Dalai Lama urges Buddhist monks to stop violence in Myanmar and Sri Lanka

The Dalai Lama has urged Buddhist monks in Myanmar and Sri Lanka to end the violence against Muslims in their countries. Delivering a speech in the US on Tuesday regarding religious violence, the Tibetan Buddhist leader, said : " Killing people in the name of religion is really very sad, unthinkable, very sad ." " Nowadays even Buddhists now involved, in Burma and Sri Lanka also. Buddhist monks ... destroy Muslim mosques or Muslim families. Really very sad ." "When they develop some sort of negative emotions toward the Muslim community, then please think (of) the face of Buddha," he told...

Sri Lanka calls for liberalisation of trade with India

The Sri Lankan high commissioner to India Prasad Kariyawasam has called for the removal of bilateral trade barriers between Sri Lanka and India, reported the DailyMirror on Wednesday. Speaking at an event in New Delhi, Kariyawasam said the liberalisation of trade could potentially double to $10m by 2016. "Our target is that by 2016, the bilateral trade should be able to touch $ 10 billion...But for this, we need to liberalise tariff regimes on both the sides," Kariyawasam said. "There are non-tariff barriers on the Indian side and few tariff barriers on the Sri Lankan side. So, such things...

‘We are racists’ says JHU

The leader of the JHU, a party in the ruling government collation, has stated that his organisation contains religious fanatics and racists at a media briefing at the JHU party headquarters in Battaramulla. Dr Omalpe Sobitha Thera, Leader of the Jathika Hela Urumaya, was quoted by Ceylon Today as saying, “It is true we are racists. It is true we are religious fanatics. Yet, we are not the authors of racism and religious fanaticism in this country”. “When racial and religious issues spring up, we too make emotional utterances. If we have committed any indiscretions, we humbly request the...

Queen will not go to CHOGM

Updated 19:46 GMT Queen Elizabeth II will not be going to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting due to take place in Sri Lanka later this year, reports The Telegraph. The Prince of Wales will be attending instead. This will be the first time that the Queen, and head of the Commonwealth, will not be attending a CHOGM since 1973. Citing advancing age, Buckingham Palace said health was not a concern however, the number of long-haul flights was being reduced. A Buckingham Palace spokesperson said: "Any long-haul trips will be looked at on a case by case basis. The Duke of Edinburgh, for...

Blake rules out military base in Maldives

The US Secretary of State for South and Central Asia, Robert Blake, has responded to concerns from India and Sri Lanka and denied that there are plans for a US military base on the archipelago in the Indian Ocean. Blake said he could not authenticate an alleged leaked draft of a Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) between the Maldives and the US, which seemed to suggest the establishment of US military bases on the islands, claiming that the agreement would provide a framework for existing joint military exercises. Sri Lanka and India had expressed concern about the agreement, which was published on a Maldivian website, but Blake said that the agreement was nothing out of the ordinary, pointing out that the US has SOFAs with over 100 countries around the world. "I want to reassure everybody that this SOFA does not imply some new uptick in military co-operation or certainly does not apply any new military presence. It would just be to support our ongoing activities," Blake said in an interview with PTI. "I haven't seen the draft agreement. So I can't comment. But we are in the process of negotiating one now. These are standard text round the world, nothing very secret about them, "I do not foresee that this (SOFA) is going to be difficult negotiations (with Maldives). These are the things we do with partners around the world, "I would like to reassure all our friends in India, what it is and what it isn't. We have status of forces agreements with more than 100 nations around the world. And these are basically agreements we have with partners where we have significant military activities, typically exercises,

Azerbaijan ‘stands on same line’ as SL claims Foreign Minister

Azerbaijan’s Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov has stated his country stands with Sri Lanka on international issues, after meeting with Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa and External Affairs Minister G.L. Peiris in Colombo on Monday. After the meeting Mammadyarov stated, "Azerbaijan stands on the same line on international issues with Sri Lanka". The Official Government News Portal of Sri Lanka also reported that Mammadyarov praised and respected Rajapaksa for the government’s actions during the final stages of the armed conflict in 2009, which was described as a “really great...

Gotabhaya - intelligence needs to be shared amongst nations

Intelligence needs to be shared amongst nations to 'remain vigilant and proactive' against the 'threats' of terrorism, argued Sri Lanka's Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, whilst addressing the inauguration of BIMSTEC Joint Working Group on Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime. He went to assert that the "rump" of the LTTE - a term frequently employed by several Sri Lankan political figures and media outlets - had been "providing arms training abroad to LTTE cadres in recent times". "While most of the countries in the Bay of Bengal region have addressed these issues to some extent,...

Jaffna Press Club expresses concern regarding fake social media account

The Jaffna Press Club expressed concern on Tuesday, regarding copycat social media accounts after it emerged a copycat Twitter account had been created asserting itself as the Jaffna Press Club. In a statement the consortium of journalists said: " We believe these to be yet again another pattern of distraction, intimidation and hindrance of press freedom in Jaffna ." JPC has confirmed @JaffnaPressClub as its official Twitter account.

'No Fire Zone -The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka' screened at LSE

The London School of Economics screened the feature length documentary, ‘ No Fire Zone- The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka ’ , today. The film screening was preceded by a series of panel presentations on options for accountability and victim support and followed by a Question and answer session. Members of the panel included No Fire Zone director Callum Macrae, Shivani Jegarajah of the Renaissance Chambers, Janani Jananayagam, founding director of Tamils against Genocide and Dr Devika Hovell a lecturer in law at the LSE. Addressing the audience, Barrister of the Renaissance Chambers, Shivani Jegarajah outlined her findings of the situation in Sri Lanka after working on the country guidance case, stating “No-where in the world has there been such a thorough investigation as we have carried out in Sri Lanka” “When I finished the country case, I realised that you cannot analyse a Tamil asylum case without considering at the forefront of your analysis that there was genocide.” The director of the Non Governmental Organisation Tamils Against Genocide (TAG), Janani Jananayagam, outlined that the problem in Sri Lanka was more than an unruly regime, drawing upon several historic presidential statements that highlighted the inconsiderate nature of the Sri Lankan government towards the Tamils in the North-East. “When you watch, think about why this is happening,” she told the audience.

SL Army acquire site of Kodikaamam LTTE cemetery 

The site of the former LTTE cemetery in Varani, Kodikaamam, has been acquired by the Sri Lankan army citing the Land Acquisition Act, reports Uthayan . The seven acre plot was owned by two unnamed persons. According to the Sri Lankan Army the land was required for military purposes and given to the Army with the owners' consent, who had said that Tamils would not buy and develop over the site, mindful that it contained the desecrated remains of LTTE cadre. The cemetery and tombstones of LTTE cadre were flattened with tractors by the Sri Lankan Army in 1996.