12 breakdowns since power plant opening

The faulty Norochcholai power plant has allegedly broken down 12 times, since its opening in March last year. A document tabled by Minister of Power and Energy Patali Champika Ranawaka revealed the extent of the issues plaguing the Chinese-built plant, blamed on “ quality issues ” earlier this month. A special team of Chinese engineers had to be flown into the island , in order to help try and solve the failures, which have led to extensive power cuts across the country.

'No 3rd party intervention on internal matters' - SL

The Sri Lankan government will not accept any "third party intervention" on "internal matters" the External Affairs Ministry's secretary, Karunathilaka Amunugama said on Monday. Quoting the defiant words of Mahinda Rajapaksa, Amunugama said: "The government of Sri Lanka will not accept any mediator or facilitator roles by foreign governments or organisations in finding solutions to its internal problems ." "President Mahinda Rajapaksa's position was very clear in this regard right from the beginning of his office as the President."

GL Peiris - 'no justification' for FCO update

The External Affairs minister GL Peiris met with the British High Commissioner on Monday, protesting against the FCO's recent travel advisory update. According to the Daily Mirror, a government source said , “The minister asked that the travel advisory be amended in keeping with the developments in the North." "We mentioned that there was no justification for such a travel advisory because there is stability and security in the country."

EROS office in Batticaloa attacked

The office of the Eelam Revolutionary Organisation of Students (EROS) in Batticaloa was attacked by a group of unidentified people on Sunday morning, reported the Colombo Page. The police confirmed that severe damage had been caused to the office, and there has been an attempt to set the EROS leader, R. Prabhakaran's van on fire.

SL plans for Mullivaikal to be transformed as a tourism hot spot

Plans are underway to transform Mullivaikal, Mullaitheevu into tourism hot spot, reports the Uthayan. According to Uthayan, 22km of coastal line, stretching from Nayaru to Alampil is being prepared for the establishment of tourism resorts. The stretch of land encompasses Ampalavan Pokkanai, West Mullivaikal, East Mullivaikal, Palaya Mathalan, Puthumathalan, Valainarmadam and Vadduvakal. Two meetings have already been taken place at the Mullaitheevu Political Headquarters, headed by Mullaitheevu GA, Nogalingam Vethanayakam. Discussions included deciding what portion of the land in this area is government owned.

IMF expresses concern over hounding out of SEC chief

The International Monetary Fund has expressed concern over the resignation of the head of Sri Lanka's Securities and Exchange Commission, after stock market players he was investigating complained to Mahinda Rajapakse. Thilak Karuneratne stepped down after powerful traders sabotaged probes into corrupt practices. "It is sad to see the SEC lose yet another strong chairperson, and in such a short period too," Koshy Mathai, Sri Lanka's IMF resident representative, told Reuters in response to an e-mail query on the resignation of Karunaratne. "From all credible accounts, Karunaratne and his team...

GSP + ‘A closed chapter’

The European Union representative in Sri Lanka has stated that aid to the country was “unlikely” to increase and trade concessions revoked from the country will not be reinstated, urging the country to “move on” from the issue. Bernard Savage, Head of the Delegation of the EU in Sri Lanka stated that, “We have had no request from the government for a new facility.” “To use the words of the Minister of External Affairs (GL Peiris) this is a closed chapter (in our relationship). The fact is that GSP+ was withdrawn and there has been no further discussion on that issue and Sri Lanka has not re-applied. We need to move on. ” The statement comes as the withdrawal of the concessions from 2010 begins to take hold, with garment exports to the EU falling 10-15% this year, and further falls predicted.

Jaya and Karunanidhi condemn fishermen attacks

Following yet another attack on 8 Indian fishermen by the Sri Lankan Navy, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa and DMK president M Karunanidhi have both released statements condemning the attack and calling on the Indian government to do more to halt the assaults. Writing in a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Chief Minister Jayalalithaa stated , "I am distressed to once again have to point out that the incidents of harassment of Indian fishermen by the Sri Lankan Navy simply continue unabated " "The Sri Lankan Navy, emboldened by the soft handling of the issue by the Government of India , is attacking/harassing the fishermen of Tamil Nadu with impunity. The statements at diplomatic level meetings of the two countries stating that "the use of force on fishermen cannot be justified by any means" remain only on paper and are honoured more in the breach by the Sri Lankan Navy, who seem to be making a mockery of the entire diplomatic process "

The King has spoken

The Commissioner of Elections has expressed his pleasure at President Mahinda Rajapksa’s recent intervention that election laws must be abided by and cannot be violated. Speaking to Ceylon Today , the Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya stated, “I am glad the President himself has got involved in handling the election law violations and instructed the police to take tough action and this will make things easy for us”. Perhaps now the misuse of state property and resources for campaign propaganda, described as “rampant” in some districts, and election related violence can finally be held to...

Undeterred and still looking to escape

Despite an increasing number of arrests by the Sri Lankan Navy, asylum seekers remain undeterred in their attempts to flee the island, reported AFP. Tamil asylum seekers from Udappuwa who were recently arrested, told AFP, " We will try to go again after the case is over. We just have to wait for some time." Another said, “ The future here is very bleak. We want to get out of poverty," Local community leader Quintus Fernando also stated that continued fishing restrictions by the navy had forced many residents to seek greener pastures elsewhere. he commented, "It is three years after the end of...