Prison clashes leave 24 dead

The riots in Welikada prison ended in a bloodbath, with 27 people dead and dozens injured. Most of the dead were prisoners who were killed by armed police and army soldiers. At least three prisoners were killed when they attempted to flee in an auto-rickshaw, which was shot at by security forces. Clashes between prisoners and police erupted on Friday after a search operation was mounted. At least one prison guard was killed and several policemen and soldiers were injured during the violence. Welikada prison has a history of violence against inmates, with clashes earlier this year leaving one...

Riots at Welikada prison after STF tries to search inmates

14:57 GMT In breaking news, riots have broken out between inmates at the Welikada prison and the Sri Lankan security forces. Reports coming through state that on Friday afternoon, Sri Lanka's Special Task Force (STF) and prison intelligence unit conducted a search operation on inmates in the L and Chappell units of the prison, citing authorisation by the minister of prisons and reforms. As inmates protested, STF personnel fired tear gas at the protesters. The situation continued to escalate, with several inmates climbing onto the roof of the prison in protest, and news coming through of serious injuries and fatalities.

STF withdraws, SL army moves in with snipers - Welikada

15:02 GMT The STF personnel have withdrawn from the Welikada prison riot, allowing troops and snipers from the Sri Lankan military to move in, reports Sunday Times. Armoured vehicles have been situated at the gates of the prison, preventing inmates from leaving. See: Riots at Welikada prison after STF tries to search inmates (09 Nov 2012) Video news report by a Sinhala news channel. Gunshots audible from 00:02:54

‘13 dead’ in Welikada clashes

23:58 GMT The director of the hospital dealing with casualties from the Welikada prison violence has told AFP that 13 people, of whom at least 11 were inmates, had died. Anil Jasinghe said that a further 32 injured were also brought to the hospital. The BBC reported that it isn’t yet clear how many may have died inside the jail. The army moved in when police lost control of parts of the prison after an attempted search operation. See: STF withdraws, SL army moves in with snipers - Welikada (09 Nov 2012) Riots at Welikada prison after STF tries to search inmates (09 Nov 2012)

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights says asylum seekers must not be returned to a volatile Sri Lanka

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, expressed concern at Australia’s new policy of that allows for immediate deportation of Sri Lankan refugees seeking asylum. Speaking at a Democracy forum in Indonesia, Pillay outlined why so many Tamil were leaving Sri Lanka and voiced her concerns about the Australian deportation policy. She said that Sri Lanka was still volatile, despite the end of the armed conflict. “Now that was a conflict area, matters have not stabilised as yet. All the reports reaching me ar that people are concerned over control being imposed over...

Army launches resort company brand

The Sri Lankan Army has announced the launch of a brand that will create resorts across the country, as they opened yet another holiday resort on the island. Speaking to reporters, Army chief Jagath Jayasuriya proudly announced the launch of the “Laya” brand hotels, stating , "Our vision is to make the 'Laya' brand one of the most sought-after resort hotels in Sri Lanka". The Army chief went on to comment that the security forces had taken up this task because of necessity, explaining, "We're not going to challenge the private sector but trying to help meet the room requirement for the anticipated tourist arrivals and maintain the best standards." He went on to anticipate a bigger role for hotel resort industry on the island, and possibly the armed forces, telling reporters, "This depends on the rapid build up of room capacity…The government has set a target room capacity of 30,000 by 2015". Earlier this year the Sri Lankan Army opened their second holiday resort in the Jaffna peninsula alone. See below: Army opens yet another holiday resort in Jaffna (11 Jan 2012)

France Diaspora leader murdered

The Leader of the French branch of TCC (Tamil Co-ordination Committee) has been killed in a shooting in Paris’s 20th arrondissement on Thursday evening. A prominent figure in the French Tamil community, Nadarajah Mathinthiran alias Parithi was shot dead as he left TCC's Paris office, allegedly by two hooded individuals on motorbike who fired three shots at their victim. Parithi had previouly been attacked in a stabbing around a year ago, sustaining serious injuries from which he had only recently recovered. A police investigation has been launched into the murder.

Australia deports more asylum seekers

The Australian government has sent a group of 30 asylum seekers to Colombo, the second such group in as many days, in a specially chartered flight Christmas Island earlier today. Immigration Minister Chris Bowen told media that the group were "involuntarily"' returned, bringing eh total number of asylum seekers deported to Sri Lanka 186, since new immigration policies were put into place in August of this year. Bowen went on to say , "They were advised of their status and that they were subject to removal from Australia. They raised no issues that engaged Australia's international obligations...

Rajapakse raises taxes and increases defence budget

Finance Minister Mahinda Rajapakse, who also happens to be President and Defence Minister, has presented the 2013 budget to parliament today. Three years after the end of the armed conflict, Rajapakse has allocated a record US$ 2.2 billion to the defence ministry. This increase is partly financed by a rise in taxation on luxury goods and other imports, like milk powder. Rajapakse also announced a ban in the sale of land to foreigners, whose purchases are thought to have raised local prices, reported the AFP .

WTC resolution endorsed by Tamil delegates from NE, diaspora and TN

Mavai Senathirajah, TNA (central, speaking) Delegates at the World Tamil Conference - including Tamil activists and politicians from the North-East and the diaspora, as well as politicians and civil society activists from Tamil Nadu - gathered at the British Houses of Parliament for a second day to discuss and endorse the resolution proposed. The resolution put before the delegates, which received widespread backing on the first day, including by several British parliamentarians , called for an international, independent investigation into the allegations war crimes, crimes against humanity and crimes of genocide by the Sri Lankan state against the Tamil nation.