Kenney reiterates CHOGM boycott unless there is accountability

Canada’s Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, Jason Kenney, has told reporters in Colombo that Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper will not be attending the next Commonwealth Heads Of Government Meeting due be held in Sri Lanka, unless more is done to address human rights violations on the island. Speaking whilst visiting the country, Kenney said , “We will not go along, to get along” "Canada again calls on the government of Sri Lanka to live up to the standard of membership in the Commonwealth and show tangible progress on a process of national political...

GL Peiris: Canadian minister 'biased and unbalanced'

Responding to comments made by the Canadian Minister for Citizenship, Immigration, and Multiculturalism, Jason Kenney , during his recent visit, Sri Lanka's External Affairs Minister GL Peiris accused him of being "biased and unbalanced". Speaking after his meeting with Kenney on Sunday, Peiris said : “Sri Lankan Government will not conduct its affairs in a way that suits the domestic politics of another country. The government will act in the best interest of our people,” “This is not at all a balanced view. We are aware of the large Tamil expatriate community in Canada and the visiting...

'Tamils who demonstrate against the regime are being watched.'

Former chief cricket writer at The Age (Australia), Trevor Grant has written on his experiences protesting against Sri Lanka and the intimidation tied with it. See here for full article. Extracts reproduced below: "As I was... handing out leaflets to the crowd on the opening day of the Test match, I noticed a... man of Sri Lankan or Indian appearance... taking photographs of me." "I was curious because it was obvious he wasn't a press photographer... because when I moved towards him, he ran away and tried to hide..." "My Australian-Tamil friend, Kartheeban Arul, from the Sydney branch of the Tamil Youth Organisation, tells me that this is a regular occurrence whenever Tamils attend a protest in Australia that is directed at the Sri Lankan government. He says the Tamil community is convinced these men work for the Sri Lankan embassy. Their job is to provide identification of Tamil protesters, which is used by government security agents to harass friends and relatives back in Sri Lanka."

Jaffna University forced to recommence classes on Tuesday

Jaffna University will resume its academic activities starting Tuesday according to media reports . The university was virtually shut down as classes were boycotted for more than a month, with students demanding the release of four Jaffna University students held by the army. Higher Education Minister S.B. Dissanayake threatened that Jaffna University will be closed if classes don’t resume. “I have told the university authorities that, willingly or unwillingly, we will have to close the university, even for one year, if campus activities are not normalised.” he said. According to Uthayan ,...

Education ministry threatens complete closure of Jaffna Uni

The Higher Education Minister of Sri Lanka, S.B Dissanayake, warned in a meeting with University Chancellor Vasanthy Arasaratnam, that Jaffna University would be closed if academic activities were not resumed this week. Dissanayake further added that he had informed University authorities that, unless usual academic activities were restored, the University would be shut for a year, reported Colombo Page. Boycotts continue to disrupt the University's usual proceedings, as academic staff and students continue to demand the release of four university students, who are detained at the Welikada...

M.I.A. speaks out against Australian asylum policy

Award winning musician ‘Maya' Mathangi Arulpragasam, better known as M.I.A., has spoken out against Australia’s policy on asylum seekers calling on the country to do more to help Tamil refugees. In an interview whilst in Australia, the Grammy and Oscar-nominated artist said, "I'd much rather take detention in Australia over detention in Sri Lanka because at least you're not going to be killed," "Letting people into Australia isn't going to kill anybody… Those people are not going back to a nice life. They're going to get tortured and they're going to basically live like prisoners and it's...

Male body found in well in Vavuniya

The body of a 68 year old man was found in a well in Marakkaarampalai on Saturday, reports Uthayan. It is believed to be that of Palaswamy Arunaasalam, who was reported missing after he set off towards Vavuniya on 2nd January. His body has been handed over to the police for a post-mortem and further investigation.

Gotabhaya to interview dual citizenship applicants

Applicants for dual citizenship will now have to face an interview panel led by none other than the Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, after having their application approved by the Immigration Department. The panel will also include the Foreign Ministry Secretary Karunatillake Amunugama and Public Administration Secretary PB Abeykoon. Amunugama said , "The panel will look into criteria such as the applicant’s professional qualifications, investment capacity and the need to obtain dual citizenship. Many of the people who are seeking dual citizenship have left the country in their youth...

Japanese govt pledges aid for flood affected

The Japanese government has pledged approximately 23 million Japanese Yen in donations for those affected by the floods. The assistance includes tents, plastic sheets and sleeping pads and will be distributed by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). In a statement, the Japanese embassy said : "The People and the Government of Japan sincerely hope that this aid would contribute to improving the humanitarian situation in the affected areas, and that this disaster will be under control as early as possible."

Govt grapples with defaulting foreign investors

In an effort to deal with the increasing number of foreign investors who are defaulting on loans from state banks, the Sri Lankan government has pledged an investigation - an international one. According to Lokuge, ten garment manufacturing factories have had to close in Biyagama, Nittambuwa and Katunayake investment zones resulting in over Rs. 5 billion in losses to state banks. The Sri Lankan Labour minister Gamini Lokuge will meet with Mahinda Rajapaksa next week to discuss what action needs to be taken.