US watched shelling of civilians hoping it would cease

Puthukurippu hospital was shelled repeatedly by Sri Lankan forces in the final months of the war. The red crosses are clearly marked on the roofs and were visible to circling Sri Lankan drones guiding the shelling. Circles mark some of the shell impacts. Image from March 6, 2009.

Diaspora Tamils have to reapply for land deeds

The Sri Lankan Government has asked all Diaspora Tamils who own land in the north of the island to apply for new land deeds. Minister for Land and Land Development Janaka Bandara Tenakoon has said that members of the Tamil Diaspora had ‘abandoned’ their properties and gone abroad . Once the new forms have been received the application will be authenticated by the Ministry for Land and Land Development and the area surveyed before it is decided whether new deeds are issued to the owners or not. The Senior Assistant Secretary to the Ministry of Land and Land Development P. M. P. Udayakantha has...

Gotabhaya promotes army to Vietnamese

Sri Lankan Defence Secretary, Gotabhaya Rajapakse, currently on an official visit to Vietnam, used the opportunity to promote the incorporation of the army into civilian life and the country's wider development. Gotabhaya met with President Truong Tan Sang and the Deputy Minister of National Defence, Lieutenant General Nguyen Chi Vinh, Monday. President Sang reportedly citing 'cultural similarities' and 'long-lasting traditional relations', said he hoped for deeper cooporation and sharing of experience in development and national construction. Gotabhaya, welcoming the President's expressed...

Why Sri Lanka matters

Edward Mortimer, director of communications to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan from 1998 to 2006, writes in New World magazine's 2011 Autumn edition: "Chinese and Russian support for the GoSL is perceived as a major stumbling block. However, we should remember that, in 2005, China allowed the Security Council to refer war crimes in Darfur to the International Criminal Court, despite the two countries' significant oil and economic ties, and this February, both China and Russia voted to do the same with Libya. And even if those two countries do remain firm, that should not excuse others'...

Army defend use of PTA on civilians

Sri Lanka's military spokesperson, Brig Nihal Hapuarachchi, claimed the civilian protests at the on-going 'grease devil' incidents were a 'terrorist act'. He warned the army will take action against them under the infamous Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA), adding: " It is wrong for civilians to attack an army camp or police station. Those who do that are terrorists. " Over 120 Tamil civilians have been arrested after protesting at Jaffna's military camp. " They attacked a joint army-police camp. It is a terrorist act," Brig Hapuarachchi, said about them.

EU to stress accountability at UNHRC

Lulia Costea, press officer to Catherine Ashton, EU High Representative, stressed the European Union's belief in an 'independent process' to establish accountability for allegations of war crimes, during an interview with the Sunday Leader newspaper. She warned the EU expected the government of Sri Lanka to 'respond positively' to the findings of the UN panel of experts at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) later this month. “As EU High Representative Catherine Ashton has recalled, the EU believes that an independent process to address the extremely serious allegations contained in the report of the UN Secretary-General’s Panel of Experts should contribute to strengthening the process of reconciliation and ensuring lasting peace and security in Sri Lanka.” “Should this matter be discussed at the Human Rights Council, the EU will continue to encourage the Government of Sri Lanka to respond positively to the report and address the issue of accountability as an essential part of the process of national reconciliation and, in this context, to engage with the UNSG on the contents of the report .”

Sri Lankans instructed to protect regime

Sri Lanka's Prime Minister warned the country's citizens to be mindful of 'anti-government elements' and urged them to 'protect the government' against this danger. Jayaratne, addressing a crowd gathered to witness new appointments to the Sri Rohana Sanghasabha, went on to state that the import of substandard cement and petrol to the country was also the work of these elements, who he claimed were engaged in a conspiracy to destroy Sri Lanka's economy. "When the government is attempting to re-build the war-torn country, the anti-government elements are attempting to create a world opinion...

Patriotic business

It seems apparently no one in Sri Lanka - except the Tamils, of course - wants the regime’s mass killings of 2009 investigated. This week four of the largest private sector associations in Sri Lanka joined the government in denouncing the report by the UN panel of experts on the final months of the war. They are the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Sri Lanka, National Chamber of Commerce of Sri Lanka and Joint Apparel Associations Forum. See Xinhua’s report here . The four released a joint report, titled ‘Sri Lanka Private Sector Assessment’ on...

Out with the old, in with the … old

"On one hand, they abolished the emergency laws to satisfy the international community, while on the other hand, they bring in new regulations to the PTA, which itself is a draconian law. We oppose this move. We have always been calling to abolish the PTA, too." " What's the use of abolishing emergency laws if they include the same tough laws in the PTA? This will not help to strengthen democracy at all." - Suresh Premachandran , senior leader of the Tamil National Alliance, referring to Sri Lanka's extensions to the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA). See the report by the Associated Press...

India and China key to Sri Lanka’s tourism industry – bank study

A report by Sri Lankan bank Capital Alliance has said that India and China would likely be the source of the majority of tourist arrivals in the coming years. Arrivals from Western Europe are expected to taper off with a decreasing rate of growth . The report pointed out that the financial crisis does not seem to have had an impact on tourists travelling abroad from Europe. India, already the largest tourist market for the island, is projected to increase their number of visitors 6 times to 750,000 compared to the 187,000 expected to have visited Sri Lanka by the end of this year. Chinese...

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