India is Sri Lanka’s closest friend – envoy

The Sri Lankan High Commissioner to India Prasad Kariyawasam has assured India that it is Sri Lanka’s closest friend. Kariyawasam’s comments come as President Rajapakse concluded a visit to China, during which several contracts, worth billions of dollars were signed. "We are not in the habit of looking at our relations with India and China as a zero-sum game We consider India a relative and closest friend with whom we should have a very robust relationship," he said to media in Delhi. He said that while Sri Lanka’s ties with China were “very important and very old”, the relationship was...

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Meeting Chinese President Xi Jinping… — Namal Rajapaksa (@RajapaksaNamal) May 31, 2013

SL govt suspends Trinco Urban Council MoU with US embassy

The Trincomalee Urban Council suspended its Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the US Embassy in Colombo, after the Sri Lankan government deemed that the MoU had been signed without the External Affairs Ministry's knowledge, reports ColomboPage. The MoU, signed very recently, was aimed at establishing an American Corner in Trincomalee. According to the External Affairs Ministry, entering an agreement with a foreign mission without the Ministry's approval is a 'clear breach of protocol'. The Sunday Leader quoted the Urban Council Secretary, Abdul Latif Mohamaed Nafeel, as stating that the...

EPC in 'crisis'

Sri Lanka's Eastern Provincial Council (EPC) has run into crisis, reports the Island , as ruling party members are boycotting the sessions demanding postponement of the Northern PC polls until the replacement of the Governor and Chief Minister and restoration of the administrative structure. Deputy Chairman of the Council, M.S. Subair clarified that: "This decision by the members should not be misinterpreted as something against President Mahinda Rajapaksa or his government."

NZ Foreign Affairs Minister to visit Sri Lanka

New Zealand's Foreign Affairs Minister, Murray McCully is to set off on Monday for his trip to India and Sri Lanka. Radio New Zealand reports that McCully is expected to discuss the hosting of CHOGM and supposedly address human rights issues and the progress of reconciliation in Sri Lanka.

Media ‘Code of Ethics’ to be tabled in Parliament

Sri Lanka will table a new bill later this year, which will attempt to introduce a “Media Code of Ethics”, according to Mass Media and Information Minister Keheliya Rambukwella. The bill would apparently be aimed at creating “ a salutary media culture in the country ”, with the Official Government News Portal of Sri Lanka reporting the Minister as having said, “ the actions of certain media institutions in the recent past had led to many problems and therefore it had become an urgent need of the hour to introduce a code of ethics for a good media culture. He added that media has a...

Tourists not staying in star-class hotels

The CEO of the Pegasus hotel chain has said that the one million tourists that visited Sri Lanka last year had not made the expected impact on the hotel industry, in his company’s annual report. "It is therefore prudent to surmise that this influx of tourists have patronized the bungalows, guest houses and residences of relatives as their preferred abode as opposed to regular hotels," he said. "Whilst this casts doubt on the classification of "tourist", it certainly displays the lower spending potential of tourists which doesn’t auger well for the industry as a whole." A significant...

Remembrance and reconciliation in Sri Lanka

The ethnic divide in Sri Lanka is ingrained in all aspects of life, even mourning the dead. The conflict between Tamils and the Sri Lankan state has cost over 100,000 lives, the vast majority of which are Tamil. The 18th of May, the day the armed conflict ended, has become one of the most important days in the Tamil calendar. Tamils across the world, including relatives of the tens of thousands of those that died, commemorate this day, in private or in public gatherings. However the rest of Sri Lanka celebrates this day, as the day the ‘terrorists’ were vanquished and Sinhala Buddhist rule securely extended throughout the entire island.

Treasury loses Rs 15b from state enterprises

Sri Lanka's treasury has lost Rs. 15 billion from failing state enterprises said that parliamentary Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) reports the Colombo Page . Chairman of COPE, Minister D.E.W. Gunasekara said the state enterprises included: Lankaputhra Development Bank, Sri Lanka Cricket , National Child Protection Authority, National Library and Documentation Services Board, Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation, Sri Lanka Tourism Promotions Bureau , Samurdhi Authority, Sri Lanka Export Development Board, Sri Lanka Tea Board, Sri Lanka Telecom , Ceylon Fisheries Corporation, Central Bank ,...

SL highlights the risk of 'terrorist' NGO's

Speaking at the on-going United Nations Human Rights Council sessions in Geneva, the Sri Lankan delegation highlighted the importance of mandatory regulations that ensured that fund transfers of International Non-governmental Organisations (NGO’s) and Non-profit Organisations (NPO), should be monitored to prevent the financing of terrorism, money laundering or other related trans-national crimes. The Sri Lankan delegate went on to accuse overseas civil society organisations and charities of funding the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam during the war. The delegation also went on to outline...