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Threats, harassments and restrictions on former detainees and their families in Vanni

May 13 (TC) This note is based on conversations with 15 former detainees (7 women between 21 and 35 years and 8 men between 21 and 41 years) from villages in the Vanni region (areas previously under LTTE control from where the entire population was displaced during the final phase of the war and have begun to return since late 2009 and presently live under control of the Army). We also met three mothers of former detainees from the same villages, more..

Tamil diaspora should invest in the north and east to generate productive employment and wealth

May 13 (TC) I lived in Jaffna for a total of two and half months between January and April’2011. I did not watch television, listen to the radio, read newspapers or access the internet while I was there. I tried to perceive what was going on around me, during interactions with people in day- to- day life. What I report here is definitely not the result of scientific surveys or any structured studies, but a summary of my personal experiences and impressions. more..

Academic couple Ratnajeevan and Dushyanthi Hoole treated shabbily

May 13 (TC) At one point in your very perceptive editorial of 10 May titled ‘Pay them more; make them work harder’ you refer to President Mahinda Rajapaksha’s appeal to ‘expatriate Sri Lankan experts including academics to return and help develop the country’. Then you ask rhetorically: ‘But who will want to answer his call, return home and settle for a pittance?’ Please give me a little space to tell The Island the story of two such persons – Prof. Ratnajeevan Hoole and more..

Showdown between Govt and Academics will lead to breakdown of University system

May 13 (TC) The government and the university academics are heading for a showdown which should be avoided lest the university system will breakdown. Federation of University Teachers Associations (FUTA) has embarked on trade union action where its members have with effect from 9th May, 2011 resigned en masse from all voluntary administrative posts they held and would refrain from participation in GCE A/L Examination related work in August 2011. more..

Sri Lanka badly in need of more cinnamon peelers

May 13 (LBO) Sri Lanka, the world's biggest exporters of cinnamon, needs 10,000 more peelers to overcome an acute shortage of labour, members of the trade have told the ministry of industry and commerce. Of the 30,000 hectares of cinnamon grown in Sri Lanka, only one-fifth are peeled twice a year with 70 percent peeled only once a year, incurring potential foreign exchange losses, a ministry statement quoted exporters as saying. more..

Editorial: Thus spake two legal Eagles

May 13 (Island) Thanks to Wikileaks we know that US Assistant Secretary of State Robert Blake, in his previous capacity as Ambassador to Sri Lanka, tried to save the LTTE leaders trapped in the Vanni at the height of war in early 2009; he strove to arrange for what is called a mediated surrender, albeit in vain. Blake has said in a leaked diplomatic cable that the Sri Lankan govt asked for a list of the key Tigers willing to give themselves up but the LTTE did not respond. more..


May 13 (DM) A perennial cry in the inner depths of everyone’s being is to live harmoniously without rancour with another. It seems unfair that in life where we expect so much, we find at times, it has let us down badly. Be it estrangement in family, marital or any other areas where human relationships are involved. From micro it explodes into the macro, where ideological and religious differences give rise to wars and revolutions. The human psyche gets a battering to reveal despairing spirits. more..

UK Border Agency criticised over intelligence use

May 13 (BBC) There are failings in the way the UK Border Agency uses intelligence to tackle illegal immigration, a report by its independent chief inspector says. John Vine said intelligence was used inconsistently and the outcome of allegations was not always tracked. He also warned some staff could be disproportionately targeting some nationalities. Ministers say the UKBA's "intelligence-led" approach is focusing resources where they were most needed. more..

IUSF to blame for what happened to Samantha: S.B

May 13 (DM) Higher Education Minister S.B. Dissanayake charged on Wednesday that the IUSF had disrupted the peace within the university system from the 1980s. The Minister made these remarks while addressing a function to mark the launch of a book that dealt with the assassination of Sri Jayewardenepura University student Ovitagalage Samantha in 2003, allegedly by a rival student group. The incident was linked to a ragging case. more..

Private pension scheme ‘inconsistent’-CFL

May 13 (DM) The Ceylon Federation of Labour (CFL) yesterday condemned the pension scheme proposed for private sector employees by the government stating that they will not allow hard earned money of the working class to be wasted in order that the government could show an increase in savings to the IMF. The Federation pointed out many inconsistencies remained in the bill stating that they condemned the indecent urgency of the government to enact the bill without giving more..


May 13 (SL) Colombo, people have lost and continue to lose their homes. Families return from work, or running an errand, to find their houses reduced to rubble. The Sunday Leader visited areas where residents were facing eviction, as well as housing schemes where people had been relocated. It emerged that there is no permanent plan in place for the evicted. In some cases, entire shanty towns have been razed, only to give birth to settlements in other areas, more..

Rights attacks go on after war

May 13 (UCAN) Two years after the end of the country’s civil war, human rights are still regularly violated, activists say. “It is our responsibility to evaluate human rights violations in the country and find opportunities to bring justice for victims,” said Sudarshana Gunawardane, a Catholic lawyer at a conference organized by Platform for Freedom, a umbrella rights organization. More than 65 civic rights campaigners attended the meeting at Caritas Sri Lanka headquarters more..

Caritas gets women to take the lead

May 13 (UCAN) Caritas is forming “single women’s groups” in former war zones in the north of the country to take leading roles in village affairs due to a shortage of menfolk. According to Caritas, many villages around Jaffna now have predominately female populations because thousands of men were killed during the war, thousands of others left the country and because thousands are still being kept in displacement camps. Caritas has therefore begun to form more..

Forty seven rejected nominations to be accepted

May 13 (DN) The Court of Appeal yesterday directed the Elections Commissioner and the Returning Officers to accept 47 nomination papers presented by three recognized political parties and independent groups. The court upheld that the rejection of these nomination papers by the election officials is a violation of local government election regulations. Elections officials were ordered to accept 34 nominations of the UPFA, four from the UNP and more..

Drop in software piracy in Sri Lanka highest in Asia Pacific

May 13 (FT) Asia Pacific’s biggest drop in software piracy has been reported in Sri Lanka last year, according to an industry watchdog, which warned that elsewhere and overall in the region it had hit a record. “From 2009 to 2010, installations of unlicensed software on PCs in Sri Lanka fell by three percentage points, the highest drop recorded in Asia and the Pacific, bringing the rate down to 86% in 2010,” the Business for Software Alliance Senior Director – more..

Opening a public case against the US and its President(s)

May 13 (GV) There are many cases pending with the International Criminal Court (ICC) in Hague. There are trials and pre trials on Cambodia, former Yugoslavia, Rwanda, Sudan – Darfur, Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, Kenya, Central African Republic and also one filed most recently against a Sri Lankan holding Australian citizenship, held responsible for presumptive war crimes committed in Sri Lanka in its war against the Tamil Tigers. more..

Underhand moves afoot - President

May 13 (DN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday said that certain elements are attempting to undermine the 2600th Sri Sambuddhatva Jayanthi which is to be celebrated on a grand scale by all people in the country. He said that all Sri Lankans should join hands and defeat this sinister motive. “It is the duty of all Sri Lankans to foil attempts to belittle the 2600th Sri Sambuddhatva Jayanthi,” President Rajapaksa said. more..

TUs target 6.5M signatures

May 13 (DM) Trade unions had targeted 6.5 million signatures from the private sector alone for the petition against the establishment of the proposed private sector pension scheme by the government, the Inter Company Employees Union (ICEU) yesterday said. The Union said that protests at grass root level had begun yesterday at the Liberty Circle and that many other protest campaigns had taken place simultaneously at Rajagiriya, Horana, Nawala, Kalutara and Panadura. more..

Development of ports a game changer for SL, says SCB

May 13 (Island) Global banking giant Standard Chartered Bank says the Sri Lankan government’s push to develop the country’s ports is likely to be a game changer; increasing trade, driving economic growth and significantly boosting revenues. However, fiscal constraints are a major dampener to Sri Lanka’s prospects given the inadequate and inefficient capacity of the existing ports. Sri Lanka must act quickly, because major port developments in South India pose a threat more..

‘Darusman Report’ won’t help national reconciliation process, says KP

May 13 (Island) Prabhakaran's successor, T. S. Pathmanathan or simply 'KP' as he is known, says the controversial ‘Darusman Report’ will not help the ongoing national reconciliation process. Instead, it can cause irreparable damage to ambitious reconciliation efforts, he asserts. Pathmanathan asserts the report commissioned by UNSG Ban Ki-moon will only strengthen the hands of those hell-bent on undermining the post-war recovery process. more..

Salary issue: Lecturers say ready for talks

May 13 (DM) Federation of University Teachers Association (FUTA) said yesterday it was ready to discuss the salary issue as well as the other concerns faced by academics with President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the relevant authorities if they wished to do so. FUTA President Ranjith Nirmal Dewasiri said he was yet to receive any response from the government with regard to their demands for a substantial salary increase. He said more than 90 per cent of university teachers holding more..

Report on former detainees received

May 13 (DM) A report based on interviews conducted with 15 former detainees who claimed that they were undergoing various threats, harassment and restrictions even after their release was handed over to the Ministry of Rehabilitation. The report based on interviews conducted with 15 former detainees- 7 women between 21 and 35 years and 8 men between 21 and 41 years from villages in the Wanni region over a period of one month in April was prepared by Rev. Fr. Jeyabalan Croos, more..

UNP crisis: many ‘casualties’ among party Reformists

May 13 (Island) Rebel UNP MP Dayasiri Jayasekera on Wednesday alleged that there were many ‘casualties’ in the Reformists Camp following their confrontation with UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe. The Kurunegala District MP says he believed there would be peace and stability in the wake of the Reformists accepting Wickremesinghe’s leadership at the party’s National Convention last December. Addressing a gathering, at the launch of a campaign to more..

NUW renews call for Rs 500 daily wage for estate workers

May 13 (DM) The National Union of Workers trade union called for a minimum daily wage of Rs 500 for estate workers if any headway was to be made in talks with employer unions. They warned that the employers and the unions who were signatories to the collective agreement should not push the workers towards a bitter trade union action. “One should remember the estate workers” strike in 2006 which brought the sector to a standstill, said National Union of Workers (NUW) more..

Sampanthan denies spearheading separatism

May 13 (Island) TNA leader R. Sampanthan says there is no basis for persistent allegations that they are pursuing a separatist agenda in spite of the conclusion of the war. The Trincomalee District MP says interested parties are working overtime to undermine the TNA. "We deny these unsubstantiated allegations with the utmost contempt they deserved," Sampanthan told The Island. The veteran politician was responding to allegations that his party had been appointed the more..

Migrant was in Tamil Tiger compound to avoid combat, IRB hears

May 13 (OC) One of the migrants who came to Canada last summer aboard the MV Sun Sea worked for two years inside a Tamil Tiger compound not because he wanted to help the terrorist organization but to avoid being forced into combat, the Immigration and Refugee Board heard Tuesday. In fact, prior to entering the compound, the man spent six months hiding in the jungles to avoid being recruited, the man's parents testified by phone from Sri Lanka. more..

SC judgments on the web within 2-3 hours :CJ

May 13 (DM) Chief Justice Asoka de Silva yesterday (12) said that presently any judgment given by the Supreme Court could be viewed on the web 2 - 3 hours after it was delivered. He made this observation at the ceremonial farewell that was accorded to him at the Superior Court Complex on the occasion of his retirement. The Chief Justice also went down memory lane and recalled that the legal world was so large and bewildering and he was a bit frightened at first as more..

Graduates in north demand government jobs

May 13 (IRIN) Peace dividends have yet to reach thousands of unemployed graduates returning to Sri Lanka's northernmost, conflict-affected Jaffna District. In Jaffna, the impact of graduate unemployment is significant and more pronounced compared with other areas of Sri Lanka's Northern Province, with limited state employment opportunities and few alternatives, local graduates and professors say. According to Muthukrishna Sarvananda, principal researcher at more..

'Walk to the troops': SMS sent Tamils to their death

May 13 (Age) BEATEN and with nowhere left to run, they received the text message just before 9 o'clock on a Sunday morning. It came, through an intermediary, from the Sri Lankan foreign secretary, apparent instructions for a surrender: "Just walk across to the troops, slowly! With a white flag and comply with instructions carefully. The soldiers are nervous about suicide bombers." At dawn the next day, a group of nearly 20 - more..

Peace a battle

May 13 (WA) AN UNEASY peace holds in Sri Lanka. The civil war that afflicted the north of the country for more than a quarter of a century ended two years ago this week, but for many, it seems never to have gone away. Aani Manuelpillai* lives with reminders every day. For a year, the Sri Lankan army fought over her village in the Mannar district as it pursued to extinction the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, the separatist rebels known to the world as Tamil Tigers. more..

Terrorism allegations against Tamil migrant dismissed

May 13 (CBC) An Immigration Review Board adjudicator has dismissed allegations by the federal government that a Tamil migrant who arrived on a ship in Victoria last summer was part of a terrorist group. Leeann King ruled the man can make a refugee claim in Canada and she systematically dismantled the federal government's evidence against him, calling the information trivial, unreliable and riddled with mistakes and speculation. more..

Declare Rajapakse a war criminal: Jayalalithaa tells Centre

May 13 (PTI) Set to form the next government in Tamil Nadu, AIADMK supremo J Jayalalithaa today said the Centre should declare Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse a "war criminal" for the "genocide" of Tamils in the island nation. India should come out with economic sanctions against Sri Lanka to compel the government to take steps to mitigate the sufferings of Sri Lankan Tamils and provide them "an honourable and decent life," more..

Muttiah Muralitharan to feature in NZ domestic cricket

May 13 (PTI) Former Sri Lankan tweaker Muttiah Muralitharan, who is currently playing for Kochi Tuskers Kerala in the IPL, is all set to feature in New Zealand`s domestic Twenty20 cricket competition next season. The veteran of 800 Test wickets, who was keen to take up the chance to play in New Zealand, will be seen in action for Wellington Firebirds. Confirming the deal with the former cricketer, Firebirds chief executive Gavin Larsen said that the move to rope in more..

UN Panel Report, Sri Lanka And India – Analysis

May 13 (ER) On April 25th the United Nations officially released a report of the UN Secretary General’s Panel of Experts on Accountability in Sri Lanka. The report alleged that both the Sri Lankan government and LTTE were responsible for possible violation of humanitarian and human right law. The ethnic conflict gives context to the UN’s report that the Sri Lankan Army (SLA) slaughtered Tamils during the last phase of the war. more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 13.05.2011

Sri Lanka offers insurgency advice

May 13 (FT) Sri Lanka has invited military officials from 54 countries, including the US and China, to a seminar to showcase how the country’s strategy to defeat the Tamil Tigers offers a new model for defeating insurgencies. The meeting, to be held in Colombo, the country’s capital, starting on May 31, comes after the Sri Lankan government was heavily criticised by the UN and others for the brutal assault that ended the long-running war against the LTTE. more..

Impunity prevails despite end of war - AI

May 13 (BBC) Sri Lanka authorities failed to address past human rights violations despite the end of the war, the Amnesty International said. The government continued to subject people to torture and enforced disappearances, the watchdog said in its annual report. "Enforced disappearances and abductions for ransom carried out by members of the security forces are reported in many parts of the country," the report said. On Thursday, the UN said Iniya Bharati, an advisor to more..

Norway secretly helped LTTE cadres

May 13 (DM) Norwegian embassy personnel in Colombo have secretly aided Tamil rebels out of Sri Lanka and provided political asylum in Norway for years, a Norwegian newspaper reported. Norwegian diplomatic staff in Sri Lankan helped approximately 12 people so far, purchasing flight tickets, driving some to the airport, and issuing visas at short notice both for emigrants and those who had already escaped from Sri Lanka, alleges Aftenposten. more..


May 14 (DM) Truth, accountability and reconciliation are being talked about a lot these days. Interestingly, many who use these terms think ‘truth’ is equal to systematic and deliberation massacre of Tamil civilians by Sri Lankan security forces. They believe ‘accountability’ is about the Government pleading guilty to such charges. Finally, they equate ‘reconciliation’ to ‘power sharing’ which in turn they believe is about devolving power to provinces whose more..

Patriotism and concern for workers

May 14 (DM) On every occasion whether politicians are addressing a school prize giving or a religious function we hear most of them waxing eloquently about the Darusman report. The May Day rallies of certain government affiliated political parties gave wide prominence to the falsity of the report and even had effigies of the UN Secretary General and in certain instances burnt the effigies. One does not think that anyone in the country ever considers the report more..