As a lawyer... Rajapaksa speaks out

Addressing an award ceremony at Temple Trees, Rajapaksa asserted that as a lawyer himself he had absolute confidence in the independence of the judiciary. He went on to say : “High Court judges are appointed by the Chief Justice. The Chief Justice is appointed by the president. The president is appointed by the people. If the president commits an offence he can be impeached. For the impeachment a minimum of 113 Members of Parliament must sign. The Chief Justice must carry out the orders of the legislature. The unseating of the Chief Justice rests with legislature” “President Premadasa had a...

Reverend questioned by Terrorist Investigation Department

Rev. Fr. Praveen OMI was interrogated by Sri Lanka’s Terrorist Investigation Department for 7 hours on Tuesday, as the government continues its crack down. As the Director of the Centre for Peace and Reconciliation, a Catholic organisation that does work regarding disappeared peoples in Jaffna, the priest’s offices were also searched, and he was told to report to the infamous ‘Fourth Floor’ of the Criminal Investigation Department’s headquarters in Colombo. See the full report from TamilNet here . Also see our editorial: Tamil activism and the international community’s responsibility to...

Rajapakse visit to Jaffna cancelled

Mahinda Rajapakse's planned visit to Jaffna on the 15th and 16th of January has been cancelled, reports Uthayan . Rajapakse was due to participate in the opening cerenomy of Jaffna Teaching Hospital's new building, as well as in national Pongal celebrations. Jaffna Divisional Secretariat announced that his visit was cancelled due to the 'imbalance' of the current 'climate' on the island, but that the events would go on as planned, although sources from Jaffna Hospital have claimed that the opening ceremony would be rescheduled. It is reported that improvement of Jaffna Town's streets,...

Italian officials visit Sri Lanka

A delegation of Italian officials arrived in Sri Lanka on Sunday to examine investment opportunities on the island. The governor of the Autonomous Province of South Tyrol, Luis Durnwalder, was welcomed by Deputy Speaker Chandima Weerakoddy at Bandaranaike International Airport. The government news portal News.lk reported that Mr Durnwalder, Trade Minister Thomas Pitchman and World Fair Trade Organisation Chairman Rudi Dalvali will visit several sites where development projects have been launched and are expected to look into the possibilities of opening a hotel school in Rajapakse’s home town...

Korean loan for Sri Lankan infrastructure

The Korean Embassy in Colombo has announced it will provide a soft loan of $290m to Sri Lanka, to be used for renewable energy and infrastructure projects. "Under the arrangement, the two Governments are expected to work closely to develop a range of projects including construction of administrative complexes, renewable energy plants and infrastructure development," the embassy said in a statement . "The projects will be facilitated by the Korean Embassy and the Export and Import bank of Korea." The loan will be provided at a low interest rate of 0.1%pa and is repayable over 40 years,...

Kenney reiterates CHOGM boycott unless there is accountability

Canada’s Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, Jason Kenney, has told reporters in Colombo that Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper will not be attending the next Commonwealth Heads Of Government Meeting due be held in Sri Lanka, unless more is done to address human rights violations on the island. Speaking whilst visiting the country, Kenney said , “We will not go along, to get along” "Canada again calls on the government of Sri Lanka to live up to the standard of membership in the Commonwealth and show tangible progress on a process of national political...

GL Peiris: Canadian minister 'biased and unbalanced'

Responding to comments made by the Canadian Minister for Citizenship, Immigration, and Multiculturalism, Jason Kenney , during his recent visit, Sri Lanka's External Affairs Minister GL Peiris accused him of being "biased and unbalanced". Speaking after his meeting with Kenney on Sunday, Peiris said : “Sri Lankan Government will not conduct its affairs in a way that suits the domestic politics of another country. The government will act in the best interest of our people,” “This is not at all a balanced view. We are aware of the large Tamil expatriate community in Canada and the visiting...

'Tamils who demonstrate against the regime are being watched.'

Former chief cricket writer at The Age (Australia), Trevor Grant has written on his experiences protesting against Sri Lanka and the intimidation tied with it. See here for full article. Extracts reproduced below: "As I was... handing out leaflets to the crowd on the opening day of the Test match, I noticed a... man of Sri Lankan or Indian appearance... taking photographs of me." "I was curious because it was obvious he wasn't a press photographer... because when I moved towards him, he ran away and tried to hide..." "My Australian-Tamil friend, Kartheeban Arul, from the Sydney branch of the Tamil Youth Organisation, tells me that this is a regular occurrence whenever Tamils attend a protest in Australia that is directed at the Sri Lankan government. He says the Tamil community is convinced these men work for the Sri Lankan embassy. Their job is to provide identification of Tamil protesters, which is used by government security agents to harass friends and relatives back in Sri Lanka."

Jaffna University forced to recommence classes on Tuesday

Jaffna University will resume its academic activities starting Tuesday according to media reports . The university was virtually shut down as classes were boycotted for more than a month, with students demanding the release of four Jaffna University students held by the army. Higher Education Minister S.B. Dissanayake threatened that Jaffna University will be closed if classes don’t resume. “I have told the university authorities that, willingly or unwillingly, we will have to close the university, even for one year, if campus activities are not normalised.” he said. According to Uthayan ,...

Education ministry threatens complete closure of Jaffna Uni

The Higher Education Minister of Sri Lanka, S.B Dissanayake, warned in a meeting with University Chancellor Vasanthy Arasaratnam, that Jaffna University would be closed if academic activities were not resumed this week. Dissanayake further added that he had informed University authorities that, unless usual academic activities were restored, the University would be shut for a year, reported Colombo Page. Boycotts continue to disrupt the University's usual proceedings, as academic staff and students continue to demand the release of four university students, who are detained at the Welikada...

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