Iranian funded development project suspended

An Iranian funded development project in Uma Oya has been suspended, prompting the Ceylon Electricy Board to meet and discuss the situation, reported the Island . The project was suspended after a number of issues were reported, including overdue payments and Sri Lanka deciding to purchase crude oil from countries other than Iran, upon which Sri Lanka was almost fully reliant on for supplies. Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa inaugurated the project on the 8th of August 2012 with Iranian officials, which was set to provide 100-150 MW of hydro power and irrigate around 4,000-5,000...

We never promised to devolve power

Sri Lanka’s Minister of Agriculture, JHU front-liner Udaya Gammanpila has said that he believes Sri Lanka was able to successfully counter human rights abuse allegations at the UN Human Rights Council. Calling the allegations “baseless theories put forward by separatist forces” in an interview with the Sunday Observer, Gammanpila explained how the Sri Lankan delegation at the UPR was able to defy them by detailing Sri Lanka’s extensive post-2009 ‘achievements’ in rehabilitation and infrastructure. Gammanpila then went on to talk about the Tamil issue, claiming that a solution can only be formed by the Sri Lankan government.

Gota goes to China

The Sri Lankan Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa was in China today, meeting his counterpart, Defence Minister Liang Guanglie. Meeting in Beijing, the pair discussed means of boosting relations between the two countries and militaries, reported China's Xinhua news agency. Gotabhaya Rajapaksa is due to attend the 9th China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition in Zhuhai, where China's new attack helicopter and fighter jets will be exhibited. Meanwhile, China's communist party figure, Wu Bingguo, was in Sri Lanka and pledged $760 million in aid towards infrastructure development.

Welikada prison riots ‘a massacre’

The UNP has said that the violence in Welikada prison ended with security forces committing a massacre. Mangala Samaraweera of the party said that most of the dead were gunned down by police and the army. "It's a massacre that has to be condemned. It shows the breakdown of the rule of law in the country," he said, according to Reuters. "[The] information I have is that most of the prisoners were cold-bloodedly gunned down" he added. Relatives of some of the victims told BBC Sinhala that after the first clashes died down, soldiers removed prisoners from their cells and shot them. The secretary...

New amendment considered for 'meaningful' devolution

The Sri Lankan government indicated plans to introduce a 19th Amendment to the Constitution aimed at addressing the current issue of power devolution to the north-east, reported Colombo Page . The government is preparing the draft of the 19th amendment as an alternative to the 13th Amendment, which has been facing calls of abolishment. The draft amendment, which claims to offer a solution to the current ethnic issue, will be shown to the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC). Amidst strong calls for the 13th amendment to be repealed, President Mahinda Rajapaska outlined that a change to the...

Tamil community shocked at activist assassination

Photograph TamilNet Tamil diaspora organisations have been voicing shock at the death of French TCC (Tamil Coordination Committee) co-ordinator and ex-LTTE commander, Colonel Parithi, who was shot dead in Paris on Thursday night. 50-year-old Nadarajah Mathinthiran, more commonly known by his noms de guerre Reagan and later Parithi, left the LTTE in the early 90s and took responsibility for mobilising the French Tamil diaspora in the early 2000s. Mathinthiran had been targeted in police crackdowns on LTTE fundraising activities in 2007 and had served a three year prison term until 2010.

President calls for changes to 13th Amendment

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has called for changes to the country’s 13th Amendment, calling for a mechanism that will unify the country further. Delivering his budget speech in Parliament, Rajapaksa stated the devolution should not lead to separation, saying , "Instead it should be a one that unifies all of us". Following his comments, a Sinhala nationalist party and ruling coalition member, the National Freedom Front, announced that they are set to file a case in Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court against the 13th Amendment. The NFF leader government Minister Wimal Weerawamsa also met with...

And where was Sampanthan?

As key Tamil figures from the North-East came to London this Wednesday and Thursday to engage in the international World Tamil Conference to discuss ways of pushing the call for an international, independent investigation into the crimes of genocide against the Tamil nation, where was the leader of the TNA - Sampanthan? Having tea with the president of course... Addressing parliament earlier in the day, Mahinda Rajapaksa said : "That will be an effort which ensures greater self-respect than having to lobby foreign countries to interfere in our national problems. The Leader of the Opposition,...

Prison clashes leave 24 dead

The riots in Welikada prison ended in a bloodbath, with 27 people dead and dozens injured. Most of the dead were prisoners who were killed by armed police and army soldiers. At least three prisoners were killed when they attempted to flee in an auto-rickshaw, which was shot at by security forces. Clashes between prisoners and police erupted on Friday after a search operation was mounted. At least one prison guard was killed and several policemen and soldiers were injured during the violence. Welikada prison has a history of violence against inmates, with clashes earlier this year leaving one...

Riots at Welikada prison after STF tries to search inmates

14:57 GMT In breaking news, riots have broken out between inmates at the Welikada prison and the Sri Lankan security forces. Reports coming through state that on Friday afternoon, Sri Lanka's Special Task Force (STF) and prison intelligence unit conducted a search operation on inmates in the L and Chappell units of the prison, citing authorisation by the minister of prisons and reforms. As inmates protested, STF personnel fired tear gas at the protesters. The situation continued to escalate, with several inmates climbing onto the roof of the prison in protest, and news coming through of serious injuries and fatalities.