Minister accuses TNA of assisting the LTTE

The General Secretary of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party Maithripala Sirisena has accused the Tamil National Alliance of assisting 'LTTE activists' to enter the country. Sirisena, who is Minister of Health, also questioned if the opposition UNP was assisting the TNA to help the re-emerging of the LTTE. The minister added it was the duty of the opposition to discuss a political solution with the Parliamentary Select Committee proposed by President Rajapakse.

Government buys up local milk

The Sri Lankan Government has ordered the state-owned milk company Milco to buy up all unsold milk from farmers. Farmers recently held demonstrations, highlighting their inability to sell fresh milk in the Sri Lankan market by spilling 12,000 litres on the streets of Hatton. The popularity of imported milk powder in Sri Lanka have damaged sales of fresh milk. However, the government has fought back by ordering Milco to purchase unsold milk and boost national self-sufficiency. "We are committed to encourage dairy farmers in this country to produce milk," Milco's chairman Sunil Wickramasinghe...

Government seeks Rs 200m to buy cars for judges

An estimate for supplementary expenses, submitted by the Sri Lankan government on Monday, included Rs 347,500,000 to pay for 52 vehicles for several ministries and members of the judiciary, reported The Island. According to the newspaper, the estimate includes Rs 200 million to purchase cars for judges serving at the Supreme Court and the Appeal Court. Other allocations included Rs 2,521,525,000 to prop up the shortfalls of Sri Lankan Airlines and Mihin Lanka airline, which last week was instructed by the President to grant concessions to Buddhist pilgrims travelling to South India.

Gigolos and a day in Sri Lanka’s parliament

Minister of Foreign Employment Promotion and Welfare Dilan Perera and UNP MP Ranjan Ramanayaka called each other ‘gigolos’ during a debate in parliament, The Island reported on Wednesday. The debate centred around the fate of Rizana Nafeeq, a house maid on death row in Saudi Arabia. "There are gigolos who go from here and stage protests in front of our embassies but no problem could be solved in this manner," Minister Perera. MP Ramanayake replied in kind, asking why Perera was calling him a gigolo, when the minister was the one known by that name.

Tamils from Palali demand to be resettled home

Tamils from Palali who remain internally displaced after the army took control of the area, demanded that they be allowed to go home, reported the Jaffna newspaper, Uthayan. Raising these concerns with the TNA MP Mavai Senathirajah, over 200 Tamils have threatened to fast unto death in protest unless the resettlement occurs immediately. Tamils who have been displaced from Palali have been living in welfare centres and at the homes of relatives for over 30 years. Currently, there still no plan in place to resettle them back to their original homes as Palali remains within a High Security Zone...

Monks resume protests against Dambulla mosque

A large number of Buddhist monks and supporters took part in a protest march in Kalutara on Monday , demanding the removal of the mosque in Dambulla. The protest was organised by a Buddhist organisation called 'Buddhist Protection Foundation'. Addressing reporters, the Executive Director of the Foundation, a Buddhist monk, Puliyadde Sudhamma Thero vowed that Monday's protest was just a "beginning in a series of protests" against the mosque. He said that "muslim extremists" had built the mosque in a sacred Buddhist area. Last month, thousands of Buddhist monks and protesters protested outside...

Power behind the throne

Sri Lankan president, Mahinda Rajapaksa Sri Lanka's Buddhist monks have often played a decisive role in the key issues facing the country, such as the UNHRC resolution on Sri Lanka , the 2009 general elections , and the resumption of armed conflict in 2008 . UNP leader Ranil Wickramasinghe TNA leader R Sampanthan See here for more on what has been dubbed the 'angry monk syndrome'. The Dambulla mosque protests provide yet another glimpse into what drives them. In an interview with the Sunday Leader, the chief priest at the Rangiri Dambulla Viharaya, Sumangala Thero, who took part in the...

Tamara on route to Cuba

After days of defiance, Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Tamara Kunanayakam, was transferred to Cuba, reported the Daily Mirror. According to reports the external affairs minister, G.L. Peiris, made a phonecall to Kunanayakam late last month stated that she would be transferred to either Cuba or Brazil. Indignant, she reportedly sent a letter to Peiris dated 1st May, rejecting the transfer offer. Excerpts include: "Your proposal to move me out only nine months after assuming duties as PR in Geneva, will suggest instability in our diplomacy and an ad hoc character, when, in a...

Sailor shoots female officer and commits suicide

A Sri Lankan Navy sailor placed in Trincomalee has committed suicide after shooting a female officer earlier on Monday, reported Ceylon Today . The incident marks the second time in the space of a few days where a member of the Sri Lankan Armed Forces has killed a colleague and then committed suicide in the heavily militarised Tamil homeland, in the North-East of the island. See our earlier post: 2 SLA soldiers dead after shots fired in Jaffna (05 May 2012)

Embassy examines murder site of Canadian Tamil

Canadian embassy officials examined the residence of the 53-year-old murdered Canadian Tamil, reported the Jaffna daily newspaper, Uthayan. Anthonypillai Mahendrasa was found dead with a slit across his throat near Paranthan Junction in the Kilinochchi district of Vanni, last week. According to the post mortem report he had fallen to the ground and had been struggling before he died. Local people said they had seen unidentified men wearing balaclavas during the time of his death. Mahendrarasa was reportedly visiting the area to reaffirm his ownership of land he owns in the Kumarapuram -...