21st Amendment fails to meet Tamil demands

A day after Sri Lanka’s main opposition party, the Samagi Jana Balavegaya (SJB), presented a drafted proposal for the 21 st amendment to Sri Lanka’s constitution, 40 independent MPs presented an alternative draft. The SJB’s proposal would see the abolition of the executive presidential system which has been in place since 1978. In its place would see a parliamentary-led system, to which the President is accountable and elected by. A further reform would be that cabinet ministers can be removed by a vote of no confidence. SJB parliamentarian Harsha de Silva on Thursday shared a summary of the...

Disabled Malaysian Tamil to be executed in 5 days 

Despite international criticism, the execution of mentally disabled Nagaenthran K Dharmalingam has been set for 27 April. The Tamil Malaysian has been on death row since 2010. Dharmalingam was convicted on charges of carrying a meagre 42.72 grams of heroin into Singapore, a country that has received widespread criticism over its harsh drug laws. Last month , Singapore's top court dismissed a final appeal filed by Dharmalingam's lawyers. "[Dharmalingam] has held on to a childlike love of life, and a yearning for the simpler parts of his childhood. He often talks to his family about favourite...

Pakistani court issues death penalty for lynching of Sri Lankan factory manager

Priyantha Diyawadanage A Pakistani court sentenced 6 men to death this week, for their involvement in the mob lynching of a Sri Lankan factory manager in Sialkot, eastern Pakistan. During the mass trial, 9 others were sentenced to life imprisonment; one person was sentenced to 5 years and 72 people to 2 years in jail. 48-year-old Priyantha Diyawadanage worked as a factory manager in a sports equipment factory in Sialkot. A mob of factory workers tortured and killed Diyawadanage for an apparent act of blasphemy. Rumours had spread that Diyawadanage had torn down posters bearing holy verses...

Sri Lankan intelligence question family of Tamil journalist over #GoHomeGota posts

Sri Lankan intelligence officers have visited the homes of at least two Tamil journalists in Batticaloa this week, reportedly looking to interrogate the journalists over social media posts on the ongoing anti-government protests on the island. The homes of S. Nilanthan and P. Sasikaran were visited by intelligence officers who reportedly accused the journalists of ‘inciting separatism on social media’ through their coverage of the protests and of ‘attempting to revive the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)’.

Victims of Easter Sunday attacks remembered in Batticaloa

Memorial events were held in Batticaloa to mark three years since the Easter Sunday attacks that killed nearly 270 people and injured over 500 others. A series of explosions targetted churches and luxury hotels in Colombo and Batticaloa. Hotels hit by explosions include the Shangri-La, Kingsbury and Cinnamon Grand hotels and one other, all in Colombo. The three churches struck were the Catholic Shrine of St. Anthony in Kotahena, Colombo, the Catholic Church of St. Sebastian in Negombo and the Zion Church in Batticaloa. At least 45 foreign nationals were amongst the dead. Though the Islamic...

ICJ ‘deplores use of live ammunition’ by Sri Lankan police

The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) released a statement condemning the use of excessive force by Sri Lankan law enforcement against protestors, adding that “police and other law enforcement officials have failed to respect people’s human rights, including their rights to protest”. On 19 April police used live ammunition on demonstrators killing one man and leaving 14 others injured. Protestors were gathered in Rambukkana in response to new fuel price increases. As Sri Lanka faces its worst economic crisis since independence thousands have been protesting the government for its...

Any loan to Sri Lanka requires debt sustainability says IMF

The International Monetary Fund said that discussions with Sri Lanka on a potential IMF loan program or deal would require "adequate assurances" that the country's debt could be put on a sustainable path. IMF Sri Lanka Mission Chief Masahiro Nozaki said that IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva discussed lending options and policy plans with a Sri Lankan delegation on Tuesday. "An IMF-supported program should be designed to resolve Sri Lanka's acute balance of payments problems and put the economy back on a sustainable growth path as early as possible," Nozaki said. He noted that IMF...

Moody's downgrades Sri Lanka's credit rating again

Moody's Investors Service downgraded the Government of Sri Lanka's long-term foreign-currency issuer and senior unsecured debt ratings to Ca from Caa2. The decision to downgrade the ratings is driven by the government's announcement of its suspension of public debt repayments last week. Moody's noted the assessment reflects "governance weaknesses in the ability of the country's institutions to take measures that decisively address the very low adequacy of foreign exchange reserves and very weak debt affordability ". Moody's also noted that "the default is unlikely to be cured during the grace...

Sri Lanka’s Chinese Embassy hacked by ‘Tamil Eelam Cyber Force’ website

The website of Sri Lanka’s embassy in China has been hacked by the “Tamil Eelam Cyber Force” as the group memorialises the genocide of Eelam Tamils. The webpage features images of the atrocities that took place during the armed conflict. At the time of writing the page remains visible on the embassy website. See the original page here.

Joining Tamil Nadu to Sri Lanka – India presses talks on electric power grid linking the island

The Indian government has revived talks with Sri Lanka on linking the two countries’ electricity grids, a project that it has sought to carry out for several years, according to a report in Reuters. Wasantha Perera, secretary of Sri Lanka's power ministry, confirmed that talks had taken places, stating "it is at very initial stages of discussion”. The project had reported been brought up by New Delhi in March this year, as then Sri Lankan finance minister travelled to India to seek a USD $ 1 billion credit line. Cash-stricken Colombo has been reliant on its northern neighbour for much needed financial assistance as it battles one of its worst economic crises on record. However, in exchange India has looked to expand several projects in the Tamil homeland in the North-East of the island, despite ongoing Sinhala hostility to an Indian presence on the island. Sinhala nationalists have previously prevented several Indian projects from taking place, part of a deeper ‘Indo-phobic’ sentiment across the South.

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