Farmers in Vanni on brink of suicide

Many farmers in Vanni are on the brink of suicide, as they struggle to maintain their livelihoods, reported the Uthayan . The farmers, who faced displacement during the final stages of the armed conflict, and have only just been resettled, are now faced with numerous debts to banks, as well as drought and a poor harvest. On New Year's Day, S. Ajaman, a farmer from Manthai East committed suicide in desperation, reported the paper.

Ban halal meat completely – BBS

The Bodu Bala Sena (BBS), an influential group of Buddhist monks, close to the defence secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa has demanded a complete ban on halal meat products in Sri Lanka. General Secretary Galabodaththe Gnanasara said that the organisation will launch an agitation campaign to push for a complete ban, a day after the main muslim organisation on the island, the All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulama (ACJU), declared that halal certification will now be issued by a new company, after they stopped issuing certificates with the end of 2013. The BBS has pressured Muslim organisations in the recent...

Jayalalithaa slams Centre as ‘hopelessly inadequate’

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa has criticised the Indian government for their “hopelessly inadequate response” to the arrest of Indian fishermen by the Sri Lankan Navy, calling on the government to secure their release. In a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Jayalalithaa stated, "The repressive Sri Lankan Navy is establishing its authoritarian presence in the Palk Bay by chasing and arresting unarmed innocent fishermen from Tamil Nadu who offer no provocation". "These oppressive acts of the Lankan Navy on the direction of the emboldened Sri Lankan regime have caused a great deal of suffering and coupled with the hopelessly inadequate response of the Government of India, have given rise to considerable resentment and angst not only amongst the fishermen community, but also amongst the entire population of Tamil Nadu.” She went on to slam the government saying that it, "has been a mute spectator all along and not at all willing to understand the sufferings of its own fishermen and their families and intervene effectively".

Wigneswaran warns of unrest due to current distortion of history

The Chief Minister of the Northern Province, CV Wigneswaran , today called for the practice of distorting the island's history to be stopped, warning that unrest would ensue if distorted history continued to be taught to children in schools. Speaking at the inauguration of a children’s village in Jaffna, Wigneswaran stressed that ‘platform speakers from the majority Sinhala-Buddhist community were spreading the theory that Sri Lanka was a Sinhalese-Buddhist country’ where other communities lived as per dictates of the Sinhala-Buddhist majority. He further added that these Sinhalese platform...

US war crimes ambassador to visit the North-East

The US Ambassador on War Crimes and head of the Office of Global Criminal Justice at the US State Department, Stephen J Rapp, who is currently touring Sri Lanka, will visit the North-East on 8th January, to meet Northern Provincial Chief Minister CV Wigneswaran and other Tamil National Alliance (TNA) and civil society activists, reports the Daily Mail. Rapp has, for the past two years, visited the island to assess the justice, accountability and reconciliation situation ahead of the United Nations Human Rights Council sessions in March, where the United States have led on two resolutions...

Six more human remains found at Mannar mass grave

Another six human remains were found yesterday at the site of the mass grave at Thirukketheeswaram at the Mannar mass grave, reported the Uthayan newspaper. The latest discovery brings the total count of bodies so far to 32. See here for more on the story.

Calls for demilitarisation in North-East are 'redundant' - National Freedom Front

A member from the Sri Lankan National Freedom Front (NFF) party, a constituent of the ruling United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA) coalition, today stated that heightening calls to remove army camps from the North-East were ‘redundant.’ Piyasiri Wijenyaka, a key figure in the NFF, further claimed that the Northern Provincial Council Chief Minister’s continuous attempts to highlight the need to demilitarise the North-East were only fulfilling the needs of the diaspora. “The Chief Minister went to Jaffna from Colombo and he did not even feel the war. It was the people in the North that lived...

Sri Lanka and Palestine strengthen ties

Sri Lanka has strengthened its relationship with Palestine following a Sri Lankan delegation visit, led by Mahinda Rajapaksa on Monday. The Sri Lankan President met with Mahmoud Abbas, the President of the State of Palestine, at the Presidential Palace in Ramallah where he was awarded the ‘Star of Palestine’ , the highest honour award by the Palestinian state. A Sri Lankan press release described the meeting as “friendly and warm”, and went on to quote Abbas as telling Rajapaksa, "I am honored to receive you… Our two countries maintain good relations and I wish it will improve more and more".

8 more human remains found at Mannar mass grave

Photograph Tamilwin A further eight human remains were discovered at the site of the mass grave at Thirukketheeswaram in Mannar on Monday, reported Uthayan and Tamilwin (See Tamilwin for more photographs). The skeletons included that which appeared to be of a six year old child, reported the Uthayan. The findings today, brings the total to 26 human remains. The mass grave was first unearthed when construction workers. On December 20th, construction workers found two human skeletons when digging in Thirukketheeswaram. The following week, a further four skulls were unearthed , with more...

Rape-related killings on the rise in Jaffna - Uthayan

More and more rape victims are being murdered in Jaffna, reports Uthayan newspaper. According to a legal official at the Jaffna Teaching Hospital, rape and sexual abuse is increasingly being followed by murder. The official expressed that he believed that victims, mostly women, were being killed to protect the perpetrators from implication.