SL Air Force opens commercial office in Jaffna

The Sri Lankan Air Force has opened a new office of its commercial wing in Jaffna. The ‘Helitours’ office will manage commercial activities of the Air Force, including civilian air connections with the rest of the island and helicopter tours for tourists, reported the defence ministry’s website . The new office, on Stanley Road “in the heart of Jaffna”, was ceremoniously opened by Air Force Air Marshall HD Abeywikrama.

China and Sri Lanka vow to strengthen military ties

China will make joint efforts with Sri Lanka to push the military relations between two countries to a new high, a Chinese defence official has announced. A member of the Central Military Commission (CMC) of China and chief of general staff of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA), Fang Fenghui, outlined in a report , that the Chinese military was prepared to make efforts to deepen pragmatic cooperation and innovative exchange forms , so as to progress relations between the two militaries to a new high. The Sri Lankan Navy Commander also expressed gratitude for China's support in ending...

526 acres of land grab announced

Notices announcing the Sri Lankan state's acquisition of 526 acres in Keppapilavu and Mullaitivu have appeared reports the Uthayan. The proposed land grab is the latest in a marked expansion of the Sri Lankan state's programme of acquisition of private land in the North-East.

Australia dismisses calls to boycott CHOGM

Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr has rejected demands that Australia should boycott the forthcoming Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Sri Lanka. The Foreign Minister claims he has not seen any evidence that the Sri Lankan government deliberately killed Tamil civilians. "Any suggestion of a boycott would be counter-productive. It would simply isolate the country and render it defiant of international opinion," he told ABC. See video here . "Our challenge is to keep the pressure on to see there are further improvements, especially directed at reconciliation in the north. "People...

Buddhist monks praise Rajapaksa for 'outstanding service' to SL

Sri Lanka's president Mahinda Rajapaksa had a special service for him at Temple Trees on the Buddhist festival of Bak Poya Day on Friday. In his sermon, the Buddhist monk who led the sermon praised the 'outstanding service' by Rajapaksa 'to make Sri Lanka into Asia's Wonder'.

Sri Lanka meets Commonwealth Secretary General

Sri Lanka’s External Affairs Minister GL Peiris and High Commissioner in the United Kingdom Chris Nonis, met with Commonwealth Secretary General Kamalesh Sharma at Marlborough House in London, after Sharma confirmed the upcoming Commonwealth Heads Of Government meeting would controversially be held in Sri Lanka. The meeting was announced by Sri Lanka’s Ministry of External Affairs , who also announced that they would be holding three other events on the sidelines of CHOGM. The Business Forum in Colombo, the Youth Forum in Hambantota and the People’s Forum in Dambulla were all being arranged...

Bangladesh and Sri Lanka establish strong trade and industry relations

The Bangladesh Foreign Secretary, Shahidul Haque, upon concluding a five day official visit to Sri Lanka, indicated the willingness of businessmen in his country to use Sri Lanka's ports for the export of good to the west. The Foreign Office Consultation (FOC) between the two countries, decided to establish Joint Working Groups on trade and maritime shipping, with the purpose of enhancing trade and connectivity. The Joint Working Group intended to establish a trade collaboration framework that focussed on greater preferential market access between the two countries. The Foreign Secretary also...

Sri Lanka lobbies the Commonwealth...

In an attempt to dispel disagreement over Sri Lanka's hosting of the next Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting , the Sri Lankan government has been found sending propaganda packs to Foreign affairs Ministers of several African Commonwealth nations. A 6 page letter followed by a 4 page annex, addressed to the Foreign Secretary of an African Commonwealth nation, and signed by the Minister of External Affairs, G.L Peiris, described Human Rights Watch's concern over Sri Lanka's regard to human rights as a way of "mischievously whipping up anti-Sri Lanka sentiments among the Commonwealth...

'Sri Lanka concerns put Commonwealth’s credibility on the line' - Tissainayagam

In an opinion on the Asian Correspondent, Tamil journalist JS Tissainayagam, calls on the Commonwealth to act to restore its credibility. See extracts below: Sri Lanka, whose leaders are accused of committing war crimes against Tamils in the civil war that ended May 2009, and subverting democracy, is to host the next Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in November. In the past the Commonwealth, the 54-member intergovernmental grouping of mostly Britain’s former colonies, has emphasised human rights and democracy as core principles and chastised member countries that violated them. Sri Lanka however has not been censured but rewarded: named as CHOGM’s next venue, it will automatically lead the organisation for the coming two years. The Sri Lankan government may posture, but the truth is that they need the Commonwealth more than the Commonwealth needs them. Even more so given the tremendous damage Sri Lanka is doing to the valuable Commonwealth “brand” of stability and good governance. Sri Lanka is not treating Commonwealth values with disdain because it is in a position of strength; it is doing so because the track record of the Commonwealth suggests that there will be no consequences.

117 arrested in Jaffna & KKS in 'special operation'

Sri Lankan police have arrested 117 people in the Jaffna and Kankesanthurai regions over the past week, reports the Jaffna based newspaper, the Uthayan. The Sri Lankan Superintendent in Jaffna, Mohammed Jiffry said the arrests were part of a 'special operation'. On Saturday, speaking at a media briefing, Jiffry drew attention to the recent armed attack of the Uthayan office and claimed that as weapons were only possessed by the state's security forces, the attack proves that "armed groups operating in Jaffna". "We can only arrest if we get information on where they are located," he added .