Government blocks 5 Tamil news sites

In the latest clampdown on press freedom, the Sri Lankan government has blocked access to five Tamil language news sites - TamilWin, Athirvu, Sarithan, Ponguthamil and Pathivu - making them no longer accessible through Sri Lankan internet service providers. In November last year, the government blocked websites it believed were critical of Sri Lanka, after stating that all news websites must register with the media ministry. Last month, a case brought forward by the Free Media Movement to the Supreme Court against the government's blocking of Sinhala news websites was rejected . The...

Government figures show huge population drop in Jaffna

A preliminary report on the census released by the Sri Lankan government appears to show dramatic changes in the population of the North-East of the island since the 1981 census. According to the government figures, there were large increases in the eastern districts, but also huge losses in the north. The decline is thought to be due to Tamils fleeing the conflict. "Our estimate is that out of the one million Tamils who fled the fighting and are living abroad, at least 80 percent were from Jaffna," said Suresh Premachandran, a member of parliament for the TNA. "If not for the war, the population in Jaffna would have been over 1.4 million,"

Yet another excuse to grab land

Citing the threat of dengue fever, the government has warned that it would need to take over uninhabited land over the next month. The head of the dengue control programme, Dr Ranjith Batuwanthudawa, said that empty property and land provided a breeding ground for mosquitoes.

Eelam Tamil hunger strikers hospitalised in Tamil Nadu

A hunger strike by Eelam Tamil refugees in Chengalpet ‘special camp’ in Tamil Nadu has entered its 12th day, TamilNet reports. Nine of the fourteen hunger strikers have been hospitalised, while protesting and demanding immediate release from the camp, where they are held in squalid conditions. The Chengalpet camp houses 29 Eelam Tamils, held for not having a passport. The detainees are demanding to be released to rejoin their families or to normal refugee camps.

Government denies LLRC implementation proposals

The Sri Lankan government rejected reports that the External Affairs Minister, Prof G.L. Peiris has submitted a document on its plans to implement the LLRC recommendations, during a visit to Washington last month. The chair of the 'task force' overseeing implentation, Lalith Weerathunga, said, “We are yet to determine the potentiality of recommendations in the LLRC report and which recommendations can be implemented,” “We will announce what recommendations could be implemented in due course. We plan to announce the short term strategy of implementation by mid July.”

Military to fight dengue now

From whale-watching to hotels to public health campaigns, Sri Lanka's military have been entrusted with a new role. Over 10,000 Sri Lankan military officers are to be deployed to find dengue fever the Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena announced. In a statement, Sirisena said , “Security forces will assist the national campaign against dengue,” Troops have been deployed to drain large pools of stagnating water.

Tamils protest against land grabs amidst military threats

A demonstration was held in the town of Murikandi, near Kilinochchi, on Tuesday, protesting against the occupation of Tamil land by the Sri Lankan Army, Jaffna daily Uthayan reports. Dozens of people turned up outside Murikandi temple, despite of threats and intimidation by Sri Lankan security forces.

India deploys Menon to talk tough

Picture: Daily Mirror India's National Security Advisor to the Indian government, Shiv Shankar Menon, will be arriving in Sri Lanka later this week, to discuss New Delhi's concerns regarding various issues in " the strongest terms ", reports Sri Lanka's Sunday Times. In addition to raising the UNHRC resolution, adopted earlier this year, Menon will reportedly express " strong reservations " over the Sri Lankan government's increasingly anti-India stance and the " inflammatory " statements made by some ministers that India believes are " rousing communal passions " and " obstructing "...

SL rejects India’s Palali airport offer

The Sri Lankan Government has turned down an offer by India to develop Palali airport, reported the Daily Mirror on Monday. India has been involved in several infrastructure projects in the north of the island, including modernising the railway and developing Kankesanthurai harbour. However its offer to develop Palali airport, was turned down by the government and will instead be run jointly by the Ministry of Civil Aviation and the Air Force. Civil Aviation Minister Priyankara Jayaratne said the airport would be expanded for commercial activities and for the use of the Air Force. He said a...

SL army attack civilians in Vanni

Sri Lankan soldiers have attacked uprooted Tamil families sheltering in a school in Kilinochchi, TamilNet reported on Monday. The families were temporarily accommodated inside Hindu Tamil Viththiyaalayam, after being released from Menik Farm IDP camp a few weeks ago. They were demanding resettlement on their own land, which has been grabbed by the security forces. The families had been resisting forced resettlement on land designated by the government and faced harassment by the army. Busloads of soldiers were brought in to the area on Monday, who then went on to assault the civilians,...