Media Ministry has "full authority" to act against websites

Add ressing cabinet on Thursday, Sri Lanka's Media and Information minister, Keheliya Rambukwella, asserted that the Ministry has "full authority" to act against any websites deemed to be publishing "false information". The statement came following the ruling regime's recent decision to enforce mandatory registration of all websites that deliver "news, information on Sri Lanka, or information on its people". Addressing the cabinet on Thursday, Rembukwella is reported to have said, "[the Media] Ministry has the full authority to take action against any website which propagates false information or indecent exposure ."

SL Navy attacks continue to escalate

The very next day after Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalitha urged India to “assert itself with the Sri Lankan Government”, yet another attack on Indian fisherman has been carried out by the Sri Lankan Navy. Three fishermen were injured in what has become the fifth report of an attack by the Sri Lankan Navy in November alone. The Navy are alleged to have arrived on speedboats and hurled rocks at the fishermen, before proceeding to cut their nets and damage their boats as they fled. Jayalalitha has written to Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh five times in the last few months, as the...

Another attack by SL Navy on Indian fishermen

Three Indian fishing boats have been damaged and a fisherman admitted to hospital with head injuries, as yet another incident of Indian fishermen being attacked by the Sri lankan Navy occured on Tuesday. The fishermen allege that the Navy men pelted them with stones while they were fishing in the Palk Straits. The past 9 days have seen 2 separate incidents with 14 fishermen being injured and 23 boats being damaged by the Sri Lankan Navy. The attacks seem to be escalating despite Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh told Sri Lankan president directly during a meeting last week, that the...

Sri Lankan official blames India for Sri Lanka losing 2018 games bid

The head of Sri Lanka's 2018 Commonwealth Games bid committee, suggested that India's shoddy games last year, resulted in Sri Lanka losing out to Australia. Highlighting India's outstanding debts to contractors, Ajith Nivard Cabraal said , “ It created a certain fear amongst the voting delegates who associated India closely with Sri Lanka and as a result it may have affected our chances .” The 2010 Games in India where heralded as India's debut as a global power, however were overshadowed by unfinished venues, poor turnout and unpaid bills . Over a year later, many of the organisers have been...

Jayalalitha asks Delhi to control ‘rogue elements’

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalitha has asked the government of India to assert itself and urge the Sri Lankan government to reign in ‘rogue elements’ in its navy. In a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh she said: "I strongly feel the government of India should assert itself with the Sri Lankan government to control the rogue elements in the Sri Lanka Navy who continue to (physically) assault our innocent fishermen." "The continued occurrences of such incidents has created a feeling of insecurity among the fishermen community and despair over the apparent inaction of the government...

Second gas well discovered in Mannar basin

Cairn Lanka has discovered a second well of natural gas off the shore of Mannar. The well was drilled to a depth of 3 miles and gas was discovered in three zones. The company said in a statement that further drilling would be necessary to determine the commercial viability of the discovery. Cairn Lanka is a subsidiary of Cairn India, of which 52% is owned by British based Cairn Energy. See our previous post: 'Natural gas found in Mannar basin' (Oct 2011) ‘Speculation as drilling begins in Mannar’ (Aug 2011) 'Scurried pact for oil off Mannar' (Jul 2008)

Army mete out punishment on civilians in Paranthan

The Sri Lankan army assaulted three civilians involved in a road traffic accident following a minor altercation, said Kilinochi MP Sritharan. According to reports , the incident occurred after a Sri Lankan tourist bus collided into a private bus from Mullaitheevu. Although the drivers soon resolved their dispute, the Sri Lankan army officers stood nearby intervened and began attacking the drivers, Tamil conductor and the Tamil owner of the Mullaitheevu bus. When the driver tried to seek refuge in a nearby shop, the army chased him inside and continued to attack him. Shortly after the incident...

Hambantota sports facilities to be build, although bid was lost

The Governor of the Central Bank, Ajith Cabraal, said on Monday that the government is going ahead with the building of a 4,000 roomed sports village and a new athletic stadium. It was expected that the plans would be scrapped following the defeat of Hambantota’s $8 million bid to host the Commonwealth Games in 2018, especially after the debacle of hosting the cricket world cup earlier this year. However, the government is convinced that Hambantota will become a major hub in South Asia. “With the rapid development taking place in Hambantota which includes an international harbour, airport,...

Armitage and Solheim on Sri Lanka's conduct, war crimes and the Tamil question

Expressing dismay at the “ chauvinistic attitude ” of the Sri Lankan state, former US Deputy Secretary of State said on Friday the international community was united in its criticism of Sri Lanka’s conduct in the north and east and that President Mahinda Rajapaksa would not be welcomed internationally unless conditions there improved. Speaking alongside Mr. Armitage at the launch of the Norwegian evaluation of Oslo’s peace process in Sri Lanka, and echoing his message, Norwegian minister for Environment and International Development, and former peace envoy, Erik Solheim also said the question of accountability for the mass killings of civilians in last phase of the war “will not go away ”, and that “ the only way the Sri Lankan state can reduce the impact of this is to reach out to Tamils and find a way of resolving the Tamil issue .” They were speaking in Oslo at the formal launch of the evaluation report on Norway’s protracted peace role in Sri Lanka, at which the question of Sri Lanka’s future was also discussed. Mr Armitage told the audience, “ I don’t think anyone disagrees that the Tamil people have been mistreated and are continuing to lack – across the board – fundamental freedoms, dignity , etc,” “Much to my dismay the government of Sri Lanka is still caught up in a chauvinistic attitude ,” “ I don’t think they’ve been far sighted enough in their approach to the north and east. There has been a somewhat lessening of violence there, somewhat lessening of the abductions and things of this nature, but not sufficient .” “From the US point of view we are quite dismayed at the lack of progress in human freedoms, human rights , etc, and I made that view known [to President Rajapaksa ].” “But what to do about it is the question." "[Firstly] the international community is generally coalesced around the fact that the north and the east particularly need protections , and the government of Sri Lanka has to move in that direction. … That is the united message the international community gives .

US defence official on accountability, human rights and Tamils:

Below are extracts from US Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for South and Southeast Asian Affairs Robert M. Scher ’s speech at Sri Lanka’s maritime security conference on Monday: “I will discuss [with Sri Lankan government] areas of mutual interest and security cooperation, such as maritime security, and I will make it clear that the United States needs to see continued progress in promoting the rights of all Sri Lankans and in taking concrete steps to bring about reconciliation with the Tamil population ,” he said. “Further, we believe that a serious effort by the Sri Lankan government...

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