HSBC bank in London apologises for display of SL flag

HSBC in London has “unreservedly” apologised after displaying the Sri Lankan flag in its New Malden branch, following protests from the local community. The display drew objections from the Tamils in London, who remonstrated that the display brought back memories of rape, torture and massacres endured at the hands of a genocidal state. Complaints from the local community, with the support of local parliamentarian Mr Edward Davey, have led to apologies from the bank and the removal of the flag. A HSBC spokesperson said , “The flags were meant with the very best intentions and the bank...

‘Debt-ridden’ SL electricity board seeks more loans

The Minister for Power Champika Ranawaka is seeking approval from the Sri Lankan cabinet to raise the borrowing limit of the state owned Ceylon Electricity Board to Rs 74.2 billion, reported LBO . He said the funds will be used to meet increasing fuel needs, settle debts and pay independent power producers. Ranawake told cabinet members that CEB currently owed Rs 16 billion to independent power suppliers and another Rs 15 billion to the state owned Ceylon Petroleum Corporation, the Sunday Times reported. Ranawaka said the CEB was in “severe financial crisis”, even though fuel surcharge...

Sinhala nationalists protest TESO gathering

Sri Lanka’s nationalist organisations demonstrated against the Tamil Eelam Supporter’s Organisation (TESO) conference which was due to take place today in Chennai. Participating in the demonstration march in Colombo, chairman of the Sinhala nationalist ‘Patriotic National Movement’ Gunadasa Amarasekara told Colombo Page that he thought the conference was an attempt to divide ‘Sri Lanka’ by Tamil Nadu politicians. Demonstrators are reported to have burnt effigies of DMK leader Karunanidhi and TNA leader R Sampanthan. Amarasekara added his objection to the Indian government allowing the use of...

Tamils protest against Sri Lanka at London2012 on final day

Marking the final day of the London 2012 Olympics, Tamils stood in solidarity with the hunger striker, Gobi Sivanthan, and protested against Sri Lanka's inclusion. Crowds gathered to the spot in Stratford, by the Olympic stadium where Sivanthan had been on hunger strike since 22nd July, as he broke his protest fast at 4pm of the final day, as planned.

Impartial investigation is the only way forward – Amnesty India

Amnesty International’s Chief Executive in India has said that a UN-led impartial investigation is the only way to achieve justice for victims of Sri Lankan war crimes. Mr G Ananthapadmanabhan told the Hindu that justice could only be ensured by an investigation which was impartial and led by the United Nations, saying , “There is a huge responsibility on the Sri Lankan government to ensure impartial investigation, followed by justice for these crimes. There have been lots of promises and some efforts with the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission [LLRC]. But we know that the latest...

“Quality issues” plague Chinese-built power plant

Sri Lanka’s Chinese-built power coal plant in Norocholai, Puttalam has broken down again, as power cuts are set to be imposed across the island by the Ceylon Electricity Board. The Chairman of the Ceylon Electricity Board, Professor Wimaladharma Abeywickrama stated that “there are quality issues in the plant” , which has broken down several times since its opening in March 2011. The plant was built using a USD $455 million loan from China's EXIM bank, with construction having been carried out by the China National Machinery Import and Export Corporation. The breakdown comes as the Ceylon...

UN to fund operations in Sri Lanka

The UN has announced it will allocate $55 million to strengthen basic services in eight countries with ‘neglected humanitarian emergencies’. Afghanistan, Cameroon, Colombia, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Ethiopia, Madagascar, Sri Lanka and Sudan will be in receipt of the funds from the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to help provide food, water, health and other basic services. “These CERF grants provide critical funding. The money will save lives by helping aid agencies reach people in desperate need,” said the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency...

SL faces an economic war by Tamil diaspora - Peiris

Sri Lanka’s External Affairs Minister, G.L. Peiris, said the island was facing an 'economic war' from foreign groups, during a defence seminar on Wednesday, reported Xinhua. Peiris said that the vast majority of the groups were Tamil diaspora organisations and that Sri Lanka’s economy is being targeted by the Tamil diaspora participating in campaigns that compel tourists to boycott travelling to Sri Lanka. Peiris went on to say that he regretted attempts to internationalise the 'Sri Lankan situation' and seek a external solution to the conflict.

India must examine itself in dealing with neighbours - Rajapaksa

In an interview with the Times of India, Mahinda Rajapaksa shared his thoughts on India and its decision to support the UNHRC resolution earlier this year. "Any good intentions and actions are always appreciated. But I must add that if India stood by us and supported Sri Lanka's request for more time and space, who knows , there may not have been a resolution at all." "The region looks up to India but India must examine itself whether or not it is doing the right thing in dealing with its neighbours ... what they are doing is the best thing or not ." Asked about the anti-India sentiment on the island as a result of India's vote in favour of the resolution, Rajapaksa said, " All I can say is that we are not a nation and people without feelings. India and Sri Lanka share common cultural and historic values and so we can feel deeply about such moves."

India denies SLAF training in Tamil Nadu

The Indian Defence Minister has stated that Sri Lankan Air Force personnel are not being trained in Tamil Nadu, following controversy over the alleged training last month. Widespread condemnation of the programme led to the Sri Lankan personnel being shifted out of Tamil Nadu into other parts of India, with Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalitha in particular voicing her criticisms. See our earlier post: Jayalalitha slams Delhi over SL training as Karunanidhi changes stance again (16 July 2012) Defence Minister A K Antony told the Rajya Sabha, "At present no personnel of the Sri Lankan Air...

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