Cairn to start 2nd phase oil exploration next month

The second phase of oil exploration in the Mannar basin will begin next month announced Cairn India. The company said drilling would be brought forward from June to mid-February, due to early rig availability and excellent logistical preparations. The drilling of a fourth exploratory off well has been planned, 21km off the coast of Kalpitiya.

The "special" relationship

India’s High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Ashok K Kantha told The Island that his country trains around 1,400 members of Sri Lanka’s security forces every year, the most it provides to any country. He was asked whether India would consider increasing the supply of arms and ammunition, to which he smiled and said, "We provide a small quantity of equipment. But what is significant is that security exchanges are developing steadily in keeping with our inter-linked interests." Speaking at a function marking India’s 64th Republic Day in Colombo, the high commissioner said that the relationship...

Sinhala colonisation in "Killing Fields"

Groups of Sinhala families were resettled in the district of Mullaitivu, amid protest from local inhabitants, reported Lankasri News . Reports suggest that military personal have resettled Sinhala fishermen in the Puthumatalan area of Mullativu district, the scene of bloody massacres on the infamous “Killing Fields”. The army has offered them special security and privileges from the military camp. Intimidating the locals that were showing dissatisfaction over the new resettlement, the military personnel warned them not to protest. The Puthumatalan region is currently inhabited by 350...

Process of accountability key to reconciliation and durable peace – James Moore

See below for extracts from a speech made by Deputy Assistant Secretary of State James Moore at a press event in Colombo. Click here for complete statement in English , Tamil and Sinhala . The United States has a long friendship with Sri Lanka dating back to its independence. We value this multifaceted relationship and our visit has been undertaken in this spirit. We [...] have had constructive and candid meetings with the Sri Lankan government, military, political parties, and civil society in both Colombo and Jaffna. Our goal has been to hear from many different voices throughout Sri Lanka. We have met with Secretary of Defense Gotabhaya Rajapaksa and military commanders [...].

Sri Lanka - 'We are expecting the Queen'

The Sri Lankan government has stated that they ex pect the Q ueen to be present at this year's Common wealth Heads O f Government Meeting, schedu led to be held in Sri Lanka , shrugging off any concerns of a boycott. Secretary to the Ministry of External Affairs, K Amunugama, was qu oted by Ceylon T oday as saying, "We are expecting the Queen to be present, but it depends on her health, and how favourable the conditions are for her to be present. If she is unable to be present, a member of the Royal family – Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, or her son Charles, the Prince of Wales or one...

Govt dismisses US call for progress

Responding to the prospect of another resolution at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, the Sri Lankan government said that they had already made "substantial progress". The country's Foreign Secretary Karunathilaka Amunugama said on Tuesday: "The US is entitled to its views but Sri Lanka is ready to respond to the resolution. We have made substantial progress on the recommendations made by the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) report and we have briefed the diplomatic community and media about this,"

SL accuses US diplomats of being spies

A Sri Lankan government Minister has accused the visiting United States State Department Deputy Assistant Secretaries, of being spies. Addressing an event in the Southern town of Mawathagama, the Housing and Construction Minister, Wimal Weerawasa, said that the US officials were trying to gather information that would indicate to the international community that the law and order situation in the country is facing a breakdown. Weerawasa's remarks come as the alleged spy, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State James Moore, addressing press in Colombo, highlighted the need for accountability in...

4,000 armed personnel to be deployed in Trinco

Over 4,000 police and army person nel will be deployed in Trincomalee for Sri Lanka's Independence day celeb rations, due to be held in the city. The celebrations, set f or the 4th of February, mark the 65th year independence from Britain. Held in the Tamil city of Trincomale, this year's theme is (in Singhalese) 'Asirimath Mawubimak - Isurumath Heta Dinak', or 'A Glorious Motherland - A Flourishing Tomorrow'. Approximately 1,800 police officers will be present, with the remaining numbers being made up by members of the army, navy and air force. See our earlier post: Independence day...

Seized African ivory tusks gifted to Buddhist temples

359 ivory tusks from African elephants wor th millions of dollars , which were seized by Sri Lankan authorities last year, have been gifted to Buddhist temples . The tusks were seized by customs officials last year, but following a request from the Presidential Secretariat, they have now been handed over to Buddhist temples. The Daily Mirror reported that the iv ory was valued at a staggering 400 million rup ees ( over U S $3.1 million ) , coming from hundreds of A frican elephants. The trade of African elep hant ivory was outlaw ed in 1989, except for a few very rare circumstances .

Ministers galore

Adding to an already burgeoning Cabinet, five new ministers were sworn in before President Mahinda Rajapaksa this morning at the Cabinet reshuffle. (See here ). The grand total now stands at 67 Cabinet ministers, and 97 ministers within a 225 member parliament. Innovative entries into the Cabinet include: two 'Project Ministers' for Ports and Highways, co-deputy ministers, Minister of Sugar Industries and Minister of Botanical Gardens and Public Recreation. Working arrangements between the Minister of Productivity Promotion and Minister of Investment Promotion, as well as that between the...