Sri Lanka to ban sale of land to 'foreigners'

The Sri Lankan government is in the process of introducing new laws that will ban the sale of land to any foreigners, according to Land Development Minister Janaka Bandara Tennakoon, reported the state-run Daily News. The Minister stated that, “The new land laws are aimed at safeguarding the land rights of Sri Lankans”. A Canadian Tamil who went to Vanni to reaffirm his ownership of land, which was occupied by the Sri Lankan Army was murdered last year. Meanwhile... Tax free land to China (03 February 2013)

Rajapakse apologist in contention for Papacy – Forbes

The Sinhalese head of the Catholic Church in Sri Lanka, Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, has been touted as a possible successor to Pope Benedict XVI by Forbes magazine. The Cardinal has been widely criticised for his lack of concern about the plight of Tamil priests, arrested by the military in Mullivaykal in May 2009 and has been accused of supporting the government’s land grabbing and militarisation . Cardinal Ranjith has also spoken out against last year’s resolution at the UN Human Rights Council, saying that "such efforts by western powers is an insult on the intelligence of the people of Sri...

Navi Pillay’s report on Sri Lanka calls for international investigation

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay has released her report on assistance for the Sri Lankan governemt on promoting reconciliation and accountability, as mandated by the resolution in Geneva last March. The report details concern in several areas, including extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, militarisation and land grabs . Areas of possible technical assistance are also identified, including the right to truth, criminal justice and accountability, legal and institutional reforms, and the right to a remedy and reparations. The High Commissioner also "offered...

IMF hesitant to fund Sri Lanka state spending

Sri Lanka has dropped plans for another $1 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund following disagreements over how the money should be spent, AFP quoted the central bank as saying. The IMF usually extends loans to cover countries’ difficulties in meeting foreign exchange obligations, but Sri Lanka wanted to spend the loan at home. However, “the IMF has indicated [it] may not be in a position to consider any direct or indirect budget support to Sri Lanka,” the central bank said. The Political risk consultancy Eurasia Group said in a note that though Sri Lanka’s foreign exchange...

'Engage constructively' says Gota to West

The Sri Lankan defence secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa told governments in the West to "engage constructively" with the Sri Lankan government. Speaking at a seminar organised by the Lakshman Kadiragamar Institute for International Relations and Strategic Studeies and the Pakistan High Commission, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa said : “Instead of narrowing the scope of their engagement with Sri Lanka because of many misinterpretations and lobbying by special interest groups in their own countries, the nations should engage constructively with the Government. It is only then that they will see for...

‘India will support resolution if SL does not implement’ says Minister

India’s Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office V Narayanasamy has stated that India will support a resolution against Sri Lanka at the United Nations Human Rights Council, if the country refuses to honour any recommendations put forward by the world body. Speaking to reporters, Narayanasamy said , “When United Nations brought forward a resolution against Sri Lanka, India voted for it. If UN's recommendations are not honoured by Sri Lanka, India will support any resolution brought by it against the island nation," The Minister went on to say that the Rajiv Gandhi-Jayawardene accord...

Police arrest tourist for Buddha tattoo

Police in Sri Lanka have arrested a young female tourist from the Netherlands for having a tatto of the Buddha on her back, reported Ceylon Today . 26-year-old Patrina Irene Bronco was dining at a restaurant in Kandy with her fiancé, when members of the public became outraged at a tattoo that was visible on her back. A heated argument then ensued after which a group of youths alerted the police who came and promptly arrested the tourist. See our earlier posts: Arrests made over 'Buddha Bar' meal (27 January 2013)

TNA joins Sinhala alliance against Rajapakse

A new alliance against the ruling UPFA has been formed in Sri Lanka. The opposition parties, led by the UNP, have signed an MOU to form a joint movement in Colombo. The alliance, called “Vipakshaye Virodhaya” includes the UNP, TNA, Democratic People’s Front, Nawa Sama Samaja Party, Mawbima Janatha Pakshaya, Ruhunu Janatha Party, Eksath Janatha Peramuna, Muslim Tamil National Alliance and Nidahase Wedikawa. The party stalwarts present included Ranil Wickremesinghe, MA Sumanthiran, Wikramabahu Karunaratne and Mano Ganesan. However, despite his presence, the TNA representative MA Sumanthiran,...

Jayalalitha calls for strong resolution at UNHRC

Tamil Nadu Chief minister Jayalalitha has called for a strong resolution against Sri Lanka at the upcoming United Nations Human Rights Council, and laid the blame on Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for a 'watered down' resolution last March. Responding to a debate in the State Assembly, Jayalalitha called for India to adopt a resolution based on a similar motion passed in the Tamil Nadu State Assembly, which called for an economic embargo on Sri Lanka and for proclaiming those involved in the genocide of Tamils as war criminals. She went on to slam the 'careless attitude' of the Indian...

Commonwealth Sec Gen Sharma visits Sri Lanka

The Commonwealth Secretary General Kamalesh Sharma held talks with the government on Sunday on the rule of law and the separation of powers. In a statement the Commonwealth said: "Sharma is expected to discuss, among other issues, options for advancing Commonwealth values and principles, including the independence of the judiciary and the separation of powers," According to AFP , the statement also said the Secretary General would be 'discussing arrangements for the November summit which is going ahead despite Canadian objections.'

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