War survey is an 'escape mechanism' says GTF

Slamming the Sri Lankan government's announcement of a war survey to count the dead , the Global Tamil Forum, told Tamil Guardian, that it was the latest " escape mechanism " by the Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, employed each time "the noose falls on his neck ". Speaking to Tamil Guardian last night, the GTF's spokesperson, Mr Suren Surendiran said, " Mahinda Rajapaksa always comes up with ideas of commissions of various kinds every time when the noose falls on his neck as an escape mechanism . He thinks that he can fool the international community every time by suggesting of steps that are basically a delaying tactic as he himself and his siblings are accused to have committed war crimes and crimes against humanity" On the back drop of the Sri Lankan state's failure to provide justice to the Tamils, Mr Surendiran said that Mahinda Rajapaksa " has a track record of lying which gives zero confidence to anyone particularly to the victims that this idea of counting the dead and disappeared has any credibility whatsoever ." " He has blatantly lied to the international community on several occasions ," he added.

Former Sri Lankan Cricketer dismisses calls for international war crimes probe

Former Sri Lankan cricketer, Sanath Jayasuriya, on Saturday, dismissed British Premier David Cameron’s recent calls for an international probe into allegations of war crimes committed by the Sri Lankan Government. Speaking as a chief guest at a cricket tournament organised by the Thiruvanathapuram Press Cub, in Kerala, Jayasuriya said , “There is no need for any international probe because we have our own judicial system and the process of law is going on.” “Our President Mahinda Rajapaksa has done a wonderful job and is doing everything possible to see that there is overall development in...

Sri Lanka’s Iran oil sanctions exemption extended

US Secretary of State John Kerry has announced an extension on exemptions from sanctions on oil purchases from Iran. “ As President Obama has made clear, the United States will continue to vigorously implement our existing sanctions on Iran as the P5+1 seeks to negotiate a comprehensive deal with Iran that will resolve the international community’s concerns regarding Iran’s nuclear program,” he said in a statement .

Uthayan newspaper wins Press Freedom Prize

Jaffna-based Tamil newspaper Uthayan have been awarded the 2013 Reporters Without Borders (RSF) Press Freedom Prize, joint with Muhammad Bekjanov an imprisoned Uzbek journalist. The award was announced in a ceremony in Strasbourg on Thursday. RSF's director-general Christophe Deloire said: "The war in Sri Lanka is not yet over for Uthayan. If this newspaper were to succumb to the constant harassment to which it is exposed, the abuses by the security forces against the population in the north would continue with complete impunity, without being brought to the attention of Sri Lankans and the...

Gunmen threaten Catholic priest, alleging that he is 'pro-LTTE'

A Catholic priest of the Guadalupe Church in Trincomalee was threatened by unidentifiable Sinhalese individuals claiming to be 'intelligence officers' on the night before Maaveerar Naal, 26th November 2013. Rev. Fr. Johnpillai was grabbed and had a gun pointed at his head by assailants who accused him and Catholic priests in Jaffna, Mannar and Trincomalee as being 'pro-LTTE' and as leading the Tamil people 'astray'. The problem? He had held mass as usual on Nov 26, and thus 'honoured' LTTE leader Prabhakaran's birthday. See our earlier post: Letter to UN from NE Sri Lanka Clergy (Feb 2013) Rev. Fr. Johnpillai's account of Tuesday's attack follows:

Another obfuscation..

Sri Lanka, in a new twist to prove its commitment to justice and accountability has announced that a 'census' counting all those killed in the civil war. P. B. Abeykoon, reportedly the top civil servant in the ministry of public administration who will supervise the census declared that "the government has nothing to hide". Another official of the census department said: "The public will be asked to substantiate the claims of deaths, missing and property damage," Not surprisingly, the announcement has been met with scepticism. Suhas Chakma of the Asian Centre for Human Rights said: "A number...

Review: 'If only Sharukh Khan'

'If Only Sharukh Khan', a play by Raani Moorthy, premiered in London yesterday, November 27th. Framed around three characters' love of the Bollywood actor, Shahrukh Khan, the play allows the audience enter the lives of three South Asian women including a former member of the LTTE. Watching the premier last night and reviewing the play for Tamil Guardian, was Sinthujan Varatharajah...

China leads on loans to Sri Lanka

The Sri Lankan government has received $1.9bn worth of loan commitments from other countries, with China leading the way. China has committed $517mn up to September this year, with Japan committing $421.5mn, Asian Development Bank £371.2mn, World Bank $196.4mn, The UK $103.7mn and the US $64.9mn, according to LBO . China supplies long-term loans on higher interest, semi-commercial terms, while Japan, the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank give the loans at low interest rates. Overall Sri Lanka has $1.9bn of commitments from China, $1.5bn from Japan, $1.2bn from ADB, $730mn from the...

TNA sabotaging reconciliation - Gotabhaya

The Bodu Bala Sena, an organisation of Sinhala Buddhist monks has called for the arrest of TNA MP Sritharan for his comments in parliament praising LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran, while defence secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa accused the TNA of trying to sabotage the reconciliation process. Gotabhaya said to The Island that Sritharan’s comments were designed to provoke the government and the military , causing instability and political turmoil ahead of the UN Human Rights Council session in March. The Defence Secretary further said that the TNA still continues to take orders from the “LTTE...

Sri Lanka wise enough to deal with internal affairs – China

The Chinese embassy in Colombo said that Sri Lanka has made progress on human rights and reconciliation and called on the international community not to complicate matters. "We believe that the Sri Lankan government and people have the wisdom and capacity to deal appropriately with their internal affairs," an emailed statement said.