The King has spoken

The Commissioner of Elections has expressed his pleasure at President Mahinda Rajapksa’s recent intervention that election laws must be abided by and cannot be violated. Speaking to Ceylon Today , the Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya stated, “I am glad the President himself has got involved in handling the election law violations and instructed the police to take tough action and this will make things easy for us”. Perhaps now the misuse of state property and resources for campaign propaganda, described as “rampant” in some districts, and election related violence can finally be held to...

Undeterred and still looking to escape

Despite an increasing number of arrests by the Sri Lankan Navy, asylum seekers remain undeterred in their attempts to flee the island, reported AFP. Tamil asylum seekers from Udappuwa who were recently arrested, told AFP, " We will try to go again after the case is over. We just have to wait for some time." Another said, “ The future here is very bleak. We want to get out of poverty," Local community leader Quintus Fernando also stated that continued fishing restrictions by the navy had forced many residents to seek greener pastures elsewhere. he commented, "It is three years after the end of...

8 more fishermen attacked by SL Navy

Eight Tamil Nadu fishermen from Vellapalam, were found by Vedaranyam on Sunday, with internal injuries, allegedly as a result of an attack by the Sri Lankan Navy, reported The Hindu. One fishermen had a knife wound, whilst others alleged to have been attacked with pipes and ropes, and their nets slashed. The men are admitted to Vedaranyam hospital. The fishermen who left the coast of Vellapalam on Saturday morning, deny crossing the International Maritime Boundary Line. However, according to The Hindu, a GPS reading places them 38 nautical miles south-east off Arcottuthurai - inside Sri Lanka...

SL minister can't understand UK FCO travel update

Sri Lanka announced that it would be contesting the British Foreign Commonwealth Office's updated travel advice , warning Britons of an upsurge in nationalism, sexual offences and anti-western rhetoric. With the burning of Union Jacks and the barracading of UN offices all but a distant memory, the Secretary of External Affairs Ministry Karunathilaka Amunugama was shocked by the updated advice. Taking it with the "utmost seriousness" particularly due to the tone and timing, Amunugama said that he would like to know exactly how the UK came to this conclusion and had assigned the High...

More than two years gone... Still 49,000 to go

An Indian housing project for Tamil IDPs has been declared 'on track', despite only 1,000 of the much vaunted 50,000 houses having been constructed, since the scheme was announced more than two years ago. Ashok K. Kantha, High Commissioner of India in Sri Lanka hailed the completion of the first 1,000 houses earlier this week, despite the houses having been formally handed over to Tamil IDPs some 8 months ago . The pledge to construct 50,000 houses was made in June 2010, as Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh toured the island. Since then only 2% of the promised houses have been built. Two...

Tamil Nadu fishermen attacked by SL navy in Indian waters

The Tamil Nadu government asserted that there had been 167 attacks on Tamil Nadu fishermen by the Sri Lankan Navy from 1991 - 2011, and those included attacks within Indian territorial waters. The attacks had resulted in the deaths of 65 Tamil Nadu fishermen, with 180 injured. See here and here . The state government's Advocate General Navaneethakrishnan made the submission before the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court which included Justice PPS Janarthana Raja and Justice M Vijayaraghavan on Friday. According to The Hindu , the Centre's advocate, Additional Solicitor General M Ravindran, argued that there was 'no chance of the Sri Lankan Navy having entered the Indian waters as such movement by the warships would amount to waging a war.'

Navi Pillay urges Australia to rethink asylum policy

Commenting on the recently released report by a panel commissioned by the Australian government, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, urged Australia to rethink its asylum policy, and " break an ingrained political habit of demonising migrants and asylum-seeker s". The panel's report, which recommended that off-shore detention be employed as it would disuade potentional asylum seekers, has received condemnation and criticism by rights groups Amnesty International and TAG (Tamils Against Genocide). Pointing out that there was " no empirical evidence that immigration detention deters irregular migration, or discourages people from seeking asylum ", Pillay said that UN Human Rights Office had " long-standing concerns about Australia's mandatory detention regime ", and reiterated that immigration detention " should always be applied as a measure of last resort, only permissible for the shortest period of time and only when no less restrictive measure is available ."

Chinese engineers flown in amid questions of sabotage

A team of engineers have had to be flown in from China in order to try and repair the Lakvijaya Coal Power Plant in Norochcholai, after a series of failures have led to power cuts across the country. The plant, built using a USD $455 million loan from China's EXIM bank, was constructed by Chinese workers from the China National Machinery Import and Export Corporation. Since having opened, a series of failures at the plant – deemed “quality issues” by the Chairman of the Ceylon Electricity Board – have led to island wide power cuts. The repair work is expected to take at least four days. Their...

Another Chinese project launched

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has inaugurated the launch of yet another Chinese-funded project in the country, an irrigation project in North Central and Eastern Provinces. The project is estimated to cost US$210 million, with 85% of the funds being provided by China and the construction is set to be undertaken by the China CAMC Engineering Corporation. Photograph: ColomboPage Previous Chinese-constructed projects in Sri Lanka have shown a host of defects, with a $1.4 billion port in the President’s hometown needing further work after a massive seabed rock obstructed the entrance and...

Sri Lanka says ready to host Commonwealth conference next month

Sri Lanka is ready to host this years annual Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) next month, said the current chairman and Sri Lanka's speaker - Chamal Rajapaksa. The conference takes placed on 7th- 15th September in Colombo. Over 600 delegates from 54 countries are expected to take part.

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