‘Banning its roti and eating it too’

Sri Lanka’s war on "wheat terrorism” is part of a "bi-polar" strategy that is set out to appeal to the ruling SLFP's traditional electorate and neglect others, commented the Sri Lanka Campaign for Peace and Justice. Responding to Prime Minister Jayaratne’s comments last month where he called to “make bread unaffordable”, Fred Carver from the Sri Lanka Campaign spoke to Radio Netherlands Worldwide and said, “Sri Lanka is already engaging in these very protectionist attitudes. But it has a very Bi-polar investment strategy. They are attracting foreign investments and protecting internal markets...

Paramilitaries monopolise Jaffna cable TV through violent intimidation

Paramilitary groups are threatening private cable TV operators in Jaffna, into surrendering their businesses to a paramilitary monopoly - MBL Cable Network, reported Tamilnet. Citing "government permission" the paramilitary groups have told private cable TV operators that their businesses were now illegal and they must now buy channels from the paramilitary network. The network is backed by 'the Sri Lankan establishment through the forces aligned with Douglas Devananda and Selvarasa Pathmanathan alias KP', Tamilnet reports. Alexkumar Balasundaram, a cable provider from Kokkuvil, is alleged to...

'Will not allow any sharing' of fishing waters with India

Sri Lanka will refuse to share territorial waters with India, said the Fisheries Minister, Rajitha Senaratne, on Tuesday. India had proposed such an arrangement in an attempt to avoid disputes over fishing. Senaratne said, “On several occasions, Sri Lankan fishermen had been arrested by the Indian coast guards. We will oppose the idea of the sharing the territorial waters by Indian and Sri Lankan fishermen. We cannot allow any sharing because in such a case, Sri Lanka will always be placed at a disadvantageous position ." See related articles: Sri Lankan Navy pelts Tamil fishermen with stones...

Reuters – Sri Lanka ‘completely reliant on Iranian oil’

As the European Union agreed to broaden sanctions imposed on Iran, latest figures have revealed Turkey, South Africa and Sri Lanka rely most heavily on Iranian oil as a percentage of their imports. Sri Lanka, which imported 39,000 barrels per day in the first half of 2011, is “completely reliant” on Iranian oil, reported Reuters . In response to the threat of an oil embargo , in which case Iran would lose big customers such as Italy, Greece and Spain, the International Director of the National Iranian Oil Co, M. Qamsari commented last week, "We could very easily replace these customers.” Iran...

TNA to meet with ANC over Tamil political solution

The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) is set to meet with South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) to discuss the problems they face in Sri Lanka, as they attended the ANC’s centenary celebrations. Speaking to the BBC , the TNA’s Sumanthiran said, " We are trying for a political solution that recognises Tamils as a nation and South Africa's help will be vital for both the TNA and the government in achieving that." The TNA has sent a four member delegation to South Africa to attend the celebrations, joining other African and world leaders as well as Archbishop Desmond Tutu and African...

13th Amendment - yes, but no, but maybe

The Sri Lankan government's Media Minister and Cabinet Spokesman, Keheliya Rambukwella, stated the government plans to amend the 13th Amendment, "in view of the LLRC’s recommendations, on going discussions with the TNA and establishment of the Select Committee on the National Question". Speaking to The Island newspaper, in an interview published on Monday, his comments are the latest in a steady line of mixed messages from government spokespersons on the 13th Amendment, in the run up to the next round of talks between the government and the TNA. India's External Affairs Minister, SM Krishna, is due to arrive on a four-day visit just before the TNA-government talks, scheduled to take place from the 17th January to the 19th January. His remarks came just after the government proclaimed that they were willing to discuss land and police powers , which came just before one a government minister, speaking on behalf of the government, vehemently refused to even discuss the issue . See here for The Island interview in full. Extracts are reproduced below: Q:- The Tamil National Alliance wants land and police powers to be implemented in terms of the 13th Amendment. Is the government agreeable? A:- We have serious concerns about granting land and police powers in toto.

Sports Minister to discipline cricket team

Concluding that Sri Lanka's cricket team were in "crisis", the Sports Minister, Mahindananda Aluthgamage criticised the "politics" that he claimed had beset the team. He vowed to give the players a "stern lecture" on their return home, when speaking to reporters in Colombo, following the team's poor performance in South Africa. Aluthgamage said, "The Sri Lanka cricket team is in a crisis situation. It is very unfortunate," "The team is not clicking together off-field and it has shown in the results on the field." " Once the team returns, I plan to meet them ," "I feel there is a lot of...

State of denial

Responding to a recent International Crisis group report, Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to the US, Jaliya Wickramasuriya strenuously denied all claims that violence against women in the country were taking place. Claiming that “rapes, this and that not taking any place in Sri Lanka”, the Ambassador asserted since Sri Lanka had the world’s first female Prime Minister and most of the country’s teachers and nurses were female, that women’s rights was not endangered at all. Wickramasuriya then went on to state that “Like any other country, we have, like couple of cases.” He then trailed off saying, “...

ANC invites TNA & GTF to centenury celebrations, Sri Lanka boycotts

Photograph Tamilnet Delegates from the TNA (Tamil National Alliance) and (Global Tamil Forum) arrived at the African National Congress' (ANC) centenary celebrations on Sunday, in Bloemfontein, South Africa, as Sri Lanka responded by deciding to boycott the event, reported Tamilnet. According to Sri Lanka's Sunday Times newspaper, Sri Lanka had refused the ANC's invitation on the grounds that inviting GTF gave a diaspora organisation official status, on par with the Sri Lankan government's delegation. While the ruling party has been engaged in a show of solidarity with struggling forces across the world, the South African State has joined hands with anti-people regimes as it did during the 2009 voting at the UNHRC, commented Tamilnet. See article by Tamilnet here . Reproduced in full below: Delegations from the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) and the Global Tamil Forum (GTF) are amongst international attendees of the centenary celebrations of the African National Congress (ANC) on Sunday. Sri Lanka has refused to participate at the event in Bloemfontein because of the ANC’s invitation to the GTF, the Sunday Times reports. Dozens of heads of state and representatives of other governments, as well as large numbers of dignitaries from across Africa are joining over 100,000 politicians, members and supporters of the ANC in the historic celebration. In the meantime, a Tamil academic based in Colombo cautioned Eezham Tamils to be aware of the duality of South Africa. While the ruling party has been engaged in a show of solidarity with struggling forces across the world, the South African State has joined hands with anti-people regimes as it did during the 2009 voting at the UNHRC. Bloemfontein, 400 km south of Johannesburg, is where the ANC, Africa's oldest liberation movement, was born 100 years ago in a small village church. The TNA’s delegation includes leader R. Sampanthan, M.A. Sumanthiran, Selvam Adaikalanathan and Suresh Premachandran. The GTF’s 7-person delegation is lead by its President, Rev (Dr) S J Emmanuel, and includes representatives of its member organisations in the United States, Britain, Australia, Malaysia, and Germany. The two delegations are to hold talks on the sidelines of the event.

Indian minister to arrive just before TNA-government talks

India's External Affairs Minister, SM Krishna, is due to arrive on a four-day visit in the run up to the TNA-government talks, scheduled to take place from the 17th January to the 19th January. According to reports, arriving on the 16th January, Krishna will meet TNA leader, R Sampanthan on the day of his arrival and Mahinda Rajapaksa the following day, as well as members of civil society groups. The head of the Sri Lankan government's delegation, Nimal Siripala de Silva, recently told BBC Sinhala that Sri Lanka was not under any pressure from India regarding the talks. His remarks came after...

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