Meeting of minds

Sri Lankan state media's reports on (above) President Rajapaksa at Libya's celebration in 2009 of the 40th anniversary of the 'Great September Revolution' and (below) Sri Lankan troops in the parade.

Why foreign investment in Sri Lanka is slow

“In the one and a half year period [since the end of the war] there has not been evidence of higher foreign direct investment, in fact foreign direct investment has declined rather than increased . “ Despite the IMF and World Bank giving favourable assessments of the economy, … the international investment community does not appear to consider Sri Lanka a favourable destination for investment .” See here an analysis this week by the SundayTimes’ Nimal Sanderatne of the possible reasons why. Also, see our earlier posts: ‘ The limits of possibility ’ (Jan 2011) ‘ Doubts over Sri Lanka's pledges...

Sampur: suffering and sophism

When Sri Lanka resumed its war against the Tamil Tigers in mid 2006, the first offensives were directed at Sampur and nearby areas in Trincomalee district. Over 40,000 Tamil civilians were driven from their homes , which were razed to the ground . The vast majority remain displaced. President Rajapaksa hailed the capture. Sri Lanka then pledged the land in Sampur to India to build a power-station on it, and designated it another 'High Security Zone' . Delhi was a strong backer of Sri Lanka’s military campaign, and the power station project has long been billed as a major milestone in...

Sri Lanka blames universities for chronic graduate unemployment

Sri Lanka's Ministry of Higher Education has brought in new measures to make universities responsible for ensuring their graduates can be 'guaranteed' to get jobs anywhere in the world. See report here . “If they cannot accomplish this what is the use of having such universities?" Secretary to the ministry Sunil Jayantha Navaratne argues. Needing to spell out the obvious, Dinidu Hennayake, convenor of the Joint Union of Unemployed Graduates, says: "Nowhere in the world has a university's academic staff been held responsible for its graduates being unemployed. We see this as a move to palm off...

IMF says Sri Lanka following instructions

“The [Sri Lankan] authorities continue to execute policies in line with the IMF programme's goals” - Brian Aitken, head of IMF review mission, Feb 18. See reports by LBO , The Island and the state-owned Daily News . Interestingly, the IMF said again this week that there was no “demand driven” inflation of food prices in Sri Lanka. But see this analysis by LBO of Sri Lanka's food insecurity . See also our earlier posts, ' Sri Lanka taking its medicine - IMF ' (Dec 2010) ' Food for Thought ' (Nov 2010)

Rail politics: Sri Lanka snubs India

Sri Lanka swapped a Chinese-made train for the Indian ones to be used on the service when the Galle-Matara high-speed line was inaugurated Wednesday. The track, destroyed in the 2004 tsunami, has been rebuilt by Indian firm IRCON, and was entirely funded by Indian credit. The Indian-made locomotives to service the route have arrived in Sri Lanka, but railway officials said they were “not ready”. So Indian High Commissioner Ashok Kantha and the other dignitaries traveled in a Chinese-made train on the maiden run. The train hit 100km/h - but started and arrived late. See LBO’s report here Photo...

Tamil Nadu police reject LTTE threat claim

Senior police officers in Tamil Nadu this week dismissed claims that LTTE cadres would attack top political leaders during the forthcoming state Assembly elections On Sunday The Hindu newspaper quoted Indian intelligence sources as saying the Ministry of Home Affairs had sent alerts about possible attacks. However, in response to the reports, Director General of Police Letika Saran told reporters Wednesday that the police have confirmed that there were no LTTE elements in Tamil Nadu. (See the Times of India report here) Meanwhile, another senior police officer told The Hindu: “ Sri Lankan...

Northern railway projects to begin

Indian engineers are beginning work on three railway track projects in Sri Lanka’s north funded by loans from India. The three lines are Omanthai-Pallai, Madhu Church-Tallaimannar and Medawachchiya-Mannar (via Madhu). See map here . IRCON International Limited, a company of the Ministry of Railways in India, has been given the contract. See the Daily Mirror’s report here . More than 200 engineers, technicians and supervisors from India would eventually be employed on the three projects. A similar number of local staff would be employed, and the labourers will all be Sri Lankan. 100 Indian...

Representing an oppressed nation

Against the many crises the Tamil people in Sri Lanka face today, perhaps the most grievous is lack of effective representation. The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) continues to claim, implicitly and explicitly, the role of chief advocate, but in practice has instead left it to other Tamil and international actors, including those in the Diaspora, to articulate the Tamils’ urgent needs and difficulties. The TNA’s reluctance to vigorously articulate Tamil grievances on a range of self-evident contemporary issues inevitably raises serious questions regarding their ability, indeed their willingness, to accurately and effectively represent the Tamil nation’s interests and aspirations in any wider discussion on a political settlement.

Thulli Thulli (Sippikkul Muththu)

'Thulli Thulli' is a great number from the Kollywood box office smash hit starring Kamal Hassan and Radhika. Sung by the illustrious S.P. Balasubramaniam and S. Janaki, it is a loving lullaby intended for the heroine of the film. Notably, this song was composed by Ilaiyaraaja purely in Madhyamavathi raagam, a raaga which he has very commonly used for his hypnotic lullabies in other films.