Offshore oil bidding to start next month

Sri Lanka has announced that "eight to ten" offshore oil blocks would be offered for bidding as early as next month, in the Cauvery and Manner basins. The announcement by Saliya Wickramasuriya director general of the island's petroleum exploration office, follows the discovery of two potential gas reserves by Cairn Lanka in Mannar last year. Wickramasuriya stated that bidding would be kept open until around May 2013 and went on to state that oil companies from Russia and Vietnam had expressed interest. It was also reported that Sri Lanka has offered the oil blocks to both China and India.

Sri Lanka provides new settlements… for trees

Acting in compliance with the government’s ‘Deyata Sevana national tree planting campaign’, Sri Lanka’s ‘peacetime’ Army have been converting the land, formerly used for Internal Displaced Persons (IDP) camps, into an orchard, reported ColomboPage . The Army run project, will initially plant 1,000 saplings at Manik Farm. The army has also launched another 225 acre joint agricultural project with a private company, Prima Ltd. The Sri Lankan army’s tree prosperity initiative, comes as 178 families, who were forced to move out from the camps and resettled unaided , in little more than a clearing...

Sri Lanka’s ‘peace dividend waning’ – Moody’s

Moody’s rating’s agency has said in a new report that Sri Lanka’s B1 rating outlook is looking positive, but is dependent on policy performance, including the “effective management of macroeconomic challenge”. While Sri Lanka’s strong economic growth is behind its positive rating, the so-called “peace-dividend” appear to be waning, “namely, the reductions in inflation and in government funding costs”. Read full press release by Moody’s here .

Reconciliation in Trincomalee

Photographs Daily Mirror Sri Lanka's Navy paraded its next generation of personnel at a 'passing out parade' on Saturday, and where better to hold it than in Tamil heartland of Trincomalee.

Indian vehicle imports curbed, as Chinese investors approved

High taxes on cars and trucks have been placed on imports from India, reports Sri Lanka's Sunday Times. According to the customs official who spoke anonymously, the taxes would meanwhile be an advantage to Japanese car imports. Speaking to the newspaper, the president of the Vehicle Importers’ Association of Lanka, Sampath Merenchige, said that the price of a Maruti or Alto would increase by a minimum of Rs 250,000. Meanwhile, the Sri Lankan government has cleared two Chinese investments of US $20 million - a car-assembly plants in Hambantota and Gampaha.

65000 in the North-East mentally affected by war

Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Health has officially announced that around 65000 people in the North-East have been affected by some form of mental trauma or illness as a consequence of the three-decade long war. The Deputy Health Minister told Parliament that in that tally almost 63000 have received treatment and over 2000 are currently undergoing treatment. The shock announcement came in response to questions from TNA MP A. Vinayagamoorthy regarding mental illness statistics in the war affected North-East.

The ultimate leader…?

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has been hailed by one of his Ministers as having “sparked a renaissance” on the island, reported the Daily Mirror . Minister Mervyn Silva reportedly compared the war crimes accused President with Abraham Lincoln, Vladmir Lenin, Karl Marx, Mathma Gandhi, and Mao Zedong He made this comments as he talked on the reduction of duty on racing cars being introduced, adding that he would buy his children Lamborghinis if they so wanted. See more of Minister Silva’s comments in our previous post: Come and 'die like dogs', minister threatens US (27 February 2012...

Sri Lanka makes new friends

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa concluded a 3 day state visit to Uganda on Friday, aimed at strengthening the longstanding relations between the two nations. The two delegations held bilateral discussions regarding current developments in Sri Lanka. The Sri Lankan delegation also expressed gratitude for the support that Uganda showed in the international arena, particularly at the United Nations. Ugandan president, Yoweri Museveni, also took the opportunity to praise strengthened President Rajapaksa and the Sri Lankan government for the way in which they defeated the Liberation Tigers...

Army teaches Sinhalese to Tamil schoolchildren

The Sri Lankan Army has been teaching Sinhalese to children in Kilinochchi, boasted the Ministry of Defence earlier this week. In an article entitled “Serving the People”, the Ministry of Defence wrote on how the Army was conducting Sinhala lesson to Tamil schoolchildren, as part of their “Scouting, Sinhala and Road Sign awareness programmes”. The seminars were organised by the 5 Sri Lanka Armoured Corps troops and held in the Security Forces Headquarters Kilinochchi. See more of the Sri Lankan Army schooling Tamil schoolchildren in earlier post: Only in Sri Lanka (28 October 2012)

Report on UN actions in Sri Lanka released

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon receives a copy of a report on the actions of the United Nations in Sri Lanka on Wednesday morning. Picture courtesy of Inner City Press. A report detailing the “grave failure of the United Nations” in Sri Lanka has been officially handed over to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, on Wednesday morning and released publicly later in the evening. The full report can be downloaded here . In a statement , the UN Secretary General said, "I am determined that the United Nations draws the appropriate lessons and does its utmost to earn the confidence of the world's people, especially those caught in conflict who look to the organisation for help," He went on to say that the report had been released publically as, "transparency and accountability are critical to the legitimacy and credibility of the United Nations". However sections of the report had attempted to have been blacked out. The blacked out portions of the report could still be accessed and have been reproduced further below. See here . Ex tracts from the report (On February 7th 2009) Some UN staff in Colombo expressed to the UNCT leadership their dismay that the UN was placing primary emphasis on LTTE responsibility when the facts suggested otherwise , and urged a more public stance.