What does the Global Tamil Forum want?

In an interview with The Sunday Leader newspaper, the Global Tamil Forum’s spokesman, Suren Surendiran, set out the organisation’s goals in Sri Lanka :

Al Jazeera reports from Tamil areas

Al Jazeera journalist Steve Chao was granted special permission by the Sri Lankan government, allowing him to travel to the Tamil areas in the North of the island. Whilst there he compiled this three-part report examining life for the Tamil people post-conflict. Tamil anger at army's influence in Sri Lanka The first report from Jaffna examines the increased presence of the military in Tamil areas, more than 2 years since the end of the fighting, much to the anger of the Tamil people. Rape and sexual abuse of Tamil women The second report explores the treatment of Tamil women who have found...

Sri Lanka laments

Sri Lanka's defence secretary, Gotabhaya Rajapakse, has again condemned the international community and the Tamil diaspora for insisting on an independent investigation into war time atrocities. Though such remarks are routine, his recents comments were notable for the reason he attributed to the international pressure. " There is a hidden agenda behind these allegations. Their main requirement is to change the president and the government who are not fulfilling their desires, " he said. “They know the credibility of our replies. Yet these forces are not satisfied with our responses ." "No...

Revealing Remarks

Indian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Ashok K. Kantha’s address to mark his country’s 65th independence anniversary was starkly at odds with international opinion, disconnected from political developments at home, and elided the enduring humanitarian and ethnopolitical crises in Sri Lanka.

Assaulted Uthayan editor remains defiant

Speaking to Groundviews, Gnanasundaram Kuganathan, the editor of the Uthayan newspaper in Jaffna who was severely injured in a beating by pro-government paramilitaries, vowed to continue reporting on 'activities against humanity'. “It’s a miracle that I survived. I was beaten almost to death. Many attempts have been made to kill me, so that my writing will come to an end! I did not think that, I will survive. The God has saved me to serve the people through journalism. I am slowly recovering. Today, I am blessed to be alive. I have highlighted many issues in my writing. I want to continue to...

‘We won’t be rushed!’

Sri Lanka’s much vaunted Lessons Learned and Reconciliation Committee (LLRC) said Thursday it won’t be rushed by anyone into submitting its report. The magnum opus is due on November 15. Amid growing international outrage over war crimes and crimes against humanity in the final stage of Sri Lanka’s conflict, the LLRC’s report has strangely emerged as a central device. The LLRC was set up by Colombo as a delaying tactic to fend off international pressure for both a domestic investigation into the atrocities and a meaningful reconciliation process i.e. a political solution. Unsurprisingly, the...

Why is Sri Lanka buying more military transport helicopters?

Russia’s state-run arms exporter said today Sri Lanka is to purchase 14 military transport helicopters. The money comes from a Russian credit line offered in 2010 for arms purchases. But spokesmen for Sri Lanka’s defense ministry and air force both told Reuters they were unaware of the deal for the Mi-171s. See Reuters’ report here . But the air force spokesman Group Captain Andrew Wijesuriya had an explanation for why the air force, which already has a large fleet of transport helicopters, might be buying more: the military was aiming to expand its foray into civilian tourism. “We are...

Foreigners still net sellers of Sri Lanka stocks

Sri Lanka’s main stock index rose 3% on Thursday – as foreigner investors sold a net $2 million worth. See Reuters’ report here . Sri Lanka’s stock market has soared since the end of the island’s war, driven by proxy government buying through state-owned funds. At the same time, there has been a net foreign outflow. Whilst foreigners buy tactically, especially when stocks fall, they sell when the market rises. Thus far in 2011, foreigners have net sold over $9 million – having sold a record $240 million in 2010. Despite the war ending that year, 2009 ended with a net foreign outflow of $103...

Diaspora assistance and the Tamil homeland

“ The Tamil Diaspora will only remit funds through channels which ensure [these] are not financing the decimation of their own land, heritage and culture. The Diaspora is not going to send its money to an outfit run by the Sri Lankan military , which would use this money to sustain and develop its own infrastructure in the Tamil region, further subjugating the Tamils. “ The Diaspora will continue to work with international and local agencies to reach their kith and kin, despite the obstacles thrown at them by the Sinhala state. ” - British Tamil Forum (BTF) . See further comments on Sri Lanka...

Speculations as drilling begins in Mannar

Cairn Lanka, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Cairn India, has begun drilling in one of eight blocks in the Mannar Basin off the island’s north-western coast. Sri Lanka’s government claims that seismic data shows potential for more than 1 billion barrels of oil in the Gulf of Mannar. By way of comparison, Sudan’s proven oil reserves of 6 billion barrels (0.5% of world reserves). Of the eight blocks, two have been granted to China and India. Russia’s largest oil company, Gazprom, has also indicated an interest, as has Malaysia’s Petronas. Economic development minister Basil Rajapakse says that if oil is found, Sri Lanka would no longer be dependent on imports from other countries. Bizarrely, he also warned that some western countries may pose a threat to Sri Lanka, like they have done in the Middle East, if Sri Lanka is successful. Perhaps he’s forgotten that Cairn Energy, which owns half of spin off Cairn India, is a British company, which has been trying for over year to off load Cairn India to the Indian company metals and mining giant Vendanta . Both Cairn Energy and Vendata are in the FTSE-100 index of the London Stock Exchange. Meanwhile, Cairn Lanka has been exempted from taxes and import duties until 2016. The decision was introduced by Basil Rajapakse and passed in parliament with 58 votes against four. Exemptions on taxes include all capital goods imported by Cairn Lanka and its sub-contractors, including equipment, machinery and required supplies and consumables. Democratic National Alliance (DNA) leader Anura Dissanayake claims that the exceptions mean that if oil is found, Sri Lanka would only receive 10% of the profit, compared to the 38% without the concessions.

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