Bank lending and ethnicity

Figures released recently by Sri Lanka’s Central Bank reveal an increase in bank lending to the private sector (see p6 here ). But an industry body said this week major exporters were not borrowing as they are gloomy about economic prospects. What could this contradiction mean?

America and Jaffna

This is what US Ambassador to Colombo, Ms. Patricia Butenis, said Monday at the opening of the American Corner in Jaffna: “Not everyone may realize that Americans have a long relationship with the people of Jaffna . “ American missionaries arrived here in 1813, almost two hundred years ago. They taught English and learned Tamil, founded the first printing press in Jaffna, started the first Tamil language newspaper anywhere , and established Sri Lanka’s first medical school . “The opening of the American Corner today is a symbol of our sustained commitment to the people of Jaffna. “The...

Why Sri Lanka’s exporters are gloomy

Despite credit being readily available, Sri Lanka’s exporters say they don’t want to borrow because they can’t expand their businesses in the present economic conditions - despite the end of the war. “Exporters are not borrowing because they are not expanding,” National Chamber of Exporters (NCE) President Sarath de Silva said last week. High electricity tariffs, the loss of trade concessions from the EU and US, and a stronger rupee made it difficult to survive in the global export market, he said. (See reports in The Island and the Sunday Times )

Hawaii temple joins Thai Poosam celebration

The Kadavul Temple in Hawaii was amongst the thousands of Saivite temples celebrating the festival of Thai Poosam this month. The Kadavul temple is attached to the Kauai Aadheenam or monastery, which traces its guru lineage directly from Jaffna’s well known sage Yogaswami . The guru lineage is named Kailasa Parampara, after the Kailasa mountain range in the Himalayas where the earliest of these yogis is said to have meditated. Kauai is the oldest of Hawaii’s main islands. The Kauai Aadheenam was established in 1973, by Sivaya Subramuniyaswami, an American priest initiated by Yogaswami in Jaffna in 1949. In 1986, the World Religious Parliament in New Delhi honored Sivaya Subramuniyaswami as one of the five Hindu spiritual leaders outside India who had most dynamically promoted Hinduism in the previous 25 years. He passed away in 2001 .

Batticaloa children face food crisis

After the worst floods in almost a century, “The average ten-year-old in eastern Sri Lanka has lived through conflict, the tsunami and now risks facing a food crisis in the coming weeks. “Many families in affected areas are facing a nightmare scenario in which both their food source and their livelihoods have been washed away. They need help to survive until the next harvest. It may not have been possible to prevent the floods, but we can avoid a food crisis if help is given to families now. “ It is absolutely essential that the world does not wait until these children are starving to act...

So much for ‘resettlement’ ...

This is what Sri Lanka considers 'resettlement' of displaced Tamils.

India and Jaffna

"As the people of Jaffna seek to resurrect their lives after years of armed conflict, the Government and the people of India remain committed to facilitate development in the region." "There is a special place in this relationship for age-old and time-tested bonds between the Jaffna peninsula of Sri Lanka and India." - Indian high commissioner to Sri Lanka Ashok K Kantha. (See PTI’s report here ). See also Indian Foreign Minister S. M. Krishna’s comments in Jaffna last November. India has already started developing Palaly airport and Kankasanthurai harbour in the Jaffna peninsula to build...

Celebration amid suppression

"RSF finds it highly disturbing that literature is being celebrated in this manner in a land where cartoonists, journalists, writers and dissident voices are so often victimised by the current government." "We believe this is not the right time for prominent international writers like you to give legitimacy to the Sri Lankan government's suppression of free speech." - Reporters Sans Frontiers (RSF) and Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka (JDS), in a letter to attendees of the forthcoming Galle Literature Festival. It was signed by Noam Chomsky, Arundhati Roy, Ken Loach, Antony Loewenstein...

Kittu's death anniversary marked

The 18th anniversary of the deaths of Colonel Kittu (Sathasivam Krishnakumar) and nine other LTTE cadres was marked in several Tamil Diaspora locations last weekend.

Why there is no hope for justice in Sri Lanka

“The failure of [Sri Lanka's] policing system to protect victims and witnesses - and its tendency to undermine rather than reinforce their rights - precludes the development of public trust in law enforcement, the judicial system, and the state.” - Rebecca Buckwalter-Poza, political consultant and writer, Asian Human Rights Commission. See her analysis here . See also the report ' A Study of Police Torture in Sri Lanka ' by Morten Koch Andersen and Basil Fernando. " Torture is a way of life at all police stations in Sri Lanka , whether the alleged crimes investigated are those relating to...