Teacher trade unions unite against transfer scheme

Three of the most prominent teacher trade unions, the Ceylon Tamil Teachers Association, Ceylon Democratic Teachers Union and Ceylon Islamic Teachers Association, came together against the proposed transfer scheme in the East, reported Tamilnet . In a letter to the Eastern Provincial Minister of Education, Wimalaweera Dissanayake, the trade unions protested that they had not been consulted on the transfers made till now, and ultimately the transfer scheme would violate their 'fundamental rights', as well being set up on a racial basis.

Sri Lanka denies Indian pressure

The head of the Sri Lankan delegation currently in talks with the Tamil National Alliance has denied it is under pressure from India to devolve power to the provinces. Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva told BBC Sinhala the agreement to discuss land and police powers, an ‘apparent u-turn’ from their previous position, has nothing to do with influences by other countries. "No no no no, there was no pressure. Neither India nor other country can dictate how our country is governed ," he said in response to a question by BBC Sandeshaya. The government, he said, is " always prepared to discuss land...

Waiting on the King's whim

The past few days have seen rumours that General Sarath Fonseka, sentenced for implicating the defence secretary in war crimes , would receive a pardon from Sri Lanka's president, Mahinda Rajapaksa. The reports, said to have emerged from the Presidential Secretariat sources, alleged that the pardon would be announced on New Years Day. According to the country's constitution, the president can “grant a pardon, either free or subject to lawful conditions, grant any respite, either indefinite or such period as the President may think fit". No such presidential pardon materialised.

Genocide continues unabated

Writing in The Platform , Mario Arulthas a member of the TYO UK (Tamil Youth Organisation UK) argues that the end of the armed conflict has not brought peace, but instead as the ruling regime "attempts to consolidate the Sinhala-Buddhist fascism that has plagued the island for decades", the genocide of Tamils "continues unabated". " Two and a half years have passed since the armed conflict between the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam and the Government of Sri Lanka ended, but Tamils have seen neither justice nor freedom from the Sri Lankan state’s deliberate and systematic destruction of the...

LTTE records of 2006 peace talks released

Records prepared by the LTTE's Peace Secretariat during the 2006 peace talks were released by Tamilnet on Saturday. Tamilnet took the decision to release the records, which it states were handed over personally by the late S.P Tamilselvan, in order to "facilitate a deeper understanding of the peace process and its eventual collapse". See here for article by Tamilnet in full. Extracts reproduced below: "A set of documents prepared by the LTTE’s Peace Secretariat during Geneva peace talks held in February 2006, in June 2006 in Oslo and in October 2006 in Geneva, some of which have not yet...

‘Attempted rape’ of Swedish tourist adds to Sri Lanka’s woes

5 teenagers have been produced before a court in Negombo after they were alleged to have attempted to rape a 23-year old Swedish tourist whilst drunk. Further details of the incident have been held back by the authorities according to journalist Prasad Purnimal Jayamanne, over fears that it will badly affect the tourist industry on the island. The incident follows the murder of 27-year old British tourist Kuram Shaikah Zamanon Christmas Eve, where his partner 24-year old Victoria Alexandrovnaw was also badly injured and alleged to have been sexually assaulted. Superintendent of Police Ajith...

Sri Lanka taxes wheelchair donation for Tamils

The Sri Lankan government has taxed a charity for importing wheelchairs for Tamil war victims. 322 wheelchairs and other mobility equipment destined for the north of the island were taxed $8,000 by Sri Lankan customs. The head of the Yorkshire based charity, PhysioNet, has condemned the move by the government. Peter Thompson said the shipment took over 3 months to clear customs. "This is a record for the longest time one of our shipments has languished on the docks of a recipient country - and that includes some of the most corrupt and inefficient countries in Africa." he told the BBC. Mr...

Proposed Sampur power plant inspected, by Sampanthan

Photograph www.sundaytimes.lk Escorted by Sri Lankan military commander for the Eastern province, Major Gen. Lal Perara and the Commander of the 22nd Division, Brig. Dharshana Hettiaarachchi, the leader of the TNA, Sampanthan, reviewed the proposed Sampur coal power project on Thursday. The proposed project, a joint venture by the governments of Sri Lanka and India, will include the arbitary aquisition of private lands belonging to Tamils who have been refused the right of return and effectively forced into indefinite displacement. Less than a fortnight ago, the displaced families, living in...

'Sri Lanka-China relationship not a threat to India'

Sri Lanka's ruling party, the UPFA, have said that the country's close ties with China should not be seen as a threat to India. According to Rohitha Bogollagama, member of the UPFA, Sri Lanka's relationship with India is unique and cannot be replaced. "China's relationship with us is special because they were with us and supported us in countering terrorism. They also supported us in the international arena. The Chinese also assisted the economic drive of President Mahinda Rajapaksa without placing conditions during and after the war," Bogollagama told Xinhua. "We couldn't just take...

TNA's demands 'impossible' - Mahinda Rajapaksa

In an interview with Bhagwan Singh, published in the Deccan Chronicle, Sri Lankan president, Mahinda Rajapaksa slammed calls for a war crimes inquiry as "baseless issues" contrived by the Tamil diaspora, and dismissed the TNA's demands as "impossible". See here for interview in full. Extracts of Rajapaksa's responses reproduced below: On calls for a war crimes investigation "The LTTE remnants in these Western countries are bringing pressure on political leaders there to raise baseless issues against Sri Lanka." "After the 1880 uprising in Ceylon’s Uva (in the south), the British rulers killed every male aged above 14, and destroyed all water reservoirs to force the people into starvation. They took away land. They did that in India, too. And they talk of human rights now. The West wants me to be their lackey and I refuse to be that." On relationships with India " For me, India is first, and others come only after India . As soon as I came to power, I went to India and got their support; after that, I did not have to bother about the UN, UK, US, and so on." On TNA and devolution "They (TNA) have the same attitude as the LTTE. "They demand impossible things — merger of the north and the east, land policy and police . See what happened in your country [India] when Rahul Gandhi was travelling in Uttar Pradesh. Chief minister Mayawati tried to get him arrested. Do you think I want to get arrested by these people (by giving the Tamils a police force)?

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