Chinese power plant fails again

The power cuts imposed across the country due to continuing problems at the Chinese built Norochcholai power plant have been extended for another fortnight. Sri Lanka has lost around 17% of its capacity to meet demand for electricity due to the failure.

Sri Lankan Minister’s call to arms

Senior government Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayake has stated that more money should be spent on defence in order to combat local and international threats to Sri Lanka. The former Prime Minister reportedly said that the police and armed forces needed to be equipped with modern weaponry in order to defend the country. According to the Daily Mirror , Wickramanayake said, “There are many elements operating locally and internationally, trying to disturb the peace we have gained. A political party had adopted a resolution stating that the country should be divided.” “These things should be taken seriously, and the country should allocate more funds for defence."

Amnesty 'appalled' at Australian report

In a statement , Amnesty International slammed the recently released report by an Australian expert panel on asylum seekers. Highlighting the fact that the panel were " ignoring altogether the fundamental right to seek asylum or the realities of why vulnerable people flee from horrific circumstances ", Amnesty said it was " appalled " by the recommendations. Amnesty International’s refugee spokesperson, Dr Graham Thorn, said, “Sending asylum seekers to places like Malaysia, Nauru and Papua New Guinea is unacceptable and a complete outsourcing of Australia’s human rights obligations .”

Offshoring lacks transparency and accountability - TAG

Commenting on the recently released report by an Australian expert panel on asylum seekers, Jan Jananayagam of Tamils Against Genocide (TAG) told Tamil Guardian, "Offshore processing defeats the spirit of the refugee convention - which is to offer safe haven to those fleeing persecution. Instead offshoring creates gulag-type settings in some parts of the world on our behalf." "Offshore agreements send a signal to partner countries that it is acceptable for them to continue to refuse to sign the refugee convention, thus undermining its international scope."

Politician accused of murder reinstated in post

Sampath Chandrapushpa, who is accused of murdering a tourist last year, has been reinstated by the ruling party into his post as chairman of Tangalle’s Pradeshiya Sabha. Chandrapushpa is in remand custody over last year’s Christmas Eve murder of Khuram Zama Shaikh, a British national from Manchester, in The Nature resort, Tangalle. Shaikh's girlfriend, Russian national Victoria Alexandrovna was also allegedly raped in the incident. Colombo Page reports that Chandrapushpa was told in writing on July 29th by the UPFA that his position as Chairman and full party membership had been restored. The...

Barely alive, yet his legs chained together - Father Sakthivel

Photograph Uthayan Speaking to mourners of the Tamil political prisoner, Dilrukshan, Father Sakthivel described seeing him in hospital in the days before his death - in a coma, but still with his feet chained together.

'Most of the LLRC recommendations' have been addressed says Sri Lanka

Apparently - according to Sri Lanka’s Human Rights Commission Chief Pratiba Mahanamathe who in turn quoted the presidential secretary - "most" of the LLRC recommendations had been addressed.

Knowing your place

Sri Lanka Muslim Congress leader Rauf Hakeem has issued an “unreserved apology to all Buddhists of Sri Lanka” over remarks made in a campaign meeting in the Eastern Province. Hakeem reportedly congratulated President Mahinda Rajapaksa for defeating “terrorism” and called on him to eliminate what he termed “yellow robed terrorism”, referring to attacks on mosques led by the Buddhist clergy. The comments outraged the Buddhist clergy and prompted a swift retraction from Hakeem. Extracts from his statement have been reproduced below.

Colombo recalls its high commissioner to Malaysia

Kalyananda Godage, Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner to Malaysia has been recalled abruptly by Colombo after he was accused of sympathetic involvement with Tamil organisations in Malaysia. Mr. Godage came out of retirement at the age of 76 to take up this position. His service will come to an end at the end of August after serving only eight months. Sri Lanka’s External Affairs Minister G.L. Peiris, took an exception to Godage’s request for answers, that were posed by Tamil groups during a meeting in Colombo.

Increase refugee intake, but process offshore says Australian panel

An Australian report, ordered by the government, concluded that it was necessary to introduce disincentives for those seeking asylum in Australia, Canberra should introduce off-shore processing, but increase the overall intake of refugees to 20,000.