Sri Lanka should ban tea imports – Finance Secretary

Finance Secretary Dr P B Jayasundera has said tea imports into Sri Lanka should be banned in order to protect the integrity and image of Sri Lankan tea. The Tea Exporters Association, which represents around 75% of Sri Lankan tea exporters, has recently made a proposal to allow the importing and blending of foreign tea with Sri Lankan blends for export. Speaking at a Dilmah conference, Dr Jayasundera rejected the proposals. “Sri Lanka should not permit our product to be used in that manner.” “One product we should uncompromisingly preserve and protect is Sri Lankan tea. Dilmah has shown that...

Right to Information bill blocked by SL government

The Right to Information Act proposed by the UNP has been blocked by the government, according to UNP MP Karu Jayasuriya. Speaking to The Sunday Leader , Jayasuriya said that he was informed the bill could not be presented as it had already been defeated in 2010. “After the Bill was defeated in June 2010, I worked alongside members of the civil service to amend it and bring it more in line with modern versions seen in countries such as India,” he said. “There are 90 countries worldwide which have passed similar legislation. Out of the SAARC countries only Bhutan and Sri Lanka do not have a...

Canada urges investigation into Tamil man’s murder

Canada has urged Sri Lanka to conduct a full investigation into the murder of Canadian Tamil businessman Anthonypillai Mahendrarajah . Mr Mahendrarajah was murdered while he was visiting his native town of Kilinochchi to reclaim property occupied by Sri Lankan businesses, which brought him into conflict with the military. The Canadian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, Bruce Levy, told the BBC a formal note was sent to the government, saying a full investigation into the murder was needed and Canada will be tracking its progress. Embassy officials examined the murder site and the residence of...

Mobile phone messages used by government to spread UN petition

The Sri Lankan government has been sending notifications to mobile phone users in the country, urging them to sign a petition addressed to the President of the United Nations Human Rights Council, according to reports. Both bloggers and twitter users have been reporting that every time a text was sent or a call made, and the balance was displayed on pre-paid networks, a message appeared stating, "Pledge support for SL by signing the petition at www.peacepetition4lk.org" . The petition, hosted by change.org, stated, “Free sovereign independent Sri Lanka does not need anyone to set timetables...

Judge criticises 'banner of terrorism' in sentencing US Tamil

A federal judge in USA called into question the "emblazoned banner of terrorism" during the sentencing of Karunakaran Kandasamy, accused of providing material support to the LTTE. Emphasising the need to " look at the case specifically ", Judge Raymond Dearie said he believed that Kandasamy was engaged in providing humanitarian, not military, aid for the Tamil people in Sri Lanka. Deeming the 20-year sentence sought by the prosecution "excessive", Judge Dearie sentenced Kandasamy to time served in jail of five years. Dearie said, "This is not a garden variety terrorism case," "We do not...

Channel 4 shines at One World Media Awards

Jon Snow with Zoe Sale and Callum Macrae Photo courtesy of Channel 4 Channel 4 took home three awards at the 25th One World Media Awards for its compelling documentary on alleged war crimes in Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields, and a report on a Somalian runner who is determined to compete in the London Olympics. John Snow, who was the presenter of One World Media Awards, recalled that Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields is “one of the most important” stories he has ever reported, as it took home both the Television and Documentary Awards. Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields has been screened for diplomats...

GTF pays tribute to Comrade Roy at state funeral - S Africa

GTF delivers tribute message The Global Tamil Forum (GTF) joined President Jacob Zuba, ministers and senior government officials of South Africa to pay tribute to the late activist and minister, Roy Padayachie, at his state funeral in Durban on Wednesday. As one of the handful of speakers requested to address the mourners and pay tribute to the late Mr Padayachie, the GTF's spokeperson, Suren Surendiran, shared his memories of Comrade Roy, who he described as a pivotal and inspirational figure to the organisation. President Jacob Zuma greets Mr Surendiran Addressing the mourners, Mr Surendiran said, "let me, on your behalf, salute Comrade Roy, whom I and a large number of Tamil speaking people admire so much, for his leadership, not just in this country, but throughout the Tamil diaspora for laying the foundation for Global Tamil Forum, and for his crucial and catalytic role in bringing the liberation campaign together, with a vision to follow ." "The reward he sought, as he has always said, is not recognition, nor status, nor titles, nor money but that the coming generation – who never even knew him – enjoys a better life, thanks to his courageous work. And I also want to pay my personal tribute, to his work and his leadership in achieving, by his determined action, what many thought was impossible - to internationalise, the Tamil Question ."

Minister accuses TNA of assisting the LTTE

The General Secretary of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party Maithripala Sirisena has accused the Tamil National Alliance of assisting 'LTTE activists' to enter the country. Sirisena, who is Minister of Health, also questioned if the opposition UNP was assisting the TNA to help the re-emerging of the LTTE. The minister added it was the duty of the opposition to discuss a political solution with the Parliamentary Select Committee proposed by President Rajapakse.

Government buys up local milk

The Sri Lankan Government has ordered the state-owned milk company Milco to buy up all unsold milk from farmers. Farmers recently held demonstrations, highlighting their inability to sell fresh milk in the Sri Lankan market by spilling 12,000 litres on the streets of Hatton. The popularity of imported milk powder in Sri Lanka have damaged sales of fresh milk. However, the government has fought back by ordering Milco to purchase unsold milk and boost national self-sufficiency. "We are committed to encourage dairy farmers in this country to produce milk," Milco's chairman Sunil Wickramasinghe...

Government seeks Rs 200m to buy cars for judges

An estimate for supplementary expenses, submitted by the Sri Lankan government on Monday, included Rs 347,500,000 to pay for 52 vehicles for several ministries and members of the judiciary, reported The Island. According to the newspaper, the estimate includes Rs 200 million to purchase cars for judges serving at the Supreme Court and the Appeal Court. Other allocations included Rs 2,521,525,000 to prop up the shortfalls of Sri Lankan Airlines and Mihin Lanka airline, which last week was instructed by the President to grant concessions to Buddhist pilgrims travelling to South India.

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