US wants to boost trade with SL

The American Chamber of Commerce in Colombo has said it is keen to boost investment and trade in Sri Lanka. "The US has expressed its desire to increase more FDI (foreign direct investment) flows to Sri Lanka and also see an increase in Sri Lankan exports to the US," Vijaya Ratnayake, president of AMCHAM Sri Lanka said, according to LBO . The AMCHAM is planning to hold a trade show in Colombo on September 16 to promote trade and investment between the two countries. "This event provides an excellent opportunity for those who are interested in doing business with USA whether it is imports,...

South Africa to make US $122 million investment

The South African High Commissioner to Colombo, Geoff Doidge has announced that his country will make an initial investment of US$ 122 million, whilst speaking at a dinner hosted by the Export Development Board of the Ministry of Industry and Commerce for a South African business delegation. “The Progressive Business Forum, which is visiting Sri Lanka has realised the potentials in the resurgent Sri Lankan economy as a result of the committed leadership of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. “We are confident that this bold and far-sighted initiative will expand existing opportunities for the South...

UPFA wins most seats in controversial Eastern Provincial Council elections

Sri Lanka’s ruling UPFA coalition has won 14 seats in the Eastern Provincial Council elections to the TNA’s 11, in an election mired with controversy. The margin and manner of victory has been hotly contested, with the loss of a seat for the Tamil National Alliance during a reported “power cut”, whilst votes were being counted in Batticaloa (See report from TamilNet here ). The UPFA also managed to gain two ‘bonus seats’ through the Provincial Councils Elections Act (see here ) despite having an overall winning margin of less than 7,000, according to government figures . If the TNA had won the ‘bonus seats’, they would have come first in the elections. Furthermore, low voter turnout and reports of threats and intimidation along with a massive Army and Police presence, marred the elections. Nonetheless, the Tamil National Alliance emerged as the single largest party in both Trincomalee and Batticaloa, only losing to the UPFA in the Amparai district. The TNA also saw a marked increase in votes from the 2010 Parliamentary elections in both Trincomalee and Batticaloa. In 2010, the TNA gained 33,268 and 66,235 votes in both districts respectively, but now obtained 44,396 and 104,682 votes in the district. The Eastern province has seen a flurry of colonisation and Sinhalisation, with the ICG reporting earlier this year that this was part of a strategy to ""change the facts of the ground", as has already happened in the east, and make it impossible to claim the north as a Tamil-majority area deserving of self-governance." Almost 100 civil society leaders earlier wrote to the Tamil National Alliance urging them to reject the provincial council system and the demerging of the North and East, as they prepare to contest in the upcoming Eastern Provincial Council Elections. See here . The Tamil National Alliance boycotted provincial council elections in the east in 2008, claiming the environment was not safe to operate in due to the activity of paramilitary groups.

Mannar Church attacked with stones

Kappalenthi Mary’s Church in Karusal, Mannar was attacked by a group throwing stones, reports Uthayan . Stones were thrown into the Church during evening prayers on Friday and fire crackers were reportedly lit in an attempt to further disrupt worship. The bishop delivering mass is believed to have sustained minor injuries from the attack. Two young worshippers who went outside to check on the commotion were also assaulted by the attackers. TNA MP for Vanni S Adaikalanathan said of the incident, “Because there are Tamils and Muslims living in this area, this attack carried out by thugs had the...

Elections over but security forces remain

Despite the end of the Eastern Provincial Council elections, Sri Lanka’s police force have declared that they will remain out in full force in five areas across the province. Colombo Page reported that the police will remain in Akkaraipattu, Pothuvil, Thirukkovil, Sammanthurai and Kalmunai where there were reportedly high levels of election violence. This comes after over 21,000 police officers, including 300 motorcycles for patrol units, were deployed in the east, and the army increased its operations in the area.

Low turnout at Provincial council polls in the east

The Eastern Province elections saw low turnout by Muslims reported TamilNet . The polls, held on Saturday, saw around 60% of registered voters casting their vote. TamilNet said that turnout was low, especially in Muslim areas, thought to be due to an “internecine fight between Muslim political parties”. There were also reports of threats and intimidation in Trincomalee and Amparai . More than ten ministers of the ruling UPFA, including Fisheries Minister Rajitha Senarathne, are reported to have threatened voters and local officials in Trincomalee to vote for the UPFA candidates. TNA member...

Blake to visit Colombo next week

Assistant Secretary of State Robert O. Blake is visiting Sri Lanka next week and will meet with External Affairs Minister GL Peiris to discuss ‘a wide range of issues, including progress in implementing the LLRC action plan’, according to the State Department. He will also hold a roundtable with civil society representatives said a statement on the State Department’s website : “In Colombo, Assistant Secretary Blake will meet with Minister of External Affairs GL Peiris and other senior Sri Lankan officials to discuss a wide range of issues, including progress in implementing the Lessons Learnt...

Southerners ‘summoned’ in connection with Tamil Eelam flag incident

Two people have been ‘summoned’ for inquiry in connection with the waving of the Eelam national flag during a protest in Nelliyadi, Jaffna, reports Uthayan . The incident involved masked men on motorbikes driving through carrying Tamil Eelam flags while the Sri Lankan Army stood by and watched. Reports from the day expressed the protesters’ belief that the men were sent by Sri Lankan Intelligence to disrupt the peaceful protest, as the military and police were given a ‘firing order’ to contain the protest. Investigations have revealed that the men are indeed from the South, with one coming...

Jaffna Civil Society concerned about Pillay's visit - TamilNet

Tamil civil society activists have written to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, expressing their concerns that Sri Lanka will use an upcoming visit from Pillay’s team to propagate a manufactured view of progress in post-war efforts on the island, reported TamilNet on Saturday. Extracts reproduced below: “While we welcome the visit of the team, we are concerned that the team might not be given the access that would enable an independent assessment of the Government of Sri Lanka’s performance of its obligations under Resolution A/HRC/19/2. “To avoid giving the GOSL the opportunity of appropriating the UN OHCHR team’s visit for their propaganda purposes we consider it important that your office seeks guarantees from the GOSL that the mission will have sufficient freedom in being able to devise their own agenda... particularly during their visits to the North and East parts of the country.

Another attack on Tamil Nadu fishermen by Lankan Navy

The Sri Lankan Navy has been accused of attacking Tamil Nadu fisherman off the Kodiakarai coast yet again damaging fishing boats and injuring fishermen on Wednesday. According to the officials, eight fishermen of Arucottuthurai in Vedaranyam district were attacked with iron rods by Lankan Navy when they were fishing off Kodiakarai. Eight fishermen from this district were earlier attacked by the Lankan Navy on August 19 at the same place. The attack comes just after Tamil Nadu fishermen appealed for all protests against Sri Lanka to be halted, as they feared an escalation of reprisal attacks...

Pages