Sri Lanka looks to further regulate ICT technology to prevent ‘abuse’

Speaking at the 12th Global Symposium for Regulators (GSR) of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa called for strategists and regulators in telecommunications and ICT to “think of ways to prevent this great technology being used to sow hatred.” Conveying the importance of upholding ‘tolerance and humanity’ in Sri Lanka, President Rajapaksa opened his address stating, “ICT must not be a tool of societies that pay homage to material values and pay no tolerance and humanity”. The manner in which tolerance and humanity is upheld in Sri Lanka was...

Military to cultivate land in Northern province

Upto 1000 acres of land in Vavuniya, Mullaitivu, Kilinochchi and Mannar districts has been earmarked for a 're-cultivation' programme 'with the help of the security personnel in 30 army camps' reports Colombo Page. The programme has been launched by Sri Lanka's Green Lands Development Central Authority also known as Hadabima Authority. The Ministry of Agriculture has granted Rs. 15 million towards this project. Land has also been allocated in Anuradhapura district.

Indian housing project stutters into its 'second phase'

India's envisioned housing project of 50,000 houses for Tamils in the North-East, will be entering it's second phase on Tuesday, reports the Indian news site, Daily News & Analysis. The plan, first announced in June 2010, has only seen 1000 houses built and handed over to Tamils in July of this year. Two years later. According to the news site, there are 43,000 houses planned within the second phase, with 1500 houses envisioned in the next wave of development. The Indian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, Ashoka K Kantha, said: "It is a very ambitious project. Based on recommendation from...

Northern unemployment more than 7 times national average

Despite the end of the war three years ago and alleged ‘peace’ and ‘major infrastructure’ work in the North-East, unemployment is still rife in the former conflict zone reports IRIN. Accord to the report, experts estimate unemployment in the North to be at around 30%, whereas the national rate is 4%. The principal researcher at Point Pedro Institute of Development, Muttukrishna Sarvananthan, blames the absence of private sector in the region saying, “[The] bulk of the development activities are large-scale public investments in infrastructure… employing skilled and semi-skilled labour from...

Gotabaya opens Buddhist Vihara in Kilinochchi - MoD

Sri Lanka’s Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa has opened a Buddhist Vihara at a ceremony conducted earlier this week in the Northern city of Kilinochchi, the former administrative capital the LTTE. Rajapaksa went on to praise the Sri Lankan armed forces for their support in constructing the Buddhist Vihara. According to the Ministry of Defence , “Secretary Defence thanked the Maha Sanga for safeguarding Buddhism and Buddhists and the immense support given by the Maha Sangha to the tri forces personnel and government leaders.” The Defence Secretary was also quoted as saying, "These types of religious activities show the rise of the Buddhist people". Whilst also in Kilinochchi, Rajapaksa declared open a renovated Hindu Kovil, greeted by schoolchildren singing the national anthem, decreed to be sung only in Sinhalese almost 2 years ago. Rajapaksa at Hindu kovil in Kilinochchi, raising the Sri Lankan flag at the entrance . Rajapaksa also unveiled a plaque at the entrance of the kovil, above which flies the Sri Lankan flag. It is written entirely in English. The plaque at the vihara however, was written in Sinhala only. See both plaques below.

Sri Lanka wants to increase defence budget again

After 2012 had the highest ever allocation for the Defence and Urban Development Ministry, Sri Lanka has once again planned to increase the amount of money allocated to the defence budget. Last week, the cabinet approved the 2013 Appropriation Bill, estimating government expenditure at Rs 2.52 trillion (£12 billion). The biggest amount, as usual, is allocated to the defence ministry, with Rs 290 billion (£1.4 billion), an increase of Rs 60 billion (£290 million), sources told ColomboPage . The President’s Office budget will also increase to over Rs 7.4 billion next year. The finance minister...

SL military intimidate journalists trying to see IDPs

A Sunday Leader journalist, Nirmala Kannangara, and photographer were stopped from entering the Suriyapuram camp in Nanthikadal by army officers last week. The journalist and photographer were also threatened to not write anything detrimental about the army officers. The Sunday Leader team was met with hostility, with one of the officers warning the journalist to “ mind her business .” After shouting at the pair, “ You people are paid by NGOs and whatever they ask, you are prepared to dance to their tunes ” the army officer went on to describe the reporting of detrimental issues in Sri Lanka...

Tamil Nadu fishermen attacked by SL Navy

Tamil Nadu fishermen were attacked by Sri Lankan Navy personnel, reports NDTV. The fishermen who were fishing around the Katchtheevu area on Sunday, were pelted with stones and had their fishing nets broken by the Navy crew. See related articles: Madras High Court urges protection of fishermen (25 Sep 2012) Another attack on Tamil Nadu fishermen by Lankan Navy (07 Sep 2012) Tamil Nadu fishermen fear reprisal attacks from SL Navy (06 Sep 2012) and our TG Comment here . 8 more fishermen attacked by SL Navy (19 Aug 2012)

Sri Lankan Airlines turns away from Europe

The state-run Sri Lankan Airlines have announced that they will turn their focus away from European destinations, and instead look towards routes in Asia and the Middle East, as the airline continued to make losses for a fourth straight year. Chairman Nishantha Wickremasinghe reportedly stated that the returns from European flights were currently less than satisfactory, with Chief executive Kapila Chandrasena commenting, "This is especially prudent in the context of the economic crisis that is sweeping Europe at present and is likely to lead to a slowdown in tourism from Europe," The airlines...

Dambulla residents told to vacate

The residents of Dambulla - a land claimed to be of sacred value to the sinhala Buddhists - have received written notice, asking them to vacate by the end of next month, reports Colombo Page. According a board member from Dambulla mosque, which has been targeted by Buddhist monks on several occasions, the Urban Development Authority has written to 52 houses and 23 shops, who are apparently living in land that falls under the Sacred Area Development Act. They have been instructed to move within two weeks, and told they can move to land on Kandalama Road. The Urban Development Authority is...

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