GL Peiris briefs Japan on the ‘reconciliation’ process

The representative of the Japanese government for peace building, rehabilitation and reconstruction in Sri Lanka, Yasushi Akashi, held discussions with External Affairs minister, GL Peiris, to review the progress of the reconciliation process and other issues related to the conflict. Peiris briefed Akashi on the measures taken by the government on the reconciliation process, including the launch of the trilingual language capability initiative, the appointment of an all part Parliamentary select committee to address issues, the resettlement of internally displaced persons, the infrastructure...

Tourists convicted for insulting Buddhism

Three French tourists have been handed down suspended jail terms for taking allegedly insulting photographs with a Buddha statue. Police were alerted after a photographic laboratory in Galle discovered photos of the tourists offensively posing with the statues, including imitating the pose of the Buddha and pretending to kiss one of them. A magistrate sentenced two women and a man to six months in prison with hard labour, suspended for five years, and also levied a fine. The conviction came under a section which outlaws the intention to wound or insult “the religious feelings of any class or...

Over 1,000 asylum seekers arrested by Navy this year

Sri Lanka arrested 69 asylum seekers on Tuesday, pushing the total number of people arrested by the navy this year to over 1,000. The latest arrests took place off the town of Negombo, with those on board being handed over to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID). Out of the 69 arrested on the fishing trawler, 48 were Tamils. See our earlier post: Undeterred and still looking to escape (19 August 2012)

12 breakdowns since power plant opening

The faulty Norochcholai power plant has allegedly broken down 12 times, since its opening in March last year. A document tabled by Minister of Power and Energy Patali Champika Ranawaka revealed the extent of the issues plaguing the Chinese-built plant, blamed on “ quality issues ” earlier this month. A special team of Chinese engineers had to be flown into the island , in order to help try and solve the failures, which have led to extensive power cuts across the country.

'No 3rd party intervention on internal matters' - SL

The Sri Lankan government will not accept any "third party intervention" on "internal matters" the External Affairs Ministry's secretary, Karunathilaka Amunugama said on Monday. Quoting the defiant words of Mahinda Rajapaksa, Amunugama said: "The government of Sri Lanka will not accept any mediator or facilitator roles by foreign governments or organisations in finding solutions to its internal problems ." "President Mahinda Rajapaksa's position was very clear in this regard right from the beginning of his office as the President."

GL Peiris - 'no justification' for FCO update

The External Affairs minister GL Peiris met with the British High Commissioner on Monday, protesting against the FCO's recent travel advisory update. According to the Daily Mirror, a government source said , “The minister asked that the travel advisory be amended in keeping with the developments in the North." "We mentioned that there was no justification for such a travel advisory because there is stability and security in the country."

EROS office in Batticaloa attacked

The office of the Eelam Revolutionary Organisation of Students (EROS) in Batticaloa was attacked by a group of unidentified people on Sunday morning, reported the Colombo Page. The police confirmed that severe damage had been caused to the office, and there has been an attempt to set the EROS leader, R. Prabhakaran's van on fire.

SL plans for Mullivaikal to be transformed as a tourism hot spot

Plans are underway to transform Mullivaikal, Mullaitheevu into tourism hot spot, reports the Uthayan. According to Uthayan, 22km of coastal line, stretching from Nayaru to Alampil is being prepared for the establishment of tourism resorts. The stretch of land encompasses Ampalavan Pokkanai, West Mullivaikal, East Mullivaikal, Palaya Mathalan, Puthumathalan, Valainarmadam and Vadduvakal. Two meetings have already been taken place at the Mullaitheevu Political Headquarters, headed by Mullaitheevu GA, Nogalingam Vethanayakam. Discussions included deciding what portion of the land in this area is government owned.

IMF expresses concern over hounding out of SEC chief

The International Monetary Fund has expressed concern over the resignation of the head of Sri Lanka's Securities and Exchange Commission, after stock market players he was investigating complained to Mahinda Rajapakse. Thilak Karuneratne stepped down after powerful traders sabotaged probes into corrupt practices. "It is sad to see the SEC lose yet another strong chairperson, and in such a short period too," Koshy Mathai, Sri Lanka's IMF resident representative, told Reuters in response to an e-mail query on the resignation of Karunaratne. "From all credible accounts, Karunaratne and his team...

GSP + ‘A closed chapter’

The European Union representative in Sri Lanka has stated that aid to the country was “unlikely” to increase and trade concessions revoked from the country will not be reinstated, urging the country to “move on” from the issue. Bernard Savage, Head of the Delegation of the EU in Sri Lanka stated that, “We have had no request from the government for a new facility.” “To use the words of the Minister of External Affairs (GL Peiris) this is a closed chapter (in our relationship). The fact is that GSP+ was withdrawn and there has been no further discussion on that issue and Sri Lanka has not re-applied. We need to move on. ” The statement comes as the withdrawal of the concessions from 2010 begins to take hold, with garment exports to the EU falling 10-15% this year, and further falls predicted.