Sri Lanka to double trade with Thailand

Thailand and Sri Lanka have agreed to double trade between the two countries to $1bn over the next three to five years. Thai Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul agreed the increase while in Colombo at the the 3rd Sri Lanka-Thailand Joint Commission meeting, alongside Sri Lankan External Affairs Minister GL Peiris. "With a population of 20 million and high potential of economic expansion, I believe Sri Lanka presents an opportunity for Thailand," Surapong said, adding that trade currently was valued at around $500mn. The Foreign Minister said that the Sri Lankan government wants Thai...

Govt transferring 400 acres in Vavuniya to Sinhalese - TNA MP

The Sri Lankan government has begun to appropriate over 400 acres of land belonging to Tamil families in Veerapuram, Vavuniya, and transferring it to Sinhala families from Ulukullam, reports Tamil National Alliance parliamentarian, Sivasakthi Anandan. This newest case of land appropriation comes as, in a similar move, the private lands of Tamils of the North, were appropriated to increase the militarisation of the North-East by constructing a new Sri Lankan army brigade headquarter. See our latest editorial on land appropriation. Grounding the struggle (02 May 2013)

Australia reiterates support for CHOGM on Sri Lanka

Australia's Immigration Minister Brendan O'Connorhas once again reiterated his country's support for Sri Lanka hosting the Commonwealth Heads Of Government Meeting in Colombo later this year, whilst visiting the island. The Minister also stated that Australia had made it "very, very clear" that Sri Lanka had to do more to pursue reconciliation, as the summit approaches. He told reporters in Colombo, "The Sri Lankan government is serious about responding to these concerns in a practical way," "We made it very very clear. We want to see progress on the recommendations of the LLRC report," "We...

SL High Com. accuses Canada of strengthening 'evil forces'

The Sri Lankan High Commissioner to Canada has slammed the Canadian government's threat to boycott the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Sri Lanka later this year, accusing Canada was strengthening " evil forces ". In a statement published on Thursday, the High Commissioner, Chitranganee Wagiswara, said it was “ appalling and unprecedented for certain quarters to express views ," that went against a decision made by the heads of state on who would host the upcoming event. Wagiswara added , “Notably certain separatist elements within the diaspora i ncluding in Canada, still continue...

Australian minister ‘commends’ Sri Lankan Navy

Brendan O'Connor, the Australian Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, reported commended the Sri Lankan Navy for their efforts in preventing those seeking asylum from fleeing from the country, according to government sources. O’Connor is currently visiting Sri Lanka and held talks with Commander of the Sri Lanka Navy, Vice Admiral Jayanath Colombage, with the Sri Lankan Navy website reporting, “The Minister conveyed his appreciation for the SLN’s efforts in countering irregular migration and commended the commitment shown by SLN personnel in rescuing of persons coerced to take on the...

Government lesson in patriotism for Sri Lankan media

A workshop for media in Sri Lanka was held by the government to mark World Press Freedom Day, under the title “Patriotism and the role of media”. Minister of Mass Media and Information Keheliya Rambukwella said at the event that Sri Lanka’s media has to act responsibly and with self-constraint. “The media which is a trustworthy and powerful tool in moulding people’s opinion and understanding is playing an important and powerful assignment similar to the legislature, the executive and the judiciary. “As it has been acknowledged in the constitution the right of the people for their freedom of...

Jaffna Press Club calls for action on World Press Day

Marking World Press Day, the Jaffna Press Club called for action to stop the on-going "violence unleashed again on the media in the Northern part of Sri Lanka". In a statement released on Friday, the JPC called on the international community and Sri Lanka, 1) To create an environment conducive to journalists and media personnel; 2) For perpetrators of violence against journalists, media personnel and media establishments to be brought to justice; 3) For the fate of the all disappeared journalists to be made public; 4) Appropriate compensations to be granted to the next-of- kin of killed and...

Grounding the struggle

The Sri Lankan state’s forcible appropriation of Tamil-owned land and property has escalated in recent weeks. The state’s de-facto seizure of vast tracts of residential land, plantations and farms, occupied and enclosed in ‘high security zones’ during the war by the military, has been ‘legalised’ by new decrees. However, instead of dousing Tamil resistance to Sinhala hegemony, it will have precisely the opposite effect, galvanising anew Tamil hostility to the state and the Sinhalese. The forcible appropriation of land and property brings home to the majority of Tamil families the force of Sinhala oppression today, and fuels the thirst for Tamil Eelam, in ways abstract nationalist appeals cannot.

SL rejects US grant as incompatible with SL's sovereignty

Sri Lanka has rejected a US grant of US$ 3.5 million aimed at judicial reform stating that the grant's conditions would impact on Sri Lanka's sovereignty. Speaking to the New Indian Express on Wednesday, Sri Lanka's Justice Minister, Rauff Hakeem said: “ The grant’s conditionalities were incompatible with our status as a sovereign country ,” When asked to detail the conditionalities, Hakeem is reported to have replied: “I cannot go beyond this.” According to Sri Lanka's Daily Mirror however, the disagreement centred on who should be the chair of the Advisory Committee. Sri Lanka allegedly put...

'Unity of Diversity' leader arrested by CID

The leader of the new political front - 'Unity of Diversity', Asath Salley, has been arrested by Sri Lanka's CID (Criminal Investigations Department). Sally, who was also the former Deputy Mayor of the Colombo Municipal Council and the founder of the Muslim Tamil National Alliance, was arrested at his home in Kolonnawa. According to the police spokesperson, Buddhika Siriwardena the arrest was made following 'several complaints' made against him. Last month the Buddhist monk group, Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) threatened to take Salley to court if he alleged that BBS was inciting racial violence in...

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