India pens railway deal as Gothbaya seeks ships for Navy

Indian government-owned construction company IRCON has signed a deal with Sri Lankan Railways to reconstruct a railway line through Jaffna, in a contract worth $150 million. The railway project is to be funded through an $800 million loan from the Government of India to Sri Lanka, with a repayment period of 20 years and a 5 year moratorium. India is also providing another loan to Sri Lanka worth $167.4 million to reconstruct railway lines in the South of the island, with IRCON involved in three other railway contracts across Sri Lanka. While the railway projects are progressing as scheduled,...

Fonseka sentenced for implicating defence secretary in war crimes

Sarath Fonseka, former Sri Lankan Army General was sentenced for three years by the High Court on Friday on charges of "spreading disaffection", "spreading rumours" and "causing public disorder". According to the prosecution, Fonseka told the Sunday Leader newspaper on 13th December 2009, that the defence secretary, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, of ordering the execution of LTTE commanders as they surrendered - a war crime. Fonseka disputes this. He is currently facing a 30-month sentence for alleged corruption and other charges. The decision to sentence Fonseka fell on the same day as Rajapaksa's birthday, and two days before the proposed release of the LLRC. Two out of the three High Court judges ruled against him. Attorney Nalin Ladduwahetty said Fonseka would appeal the sentence. In a statement, Fonseka said, “I reject this decision with disgust,” “I believe that the fair-minded people will correct this mistake one day, otherwise it will remain a black mark in the history of our judiciary.” Fonseka was the Army General during the final stages of the conflict where over 40,000 Tamils were systematically targetting by the Sri Lankan military and annihilated.

'Sri Lanka's savage smokescreen' - CPJ

The Committee to Protect Journalists has slammed Sri Lanka’s accusations that missing journalist Prageeth Eknaligoda has gone to seek political refuge in a foreign country. In a piece entitled “Sri Lanka’s savage smokescreen”, CPJ Asia Program Director Bob Dietz pointed out the discrepancies in Sri Lanka's former attorney general Mohan Peiris’s statements to the UN Committee Against Torture earlier this month. After initially stating that a police investigation is underway in Eknaligoda’s disappearance, Peiris then claimed to have “reliable information” that he had simply fled Sri Lanka and...

‘Leaked’ LLRC extracts

Sri Lanka’s anti-government website lankanewsweb.com has apparently obtained extracts of the yet to be published LLRC report. According to the website, which is banned in Sri Lanka, the government is preparing to sacrifice nearly one hundred soldiers, including senior military leaders, in order to save Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapakse and President Mahinda Rajapakse. The soldiers will be held responsible for the atrocities committed during the war in 2009, in the hope that the Rajapakse brothers will be let off the hook. Following are extracts from the article on lankanewsweb: “Fearing...

Media Ministry has "full authority" to act against websites

Add ressing cabinet on Thursday, Sri Lanka's Media and Information minister, Keheliya Rambukwella, asserted that the Ministry has "full authority" to act against any websites deemed to be publishing "false information". The statement came following the ruling regime's recent decision to enforce mandatory registration of all websites that deliver "news, information on Sri Lanka, or information on its people". Addressing the cabinet on Thursday, Rembukwella is reported to have said, "[the Media] Ministry has the full authority to take action against any website which propagates false information or indecent exposure ."

SL Navy attacks continue to escalate

The very next day after Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalitha urged India to “assert itself with the Sri Lankan Government”, yet another attack on Indian fisherman has been carried out by the Sri Lankan Navy. Three fishermen were injured in what has become the fifth report of an attack by the Sri Lankan Navy in November alone. The Navy are alleged to have arrived on speedboats and hurled rocks at the fishermen, before proceeding to cut their nets and damage their boats as they fled. Jayalalitha has written to Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh five times in the last few months, as the...

Another attack by SL Navy on Indian fishermen

Three Indian fishing boats have been damaged and a fisherman admitted to hospital with head injuries, as yet another incident of Indian fishermen being attacked by the Sri lankan Navy occured on Tuesday. The fishermen allege that the Navy men pelted them with stones while they were fishing in the Palk Straits. The past 9 days have seen 2 separate incidents with 14 fishermen being injured and 23 boats being damaged by the Sri Lankan Navy. The attacks seem to be escalating despite Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh told Sri Lankan president directly during a meeting last week, that the...

Sri Lankan official blames India for Sri Lanka losing 2018 games bid

The head of Sri Lanka's 2018 Commonwealth Games bid committee, suggested that India's shoddy games last year, resulted in Sri Lanka losing out to Australia. Highlighting India's outstanding debts to contractors, Ajith Nivard Cabraal said , “ It created a certain fear amongst the voting delegates who associated India closely with Sri Lanka and as a result it may have affected our chances .” The 2010 Games in India where heralded as India's debut as a global power, however were overshadowed by unfinished venues, poor turnout and unpaid bills . Over a year later, many of the organisers have been...

Jayalalitha asks Delhi to control ‘rogue elements’

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalitha has asked the government of India to assert itself and urge the Sri Lankan government to reign in ‘rogue elements’ in its navy. In a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh she said: "I strongly feel the government of India should assert itself with the Sri Lankan government to control the rogue elements in the Sri Lanka Navy who continue to (physically) assault our innocent fishermen." "The continued occurrences of such incidents has created a feeling of insecurity among the fishermen community and despair over the apparent inaction of the government...

Second gas well discovered in Mannar basin

Cairn Lanka has discovered a second well of natural gas off the shore of Mannar. The well was drilled to a depth of 3 miles and gas was discovered in three zones. The company said in a statement that further drilling would be necessary to determine the commercial viability of the discovery. Cairn Lanka is a subsidiary of Cairn India, of which 52% is owned by British based Cairn Energy. See our previous post: 'Natural gas found in Mannar basin' (Oct 2011) ‘Speculation as drilling begins in Mannar’ (Aug 2011) 'Scurried pact for oil off Mannar' (Jul 2008)

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