The Buddha graces yet another Vanni district

A Buddhist shrine has been opened by the Sri Lankan Army in Vavuniya north’s Kanagarayankulam, reports Uthayan. The post-2009 Buddhist colonisation campaign started off with scattered emergences of Sacred Fig trees and the popping up of Buddha statues around the Vanni and Jaffna areas, some of which have been expanded into full scale Viharas. The Kanagarayankulam shrine has been described as a huge statue, on a large mount under a newly planted Sacred Fig tree. It is reported that the opening of the shrine is a forerunner to the proposed building of the ‘Sri Sambuddharaje Vihara’. See more on...

India ‘mischievously concealing’ training of Sri Lankan officers – Jayalalitha

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalitha has accused the Indian government of concealing training it provided to members of Sri Lanka’s security forces in the state since May. In a strongly worded letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Jayalalitha said Delhi was showing “excessive enthusiasm” for training Sri Lankan forces and that it “mischievously concealed ” training officers in Tamil Nadu. “I have expressed in no unclear terms the strong views of my government on imparting training to defence personnel belonging to Sri Lanka, “It is very clear that this fact of ongoing training since May 2012 has been mischievously concealed from my government, showing scant regard for the views of my government as well as for the sentiments of the people of Tamil Nadu,” she said. She criticised the decision to move Sri Lankan personnel to Bengaluru after she opposed their training in Tamil Nadu earlier this year.

Japan tells SL “visible outcomes” needed

Japan’s special envoy Yasushi Akashi has told Sri Lanka that visible outcomes on reconciliation must be demonstrated, as he concluded his 5-day tour of the island. Akashi, Japan’s special envoy during the 2002 peace process, told reporters "I reiterated (to Rajapaksa) the importance to take effective measures and demonstrate visible outcomes to the international community ". Whilst in Jaffna, Akashi reportedly encountered complaints from Tamil civil and religious society over tha lack of progress. In response, Akashi allegedly said the Tamil community needed to “show patience”. See some of...

UK Tamil student detained in Sri Lanka

A UK Tamil student travelling on summer vacation to Sri Lanka was detained by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) on Thursday, reported Tamilwin. The student, Thuwakaran Nagenthirarajah, is currently completing his higher education in London. According to Tamilwin, he was questioned for several hours as to whether he had participated in a protest in London against the Sri Lankan government, and links to the LTTE. The CID have ordered further investigations. Thuwakaran has denied all allegations.

The big bad CEPA

Sri Lanka is reluctant to sign the CEPA (Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement) with India, with many officials expressing a fear that CEPA would give India too much say in Sri Lanka's markets, work force and political affairs. According to Business Standard, officials from Sri Lanka's Minister of Commerce, described a "fear psychosis" over dependence on the Indian market, giving indirect leverage on political matters by Sri Lanka, as well as concerns that Indian access to Sri Lankan markets would destroy Sri Lanka's 'domestic industry'. One official also said : "Some sections of the...

FCO ignores SL and adds further warnings to travel advisory

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has ignored protests by the Sri Lankan government about its recent updates to travel advice over security on the island and has added further warnings. After the recent convictions of French tourists over pictures that were taken with statues of Buddha, the foreign office advice now warns against posing in front of statues. “You should avoid posing for photographs standing in front of a statue of Buddha. The mistreatment of Buddhist images and artefacts is a serious offence and tourists have been convicted for posing for such photos,” the travel advice now...

Gotabhaya instructs military to convince world of their ‘magnanimity’

Addressing the occupying military in Vanni, secretary of defence Gotabhaya Rajapksa, noted that their foremost responsibility was to “ensure that all measures are adopted to win hearts and minds of the Northern civilians and prevent the recurrence of terrorism". After opening with this noble statement, the defence secretary went on to describe a series of welfare projects that have been launched for the sake of the military service personnel and “war hero families”. Gotabhaya outlined the importance of conveying to the international community that the military were disciplined, noble and met...

Land laws to be amended to 'exclude conflict period'

The land laws are to be amended to exclude the past 30 years, citing the armed conflict. Justifying the move, Justice Minister Rauff Hakeem said , “When we try to resettle some people we find that their lands have been occupied by others, who have resided in these areas for more than ten years, during the conflict. Therefore we are in the process of amending the law to exclude the conflict period.”

Chinese hit back at power plant criticisms

The Chinese engineers who constructed the faltering Norochcholai power plant have struck back at criticism of the plant, stating the Sri Lankans have not been following proper maintenance practice. Zhao Wenxue, from the Northwest Electric Design Institute that designed the plant labelled the accusations as unfair, stating , "The Norochcholai coal power plant is not as bad as one makes it look. It is just overused, tired and needs a break to rest like any other equipment does." " The plant was forced to work beyond its required limits and keep supplying electricity to the whole country.” "Questioning the quality of the equipment used in the project and pointing fingers at China Machinery Engineering Corporation is without basis.” " According to normal practice in China, a thermal plant should undergo a one month maintenance period annually… Only then can the unit be more reliable and efficient and expected to perform well. "

Sri Lanka to receive over $1 billion in loans from China

The Sri Lankan cabinet has approved proposals by the government to obtain loans from China totalling over $1 billion. Minister of Finance and Planning Mahinda Rajapakse, who is also President, Minister of Defence, Minister of Ports and Aviation, and Minister of Highways and Road Development, forwarded the proposals to the cabinet. The loans, financed by China’s Exim Bank, will be used to fund the second phase of the Hambantota Harbour project in Rajapakse’s home town, and the southern rail line expansion project. See here who benefits from Chinese loans to Sri Lanka . Another Chinese project...