Fonseka vows to 'topple' government

In his first news conference since his release form prison on the 21st May, General Sarath Fonseka, vowed to "topple" the Rajapaksa government. The general, who is one of the key architects of the massacre of 2009, described the Rajapaksa administration as "dictatorial" and "corrupt". Whilst he is banned from running for presidency for another seven years (due to his jail sentence), Fonseka pledged to lead the opposition. Fonseka said: "I can speak on election platforms, I could form a political party and be its leader and could lead the masses," "We must topple this corrupt government,"

Sri Lanka to seek further bailouts from IMF

The head of an International Monetary Fund delegation to Sri Lanka has stated that the country was to ask for further loans from the IMF, after coming to the end of a $2.6 billion bailout. John Nelmes, the head of the IMF mission, declined to state how much further the country sought as a bailout but said, "We have initiated a discussion of a program to help Sri Lanka get deeper into a middle-income level country." According to the AFP, sources from Sri Lanka’s finance ministry have indicated at least a further $500 million would be needed as Sri Lanka’s trade deficit widened to a record $10...

Sri Lanka expands prison intelligence service

The Sri Lankan government has declared that they are to recruit and deploy more intelligence officers in prisons, as the government further expands intelligence services. Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Rehabilitation and Prison Reforms have announced that they will recruit 160 new intelligence officers, with some to be deployed into prisons in civilian clothing . In addition, four new prison department commissioners have also been appointed. Earlier this year, Army commander Lt. GeneralJagath Jayasuriya stated that intelligence services had expanded along with the rest of the country’s armed forces...

Decades of expropriation stifling entrepreneurship

Addressing a business foum organised by Sri Lanka's division of the UK Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, the chair of Laugfs Holdings, criticised the on-going practice of expropriation by successive governments. The chair, W.K.H. Wegapitiya said : "We have done lot of blunders and it's still happening," "If you don’t protect Sri Lankan entrepreneurs and if you don’t act against these unethical and shortsighted acts there will be lot of accountants without businesses to run." "We have to get together and change it." Referring back to past decades, Wegapitiya criticised the...

Reggae band ‘Big Mountain’ boycotts Sri Lanka over 'systematic violence'

Picture: UT San Diego The American reggae band ‘Big Mountain’ have refused an invitation to perform at a reggae festival in Sri Lanka, citing concerns over “systemic violence” towards “indigenous populations” in the country. The band stated that whilst they were keen to spread their message of peace, a performance in the country at such a time would serve to “gloss over or legitimate” their concerns of violence that transpired during the war in the country. In a statement published on their Facebook site yesterday, the group said: "We are declining this invitation, however, due to our concern with the violence that has transpired there as of late and that has been described as part of Sri Lanka’s “civil war.” "Whilst we would be honored to help convey a message of peace and reconciliation, we also feel that to play a concert of this type, at this moment in time, would help to gloss over or legitimate conditions of systemic violence that have transpired in that region and towards indigenous populations in particular."

Cancer specialist's home attacked - Jaffna

The home of Dr Jeyakumar, a cancer specialist at the Jaffna Teaching Hospital, was attacked a masked gang on Wednesday night, reports TamilNet. See here for article on TamilNet and photographs of the crime scene. The gang entered the house, smashing windows and destroying the place, before dousing Dr Jeyakumar's home in oil. The intruders fled after the family awoke and neighbours became alerted by the family's screams. According to TamilNet, the police arrived after 'several hours' of delay, and local civil activists suggested that Dr Jeyakumar was targeted due to his involvement in civil...

Diaspora lifeline sustains Vanni

Repeating a common falsehood, Sri Lanka’s President Rajapakse recently lambasted the Tamil diaspora as not having spent a penny on helping the Tamils of the Vanni. Speaking at the opening of the communications tower in Kilinochchi last week he claimed that ‘not a single member of the so called Tamil Diaspora shouting in foreign countries to protect the rights of Tamils, has donated a single dollar for the welfare of Tamils in Sri Lanka.’ However, the Island newspaper reported the same week that since May 2009, the Diaspora has sent over Rs 1 billion through the state-owned Bank of Ceylon...

Sri Lanka appoints Turkish ambassador

After announcing the closure of a number of embassies in Europe deemed as not serving Sri Lanka's interests, Sri Lanka has appointed an ambassador to Turkey - Bharthi Wijeratne. The Turkish Weekly reports that Sri Lankan officials said the 'decision to appoint an ambassador to Turkey is an indicator of the country's willingness to improve its relations with Turkey', in light of what Sri Lanka considers to be Turkey's 'rapidly growing economy.'

Airline losses due to government entourage flights - UNP

General Secretary of the UNP Tissa Attanayake has claimed that extravagant trips aboard by the President and his entourage have contributed to huge losses being incurred by Sri Lanka’s airlines. Stating that President Rajapaksa and Foreign Minister GL Peiris have travelled to more than 35 countries since 2010, Attanayake said that tax payers were funding these trips, with both Sri Lankan Airlines and Mihin Lanka running up losses totalling 24 billion rupees. Attanayake then went on to state that Sri Lankan Airlines had made an operating loss of 19.1 billion rupees in 2011, whilst being pumped...

Army Commander admits to land grab

In an interview to Sudar Oli, the Sri Lankan military’s army commander in Jaffna, Major General Mahinda Hathurusinghe admitted that land in Jaffna was being taken by the military to build army camps, but dismissed the allegations of land invasion. According to the Jaffna newspaper, Uthayan , under the name of “Government Land,” divisional office land and other key facilities continue to be seized by the army. Jaffna district Tamil National Alliance MP, Appathurai Vinayagamoorthy told Sudar Oli that total of 61 acres of land in Nallur, Kopai and Thelipillai are expected to be occupied by the...

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