Meeting monks and war criminals – Sri Lanka's new navy commander pays his dues

The newly appointed head of the Sri Lankan navy took up his post in recent weeks by paying visits to sacred Buddhist sites and giving offerings to monks, as well as meeting controversial military leaders, including an admiral wanted over involvement in the murder of 11 Tamil youths. Vice Admiral Piyal De Silva, who has been appointed as the 23 rd commander of the Sri Lankan navy, visited both the Temple of the Tooth in Kandy as well as several Buddhist sites in Anuradhapura, where he gave offerings to Buddhist monks to “receive blessings”. The commander then went on to meet Sri Lanka’s Chief...

Body of dead Indian fisherman recovered by Sri Lanka navy

The Sri Lankan navy announced that it had recovered the body of a dead Indian fisherman that it had discovered off the coast of Neduntheevu in Jaffna on Sunday. The man has been identified as 55-year-old Karuppaiah Munnasami from Ramanathapuram in India. His body was reportedly handed over to the Jaffna police, with it still being unclear how the man had died. The latest report comes after the Sri Lankan navy at least twenty Tamil Nadu fishermen the same night for allegedly poaching fish. Indian fishermen have repeatedly been chased and assaulted by the Sri Lankan navy for years, despite...

Tamil family in Australia seeking asylum ‘are not refugees’ declares Australian minister

Australian Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton has refused to reverse his decision to deport a Tamil family, declaring that “ at every single turn they’ve been found not to be refugees”. Nades,his wife Priya and their two daughters, Kopika and Tharunicaa, were refused asylum by Australian authorities and due to be deported later this year. They are currently being held in detention despite pressure from their local community to reverse the government's decision. Peter Dutton responded to the case by telling reporters, “The family has gone through multiple court processes. At every single turn they’ve been found not to be refugees”.

UK Prime Minister celebrates British Tamils in Thai Pongal message

The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Theresa May celebrated the contributions of British Tamils in a Thai Pongal message. “We should all celebrate our Tamil community,” the Prime Minister said. “Small in number but big in impact, every day and in every corner of the country you help make Britain the successful, thriving, diverse place it is today.” I want to send my warmest wishes to our British Tamil community this Thai Pongal. Time and again - we see the immense contribution our Tamil community makes to the UK through your tireless hard work, dedication and generosity of spirit. And...

TGTE calls for universal jurisdiction to be exercised against Sri Lankan leaders

The appointment of Shavendra Silva as chief of staff of the Sri Lankan army “is a staggering affront to the international community,” said the Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam (TGTE) , who called on the international community to exercise universal jurisdiction against those accused of crimes. “If anyone took the Supreme Court’s actions last month as proof that Sri Lanka could investigate itself for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide committed by the State, the appointment of Major General Silva--one of the men most responsible for these heinous and inhumane crimes--...

IMF reschedules Sri Lanka meeting, with USD $1 billion due for repayment today

The International Monetary Fund has rescheduled a crucial meeting with Sri Lanka as a snowstorm hit Washington DC, with Colombo due to repay an estimated USD $1 billion today. Sri Lanka’s Minister of Economic Reform Harsha de Silva, who is in Washington with finance minister Mangala Samaraweera, tweeted details of the loan repayment figure, stating it was due today and confirming the meeting have been rescheduled. “Having lived in US Midwest previously I am surprised how such little snow can shut the Capital down,” he added . The meeting comes as Colombo looks to solve its economic crisis,...

Sri Lankan navy arrests man in Mannar over alleged drug charges

The Sri Lankan navy announced that it had arrested a man in Mannar, after it apprehended a haul of over 180 kilograms of Kerala cannabis. The man, who was not identified by the navy, was reportedly arrested for being in possession of the haul of cannabis in Vankalai on the 10 th of January. Mannar police have reportedly taken over the case. The latest arrest comes after Tamil UNP MP Vijayakala Maheswaran said last year politicians from the South of the island are responsible for supplying the drugs in the North. On previous occasions, Sri Lankan soldiers have been caught smuggling drugs in...

Foreign minister calls on diplomats to improve Sri Lanka's image abroad

Sri Lanka's foreign minister, Tilak Marapana, called on diplomats to improve the country's image abroad through their diplomacy, the Sunday Times reports. Marapana, speaking at an awarding ceremony of the Public Diplomacy and Media Relations training programme on Friday, stressed the importance of presenting Sri Lanka as a civilised nation with untapped potential and talent. Foreign secretary, Ravinatha Aryasinha, said that international affairs would continue to play a pivotal role in diplomacy both at home and abroad. Read more here . His comments following last year's two months of...

OMP officials to accompany Mannar bone samples to Florida

Officials from the Sri Lankan government’s Office of Missing Persons (OMP) will join the chief investigator of the Mannar mass grave, where over 200 skeletons have been unearthed, in accompanying samples from the grave to a laboratory in Florida where they will be analysed. “Preparations are under way for the bone samples collected for carbon dating to be flown to the Beta Analytic Radio Carbon Dating Lab in Florida, USA,” said Dr Saminda Rajapaksha, who has been heading the excavation. “I would be in charge of the bones and the only person handling the bones. However, to ensure the...

Rajapaksa - govt has no legitimacy to change constitution, call election

The former president and now opposition leader, Mahinda Rajapaksa urged the government to call a new parliamentary election, stating that it did not have the legitimacy to change the country's constitution. "There should be legitimacy prior to introducing a new constitution. We doubt if the present government has that legitimacy," Rajapaksa told the Constitutional Assembly. "They lost the local government elections and is delaying the provincial council elections. It even went to court to prevent a parliamentary election," he said, suggesting that both main parties should put draft...

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