EU to give Sri Lanka €60 million grant for 'development'

The Sri Lankan Economic Development Ministry has announced it is to receive a grant worth €60 million for its District Development Programme. According to the Daily Mirror , the announcement was made by the head of the EU delegation, Bernard Savage during a meeting with Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapakse on Monday. The money will go to projects selected by the Sri Lankan government and implemented by UN and World Bank agencies. The UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, Subinay Nandy was also present at the meeting and said its agencies would cooperate with governmental...

China’s support for Sri Lanka’s militarisation

China has agreed to provide US$ 100 million (Rs. 13.2 billion) to the Sri Lankan Ministry of Defence, in order to fund army camps in the North and East of the island reported the Sunday Times. According to official sources, the funds would be used to provide develop camps all across the North-East including Mannar, Palaly, Elephant Pass, Pooneryn, Thalladi, Karainagar, and Mullaitivu. The Sunday Times reported that the government had deemed such installations “essential for national security”. Additionally China will also be providing a grant of US $1.5 million for the Defence Services College in Colombo, which teaches children of the armed forces and police, from grades 6 to 12. The funding is said to come from the Export-Import (Exim) Bank of China, although the details have not yet been reported. See our earlier post: Who benefits from Chinese loans to Sri Lanka? (21 November 2010) Meanwhile Sri Lanka has reportedly agreed to purchase six MA-60 aircraft from China, at a cost of US$ 105.4 million.

Expanding the Buddhist kingdom

A newly constructed shrine of the Buddha in the Vanni district has been unveiled by Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Defence. The Ministry of Defence graciously reported that the shrine was built “in order to cater to the religious needs and spiritual upliftment of the people”. They further added that the “meritorious act of building the temple was undertaken by the 56 Division of the Sri Lanka Army” . See our earlier post: The Buddha graces yet another Vanni district (25 August 2012) See more on the proliferation of Buddhist shrines in the North in our piece Buddhist Stupas for Army to be built in...

Vanni seat taken away, Moneragala gains one

In another move politically marginalising the North-East, the number of MP’s elected from the Vanni district has been reduced by the Sri Lankan government, whilst an increase has been allocated for Moneragala in the South. According to the Elections Department in Sri Lanka, the decision was made due to a fall in population numbers in the Vanni district, made up of Mannar, Vavuniya and Mullaitivu. The number of registered voters in Vanni, according to government figures, is 221,409, down from 236,449 in 2010 and 270,707 in 2009. Last year it was announced that Jaffna would lose 4 seats after...

India will continue to train SL soldiers, says minister

Responding to calls from Tamil Nadu to expel Sri Lankan army personnel from India, the Indian Minister of State for Defence, MM Pallam Raju, said that India would continue to train them. In a statement, Pallam Raju said , "Sri Lanka is a friendly foreign country and the training will go on. Sometimes there are objections raised by local governments which we have to take into consideration."

Tamil political prisoners attacked in Galle again, one in coma

Reports of a further prison attack last week in Galle against Tamil political detainees have emerged. The Jaffna newspaper, Uthayan, reported this morning, that Tamil political prisoners were attacked in Galle prison last week, leaving several injured and one detainee, 34-year-old Sundaram Satheeskumar, in a coma. Satheeskumar was arrested by in 2008, from his home in Kodikaamam, and imprisoned in New Magazine prison in Colombo. According to Uthayan, when his wife, Kavitha, and his young daughter, Sahitya, went to visit him on the 24th August, they were informed by prison guards that he had been transferred to Galle prison three days ago. When they then went to Galle, they found Satheeskumar admitted to Karapitiya Hospital in a coma.

Japan offers to mediate between West and SL

Japanese envoy Yasushi Akashi has offered to liaise between the international community and Sri Lanka in order to help ‘develop’ the relationship, which has been strained over war crimes and Sri Lanka's failure to conduct independent investigations into the allegations. In a press conference in Saturday, Akashi said that he told Mahinda Rajapakse that Japan is "willing to assist in the efforts to develop the relationship between Sri Lanka and the international community." He also said ‘visible outcomes’ on measures taken to address political issues must be demonstrated to the international...

Sri Lanka blames West for proliferation of protests

According to secret correspondence with the State Intelligence Service (SIS), ‘two strong Western nations’ and several INGOs are the background instigators of unrelenting anti-government protests on the island, reports Uthayan . The Sri Lankan Ministry of External Affairs is reported to be paying extra attention to the matter as internal investigations take place. There has recently been a spate of protests by fishermen and farmers, students and lecturers, the opposition and not least the Tamils. Western nations and INGOs have been accused of aiding demonstrators with funding and other assistance to carry out protests. The government is treating this ‘conspiracy to overthrow the regime’ with extreme caution.

Confessions from the Colombo Stock Exchange

The recently resigned chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Tilak Karunaratne, has said he is willing to provide evidence of malpractices in the Colombo Stock Exchange. Speaking to the Daily Mirror on practices between June 2010 and December 2010, Karunaratne said: “Yes of course, this was most certainly day light robbery. During the conflict the market was dull and there was quite rightly euphoria after the war ended. Then the market gradually rose up." "Then suddenly we find that between June and December 2010 it shot up suddenly. And this was due to manipulation. What they did was they found certain stocks which are not liquid. These stocks have no intrinsic value and they started manipulating and arbitrarily increasing the price by having trades among themselves and their crony brokers ."

Army constructs camp over LTTE's Mulliavallai cemetery

The Sri Lankan army is currently constructing an army camp for the 592 regiment, over the razed Mulliavallai LTTE cemetery, reported Tamilwin. The LTTE's Mulliavallai cemetery was demolished soon after the government claimed victory in 2009, along with other LTTE memorials and cemeteries in the North-East. Parents of the fallen LTTE cadres are said to be angered by the army's construction over the remains of their son or daughter.