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...

Buddhist school to open in Jaffna

The first “Dhamma School” in Jaffna will be opened later this week to help “rekindle Buddhism in the North”, reported Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Defence. The school is to be opened up by the Tamil Buddhist Association. According to Ven Meegahajandure Siri Wimala Thera of the Jaffna Naga Vihara, "Starting a Dhamma School in Jaffna will create the proper path to reawaken Buddhism in the North." The report can be seen on the Ministry of Defence here . The opening comes as churches and temples remain continue to come under attack, and the Sri Lankan military remains heavily occupying the Tamil North...

Attorney General neglecting inquiries into assault on Uthayan editor

The Attorney General’s Department has issued no correspondence regarding investigations into an assault on Uthayan’s editor, reported the newspaper. The editor, G Kuganathan was left severely injured when he was attacked in July 2011 . Questions were raised regarding inquiries into the assault at an annual press meet held at Jaffna’s Police Headquarters. Regional Superintendent Srikuganesan in response to the questions said: “We had written to the Attorney General’s Department asking for approval to conduct investigations regarding this specific case, but we are yet to receive a response from...

The benevolence of militarising Jaffna

Jaffna’s Military Commander Major General Mahinda Hathurusinghe has declared that the Army is in Jaffna to protect citizens and not to seize their lands or money. Hathurusinghe claims that since the end of the war in 2009, the army has improved its rapport with the people of Jaffna by providing security as well as various developmental services. Uthayan reports the Commander as saying in a rather puzzling statement: “Security forces have been living together with the people here for a very long time; so many people may be bothered by or have had difficulties with the soldiers. However I...

Military stops journalist from visiting IDPs

An Uthayan journalist who attempted to visit the Tamil families 'resettled' into the Suriyapuram forests on Friday, was stopped by the Sri Lankan army soldiers, reported the newspaper. Despite showing his press pass, the journalist was told by the soldiers, that they had orders from above instructing them not to allow any more media personnel into the area. Uthayan reports, that a source from within the military says the instructions came from Major General Mark.

UNHCR - 'still people displaced'

The UN Refugee Agency expressed concern on Thursday, about the families who have been relocated from Menik Farm. Despite seeing the closure of Menik Farm as a "significant step towards ending displacement", the UNHCR's representative in Sri Lanka Michael Zwack pointed out, "but there are still people displaced in different situations who need to find a solution." On their website, UN Refugee Agency wrote , 'When it [Menik Farm] was shut down on Monday, there were just 346 people left. But this last group of people was not allowed to return to their homes in the Kepapilavu area of north-...

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