Soldiers turned priests...

The Sri Lankan Army organised Pooja ceremonies at the Koneshwaran Hindu Temple in Trincomalee, reported the Ministry of Defence . The Army reported large numbers of people gathering at the temple to wor ship and pay ‘homage to the Gods’.

Sri Lankan army’s profitable agricultural enterprise

The Sri Lankan Army has generated over Rs 50m through agriculture on Tamil land. The army is engaging in 6 projects, including in Udayarkaadu, Kandakaadu, Menik Farm, Vellankulam and Nachikkuda, spending Rs 26.16m, according to the Director of Agriculture and Livestock of the army, Colonel Buwaneka Gunaratne . According to the Army, the aim is to promote agriculture that “does not poison the earth or upset the delicate balance of nature, whilst encouraging healthy lifestyles” , reported ColomboPage .

TAG: Black July - 30 Years On

Marking the 30 year anniversary of the anti-Tamil pogrom of Black July, Tamils Against Genocide (TAG) released the following statement. Extracts reproduced below, full statement can be found here . " Impunity keeps the scars of 1983 fresh . Wholesale lack of accountability set the conditions for continued abuses, on greater scales, to the present. There has never been accountability nor adequate reparations for Black July . Today in place of Justice, the Sri Lankan State offers countless denials and parades in triumphal fashion, emboldened by decades of international misunderstanding and...

Nearly 100 war crimes suspects in the UK

The UK Home Office has revealed that 99 suspected war criminals made immigration applications in the UK last year. Under a Freedom of Information Act request from the BBC , the Home Office said suspects came from countries including Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Rwanda, Serbia and Sri Lanka. The figures show that in the 15 months from January 2012, the Home Office researched nearly 800 cases where individuals were suspected of war crimes and crimes against humanity. Three of the suspects were deported last year, 20 were refused asylum and 46 were refused Birtish citizenship, although it is...

Sri Lankan protesters: 'Do not bow down to Indian pressure'

Sri Lankan protesters gathered outside the Indian High Commission in Colombo on Monday calling on the government "not to bow down to Indian pressure". See photo by Reuters here . Carrying placards saying " Hands off Sri Lanka " and " Do Not Bow-Down to Indian Pressure ", dozens of protesters came together under a collective group called the Federation of National Organizations.

Australia's 'stop the boats' policy is cynical and lawless

Writing in The Guardian, John Pilger, a war correspondent and film-maker, slammed Australia's policy on stopping boats carrying asylum seekers as "cynical and lawless". See here for full opinion. Extract reproduced below: "If a thousand Australians drowned in sinking boats in Sydney harbour, it would be a national tragedy. The prime minister would lead the nation in mourning; the world would offer condolences. By one measure, 1,376 refugees have drowned trying to reach Australia since 1998, many within range of rescue. The policy in Canberra, known as "stop the boats", evokes the hysteria and cynicism of more than a century ago when the "yellow peril" was said to be about to fall down on Australia as if by the force of gravity. Last week the prime minister, Kevin Rudd, reached back to this era when he declared that no refugees in boats would be permitted to land in Australia. Instead, they are to be sent to concentration camps in impoverished Papua New Guinea, whose government has been suitably bribed.

'No Fire Zone' shortlisted for Grierson award

'No Fire Zone - The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka', a feature length documentary on the war crimes and crimes against humanity committed at the end of the armed conflict in Sri Lanka, has been shortlisted for the prestigious Grierson awards for British documentaries. Along side other much acclaimed documentaries such as 'Kashmir's Torture Trail', 'No Fire Zone' has been shortlisted under the 'Best Documentary on Current Affairs' category. Nominations will be announced by 17th September, and the final awards ceremony will take place in early November. The documentary was first screened at the...

Rajapaksa reiterates that land and police powers will not be distributed

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa outlined today that the issue of distribution of police and land powers to provincial councils would not change, reiterating that the powers would always remain with the government, reported Colombo Page . Speaking to media at the Temple Trees, Rajapaksa argued that since police and land powers had never been devolved, special attention around this issue was unnecessary at the present moment.

Sri Lanka lowers tourism targets

The Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority has revised its targets for tourist arrivals in 2013 downwards. The authrority initially forecast a figure of 1.25 million arrivals, but has now revised it to 1.1 million. SLTDA director general D.S. Jayaweera said: "Tourist arrivals have increased drastically over the past four years, "Last year, the country recorded just over one million arrivals whereas during the last six months we have attracted almost 500,000. My own forecast is 1.1 million for the year." Earnings from tourism are projected to hit $1.5 billion this year, up from $1 billion...

SL army intimidates Tamil NPC candidates

Two Tamil candidates from the Tamil National Alliance, who filed their nominations yesterday to contest the Northern Provincial Council election were questioned by the Sri Lankan army. According to the TNA's spokesperson Suresh Premachandran, army personnel had visited the homes of S. Sayanthan and Ananthi Sasitharan, questioning them on their political activities.