Chief Executive Officer of British Airways, William Keith. British Airway’s decision to resume services to Sri Lanka, comes amidst international calls for an independent international investigation into war crimes...

FCO Human Rights report expresses “serious concern” on SL

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s Human Rights and Democracy report 2012 was released today, criticising Sri Lanka’s human rights situation. The report expressed “serious concern” at a number of “negative developments” in the country in 2012. “The human rights situation in Sri Lanka in 2012 remained of serious concern, with a number of negative developments, including with regard to freedom of expression and media and judicial independence,” the report said. The report also criticised the militarisation in the north and the harassment of former LTTE cadres. “At the end of 2012, 775 ex-...

Seeding resistance

Four years ago on the 6th April, hundreds of British Tamils burst onto the streets of Westminster, outraged at the massacre of Tamils in the North-East. An unprecedented, global, mass mobilisation of Tamils followed. The protesters' demands were encapsulated within the slogan: “ Stop Genocide. Free Tamil Eelam ”. Four years on however, with the decimation of the Vanni, the military defeat of the Tamil armed resistance movement, and the on-going persecution of the Tamil people in the North-East, the absolute objective of the protesters evidently failed. Yet nonetheless the 2009 protests remain a milestone in the long Tamil struggle - a defining moment that seeded the next generation of Tamil activists.

US calls for ‘credible investigation’ into Uthayan attack

The United States Embassy in Sri Lanka has expressed concern over a series of attacks on the Jaffna-based Uthayan newspaper and “credible investigation” into the attack. In a tweet on Friday, the head of public affairs for the US Embassy in Sri Lanka, Christopher Teal, said he was expressing “official embassy concern”, tweeting, “Concerned about series of attacks on Uthayan, & call upon SL authorities to protect freedom of the media, conduct a credible investigation.” Concerned about series of attacks on Uthayan, & call upon SL authorities to protect freedom of the media, conduct a...

New Year’s celebrations in Jaffna

The Sri Lankan military “celebrated” the Tamil and Singhalese new year by organising a festival for Tamil civilians in Iyakkachchi near Elephant Pass. Although the region is nearly exclusively Tamil, the Army reported that “a range of Sinhala and Hindu traditional sports had been organized for civilians”. According to the army-run Civil Military Coordination website , local people “really enjoyed the programme”. “People in Iyakkachchi and surrounding areas, especially young crowd, had fun dancing and singing to the tune of the 12th Vijayabahu Infantry Regiment beat group who sang popular...

Further calls for CHOGM boycott

In an opinion piece for abc News, the director of the Centre for Peace and Conflict at the University of Sydney, Professor James Lynch, outlined the need to boycott the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting due to take place in Colombo later this year. Excerpts follow below, “The final offensive against the Tamil Tigers was planned as a 'war without witnesses', but investigative journalism led by the UK's Channel Four, in collaboration with brave Sri Lankan reporters both in country and in exile, has kept the issue in the public eye.” “The Commonwealth summit would be hosted by president...

Tamil newspaper office attacked, Govt alleges insider job

Photographs Uthayan The office of the Tamil newspaper, Uthayan, was attacked during the early hours of Sunday morning, with equipment set fire to and employees assaulted. Six masked men are reported to have entered the building in Kilinochchi, and opened fire injuring two staff members and setting equipment ablaze. The owner of the Uthayan, and TNP MP, E. Saravanapavan, his staff informed him that the masked men had been shouting in Sinhala and possessed cricket stumps. Saravanapavan said : “This morning at around 4.45am three people with arms – two were carrying pistols and one was carrying what looked like an AK-47 – came into the building and scared away the security staff." “They shot at the panel board and put kerosene all over the place. Four printing wheels got burned. The main part of the machine was destroyed. They also threw press oil everywhere.” Speaking to the BBC , he added: "In the office the manager was sleeping on the floor. They hammered him," "Another boy was badly hit - he needed stitches between his ear and his jaw." The Sri Lanka meanwhile accused the Uthayan newspaper of an insider job in order to "tarnish the government's image". The Director General of the Media Center for National Security Lakshman Hulugalla was quoted on the MOD website as saying: “The setting fire to Uthayan newspaper printing office has been an inside job to tarnish the government’s image,”

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